By on September 25, 2017

 

2017 Dodge Challenger R/T

“Rumble, young man, Rumble!”

— Muhammad Ali

It’s strange to think that the modern iteration of the Dodge Challenger has now been in production for twice as long as its inspiration. One has to either admire or despair at the way that Dodge has managed to keep this one-trick pony on the lips of the automotive universe, simply by throwing more and more horsepower at it. FCA knows their audience — who cares that the platform is more than a decade old? Just make it faster! Would any of us be surprised to see a 1,000 horsepower Challenger revealed next year? Hell, why not just make it so powerful that it rips itself in half? 

But, as with most performance-oriented cars, the real cheddar comes from the volume models. The Deep South is rotten with V6-powered Challys, and the original 3.5-liter, 250-horsepower models are the star of many a Buy Here Pay Here Lot. And while the 2015 and newer Pentastars, which are masterfully mated with the ZF 8HP automatic, can be enjoyable to drive, let’s be the realest here, k? Nobody lusts after a Challenger with too few cylinders. It’s the HEMI rumble that you want. And the Dodge Challenger R/T delivers it, albeit in 5.7-liter form, and it does it at a price that’s right in line with the average new car price in these United States of America.

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I selected the Challenger R/T from the rental row at Miami International Airport (Pro tip: if you want the best rental car selection, fly in on a Sunday — NOBODY flies in on Sunday), resplendent in what some might call Rental White, and what Dodge would call White Knuckle, but on a Challenger, it can only be called Vanishing Point White. From the outside, it’s a handsome steed. 20-inch painted rims come standard, and the limited badging — a little R/T here, a little HEMI there — is a tasteful hint that there’s something more than just the Pentastar under the hood.

When placed side-by-side with the Ecoboost Mustang convertible rentals, as it was by my good friends at National, one is quickly reminded of just how big the Chally is. The modern Mustang is already far too large and bloated, but the Challenger outsizes it. This isn’t a bad thing, especially if your pony car schedule includes more cruising than tracking. If you plan to make any use at all of the back seat, the Challenger’s extra bloat will be worth it, and the additional trunk space comes in handy, as well.

A car this immense requires immense presence. Not to worry. To my delight, merely starting the Challenger in the MIA garage caused several surrounding car alarms to go haywire. This is, of course, by design — the rumble of the 5.7-liter V8 is distinctive, easily differentiated from the sixer, and nearly as loud inside the cabin as out.

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Oh, no. I mentioned the cabin. Well, might as well get this sad tale out of the way.

It sucks. I mean, it suuuuuuhhhhhhhhhcks. It’s a depressing, sad, defeating place to spend your time. This infotainment screen belongs in a Journey, not in a R/T Challenger. It’s not even purposefully minimalistic, like the stereo system found in the 2012/2013 Boss 302. It’s just cheap —if you want the real uConnect screen, it’s gonna cost you another grand. And it doesn’t get better elsewhere inside the Chally’s interior — materials are visibly bargain-oriented. In fact, there’s only one teensy little redeeming factor contained within.

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Okay, this is an admittedly terrible picture, but hopefully you can make out that little “SPORT” button on the console. That button, my friends, is the key to unlocking the aural masterpiece that is the Dodge Challenger R/T. One little push, and bam, the exhaust becomes a cacophonous symphony, thanks to higher shift points from the 8-speed.

But whereas the ZF transmission and the Pentastar seem to be a match made in heaven, the 5.7 and the ZF are more like a match made on Tinder — they never actually talk to each other. The transmission always wants to upshift before your ears think it should. Just when you’re starting to make a nice little ruckus, nope, sorry, we’re shifting now! For true aural enjoyment, you’ll want to take care of the shifting yourself. For hot 0-to-60 runs, you’ll want to follow the expertise of the gentleman in this thrilling video below:

The square 245 all-season tire setup does nothing to inspire performance driving in the hearts of men. The rears will break loose under any significant throttle, and the fronts wash out rather easily. They do, however, make excellent squealy sounds from a standing start, and when driving around the mean streets of Miami, the combination of the roaring 5.7 and the smoke and keening from the tires at red lights will make you an instant target of Dade County’s finest.

