Dodge Challenger Performance
The 2013 Dodge Challenger is powerful and handles well for its size, but test drivers say it’s not as light on its feet as the Ford Mustang. Still, reviewers approve of the Challenger’s strong brakes, and note that it rides more comfortably than many affordable sports cars.
- "Challenger will never be as agile as others in this class, Mustang and Camaro included, but it can more than hold its own." -- Consumer Guide
- "The Challenger's V6 and V8 engines can't match the power and fuel economy of those in the Camaro and Mustang, but what little track performance the car loses it makes up for in daily driving." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Like an NFL linebacker, the Challenger SRT8 possesses a quickness that's unexpected in something so big and heavy (its curb weight is around two tons)." -- Cars.com
- "Unlike the V6 in the Chevrolet Camaro, the Pentastar engine delivers its punch without the same harshness or vibration of its Bowtie rival, delivering its reps in a smooth, dangerously encouraging wave." -- Autoblog (2011)
Acceleration and Power
The base Dodge Challenger comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that generates 305 horsepower at 6,350 rpm and 268 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard on V6-equipped Challengers. The EPA reports that the 2013 Challenger gets 18/27 mpg city/highway with the V6. That’s comparable to the Chevrolet Camaro’s fuel economy, but slightly less than the Ford Mustang’s estimates.
Challenger R/T models come with a 5.7-liter V8 engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is optional on the Charger R/T. When the 5.7-liter V8 is paired to a six-speed manual, the Challenger R/T generates 375 horsepower at 5,150 rpm and 410 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. Automatic models are slightly less powerful, generating 372 horsepower at 5,200 rpm and 400 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. The high-performance Challenger SRT8 comes with a 6.4-liter V8 that produces 470 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 470 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 rpm. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and a five-speed automatic is optional. Dodge says that the Challenger SRT8 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds. The Challenger SRT8 has a top speed of 182 mph with the six-speed manual or 175 mph with the automatic.
Most reviewers say that even the base Challenger has plenty of power in most situations, while the Challenger R/T earns praise for its slick-shifting manual transmission and powerful V8. Still, one reviewer writes that the base Challenger isn’t as quick off the line as he would like it to be.
- "Manual-transmission models have smooth shift and clutch action. The automatic shifts promptly at any speed." -- Consumer Guide
- "The 2013 Challenger is no paper tiger. Even a base SXT comes with a 305-horsepower V6 that gives this rear-wheel-drive coupe plenty of gusto." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The standard 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 engine is smooth and refined, but it doesn't have a lot of grunt from a standing start. It comes alive at midrange engine speeds, which leads to more eager acceleration, but it lacks the SRT8 V-8's appealing exhaust burble that goes so well with the Challenger's whole outlook." -- Cars.com
- "And thanks to a new 305-hp V6 that also boasts better fuel economy than the lackluster engine it replaced, the base Challenger is now more competitive with its V6-powered rivals." -- Edmunds (2012)
Handling and Braking
The automotive press says that the Challenger handles well for such a large car, though most test drivers agree that it’s still not as athletic as its muscle car rivals. Still, many say that the Challenger wins points with excellent steering, responsive brakes and a comfortable ride, leading one reviewer to say that the Challenger would be a good choice on long road trips.
- "As sporty as you can reasonably expect a nearly two-ton car to be. Steering and brake-pedal feel are excellent." -- Consumer Guide
- "The Challenger is great in a straight line, but lighter, more agile cars can beat it in corners." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The Challenger SRT8 rides well. The coupe floats easily over dips and bumps without becoming unsettled, and its highway stability is impressive. It's a setup equally well-suited to driving across town or across the country." -- Cars.com
- "Overall handling is pretty respectable, particularly with the R/T and SRT8 392, though competitors like the Mustang or Genesis Coupe are noticeably more agile." -- Edmunds (2012)
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