By on October 6, 2008

Many film buffs consider Richard Sarafian’s Vanishing Point an existentialist masterpiece. Kowalski had no real reason for going balls-out to San Francisco– other than the drive itself. Pistonheads argue that Kowalski’s ride, an arctic white 1970 Dodge Challenger, was reason enough. Yes, well, Mopar’s E-body entry to the late sixties ponycar parade was short-lived. Dodge only moved 165k units before ‘The End” flashed-up on the factory floor. With today’s Pentastar losing market share faster than a celebutante shedding clothes at a pool party, the recreated Challenger is carrying a lot more weight these days. So, is there any there there?

Judging by the number of hurdles jumped to secure a test drive, Dodge has a hit on its hands. (At least initially.) If you don’t have a deposit in hand or know someone on the inside, “Shopping ‘Til You Drive” requires expert perfidy and cozenage. With first-born promised, I noticed two things about the new Challenger. First, Chrysler totally aped Dr. Z’s Mercedes key fob design. Second, even in base trim (and an ugly color), the “secretary special” V6 Challenger SXT Challenger looks fat phat. Sitting on 18” alloys, my Deep Water Blue Canada-spec SXT hid the 800 lbs. and six inches thirty-eight years have bestowed upon the Challenger.

Ditching Dodge’s cross-haired corporate countenance for the quad-lamped front end ensures the Challenger eats Mustang’s leftover lunch. Follow the bulged hood back to the husky rear haunches and it’s obvious that this is retro rodding done right. In an effort to keep it real, the designers used the side mirrors from the Carl Cameron original. The only thing missing from the V6’s visuals: a twin pipe exhaust.

Pop the Challenger’s locks, grab the door handle and cue-up memories of [much] earlier German influences. The frame-less glass curtsies upon entry. And that’s when your smile starts to fade.

Where Mr. Mehta’s Challenger SRT8 offered details to delight, entry-level Challenger buyers will be less enthused. The somber slate surrounding me was decidedly dearth. The SXT forgoes the upper models’ faux fiber finish for retrograde polymers. While Pentastar plastics have become softer to the touch, aside from some lighter gray strips on the wheel, the lack of trim left me feeling achromatopsic.

The Challenger’s leather-trimmed tiller is as big as the London Eye. No amount of tilting and telescoping could lower the steering wheel to a comfortable level. The big and round theme continues to the centre stack, where glove-friendly HVAC and radio controls are an arm’s reach away. Tuning-in KOW is easy but, sadly, with only four speakers, heeding any of Super Soul’s warnings isn’t. Fortunately, Dodge found some extra nauga hides for the arm rest, which felt just like baby bear’s bed.  Slide the armrest forward for optimal comfort and tell your company to drink-up or hold their coffee in their lap; their cupholder just got pwned.

The Challenger’s cabin may not have that sense of occasion thing wired, but it makes a reasonably practical daily driver, offering more front shoulder room, rear legroom and trunk space than Ford’s Mustang.

It’s rumored that VP director Sarafian overdubbed the Challenger’s Hemi-related audio with a the roar of a Mustang V8. Today’s Challenger needs the same soundtrackectomy. The 3.5-liter V6 is as quiet as a mouse at idle and just perceptible at full bore. No matter. On the upside, out on the two-lane blacktop, the SXT provides enough grunt (250hp, 250ft/lbs of torque) to tackle on-ramps and left lane passes with ease.

Light-to-light Lotharios will look to the V8 upsell, but the SXT is no fools’ gold. While next day delivery from Denver to San-Fran is out of the question, the electronically-controlled, dual-tuned intake helps this beast feel faster than it should be. To quell torque slip and reduce visits to the pumps, The Dodge Boys mated the Challenger’s cog-challenged [four speed] slushbox to an e-nannied converter clutch. A row-your-own tranny would work wonders for making the most of the Challenger’s on-tap power AND give you something to hold onto, but the autobox gets the job done.