Unfortunately, that’s the only time anybody will take note of you in the Challenger R/T. The sheer ubiquitous nature of the Challenger, virtually visually unchanged for a decade, means that a car that might have gotten you some looks back in the day is now the social equivalent of an Altima. Nobody will mistake the R/T for a Hellcat Widebody, either in looks or sound.

All that being said, there’s an excellent case to be made for the base model of the Challenger R/T as a daily driver. With all the incentives currently offered, a Chally just like my rental can be had for $31,430, and that’s before a single bit of negotiation takes place. Add a real infotainment system and some summer tires, and you’re still at just over $33k — or, in other words, exactly the average US new car transaction price. For that, you get a car that will run a mid 13 in the 1/4, sounds like the business, and gets, well, horrible gas mileage. I averaged about 19 mpg. However, it can actually be used for four adults, and will allow you to put more than one suitcase in the trunk.

You'll be seeing a lot of this thing.

The case against? There are several, the first of which can be found on the same lot as the R/T. The Scat Pack gets you the bump from the 5.7-liter to the 6.4-liter, as well as the associated 110 horsepower, for only $4,000 more after incentives. If you don’t need the increased power, then you might as well bump down to the Pentastar and save yourself over $5,000. The 5.7 doesn’t seem to serve much purpose in the Challenger lineup.

Secondly, Ford’s and Chevrolet’s entries in this space are no slouch, and similar money for either a Mustang or Camaro will get you a GT or SS. The R/T Challenger will never see the headlights of either, not on a dragstrip or a road course. Of course, you can’t see anything in a Camaro, and the backseats of the Mustang, while functional, are not anywhere near as livable as those in the Chally.

For my money, I’d step up to the R/T Scat Pack for daily use, or perhaps investigate the T/A for more recreational purposes. But as a rental car, for a man traveling by himself, it would be hard to spend your $35 a day and have any more fun than I did in my Challenger R/T.

[Images: © Mark “Bark M.” Baruth/The Truth About Cars]

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56 Comments on “Rental Review: 2017 Dodge Challenger R/T – Cheap, Fast, and Dirty, but Maybe Not Cheap or Fast Enough...”


  • avatar
    NoID

    I’m with you one the space that the 5.7 fills in the Challenger lineup. From a pure numbers perspective, it’s hard to make an argument for it. A little more money gets you SRT horsepower, a little less money gets you livable fuel economy. The R/T doesn’t really have a direct competitor anymore, at least not among the Big 3.

    From an emotional / experiential perspective, you’re also correct. It’s not a bad place to spend your commute, not by a long shot.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      It is a good engine to pair with a manual. The 6.2/6.4 (I forget if the 6.1 had manuals) tend to be a handful to control with a stick, but a 5.7 is on the high end of what a normal person can predictably drive without killing himself. The 5.7 Hemi likes to rev while the low end is very forgiving on the clutch for those who don’t always drive at 9/10.

      That is if anyone cared about manuals.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        @TwoBelugas
        The 6MT would be a good solution to “the 5.7 and the ZF are more like a match made on Tinder — they never actually talk to each other.”

        I suspect at least some people still care about manuals on this sort of car, from a quick look at Autotrader a while back it seems like prices for 6MT HEMI Challengers hold up reasonbly well, which suggests there’s at least some demand.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Shouldn’t be too bad to drive the bigger engine cars with a manual.

        My last car easily outgunned the big V8 Challenger in torque and horsepower and was equipped with a live axle to boot.

        If anything it was a labor saver with abundant torque on tap. M6 equipped yet only needed half as many gears to get the job done.

        I suspect like the supercharged 5.4 in my Mustang ( well after I switched the clutch from the factory dual disc unit Ford snatched from their race car at the time with something more in line with a street unit ) you probably don’t need to rev engine much to get going.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      The 5.7 gets you the V8 soundtrack and is the entry point to making a manual transmission available.

      While I’m sure the Pentastar is nearly as fast while using less fuel, a V6 muscle car is like decaf. If you like the looks of the Challenger and don’t care about sound, it’s a great option. However, there are plenty of muscle car buyers who will want the whole experience.

