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#6

in Affordable Sports Cars

MSRP: $26,495 - $44,685
Invoice: $25,486 - $43,186
MPG: 18 City / 27 Hwy
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Dodge Challenger Performance

The 2014 Dodge Challenger impresses test drivers with muscular V8 engine choices that feature a burbling exhaust note. The Challenger also earns praise for its comfortable ride, though some critics note that it lacks the athletic handling that muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang deliver.

  • "With this potential level of performance, a fairly high level of skill will be required to get the most out of it and, even then, such activities are best suited to track days. This is one capable, and impressive, muscle car for the new age." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "If you'd rather cruise the boulevard than mix it up with Mustangs on twisty back roads, the easygoing 2014 Dodge Challenger makes a strong case for your hard-earned cash." -- Edmunds
  • "Challenger is an interesting player in this segment. It's too big and heavy to be truly agile, but this is still a more than capable performance machine." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The SRT8 will play along if you aim it down a winding stretch of road, but it doesn't take long to figure out this isn't what it was made to do. It's built for the open road - whether that's a highway or a wide boulevard." -- Cars.com (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The Challenger SXT is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. The Challenger R/T has a 5.7-liter V8 that produces up to 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. The Challenger SRT has a 6.4-liter V8 that puts out 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with R/T and SRT models, while a five-speed automatic transmission is optional. Dodge says that the Challenger SRT8 accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds. The Challenger SXT earns an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg city/highway, which is on par for a V6-powered affordable sports car.

Most reviewers say that the base Challenger has plenty of power, while R/T and SRT models earn praise for their impressive acceleration. Test drivers write that the automatic transmission shifts smoothly, and they like the manual transmission’s slick shifter and linear clutch pedal feel.

  • "If you've got one of the V8s under the hood, though, you probably won't be too concerned about the Dodge's cornering characteristics. The R/T's 5.7-liter V8 accelerates smartly and makes lovely noises, while the SRT8's 6.4-liter V8 is off the charts in both respects. We love the pistol-grip manual shifter as well. Pity the aged automatic transmission doesn't rise to the same level. The automatic-only V6 model is obviously less thrilling than the V8s, but with 305 horses on tap, it can hold its own." -- Edmunds
  • "Manual-transmission models have smooth shift and clutch action. The automatic shifts promptly at any speed." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "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 (2013)

Handling and Braking

Auto writers say that competitors like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang are more athletic on a winding road than the base Challenger. However, many write that the Challenger is still fairly composed through turns if you opt for higher trims that feature a sport-tuned suspension. The Challenger also earns praise for its comfortable ride, and reviewers say that the available Brembo brakes inspire confidence with excellent pedal feel.  

  • "The default suspension tuning of the base SXT is pretty floaty, however. As such, we recommend going for at least the Super Sport Group's performance-tuned suspension. Sportier Challengers actually handle rather well, though they'll never let you forget about the car's sheer bulk. The Mustang and even the chunky Camaro are noticeably more agile around turns." -- Edmunds
  • "The fully-independent suspension gives a level of handling that would have been unimaginable in those old days. The Challenger delivers a nice ride on city streets yet, in the hands of a skilled driver, can attack corners with a rampaging gusto." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Challenger borrows elements of its basic design from the Chrysler 300 and similar Dodge Charger. Those roots are apparent in the Challenger's supple-for-the-class ride. Even the ultra-performance SRT8 shows very good bump absorption." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Both the V-6 Challenger I tested, which had an optional performance brake package with front and rear vented discs, and the SRT8, with its Brembo-brand brakes, have some of the best brake-pedal feel around." -- Cars.com (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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