2012 Dodge Challenger Review
Test drivers say that with its aggressive styling, spacious interior and powerful engine choices, the 2012 Dodge Challenger can contend with competing muscle cars.
If you’re shopping for a comfortable, spacious affordable sports car, but also want a healthy dose of muscle-car flair, the 2012 Dodge Challenger is the only game in town. Reviewers agree that the Challenger’s bigger back seat and larger trunk give it an edge when compared with the Chevrolet Camaro or Ford Mustang, but like these competitors, the Challenger also falls short when it comes to interior refinement.
Some reviewers note hard plastics and bland interior styling as the main shortcomings inside the cabin, while others say that the Challenger’s electronic features are not the most intuitive. Still, muscle cars are not known for their refined interiors, and Dodge keeps pace with Chevy and Ford thanks to the Challenger’s bold exterior styling and powerful base V6.
If you’re looking for even better muscle-car performance, the Challenger is available with an optional Hemi V8. Acceleration is strong in V8-equipped Challengers, but it does have slightly less horsepower than the Ford Mustang GT and Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Other Cars to Consider
Test drivers generally agree that while neither the Mustang nor the Camaro can beat the Challenger in terms of interior and cargo space, they’re not without their advantages. Both models offer better fuel economy than the Challenger when equipped with a V6, and they also have a lower base price.
If you’re not bound and determined to buy a muscle car, consider the Hyundai Genesis Coupe. Its back seat is a little smaller, but the Genesis Coupe also offers athletic handling, better fuel economy and standard interior features that the Challenger can’t match.
Dodge Challenger: The Details
The 2012 Dodge Challenger comes in either base SXT or V8-equipped R/T trim. SXT models come with a V6 engine and automatic transmission, while the Challenger R/T gets a manual transmission or optional automatic. For 2012, the Dodge Challenger sees a few minor changes. An 18-speaker Harman Kardon stereo is now available, and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters are now optional on automatic models. For a full list of standard and optional features, see the full 2012 Dodge Challenger specs page.
- "Given the choice among the Camaro, Challenger, and Mustang: The Ford is the best all-around performance car; the Dodge I would take on a cross-country trip; and the Chevy is the one I wouldn't go anywhere near." -- Consumer Guide
- "Though it's played third fiddle to the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro in comparison tests, the Challenger is still an appealing reincarnation of the '70s original. It's big and heavy, but its muscle-car presence is undeniable." -- Car and Driver
- "Its fresh drivetrain options and revised suspension geometry make for a compelling package, especially for buyers looking for a vehicle capable of comfortably and quickly covering large distances in style." -- Autoblog