Would you like the power, sound, attitude, and charisma of a vintage muscle car?
Would you also like the single-digit MPGs, untrustworthy reliability, and lack of safety of one?
Then the Dodge Challenger R/T is the right choice!
It’s big, it’s brash, it’s menacing, it’s the Dodge Challenger. The design team did a fantastic job taking cues from the 1970-1974 model, of which it’s basically just an inflated version. It has the same hood bulge, the round headlights, the kick-up side line, and the row of tail lights.
My favorite part is the rear haunch, which provides a great view through the side mirror.
Although they channeled the original’s styling cues well, it’s a bit too tall and bulky. The sheer length masks some of its height, but take away about 4” of height from the bottom of the doors, and this car would have the proper muscle car low-slung stance it deserves.
And in bright red with 20” polished wheels, it sure does turn heads. A few aftermarket add-ons like Torq Thrust wheels, racing stripes, the Shaker hood, and R/T badges would score it a solid 10.
Overall, it’s brash, menacing, and retro.
Although it’s an older Chrysler design, I prefer this interior to that of the revised models. It reminds me so much of the ‘60s and ‘70s muscle car interiors: Bare and Simple. No swooping lines or bright 8.4” touch-screens anywhere. It has just what a driver needs. I’m more a fan of black gauges than white, but that’s no big deal.
Materials are decent. Leather seats and armrests. Soft plastic dash & tops of door panels. Hard plastic in the lower dash. Nothing to complain about, but nothing to be in awe of either.
Some complain about the Challenger’s size, but it does provide a vast amount of room inside. There’s plenty of headroom in the front, and unlike the Mustang and Camaro, the backseat holds 3 people - comfortably at that. The trunk is also about 30% bigger than either one as well, not to mention that the whole cabin can be a storage area once the backseats are folded down.
Overall, its functional, spacious, and simple.
It definitely takes off. It’s very smooth and controllable, but don’t keep going for more than a few seconds unless you want to sit in front of a cop car on the side of the road. 5.2 seconds to 60 isn’t blisteringly fast, you aren’t stapled to the seat like a <4.5 second car, it really isn’t much faster than a V6 Accord. But speed is half the fun, the other half is the noise while doing so. And I’m sure a V6 Accord doesn’t wail like a Hemi at full chat.
3000-4000 RPM is the engine’s strong point. Punch it at that point in 1st gear, and you will get the shove in the seat that you’d expect. Floor it from a stop and tires will squeal. And that’s with the Traction Control on. I’m unwilling to turn it off for obvious reasons.
Overall, it’s exhilarating, smooth, and loud.
It’s an auto. It’s kinda jerky at times. It does its job. Next!
The brakes slow down 4,200 pounds of car and driver very well. They even felt really sensitive at first. They’ve saved me from missing a turn multiple times.
Gone are the hard vinyl seats and train-cart ride of yesteryear’s muscle cars. It’s really comfy. Not once on any road trip, even 4 hours straight, have I ever felt uncomfortable. The large and squishy leather seats, the long wheelbase, and the E-Class underpinnings all contribute to the ride.
It’s also literally whisper quiet inside at 75 mph with the windows up, but around 50-60, the exhaust produces a loud annoying drone. I rarely drive those speeds, so it’s not a big deal.
I guess it handles fine for a 2 ton car. I’m not gonna try to push it’s limits, no Challenger in the ditch for me!
The radio is surprisingly good for the plain 130S/RES system. It goes up really loud, and has clear bass, treble, and mid-range.
What’s better is the exhaust. The previous owner cut off the resonators at the back, and replace the mufflers in the middle with a pair of dual-chamber Flowmasters. It shouts at you during a cold start, suddenly shooting up to 2200 RPM. It’s a mellow, bubbly sound at idle. Off idle to 2300 RPM, cruising around the neighborhood, is a deep staccato. 2800 RPM to redline, it changes to a smooth, mid-pitched Vruuuumm sound. Deceleration in gear produces an faint low-pitched crackling sound.
With the windows down, you hear all the mean tones. But with the windows up, all you really hear is the rapid click-click-click of the valvetrain. Either way, the 1600-1900 RPM drone is still there.
My dream exhaust setup is the Zoomers catback and Kooks LT headers. The parts alone cost nearly $3,000 but the car will be insanely loud with a ferocious deep tone, like this:
And no drone, reports the owners.
Like I said, it has everything that a driver needs and would like. I’m not a fan of toys; keep your eyes on the road people! It’s simple, just like a muscle car should be. The entire car is the toy!
That said, I rather do like the EVIC, a little screen below the gauges, which includes, among others, a very-useful digital speedometer; the gauge is hard to read. It has a 0-60 timer; I’ve gotta do better than 5.80 sometime.
Also, the hands-free phone is useful when on road trips to let the person know that I’ll be there.
It was $27,810.72. I’m not a good judge on value, a subjective matter.
But shredding tires when the light turns green then screaming up to 60 mph with an arm out the window and Breaking Benjamin on the radio = PRICELESS!
I’ve had this car for over 9 months and 10,000 miles. It’s like a brother now. Absolute blast!
Engine: 5.7L HEMI V8
Power: 372 hp @ 5,200 RPM
Torque: 400 lb-ft @ 4,400 RPM
0-60 Time: 5.2 seconds
Top speed: 155 mph
Curb weight: 4,082 lbs
Seating: 5 adults, 4 in full comfort
MPG City/Hwy: 15/26