2009 Dodge Challenger Review
The Dodge Challenger is an aggressive retro-styled street machine that, when equipped with an optional HEMI V8 engine, lives up to its muscle-car heritage.
The Dodge Challenger generated more buzz than any other new car in 2008. But it was mostly a promise unfulfilled -- Dodge only made 6,400 of the cars, in only one trim level, for nearly $40,000, and only with an automatic transmission. That last point in particular disappointed many who had been excited by the revival of the classic muscle car. For some, it's hard to consider the new Challenger a true revival of the legendary Challengers of the late '60's and early '70's without the famous pistol-grip short-throw manual of the original.
Fortunately, the 2009 Challenger attempts to right those wrongs -- and does a good job of it too. Not only does the new Challenger feature a pistol-grip manual transmission, but two new trims are introduced as well -- the tame SE and more powerful R/T. Edmunds explains, "Last year, Dodge offered just one model -- the top-level SRT8. For 2009, Dodge expands the Challenger family with a couple of less intimidating alternatives that make this retro-styled sport coupe more accessible to the masses."
If you're in the market for an all-American muscle car, also consider the Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger. Both feature fierce retro styling and powerful engines, but differ in terms of handling and interior comfort. Plus, the Mustang is also available as a convertible.
- "Challenger may not be an ideal choice for those looking to save on gas, at least in V8 form. That said, Dodge's muscle machine comes off as more practical than Ford's Mustang, and is less expensive than Chevy's Corvette. With the addition of lower-priced SE and R/T models, this fun-to-drive retro-themed machine becomes an easy Recommended pick." -- Consumer Guide
- "Comfortable, stylish and impressively capable in terms of performance, the 2009 Dodge Challenger is exactly what a modern version of an old muscle-car icon should be." -- Edmunds
- "The Challenger is all about reliving the 'Vanishing Point' days with modern safety and reliability, a huge trunk, and a roomy back seat (that's difficult to get into). We think the R/T offers the best retro bang for the modern, shrinking buck." -- Motor Trend
- "A big, brawny muscle car might not make much sense these days, but Challenger is a slick piece of work that brings the pony-car era back to life." -- Arizona Republic