      Regarding the Scat Pack, I don’t think $4k is just a little more money in this price range. $4k matters if these transaction prices are in the upper end of your comfort zone, and I don’t think it is a case of “if you can’t drop another $4k, go find a 12-year-old Focus.” Four grand on a Challenger is not the same as four grand in options on an AMG Benz.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    My rental car review of a Challenger R/T lasted exactly one hour.

    Picked up a beautiful orange version with black stripes. Was in the worst kind of traffic possible. Zero to 50 slam on brakes to zero. Zero to 40 slam on brakes to zero. Zero to 55 slam on brakes to zero.

    I was heading west on the Bay Bridge from Oakland to downtown San Francisco in the late fall afternoon. As I came out of the Treasure Island tunnel the sun was shining right at windshield level. After a long pause in the tunnel the traffic sped back up to 40 MPH, I hit the dark to light transition and was blinded just for 1/2 a second, which was more than enough time for traffic to go back to zero.

    I stood on the brakes and I can tell you about the chassis dynamics during emergency braking. The front end squat was terrible, and the ABS system, despite a foot to the absolute floor and skid marks left on the road didn’t seem to do a solid job. The black telltale skid marks of a brake lock up is peoples Exhibit A.

    The Toyota Camry in front of me didn’t have a chance, and I caved in the front end of the Challenger to the tune of $8800.

    I picked up my DSGF (now my DSW) in San Francisco and drove back to Oakland. As punishment, apparently, for wrecking the Challenger, I was given the wost W-body Impala they had on the lot for my steed for the rest of our trip.

    As for the rest, my one hour in the cabin is an identical view, it is a grim, grim, place.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      I owned a Charger for quite a few years before gifting it to a family member and still own a 300, the emergency braking in that car was nothing short of great. Squat? Yes, any 4000 lb car with non-racing shocks and springs will do that.

      The Bay Bridge is a terribly maintained road, I have seen countless BMWs and Benzes locking up their brakes in panic stops there from the debris and oil spots on there. So you are in good company yo.

      • 0 avatar
        operagost

        Not to mention that we all know how spotty rental car maintenance is. I’ve had cars with worn out brake pads and windshield wipers. Enterprise seems to be the best at maintaining theirs.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Car had 200 miles – so I don’t think there was anything spotty about the vehicle from a maintenance standpoint, and if you can dog out a car that bad in 160ish miles (figure arrived on the lot with 40 miles) it doesn’t say much for the Challenger.

          I know what a dogged out rental car feels like, the Impala they gave me was utterly dogged out.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    It warms my heart to check ttac this morning and see this instead of another post about CUVs. Thanks Bark.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    Yeesh, a NA built(and not in Mexico) V8 coupe available (and cheaper) with a manual, pretty good crash test scores, riding on relatively modern suspension, seats 4 and carry their stuff comfortably, all for under 30k in real transaction price, and people pick on its interior finish? Tough crowd.

    So, what else can we buy at that price point that is cheap and fast enough?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      It needs to be at a Lexus LS level, but at Ford Focus prices to have a chance. *eye roll*

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        Yeah but at that price they will complain that the Challenger is too hard to park compared to other cars at that price range. :D

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        And diesel, and brown, and get 50 MPG city, and under $20K, and require no maintenance for 200K miles…

        With that said, the interior in the Challenger in the lower end models is utter crap – sans the seats which I found acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        spreadsheet monkey

        In fairness to Bark, he didn’t dwell on the interior finish for more than a paragraph. I thought this was a positive rental review. He even said “There’s an excellent case to be made for the base model of the Challenger R/T as a daily driver.”

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      Ahem, seats FIVE. A Challenger SRT was on my short list based on the fact that it’s the only five-seat muscle car that you can get with a manual transmission. Sadly, I wasn’t willing to spend up to get what I wanted and cheaped out for a Camaro SS instead. One seat the fewer but at darn near half the cost. I’m OK with it.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It’s a nice interior for a 31K performance car. The stuff you touch is of good quality, the gauges, buttons and knobs all look/feel nice. The IP bezel is actual aluminum. The dash and upper door panels are the ugliest spots of padded rubber, but hey, it ain’t hard plastic. The thing that makes this interior in particular look POOR is that little radio. It’s purposefully designed to force you to spent the extra cash on the 8.4″.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “…a car that might have gotten you some looks back in the day is now the social equivalent of an Altima”

    So true.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    “[R/T Challenger] is now the social equivalent of an Altima.”