Despite the advantage of a multi-link rear end, corner carvers need not apply. Scrub enough speed with the Challenger’s ABS-equipped four-wheel discs, hand-over-hand that giant wheel, and the Challenger remains cool and confident.  Push it to seven tenths and you’ll be glad for the auto-locking doors. While this pony car’s suspension puts a similarly equipped live-axle Mustang to shame, avoid Belle Isle and head on over to Woodward instead.

The pony car market has been Ford’s field since Sainte-Therese closed the Camaro’s doors. The freshly massaged Mustang is still in testing. GM’s dragging out the release of their new hotness for yet another year. With V6 variants leading the Mustang way, Dodge has a serious Challenger in the SXT. That said, today’s new car market seems headed for a singularity. For anyone looking to pilot a stylish rear wheel-drive ride to the vanishing point, the reborn Challenger is as good as any, and considerably better than most.

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66 Comments on “2009 Dodge Challenger SXT (V6) Review...”


  • avatar
    craiggbear

    Hmmm. This sounds like it could be something worth a look. But will there still be parts after the collapse? I had an Allante once….

    Sigh.

  • avatar
    shaker

    A rental Challenger… so quickly?

  • avatar
    JJ

    Although the MT R/T is obviously the one to go for, I do like the appeal of the base model in this case. Too bad about that autobox, and the usual Chryco flaws (crappy plastic interior, build quality iffy at best, looming bankruptcy) but still as for looks go the Challenger > Mustang > Camaro.

    Shame it’s not for sale in Europe.

    Small flaw in the review my Deep Water Blue Canada-spec SXT hid the 80 lbs

    I think that should be 800 lbs. Or better yet about 350 Kg, since the metric system is the only way to go.

  • avatar

    JJ:

    My bad. Text amended.

  • avatar
    John R

    If this guy is anything similar to the 300/Charger I’ve rented before (which it does sound like), this is a 3-star car at best. To me, the interior and the drive are even bigger letdowns especially when its a good looking car.

    The 3.5 liter they put in these things is a joke. Don’t get me started with the 4-speed auto. Its almost as if its a passive attempt to upsell the customer into the V8 variants. Yeah its 250hp, but look at how much weight it has to move! Go up against any Nissan with 3.5 liters and you’ll be walked from light to light and in the corners. Hell, the Charger I rented got beat by a V6 Sonata.

    I’m sorry, but these days any 6 cylinder motor put in a car with sporting pretensions needs to be making at least 300hp, or there abouts.

  • avatar
    bumpy

    Looks like it has more ground clearance than an AMC Eagle. Ewww.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    How much does the V6 weigh? What’s its gas mileage? How does this Challenger compare price-wise with a similar Mustang?

  • avatar
    Matthew Neundorf

    Dr. Lemming

    She tips the scales at about 3800lbs, and pricing is as close as dammit is to swearing with similarily (though slightly lesser) equipped Mustangs up here in Canada (before incentives).

    Mileage on the V6 is 18/25mpg (EPA)

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Wow!!! Nice Muscle car.

    This is probably the last decade for the muscle car. GM Volt is coming out soon after crushing the electric car a decade ago. They learn their lesson well and the GM CEO should go to the dentist to fix his teeth after seeing him in 60 mins last night.

    He said he has 2 helicopters and 2 jets planes. After laying off thousands of workers he kept his toys with him.

    Greed will be passe soon.
    I got $17.50 cent in my wallet right now. Am I qualified for a bail out?

    John R.

    I hear you, totally true.

  • avatar
    Ach

    I agree with John R. as well. MKaresh’s two-star beating of the V6 G8 applies with equal or greater force here, especially since the Challenger has no family car aspirations whatsoever. It just doesn’t make any sense to buy this car in V6 form. At least the V6 Mustang is cheap and the V6 Camaro some performance (304 bhp). This loses out on both fronts.

  • avatar
    Howler

    Seems like a real dinosaur, well I guess thats what its supposed to be. I cant imagine anyone buying this because its a good car, the target market must be buying this for looks? I’ll have to look at the price but who in their right mind would buy this hunkojunk over a used car? I suppose those are 4 star cup holders. Tiller? is that what that is.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    If this guy is anything similar to the 300/Charger I’ve rented before (which it does sound like), this is a 3-star car at best. To me, the interior and the drive are even bigger letdowns especially when its a good looking car.

