2018 Dodge Challenger GT AWD Review - Straight Outta Brampton

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
Fast Facts

2018 Dodge Challenger GT

3.6-liter V6, DOHC (305 hp @ 6,350 rpm, 268 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive
18 city / 27 highway / 21 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
23.7 (observed mileage, MPG)
Base Price: $34,590 (USD)
As Tested: $38,965
Prices include $1,095 freight charge.
2018 dodge challenger gt awd review straight outta brampton

The gentleman next to me rotated his arm in the universal “roll-down-your-window” maneuver, even though the actual motion is completely foreign to many drivers in this era of ubiquitous electric window lifts. I did, revealing a grey-haired gentleman wearing a Naval ship hat, sitting behind the wheel of a pristine, domestic full-size half-ton pickup truck.

“I knew it’d be a young man behind the wheel of that car. That’s a young man’s car. That’s the kind of car I’d have if I were young like you.” His eyes must be failing him a bit — how else would he miss the grey in my beard? With 40 inbound like a careening freight train, I appreciate the inference that I’m a young man in his eyes, and thanked him for both his compliments and his service.

Normally, I’d end a conversation like this with a rumble of throttle in appreciation — but I didn’t want to disappoint our sailor with the sounds of a minivan engine. So I motored off in relative silence. While this V6-powered, all-wheel drive Dodge Challenger GT doesn’t have the aural pleasures of its Hemi-powered brethren, it clearly still makes people take notice.

Yes, I said a minivan engine. The 3.6-liter V6 fitted to this Challenger GT is basically the same Pentastar fitted to my daily Town & Country and countless other Mopar products. At 305 horsepower, this V6 compares nicely to the V8 engines fitted to pony cars 15 years ago. It just doesn’t sound as lovely as a proper V8.

And, yes, it’s all-wheel drive. It’s Canadian, after all — built in Brampton, Ontario. Hockey practice simply can’t be missed.

I know — the essence of a pony car is a V8 and rear-wheel drive. But really, since the introduction of the genre in 1964, many more four or six-cylinder models have been sold than their V8 counterparts, which affirms that most buyers buy such a car for looks first. And even though this same basic car has been around for 10 years, the Challenger is clearly still quite capable of turning heads.

[Get pricing on new and used Dodge Challengers here!]

Really, the only complaint I have about the Challenger GT is the relative lack of adornment — V8 models wear any combination of wider wheels, flared fenders, bigger scoops on the hood, tape stripe packages, and spoilers. This Challenger GT looks a bit demure, with relatively narrow 7.5-inch wheels front and rear shod with 235/55-19 tires leaving the car appearing under-tired. The dark grey multi-spoke wheels do look quite good on this car. I do absolutely love the F8 Green finish on this car (few cars can pull off the olive drab look in style), but the Challenger does it. Call it Milspec Metallic, or something like that — it’s stunning in person.

The interior works nicely, though the relatively short wheelbase means rear passengers don’t get quite as much room as they’d like. I had to move my seat forward a bit any time my 5-foot-4-inch daughter rode behind me, unless I wanted knees in my kidneys. But the front seats were quite comfortable and supportive while hustling the big coupe through the corners. The leather-and-Alcantara seats are both heated and ventilated — thankfully, as the suede-like material can get warm on bare legs in summer heat.

I’ve said it before: I love Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system. While there are many menus to toggle through to change settings, the frequently-used ones can be dragged to the menu bar at the bottom of the 8.4-inch screen. Everything works quickly, with many controls duplicated on the steering wheel and on the lower half of the center console. Standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto complement the SiriusXM and Bluetooth streaming capabilities.

Cargo space is listed as 16.2 cubic feet, but it seems like even more than that, as the trunk is remarkably deep. The lift-over height is a bit higher than most, however, so big cases of longnecks or heavy pails of cat litter will have to be hoisted a bit to stow properly. A split folding rear seat adds more utility.

Depending on who you believe, the Challenger GT can hustle from 0-60 in the low six-second range, which not long ago was an impressive figure. I didn’t get a chance to run instrumented tests, but I can believe it. It’s not massively quick, but 305 hp paired with all-wheel traction helps this big car move. It’s all drama-free with no tire squeal. The electric power steering is a bit numb, but I’m otherwise impressed with how solid this relatively old platform feels when pushed. It’s a sturdy, comfortable ride, whether on city streets or on a long interstate drive. I’d have no hesitation hopping in this tomorrow and driving across the country.

I saw just under 24 mpg on my week in mixed driving — a long drive would likely net the EPA 27 mpg highway estimate. And, unlike the V8-powered Challengers, this V6 is perfectly happy on 87 octane.

It isn’t your typical pony car, but that’s perfectly fine. The Dodge Challenger GT works brilliantly as a commuter car, and is even a bit of fun to drive. It’s just not as rowdy as its V8-powered siblings. It provides all of the style, minus the fuel economy penalties.

[Images: © 2018 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

Join the conversation
2 of 67 comments
  • DweezilSFV DweezilSFV on Jul 13, 2018

    Army Green and a Stupid Size console. Just why ? An attractive car otherwise.

  • AJ AJ on Jul 14, 2018

    I have been thinking about the Charger GT as a fun commuter car. I find the AWD appealing for the months of December through March where I live over my currrent front wheel driver car. I also rented a V6 Charger not long ago and liked the V6. I found it plenty sporty and the mpg was great.

  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the live reveal last night, but after 15 minutes of jawing by MT+ personalities (and yes, I like Chris Jacobs and Alex Taylor), I turned it off.
  • Paul MBAs gonna MBA.
  • Zipper69 Clearly beyond German thought processes to simply keep A for IC engine and use "E" for all other so you can have a A6 and a E6.
  • Ianw33 It makes me laugh how many complaints i see here in the comments section. Leave it to "car enthusiasts" to be unhappy with the fact that a mainstream auto manufacturer produced a 1K HP car with a warranty that isn't $250K+. can't we just be happy that something crazy/fun exists like this before its gone, even if its not your cup of tea?
  • YellowDuck This is a completely vulgar vehicle. I understand that that is the point, but still...pretty douchey.