    I’m afraid I cannot concur. The difference between pulling up in this v.s. an Altima is immense. Guys will look in your direction, ladies will smile, kids will go nuts with “Wow, that’s cool!”.

    My evidence is having been present at a friend’s family get-together when such occurred. No Altima in the world will command the presence, respect and interest a V-8 Challenger will. It may be old, but its still not THAT common, and it still sticks out in a parking lot otherwise full of Altimas, Impalas, Rogues and Highlanders.

    Mark, I think your access to “cool cars” more often than not is tainting your perception in this case. To you, a more basic Challenger isn’t nearly as special or unique. To the average person, it is something worth a second look and a even slight smile when it goes by.

    I live 50 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, by the way, and most Challengers I see are V-8s. Even so, I don’t see fiftyleven of them (with any engine) with each trip into the city, unlike an Altima and the like. Charger, yes, much more common, but it still catches your eye (if only to see if it is or isn’t a cop).

    Everyone says FCA’s crown jewels are Jeep and Ram, and from a profit-generating point of view, that’s probably correct. However, the current LX cars are my picks. 300, Challenger and Charger, in that order. I think to myseld, if DCX had decided they needed a FWD large car, I.e. continuing the Intrepid, etc, they would have been the first to have dropped their large cars due to waning popularity. With them, they brought obvious staying-power, and they have the best seller in the segment (Charger). The FWDs large cars from Ford and GM are actually decent cars, certainly more desirable than an updated Intrepid would have been.

    • 0 avatar
      GermanReliabilityMyth

      99% of the time, when someone sees a person in a Challenger, the assumption is that the person is trying in vain to grasp their lost youth or compensate for something. 99% of the time, when someone sees a person in an Altima, the assumption is, “there goes a credit criminal.”

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        “99% of the time, when someone sees a person in a Challenger, the assumption is that the person is trying in vain to grasp their lost youth or compensate for something”

        99% of the time, when someone makes that kind of projections on others, he drives a Prius/Subaru and is too introvert to tell what he thinks to the Challenger driver in person.

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        I don’t think anyone says those things. They can’t tell the difference between an Altima and a Maxima.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        What vehicle can I buy that will bring me near universal admiration?

      • 0 avatar
        87 Morgan

        99% of the time, when someone sees a person in a Challenger, the assumption is that the person is trying in vain to grasp their lost youth or compensate for something.

        um, Yeah, No. I see someone and think to myself “good on them, they went out bought themselves a car that does not need a radio. The 5.7 Hemi will provide all of the goodness they need to hear…”

        Please can WE STOP WITH THE SO AND SO IS COMPENSATING FOR SOMETHING BECAUSE THEY DRIVE SOMETHING I WOULD NEVER business. BFD, someone likes something you don’t. Get over yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      Moparmann

      From TTAC 2008/Frank Williams
      Weird, how far off his prediction came to be! :-)

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008/05/dodge-challenger-the-retro-flop-has-landed/

      “Dodge has introduced a slightly cut-down Chrysler LX they call the Challenger. It offers a huge engine, pavement-scorching acceleration and they’ve pre-sold the first 6.4K. The Detroit News— and practically every other automedia outlet– have lavished the Challenger redux with praise. But then again, the media loved the big-engined 1970 model when it first hit the market. I predict the same rapid demise for the new Challenger. There are just so many baby-boomers wanting to relive their 20s; a 34-year gap means the model has no relevance to younger buyers. Even with a V6, demand will be extremely low. In fact,should Chrysler avoid C11, I give the Challenger two years.”

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I rented a charger R/T a couple years ago (also in Florida). I was surprised to find it on the rental lot instead of the standard rental package.

    It was fun for about a day, and then I got over it. Even briefly thought about trading it in for a different rental car. I never really felt the car was as fast as it should be and I thought it would be a little more exciting to drive.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    For me, I would love to have a Chally just like the one you rented. I’d like a nice cruiser with a bit of space and enough handling to get out of trouble if I got into it.

    I’d agree that the Pentastar, while nice and efficient, is too few cylinders for the right kind of impression. I don’t know that I’d ever need the power reserves the 6.4 has, though.