    I too had the same thought! The 300 and Charger in v6 form are rather underwhelming and beg the question “Why buy this over a tried and true FWD v6 sedan like the Accord?” These cars are really one trick ponies and without the v8 option there is nothing to get excited about. I cant believe that the just as heavy (if not more) Challanger equiped with that horrible 4spd auto can generate any excitement outside of the look of the car.

    Is this thing even powerful enough to do any tricks and have them actually be fun?
    Sorry but I am sure that an FWD Accord coupe v6 stick is going to be 10x more enjoyable than this thing.

  • avatar
    windswords

    There is simply no reason to buy this car. Not because the idea of V6 sport coupe is bad, but because the engine and tranny are not ready for prime time. When the new Phoenix V6 is available and (hopefully) a 6 spd auto or better yet a DSG tranny to go with it, then it will be worth a look. Better hp, better NVH and better mileage (also the possiblity of MDS). Then I want to see a review on this car. It looks like the chasis and handling is decent for it’s class so it could be a very strong entry with the new drivetrain.

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    Will it fit 3 kids in the back? The Mustang only fits 2, which is a deal-killer.

    Your description of the interior evokes memories of the 1973 LeSabre coupe I had for a short while in high school. Sounds like they got the retro 1970s ergonomics spot-on(?)

  • avatar
    rudiger

    John R: “Its almost as if its a passive attempt to upsell the customer into the V8 variants.”There’s no ‘almost’ about it – that’s exactly what the domestic companies have done since GM began selling autos almost a century ago.

    On the plus side, if one can locate the $22k base Challenger without any of the outrageously priced option packages, it’s an okay alternative to the V6 Mustang. The Mustang doesn’t have the automatic as standard so adding that cost gets the price of the two a lot closer than one would think.

  • avatar

    The V6 Challenger is affordable to buy and operate, it fits five people spaciously and has a big trunk for their stuff, it has an excellent chassis and it has knockout looks unmatched by virtually anything else you can buy for the money. I agree with the author, the car deserves to be a hit and if the economic climate was better it probably would be.

  • avatar

    Mazel tov for using “achromatopsic” — love it.

    The weight difference between an E-body Challenger and this one is not quite 800 pounds. If the SXT is 3,800, it weighs around 600 pounds more than a stripped six-cylinder, ’70-’71 Challenger. The lightest V8 E-bodies were around 3,400 pounds, stripped (curb weight, not shopping weight). Still, the fact that a six-cylinder LX Challenger weighs about as much as an E-body with a big-block is pretty gross, especially since the E-bodies were not svelte to begin with.

    I think it’s unfortunate (a) that the SXT doesn’t have the five-speed automatic, which the V6 could use more than the V8s and (b) can’t be had with a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    I’ve seen a couple of the SRT versions driving around LA since I got here. It really is a good looking car. But I would not get the v6 version, no way.

  • avatar
    Matthew Neundorf

    To all 3-star proponents,

    In my heart of hearts, I know this is a car deserving of nothing more than a V8. That said, I feel the same about Mustangs and Camaros too.

    In all my V6 ‘Stang experiences I’d only ever give the Blue Oval 3 stars, for many of the same reasons listed above against the Challenger. However, that being the marketplace benchmark, this is better than the Mustang (similarily equipped) hands down. More comfortable, nicer fit and finish inside, and will turn heads no matter where you go…

    If the aftermarket where only as developed for this as it is for the Mustang (so far)…

  • avatar
    Theodore

    This is the logical successor to the 1983-97 Thunderbirds (especially the 89-97 cars.) Usable and affordable two-door RWD coupe with your choice of V-6, V-8, or special engine with manual transmission (Challenger R/T, Thunderbird SC.) Dodge could have a hit here – hopefully, anyway.

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    @ John R.

    “I’m sorry, but these days any 6 cylinder motor put in a car with sporting pretensions needs to be making at least 300hp, or there abouts.”

    Or a low curb weight. I wouldn’t kick a Lotus Evora out of my garage. It’s V6 has 276 horsepower out of 3.5 liters.

