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2010 Dodge Challenger Review

This review was written when the 2010 Dodge Challenger was new.

The 2010 Dodge Challenger is an aggressive retro-styled street machine that, in its R/T trim, lives up to its muscle-car heritage. In fact, Road and Track says it's "[a]rguably the most well-executed retro-style pony car on the market..."

In an effort to meet consumer demands for a more practical alternative to the high-performance Challenger SRT8, Dodge introduced two new trims -- the 250-horsepower SE and 372-horsepower R/T -- in 2009. These carry into the 2010 model year mostly unchanged.

Today's Dodge Challenger is hailed for its attractive retro design, roomy cabin and practical cargo room. And while most test drivers report that the SE trim lacks sufficient power to do its muscle car heritage justice, the R/T garners praise for its classic and powerful straight-line performance. "Based on the Dodge Charger, this retro coupe embodies the classic looks and tire-shredding power of the 1970s original, yet with modern-day sophistication," writes Car and Driver. "While not as dynamic as the Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro, the Challenger's presence on the road is pure muscle car."

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Other Muscle Cars to Consider

If you're in the market for an old school muscle car with more agility, consider the 304-horsepower Ford Mustang GT. The Challenger trumps it in terms of sheer power, but test drivers report that the Ford is more athletic on windy roads. Plus it's available as a convertible. Another great choice is the all-new 304-horsepower Chevy Camaro. Although it's less powerful and roomy than the Challenger, it has the privilege of being the new kid on the block -- which, if it's your thing, will surely make onlookers gawk. Those willing to sacrifice the Challenger's retro design, interior room and horsepower for better all-around sports performance should shop in the class of affordable sports cars for a hot tuner like the Nissan 370Z.

Details: Dodge Challenger

The Dodge Challenger is available in two trims, SE and R/T. A high-performance 425-horsepower SRT8 trim with a HEMI V8 is also available, but covered in a separate review. For 2010, the Challenger is available in two new throwback colors, Detonator Yellow and Plum Crazy.

  • "Like its ancestors from the 1970s, the 2010 Dodge Challenger doesn't quite match the maximum performance generated by its muscle-car rivals, but in exchange it delivers a more luxurious driving experience." -- Edmunds
  • "Challenger is not 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 Chevy's Camaro. The lower-priced SE and R/T models are the best choices in this lineup." -- Consumer Guide
  • "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
Review Last Updated: 3/22/10

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