    Kind of like Goldilocks, the 5.7 would be “just right”…

  • avatar
    guardian452

    I bought this car for my wife last spring – a 2015 v6 with the 8 speed automatic. With only 46k miles it was $18,000.

    For the price, it is a wonderful car. Smooth, fast, quiet, powerful, large, very comfortable, great FE (we came from a ford escape). Gets around 30-35 mpg on the highway.

    The radio and interior is just fine at this price- seats are very comfortable. If I had paid over $30k I might have more complaints.

    Would not want the V8… never once have I had an issue with the amount of power from the mighty v6 (300+ HP is way more than my trans am had back in high school) or the (lack of) noise produced.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Last time I rented my $35 got me a Corolla :-( . I’m clearly doing it wrong.

    • 0 avatar
      mojeimeje

      If you rent a lot, like Mark does, and myself as well, you can sign up for National’s Emerald Club, so for that $35 you will be able to pick cars such as this Challenger, Mustang convertible, Camaro SS and V6….

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    As an RT owner, I agree with part and disagree with part of this. And give some of my thoughts.

    Mine’s a 14, when I bought mine, the SRT was 50k so there was a big $ difference. They also had an SRT ‘core’ but it was too stripped for me for a DD. If I were buying one today, it would be really hard to pass up the Scat Pak- it’s a great value.

    For the ‘social equivalent of the altima’, nah, not even close. Thumbs ups, kids yelling nice car, questions at the gas station, teenagers posing by it taking pictures. Sounds like BS, but I swear this stuff happens regularly. It probably helps that mines a brighter color than the rental car example and it’s the track pak manual so it’s lower (Challengers sit way to high without the track pak).

    As far as the failure to maintain adequate distance- lol, ya, that’s the car, not you.

    So here’s my quick version after just short of 40k miles on a DD Challenger RT.

    -The interior is pretty spartan. But it’s functional and surprisingly durable. Mine looks almost new despite a teenage son riding along. I honestly never thought it was as bad as some of the people on here.
    +It’s very comfortable, including long trips.
    +The back seat is usable and the trunk is huge.
    +It’s reasonbly quick with great torque down low makes driving pretty effortless.
    +The track pak manual has the 3.92 gears so when you do get better tires, it launches pretty hard.
    +I have no squeeks, rattles, or leaks. Everything seems screwed together well.
    +So far, it has been trouble free.
    +She’s a big girl.
    +I get a lot of interest, maybe more than I want.

    -The SS and GT are faster, particularly the SS.
    -Even the RT is undertired with 245s, It’s nuts that those are the stock size on a scat pak too. 275s work much better.
    -She’s a big girl.
    -I get about 19mpg too on a good mix of freeway and secondary roads. I typically accelerate ‘briskly’ so it could be worse.
    -The manual has a two piece driveshaft and it clunks sometimes at parking lot speeds. Honestly that’s the thing that bugs me most.

    If it got totalled tomorrow, I’d buy another Challenger because it’s been a great car for me, but yes I’d come up with a few extra $ for the scat pak with the driving dynamic package which is everything useful out of the TA but without the flat black hood and stripes.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I have a plain silver base model with the Pentastar but the old 5 speed auto and the previous interior. Not everything is lined up perfect, but nothing creaks or rattles and its easy to clean. It’s a good texture, not feeling sharp or greasy like some base plastic interiors, the fake leather on the wheel and shifter are very durable. The cloth seats are extremely comfortable. The base radio is just good, still better than what I had before, but replacing it with a regular old Sony head unit with Bluetooth (stock speakers) improved it to really good.

    What exactly is wrong with the interior? It must be better than mine and I’m very happy with it.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    The base infotainment screen does look like more like a cruel reminder that you didn’t spend on the real one than purposefully minimalist. It’s practically taunting you.

    The rest of the interior doesn’t look so bad for the price point; however, more interior color options (tan or brown) would help considerably. Black is a poor choice for a cave-like interior.