  • avatar
    ambulancechaser

    4 out of 5 stars for a fat, overweight underpowered musclecar wannabe with a V6? Soon we’ll all be singing the praises of fieros with lambo body kits instead of making fun of them.

  • avatar
    Sanman111

    I want a comparison test between this, the base Mustang, and a v-6 Camry. Nothing beaten by a family sedan deserves the moniker ‘muscle car’. Dodge should go buy a VQ engine and stick it in this thing.

  • avatar
    davey49

    I suppose no one here remembers when V8 pony cars all had under 250 HP and that was so great. Base V6s had around 150.
    250HP for the base model V6 is fine.
    Sanman111- who says this is a muscle car? The original Challenger wasn’t a muscle car.

  • avatar

    Lets not get confused here.

    The CHALLENGER is nothing more than a CHARGER cut down to make it look like a coupe, yet, carries damn near the same amount of mass – so it isn’t much more zippy as the typical 3.5 L v6 in the SXT or the 300 Touring.

    IT MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE TO BUY THIS CAR IF YOU AREN’T GETTING THE SRT-8

    NONE WHATSOEVER.

    take it from someone who owns a Chrysler 300.

    the problem with the Challenger is its suppossed to be a super fast car. Without the SRT8, there is no pride of ownership.

    Without the HEMI there is no pride of ownership in the Charger or the 300 either. Everyone will ask you if you’ve got “THE HEMI” and you’re forced to say:

    “nahhhhh…that’s just too much gas” or something else that lets them know you couldn’t get it for whatever reason.

    More SENSIBLE cars for this money are the hyundai V6 Genesis, a Chrysler 300/Charger or an infiniti G37.

  • avatar

    its so high up – it looks really dorky with those big wheels and huge wheel gap, almost monster trucky – needs to be lowered at least an inch or two.

  • avatar

    I rate 6 cylinder pony cars somewhere between jabbing myself in the eyes with a plastic spoon and seeing how tight I can close a vice on my testicles. I don’t care if it is “better” than a V6 Stang, that turkey is no benchmark and should not be considered a good spring board (bored?). Even the ‘Stang GT is pretty middling, while I’m being honest.

    I’d sooner buy a 3.5 Nissan with front wheel drive and laugh myself giddy from stoplight to stoplight.

  • avatar
    shaker

    I think the upcoming Camaro with the V6/6spd would be worth a try; 300 horses ain’t nothing to sneeze at (although the 3800 lbs might have a say in it).
    If they keep it close to 25k (and GM is still in business), I might consider it — but then there’s the Genesis Coupe also.

  • avatar
    LXbuilder

    Front wheel drive Nissan, Honda, blah,blah,blah!
    Some folks just can’t help comparing apples to oranges, THIS IS NOT A SPORTS CAR. No one intends this to be a sports car, it is however a very nice large retro cruiser, just like the original would have been when equiped with a slant six or 318 v-8. And if you want to blow an Accord coupe off the road get a R/T 6spd.

  • avatar
    oldlt43

    Is it just me? I seem to be the only one that thinks the resemblence between the new Challenger and the upcoming Camaro is such that the word ‘cloned’ keeps popping up everything I see an article raving about the new Camaro. Then again, maybe it’s just my fading and blurring vision due to having reached that point where Mohawk wearing youths in fast food places automatically give me the geezer discount without any request on my part. Sigh….For what it’s worth, I’ve always thought a new ‘retro’ Camaro would best be served by looking more like the early Z-28’s, particularly a ’69 and would there have been anyway to bring back the original Z-28 emblem which, I remember, always caught my eye when one drove by back then and I wasn’t even a Chevy guy;Fords were what me and my buds supported then.Sorry to have drifted away the Dodge but then I ramble. Already, two of the new Dodges have shown up in my small (less than 2,000) town, one is a red one with the v-8, the other a blue six cylinder.I admit, they do flash me back to the Seventies.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    I’m going to say this car is meant to be a touring car, not a racer.

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    So what’s the difference between this and the Challenger SE?

