New For 2014
Changes for 2014 all concern the lengthy options list. For the SXT, there’s the Super Sport Group (twenty-inch wheels, uprated brakes/suspension/steering, shift paddles, a rear spoiler, and a quicker rear axle ratio); the Sinister Super Sport Group has the same stuff but with black wheels. Also newly available is a power sunroof and launch control. Chrysler’s Uconnect 6.5-inch touchscreen multimedia system is now a $695 standalone option. Finally, new paint colors include one flashback hue: Plum Crazy purple.
The Dodge Challenger returned to the market in 2008 with handsome styling that echoes the 1970 original. The retro/modern sheetmetal is wrapped over a chassis shared with the Dodge Charger and the Chrysler 300. As it did in the beginning, the Challenger faces off against the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. Unlike them, however, the Challenger is strictly a coupe; no convertible is offered. The Challenger follows the current pony-car engine formula, with a budget-friendly six-cylinder, a muscular V-8, and an ultra-high-performance V-8.
In the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger trifecta, the Dodge definitely does not have the following of its longer-lived competitors, but it does at least as good of a job serving the faithful. Not only is the Challenger’s sharp styling obviously identifiable, but the myriad available appearance packages and stripe kits are perfectly attuned to the car’s heritage.
Powering the base Challenger SXT is Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, a polished performer that makes a respectable 305 hp. The V-6 is the only Challenger engine that cannot be paired with a manual transmission. The automatic has only five gears, which is a little low; other Chrysler products with this engine get an eight-speed. Even the V-6 cars can be fitted with a sport suspension, upgraded brakes, and high-performance steering. The SXT Plus adds more luxury equipment, and the Rallye Redline amps up the muscle-car style.
Next up is the R/T, which ushers in the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, a smooth, deep-throated performer that pumps out 372–375 hp (depending on transmission). Here, the performance-tuned brakes, suspension, and steering are standard. Like the SXT, the R/T is available in three versions: R/T, R/T Plus, and R/T Classic.
At the top sits the SRT. Its Hemi V-8 displaces 6.4 liters, or 392 cubic inches, a number that is displayed proudly in decals on the body side. It makes a muscle-bound 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque and can be paired with the six-speed manual or the automatic. With either gearbox, the SRT Challenger will turn a sub-thirteen-second quarter mile. Top speed is 175 mph for the automatic and 186 mph for the stick. An adaptive-damping suspension is available. Launch control is offered on both automatic- and manual-equipped cars; the latter allows the driver to set the engine-rpm speed for launch. The SRT Challenger is offered in two price points: the Core model is a back-to-basics muscle car, with a starting price under $40,000 (before destination); the Premium version adds more equipment. All SRT buyers get a complimentary day of performance-driving instruction at various tracks around the country. Presumably, learning how to do a proper smoky burnout is part of the curriculum.
- Lots of sporty appearance packages
- Usable rear seat
- Blisteringly quick SRT
You won’t like:
- More fast than nimble
- Tough to see out of
- No convertible offered
- Chevrolet Camaro
- Ford Mustang
- Hyundai Genesis coupe
- Nissan 370Z