  • avatar
    matt3319

    I think the R/T is the best Challenger to get. Make sure you get the 8.4 UConnect rather than the tiny screen. The 5 spoke wheels make the challenger look awesome. I would get the manual trans for sure. It’s just a good looking ride for the money if gotten used. Plenty of challengers around my area.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    For some reason of all the retro muscle cars I’ve always liked the Challenger for the reasons most owners use them, purely for crusing with the v8 soundtrack, and with the Track Pak it probably wouldn’t emabarass itself on a road course with some more aggressive braking
    .For this, I think the 5.7 is worth keeping around, also iirc I think it only requires 89 octane vs 91 for the SRTs (maybe one of the owners could chime in ).
    With bolt ons, I’ve seen this car with time slips <13 sec, and the Track Pak is a bargain option package.
    I wouldn't be surprised if we see a ton of these on the Horsepower Tour 15 yrs from now.

  • avatar

    I’ve not driven the Mopar, but the Ecoboost Mustang is surprisingly good…very good. I’d seen it compared to the two door 4 BMW and really, it’s a lot closer than you’d think.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    The Challenger is one of the most recognizable cars on the road. If I had the money to buy one, it would be a tough choice. The Challenger is the last true muscle car on the road today. It is massive. My 1972 Satellite Custom 4 door had a 117 inch wheel base. The Challenger is at 116. You can actually fit people it in. If I was going to buy an FCA vehicle it would either be the Challenger or the 300. The Charger has been toned down too much. I don’t give a Flying F about the infotainment system.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Nice grand tourer. I don’t mean that as an insult.

  • avatar
    mojeimeje

    I rented this thing a few times, and the only thing keeping me from renting every time it’s on the lot is the U’connect system. I’ve gotten used to the Ford’s and GM’s system that has Android Auto, that I’m even willing to drive a nearly windowless Camaro SS because it has Android Auto.

    IIRC, Charger RT rentals do have the larger UConnect sreeen.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I’ve always really liked these. They’re big enough to have decent proportions despite the atrocious belt line. Even the little Hemi is more than fast enough, and makes lovely noises which are only the lovelier for as bad as everything else sounds now. They’re dirt cheap for what you get. If FCA keeps them around long enough for me to get the second car itch again, which it seems like they will, I can see myself picking one up two or three years from now.

    The lack of a convertible is as inexplicable as the lack of a Wrangler with a truck bed or a V8.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I for one love the fact that you can find these at the rental lot. That means they hit the used market for a nice entry price point for someone who is looking for a muscle car that is not a MT.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    -I’ve never felt that my Challengers were unusually big. But, I drove a ’96 Ford Thunderbird in my college years and afterward up to buying my 2010 R/T 6-speed, and when I was in high school I drove a ’73 Cougar and a smattering of family ’90’s Cadillac Sevilles & DeVilles. (My yardstick for big is still the ’72 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight that my grandfather drove into the mid-’90’s.)
    -The small infotainment screen sure does seem designed to make you wish you got the 8.4.
    -Chrysler has long had transmission control software that adapts to how the car is driven. My automatic Mopars (’05 Dakota previously, ’15 Challenger R/T & ’17 Ram 1500 now) have pretty much always been in the right gear after the adaptation, but I wonder if a rental would ever get adapted before it’s turned back in, hence the flat-footedness.
    -A downside of daily-driving the 6.4L, at least where I live: it’s supposed to get premium fuel, where the 3.6 and 5.7/auto are happy with just 87. Not an issue in larger towns and more populated areas, but in smaller towns in my part of the world you may find the pump has a ‘choice’ of 87 E-0 and 87 E-10. The 5.7/manual recommends premium, and I had times with that car that I was low on gas and had to decide between mis-fueling with 87 or pushing onward to the next town 20-30 miles away and hoping they had at least 89.

  • avatar
    mentec

    Well, they fixed at least one of your issues for 2018. I just turned in a 2018 Challenger R/T in Houston and it had a 7″ radio display and also Android Auto. It didn’t always work, but it’s much better than the miniature one from last year. I liked the car and I averaged 23 on the highway. Not bad for 375 hp and I drove it like I stole it.

  • avatar
    71charger_fan

    I have two ’15 Challengers. A Scat Pack with the 6.4/6-speed and and SXT Plus with the 3.6. I don’t understand the criticism of the interior. It’s incredibly comfortable. It’s dark, but I like that. I’d never buy one without the 8.4″ screen in the dash though. The only real criticism I have is that the 245-section tires are inadequate for the power of the 6.4. The SXT has proven to be a wonderful long-distance cruiser which can return 28mpg at 80mph on a level road.