    For those who don’t know – There’s no Challenger SXT in the US, just the SE.

    Anybody know?

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    Had the SXT been equipped with at least a 6 speed auto with the AutoStick option it coulda been a contender…or even a 5 speed manual (what the 6 speed in the Caliber SRT4 was too expensive?).

    So basically this car is all show and no go.

    Yup….it’s definitely an upsell for the MT R/T.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    everyone on here complaining about this only having 250 hp for a muscle car need to stop. This base Challenger isn’t a muscle car and they aren’t trying to sell it as one. This car may not be for everyone but it has a purpose. I personally wouldn’t want a 6 cylinder Challenger but then there are a lotta people out there that want a car like this for the styling, otherwise Ford wouldn’t be selling so many base Mustangs.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    It’s pretty common knowledge that since the first Mustangs rolled off the assembly line, although it’s the upmarket, bigger engined versions that get all the attention, the majority of ponycars sold are the ‘secretary specials’ with the low-line engines, i.e, the base sixes. That demographic are people who want something more sporty than a standard coupe without completely sacrificing practicality. Ford was able to do it by deftly disguising the Mustang’s pedestrian (but more practical) Falcon lineage.

    Unfortunately for Chrysler, the all-too-obviously A-body Barracuda never quite caught on enough to outsell the Valiant upon which it was based. It took cash-strapped Chrysler three years to rid the Barracuda of its Valiant front end. The Mustang never had such a handicap.

    The V8 Challenger SRT and R/T might draw them into the showroom, but most Challenger purchases (like the Mustang) will be the V6.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Where’s the slant-6 and three-on-the-tree?

    Nostalgic for my 72 Duster.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Another boring Chrysler Clunker…

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    This thing is in serious need of a drop. Or egg-shaped wheels. To my eyes, the Challenger leads the modern muscle car pack and the Camaro is a distant third. GM SOP.

  • avatar
    Rix

    I still don’t see why you would get a Challenger six over the base mustang or an eight over a G8.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Ryan :
    October 7th, 2008 at 12:42 am

    Another boring Chrysler Clunker…

    Boring?! Still driving that broken down Chevy are you? LOL

    It’s a fantastic car, and probably one of the last muscle cars. I’m excited to see Chrysler bring this to the market. :D

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Sorry but I am sure that an FWD Accord coupe v6 stick is going to be 10x more enjoyable than this thing.….

    In your opinion, that is. Lets be real here. First, the B&B do not represent typical car buyers. Car makers don’t cater to those who actually compare performance of unrelated vehicle types. It just doesn’t happen. Which brings up point two: Nobody interested in a V6 Challenger is going to care about the fact that an Accord is a more refined drive. They will notice the attention they receive, though – something an Accord driver never will. This car is not going to be cross shopped by many people looking for an Accord type of car, period. So compared to the relative scale of its competition, it is a job reasonably well done. So far, it seems to be selling, though that could be early adopters.

    Mileage of 18/25 and 3800lbs? I had a 88 LSC that weighed as much and returned almost the same mileage. Had a iron block V8, too. In 20 years I would have expected some kind of efficiency improvement beyond 1.5 litres less displacement.

  • avatar

    Why is everyone so quick to apologize for the 6 cylinder pony car? There is no excuse for a crappy weak-knee’d six when there are engines like the VQ35 in existence. Period. Apples to oranges be damned. Detroit needs to get off its ass and get to work if they want to join the 21st century market. Consumers are smarter than ever and have better options available for the same or less money.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    golden2husky :
    October 7th, 2008 at 9:51 am

    Sorry but I am sure that an FWD Accord coupe v6 stick is going to be 10x more enjoyable than this thing.….

    In your opinion, that is. Lets be real here. First, the B&B do not represent typical car buyers. Car makers don’t cater to those who actually compare performance of unrelated vehicle types. It just doesn’t happen. Which brings up point two: Nobody interested in a V6 Challenger is going to care about the fact that an Accord is a more refined drive. They will notice the attention they receive, though – something an Accord driver never will. This car is not going to be cross shopped by many people looking for an Accord type of car, period. So compared to the relative scale of its competition, it is a job reasonably well done. So far, it seems to be selling, though that could be early adopters.

