The original Challenger was a latecomer to the pony-car party in 1970, and it ducked out early. As a result, it didn’t have the lasting impact of the Ford Mustang or the Chevrolet Camaro, but it still drew enthusiasts and Mopar gearheads, and that was enough to encourage Dodge to come out with a modern iteration. For 2012, the Challenger’s Trim Levels have been renamed in an attempt to make them more consistent with the rest of Dodge’s lineup. The Dodge Challenger SXT and SXT Plus models are powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine that makes 305 hp, the Challenger R/T has a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with 375 hp, and the SRT8 model gets a nostalgically named “392” 6.4-liter Hemi that puts out 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. The Challenger isn’t just a blunt instrument that was made to go fast, although that is a task it performs very well, if we do say so ourselves. There are an abundance of high-tech features available for the Challenger lineup, from a Uconnect 6.5-inch touchscreen display with a hard drive on which more than 150 hours of music and photos can be stored to an available 900-watt, eighteen-speaker premium audio surround-sound system from Harman Kardon. The Challenger is a modern muscle car that can be outfitted to be as functional as it is fast.

Drive: Rear-wheel
Trim Levels: SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, SRT8
Body style: Coupe, 5-passenger
Engines: 3.6L V-6, 305 hp, 268 lb-ft
5.7L V-8, 375 hp, 410 lb-ft
6.4L V-8, 470 hp, 470 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 93.9 cu ft
Cargo space: 16.2 cu ft

A new eighteen-speaker Harman Kardon audio system is available for 2012. Steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters are available on the Dodge Challenger SXT Plus, R/T, and SRT8 models. The SRT8 also has a new two-mode adaptive damping suspension system.

Standard safety equipment includes front, side, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control; ABS; and a tire-pressure monitor.

All: 14-18 mpg city/23-27 mpg highway

  • Power at a reasonable price
  • Close replica of the classic
  • Three engine choices
  • Large blind spots
  • Big and heavy

’70s look with modern muscle.

  • Chevrolet Camaro
  • Ford Mustang
  • Hyundai Genesis

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