  • avatar
    MLS

    Thankfully, Chrysler has dropped the base Uconnect 5.0 system across the board for the 2018 model year in favor of a new 7″ configuration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The 8.4″ screen remains an optional upgrade on most vehicles.

    Base infotainment system aside, the Challenger’s interior is perfectly reasonable for the price point.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    Not sure the review should spend so much time explaining the value of the other models in the Challenger lineup. The fact is that you can read any review of the V6 Challenger and the takeway is pretty much: ‘solid car, but you want the R/T.’ Here we have a review and it too suggests that you want the even more powerful versions while also giving a shout out to the V6. Reality here is pretty simple. There’s a wide range of Challengers available. Pricing pretty much tracks right along with performance exactly as you’d expect. With the R/T you get more power than the V6 for more money. And you get less power than the Scat Pack for less money. I’m not sure that the value proposition can be any more straight forward.

  • avatar
    smokingclutch

    I’ve had a 2010 Challenger R/T Classic in Hemi Orange for six-and-a-half years and just under 66,000 miles. At the time, the SRT8 had the 6.1L and only 50 hp more. The chassis and brake upgrades were nice, but not for what was, at the time, a $9,000 difference, out the door.

    I’ve had precisely two problems with the car in the time I’ve owned it. One, the clutch would occasionally not fully disengage. Turned out it was an issue on some 2009 and 2010 six-speed Challengers. Chrysler had a service bulletin on it and the dealer fixed it by lubricating the splines on the input shaft of the transmission. No cost to me, of course.

    The other issue was a torn rubber seal at the front of the hood. This turned out to be a common issue; Chrysler released an updated part and this was replaced under warranty.

    Even here in Orange County, California, the car gets regular compliments and positive feedback. The relatively minor exterior changes since the car’s introduction mean most folks still think it’s a new car. (Regular maintenance and detailing helps, too.) The fact that some people seem to think it’s no more interesting than an Altima are a testament to the fact that it’s still selling well for a two-door coupe, but their experience isn’t mine.

    The large back seat makes the car quite practical for two couples to go out to dinner; of course, with Uber and Lyft, I rarely drive when going out on the weekends. Maybe more people will choose coupes in the future if they aren’t having kids (as my wife and I are not) – I know I have no intention of owning a four-door of any stripe as my primary vehicle in the future. The trunk holds as much as you could reasonably need for a couple to take a long road trip vacation; if you need more, the rear seats fold down.

    I do prefer the newer Challenger interior in some ways (especially the steering wheel, ventilated seats, and better UConnect with a larger screen and Bluetooth audio streaming), but the older dash design leaves the interior with a more spacious feel.

    I’ve considered trading it on a either a new Hellcat or a Shelby GT350, but I’m enjoying the lowest cost years of car ownership right now; it’s paid off, but still fairly new and with low mileage, and I recently bought a house in Orange County, which is not a cheap endeavor.

    My only real complaints are that it doesn’t have Bluetooth streaming for music – just for phone calls – and that it’s sometimes a bit hard to park.

    I’ve owned mostly Japanese cars (mostly Mazdas with two Civic Sis thrown into the mix) but I have been very satisfied with the Challenger, enough that I’d own another.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    It’s sort of acquired the status once enjoyed by VW Bugs. It barely changes, it keeps going on, and it often gets a smile. A buddy of mine just rented an orange Hemi recently and his wife posted a heroic picture of him leaning against it on Facebook. The car clearly made him happy as hell. His wife thinks he’s now going to buy one.

    I’d love to know the regional sales statistics on this car. I barely saw any in the NY Tristate/Connecticut area. The 300 was seen often enough, but not the Challenger. Nor did I see any in San Francisco. But Austin, Texas? Man, it’s everywhere.

    The 392 Hemi that I drove for a week early in its production run got horrible gas mileage. And it seemed beefy. But I liked it. The rear-seat passengers never say anything about crawling behind the front seat to get there?

    I’ve got to say, whoever came up with the nickname “Chally” ought to be chained to the bumper and dragged a few miles.


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