    Mileage of 18/25 and 3800lbs? I had a 88 LSC that weighed as much and returned almost the same mileage. Had a iron block V8, too. In 20 years I would have expected some kind of efficiency improvement beyond 1.5 litres less displacement.

    Only in the small myopic world that the few remaining die-hard fans of so-called “muscle cars” are the RWD V6 Challanger and the FWD Accord v6 coupe NOT competitors to each other.
    First of all the v6 Challanger is NOT a muscle car, it is a simply large coupe. It is not fast or exciting and does not even offer a manual transmission. The v6 Challanger is a secetary’s car in the same light as a 4cyl Altima coupe, 4cyl Accord coupe, v6 Mustang, and even the Civic EX (not Si) coupe. The fact that all of the above can be purchased with a stick should tell you somthing about the target market for these cars.

    If the Challanger is not going to be crossshopped with the above cars it will be an utter and total failure for Chysler! There just aint enough nostalgia filled old men left in America that are longing for throwback from the Nixon era that share the same view of this car as yourself.

    An SRT Challanger will get you alot of attention, but a v6 will have the same effect on folks that any Mustang or Camaro v6 of recent memory will have, not much. Folks view these things as “all show and no go”, same as they did back in the 60s and 70s. Not a very good image for a man that WANTS to be seen in his ride!

    Funny you should mention the LSC (the Mark VII was rather nice) but for the your 18/25 today in the Accord you are getting 45 or 70 more HP and performance that would totally spank that RWD car. Yes, all from 1.5 liters less of displacement.

    Put simply the Accord coupe is a far superior car than a v6 Chanllanger and it IS going to be more fun to drive. You, me and the rest of the folks that hang out here might have a major concern as too which wheels actually drive the car but for about 95% of the people the check out the Challanger and the competition FWD will NOT be a deal-breaker and for most will be an advantage.

  • avatar
    davey49

    JEC- because getting a VQ35 requires getting a Nissan and most of those are horribly ugly.
    The Challenger is pretty, it would still be pretty if it had a 2.0L 100HP 4 cylinder. It doesn’t matter if another car has more power or drives better or has more features. The Challenger is still prettier.
    Same goes for the Mustang.
    The Challenger needs to come in Panther Pink

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    I like it. I wouldn’t call it a muscle car b/c that implies it is faster than an average sedan which it is not. In order to be that it would be lighter and more powerful which it is not.

    To me it is a nice coupe. We need some nice coupes. Drive it and be happy you’ve got something different from the standard issue jellybean sedan. Not syaing you’ve got to settle for anything, just saying that the conversation indicates you guys expect a Corvette killer the the price of this car. Won’t happen.

    I’d suggest deporkifying it so the average guy could afford to drive it for the next 10 years.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    I’m not sure how a V6 Accord coupe drives, but this summer I travelled on business frequently and had a 2007 4cyl Accord coupe, as well as numerous V6 Mustangs as rentals. The Mustangs were much more fun to drive, although much of that could have to do with the fact that it is incredible fun to do burnouts when you’re not the one paying for the tires

  • avatar
    KingElvis

    I see it a completely reversed from the opinion of most commenters:

    To buy this car for $45G with the SRT 8 settup is a fool’s errand. My God, you can have a Mercedes for that money.

    For $22G you can have a pass out of the mid-size penalty box. Just consider your other options for $22G – an I-4 Camry? an I-4 Accord? You’re kidding – right?

    I saw an SE on Cicero avenue here in Chicago – from the back it had a really pleasing “Super Stock Dodge” stance – like it was a ’64 Ramcharger steppin’ out over the line.

    @ John R:

    Sure you didn’t have the 2.7L Charger? I mean 250hp and 3800lbs – that’s pretty close the hp/weight of an SS396 Chevelle (if 325 ‘gross’ hp is roughly equivalent to 250 ‘net’ hp (1.3 factor)).

  • avatar
    beetlebug

    Good review Matthew. I generally agree with you in your evaluation (on the points that don’t require a test drive). As usual everyone in the comments has their opinion, and you know the old saying about opinions (mine included).

