2018 Dodge Challenger GT AWD Review - Maybe You Don't Need a V8

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
Fast Facts

2018 Dodge Challenger GT AWD

3.6-liter V6 (305 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm; 268 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm)
Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
18 city / 27 highway / 21 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
12.8 city, 8.7 highway, 11.0 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$33,495 (U.S) / $41,240 (Canada)
As Tested
$38,965 (U.S.) / $44,195 (Canada)
Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States. Canadian pricing for freight, PDI, and A/C tax is unavailable. Because of cross-border equipment differences, pricing can't be directly compared.
2018 dodge challenger gt awd review maybe you don t need a v8

At one point during my time with the 2018 Dodge Challenger GT, I fired it up and shook my head.

“That can’t be right,” I thought. “It sounds like a V8, but the GT is a V6.”

Which it is – all-wheel drive GT models are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 making 305 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. No V8 on offer here.

Yet, the V6 has a bit of the aural aura of a V8, if not the acceleration.

Two hundred and sixty-eight lb-ft of torque doesn’t seem like enough for a car that weighs over two tons, and you do miss the extra grunt of the V8 Challengers. But it’s still enough for around-town cut and thrust – enough that if you’re willing to forego cruise-night cool points and you don’t need our lady of blessed acceleration on the regular, this version of the Challenger is just fine.

Back in the day, cars like these were referred to as “insurance beaters” or slapped with the sexist label of secretary’s cars. Today’s base-engine pony cars are more than that, though. They are both performance bargains and commuter-friendly editions of iconic sports performers.

Adding all-wheel drive to the mix doesn’t seem to alter the Challenger experience all that much. While Dodge has improved the model’s handling incrementally over each passing year – to the point that the big-power trims are relatively track friendly – the Challenger will never not feel large and heavy, not as long as it continues to exist on its current platform. It’s more spry than it used to be (unlike most of us), but that’s not its best trait.

Like its big brothers, the Challenger GT succeeds best at acceleration, and sounding cool while so doing. Its second-best trait is the interior – although Challenger interiors across all trims are starting to get long in the tooth from a design perspective, the size of the cabin remains appreciated. That’s one of the benefits of sharing a platform with the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 sedans.

[Get new and used Dodge Challenger pricing here!]

Another benefit is that the Challenger is a pleasant highway cruiser – it feels more like a large sedan than a low-level muscle car. Again, there are reasons why the V6 versions are commuter cars – and a lower price and higher fuel economy are also part of the bargain. So, too, is a more relaxed (relatively speaking) ride.

There’s not a whole lot new for 2018 – most of the news is limited to the availability of 19-inch wheels.

That’s no shock – while Dodge sometimes brings about big updates for the more-powerful versions, as it did this year, the overall Challenger milieu remains fairly constant over time.

Which is fine. The exterior styling has aged well, interior materials are acceptable for the price, and you get decent available content. Among those goodies: adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic detection, remote start, leather steering wheel, premium audio, navigation, and UConnect infotainment. These features were all part of various packages – standard equipment includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, fog lamps, heated and cooled front seats, heated steering wheel, satellite radio, and dual-zone climate control.

Starting sticker price is $33,495, and the options packages brought it up to $38,965, plus $1,095 destination.

You end up with a respectably performing muscle car that isn’t as fire-breathing as its brethren, but still has enough guts to allow you to have some fun. It will also be a tad easier to drive in snow (although we all know tires are the real key), and it won’t lighten your wallet as much.

Yeah, the V8s are more fun. A hell of a lot more fun. The V6 may be a logical value choice, but logic and value don’t often matter with muscle cars. Still, if you can live without the extra cylinders, the V6 will work just fine.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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  • Edsel Maserati Edsel Maserati on Dec 23, 2018

    Not a word about the fuel economy? One of the most important reasons you go for the V-6? Or even what fuel it prefers? What do you do? Drive it around the parking lot? The Hemi Challenger I drove was one of the thirstiest cars I've experienced. Lately I've been doing some transcontinental runs and noticing how the numbers do stack up. We're drivers here. This should be part of any review.

    • MiataReallyIsTheAnswer MiataReallyIsTheAnswer on Jan 03, 2019

      My Charger R/T 5.7L is averaging close to 20 MPG with probably more stop N go than HWY, and it's not fully broken-in yet. Compare that to my Honda Odyssey that might average 2-3 MPG better, but is seriously lacking in creature features, acceleration, shift quality and general "fun" by comparison. More than fair tradeoff IMHO.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Dec 26, 2018

    I'm conflicted about the Challenger, love the looks, AWD would be a bonus here in snowland, the wife loves Challengers and AWD appeals to her. I just can't get past feeling like I'd look like a guy trying to relive the past in a retro musclecar. For some reason I don't get that vibe from the Mustang (the Camaro is just too ugly to consider).

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  • Oberkanone Installing immobilizer is the answer. It's not hard. It's not expensive.
  • MrIcky Out of the possible Jeep recalls to bring up on this site, I'm surprised it's this one and not round 2 of the clutch recall.
  • Dukeisduke I saw a well-preserved Mark VII LSC on the road not too long ago, and I had to do a double-take. They still have a presence. Back when these were new, a cousin of mine owned an LSC with the BMW turbo diesel.
  • Dukeisduke I imagine that stud was added during the design process for something, and someone further along the process forgot to delete it after it became unnecessary.