  • avatar
    LXbuilder

    “To buy this car for $45G with the SRT 8 settup is a fool’s errand. My God, you can have a Mercedes for that money.”

    And what $45k Benz would give be even half the thrill of a SRT-8 Mopar? You are voicing your personal taste, not every “car guy” has the same taste. That you want a conservative looking well engineered car is fine with me, but others don’t have to share your taste.

    I have driven the Challenger with 6.1 6spd, and I have driven my Sister-inlaws Ferrari 348. And I’m sure all the the status wh—s will say I’m nuts… but you hand me the keys to both rides , and me and the Dodge are gone.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Thanks for the Foreigner lyrics with the pics… definitely caused an 82-26 flashback. Good times…

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    Hooray! 50 posts in and someone commented on my use of Foreigner lyrics for the captions. Ah validation is sweet. Or not.

  • avatar
    mistrernee

    From the front and back it looks like someone stuck a really nice looking car on top of a foot of extra height. The body panels below the front and rear bumper look completely out of place and need to go.

    It just looks… wrong.

    Rushed? On the cheap? Sawed off a Charger above the wheels and stuck a Challenger body on top?

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    King Elvis:

    It’s funny that you say you could have a Mercedes for that money, because this car practically IS a Mercedes (It’s basically a 2-door Charger/300C which was based heavily on the last-gen E-Class)

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Isn’t it just the rear axle or something that’s shared? The 97-02 E-class is much nicer to drive, even though it’s old, and with the V8 is FKING FAST. :)

  • avatar
    KingElvis

    LX builder:

    Don’t get me wrong – I like the Challenger…SE. It’s just that when you buy one for twice the price of the base model, you’ve really run into diminishing returns.

    My philosphy is that you are always better off getting the base model of a bigger, more prestigious model, rather than the tarted-to-max smaller, cheaper vehicle.

    It’s one thing saying what is more fun to drive – by that measure $500 go cart really beats all comers. But when you are talking about 40 large, I want some real live prestige and engineering, not a tarted up version of a car that secretaries and fresh college grads are buying.

    One last thought:

    I’m curious if you might see some special heavy duty rear gears for sale as Mopar speed parts. A 3.92:1 axle could really wake things up for the 3.5L V6 – add your typical cat back and intake mods and you could have a low 14 second car.

    Maybe we’re seeing the birth of a new genre: the V6 supercar.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Whatdoiknow1:

    I really don’t see this car cross shopped with an Accord coupe. Why? Because the typical buyer that is inclined to buy an Accord is doing so from a practical point of view. The Accord is refined, well made, reliable and as you put it, capable of spanking many other cars. Not a bad accomplishment for a rather pedestrian vehicle, to say the least. But the Accord, for all its virtues, does not stir the soul. Given the chance, it is capable of doing so, but to look at it you would never know. The Challenger, in contrast, is a car that you just want to kick some butt. It is a shame that Chrysler has such a crude V6, and missing two pots means it is not a “musclecar,” at least in the strictest definition. I’m not that hung up on the drive wheels – I had many hours of fun times driving a 95 Probe GT, a car with way more in common with the Accord coupe than the Challenger. The manual trans is more important – to me – than which wheels are driven.

    I see the Challenger being bought by those who are inclined to buy American, or at least those with open enough minds to at least look beyond a specific brand. Accord buyers tend to be repeat Accord buyers. With all that said, I think there will be enough people who like this car for how it looks and for what it is. V6 Mustangs will certainly be contenders for these buyers, too. The vast majority of Accord buyers wouldn’t be caught dead test driving a Challenger. Too bad.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    KingElvis: Maybe we’re seeing the birth of a new genre: the V6 supercar.There was a comparison in Car and Driver a while go that came to that very conclusion. They found that the performance of the current V6 Mustang was on par with the majority of musclecars sold in the sixties (stuff like 383 Mopars, 389 Goats, 390 Fords, and 325hp 396 Chevelles).

    With even pedestrian, original 318 Challengers going for the same money, the new V6 Challenger is a viable alternative. I like the styling of the original E-body Chrysler as much as anyone else, but if the price of admission is the same as a new, erzatz, Charger-based Challenger, were I in the market, I’d take the latter.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    I suppose no one here remembers when V8 pony cars all had under 250 HP and that was so great. Base V6s had around 150.

    The original 200 cu. in.,I6 Mustang, made just over 100 hp and the 289, V8, that they used through early 68 made just over 200 hp. The 302 and hipo 289 making a few ponies more. Not until you got into the Windsor and Cleveland V8s were you looking at power comparable to today’s V6s. Finally, lets remember that these power numbers are greatly inflated compared to today’s power numbers because of the difference in test methods.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Lumbergh21: “The original 200 cu. in.,I6 Mustang, made just over 100 hp and the 289, V8, that they used through early 68 made just over 200 hp.”Actually, it was the 170 CID Mustang six that made 101hp. The 200 CID six made a whopping 120hp. The 289-2v was rated at 200hp with the 289-4v rated at 225hp.

    Regardless, it’s worth mentioning that horsepower figures back then were rated by SAE gross, which skewed the horsepower ratings quite a bit higher than SAE net, the more realistic rating method which manufacturers began using around 1972.

  • avatar
    adharvey2

    Well if you’re in the market for a large coupe (yes, I know it’s an oxymoron, but it’s a matter of style, not function), in which case you can forget the Accord coupe, Mustang, G37, and all those other 107 +/- inch wheelbase little cars, then your two choices are the Mercedes CL550 at $105,000, or the Challenger. And if all you want is the room, ride, and style of a big 2-door car, then the SE will do nicely.
    Having said that, I don’t know why it had to be 57″ tall. Are top hats coming back?

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I have to admit I kind of like the base Challenger. But I don’t consider it a muscle car – nor, really, even a pony car. The original pony cars were light and nimble comapred with other cars of their day. That’s something that can’t be said of the current-generation Challenger, Camaro and Mustang (especially the first two). That isn’t to say that any of these cars handle badly. It’s just that all that weight takes “tossable” out of the equation. Cars like the Honda Civic Si represent what a modern pony car should be. Now, what the Challenger DOES appear to be, in my humble opinion, is Chrysler’ s take on a Monte Carlo or late 80’s-early 90’s Thunderbird. A full-sized, two-door “sport” coupe – or “personal luxury coupe.” And that ain’t no bad thing – as long as one understands what the car is and is not. I just wish the V6 Challenger weighed 3400 pounds (same as the V6 Mustang and the last-generation Monte Carlo) and got slightly better fuel mileage. The Monte V6 reliably hit upper 20’s on the highway (even with the larger of the two V6’s) and rarely dropped below 20 in town. Perhaps a 6-speed automatic would take care of that.

  • avatar
    adharvey2

    Yes, I agree with Steve, the base challenger (or the V8, for that matter), is a Personal Luxury Car, a market segment that most writers on this forum have no understanding of – because it’s gone. From the market, that is. Trouble is, we buyers are still here, with nothing to buy. With no Monte Carlos, Thunderbirds, Rivieras, or Grand Rrix’s to compete with it, the Challenger should do ok.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Looks like the same blue used on the Dakota I had years back. The paint pealed like sunburn. As Pete Townsend wrote – Won’t get fooled again.

    Adios Mopar…

  • avatar
    briant63

    How is this Dodge Challenger going to keep up in with the new V8 Chevy Camaro which is $2000 less? What separates these two cars?

  • avatar
    moe_sam24

    It is a nice car , but they need to work more on the dashboard , cz to be honest it looks cheap . but overall i give it 8/10

  • avatar
    jstnspin82

    This model should not be available in V6 unless its a convertible for a sunday drive with the family. Thats what the early 64 mustangs had were V6’s Come on Chrysler, I like how all the companies are bringing back the muscle but with a Challenger that looks great like the 1970. The big V8 power plant is the only way to go. It would be a damn shame to think we have come this far if a 1970 Challenger beat a 2009 off the line because it had a V6! I would still take the 1970 though, even over the new V8.


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