By on December 10, 2019

Remember the ridiculously long lead-up to the release of Dodge’s Challenger SRT Demon? That never-ending trail of breadcrumbs leading to the hottest LX-platform car to date? Yeah, that one.

The teasing grew tiresome after a while. Many buyers and writers (circles that rarely cross) were about to get up and leave the bar, until FCA finally debuted the limited-run, 840-horsepower drag beast.

Well, it looks like FCA’s on the make again. (Read More…)

By on November 20, 2019

When Dodge first built a Challenger, back in 1959, it was actually a Coronet. A decade later, the car returned as the spiritual foundation of the coupe we know today. Presumably, the name is intended to represent Chrysler rising to meet the Challenges laid by rival manufacturers already building American muscle. But we can nitpick here endlessly, going back to the 1950s and giving the pentastar brand plenty of credit for going bananas on horsepower.

It would actually take decades for us to realize the Challenger’s true purpose — serving as a canvas for a hilarious number of special edition vehicles. Thankfully, they usually turn out to be fairly enjoyable and totally on brand, leaving us with little to complain about.

For the Challenger’s 50th anniversary, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to offer limited production Dodges in new colors with commemorative bling. It’s basically the same recipe Ford used for the 50th Anniversary Mustang but with some additional brashness from Dodge. However, while those Fords only came in Wimbledon White and Kona Blue, the Challenger comes in every high-impact paint color FCA has at its disposal — including Gold Rush.  (Read More…)

By on November 6, 2019

While this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) event was laden with utilities and pickups, American manufacturers have not forgotten models riding closer to the ground. Dodge presented the latest incarnation of its Mopar Dodge Challenger “Drag Pak” — presumably spelled poorly due to the existence of Ford’s Drag Pack cars. Unlike most vehicles at SEMA, it’s something you can theoretically own.

Normally, SEMA display cars exist to showcase individual parts. While this also applies to the Challenger, Fiat Chrysler’s parts arm is at least interested in offering a comprehensive ass-hauling package. It’s a turnkey racer, something the industry has embraced a bit more fully these last few years. Yet the Drag Pak isn’t a track car meant for curves or corners. It’s all about straight-line speed and is legally obligated to keep itself off public roads because it’s not good at doing anything else.  (Read More…)

By on September 18, 2019

Porsche cayenne dieselLast week, we took a moment to recount our worst rental car memories — those times when the desk attendant at Rental Giant Co. was feeling either low on inventory or particularly unkind. Some of you took it upon yourselves to do some extra credit work, offering your winning rental car roulette examples, too.

Well, you can just type them again today, because the best of the best rental experiences is our topic of discussion.

(Read More…)

By on August 1, 2019

After an eternity of seeing the Honda Accord and Civic topping lists of America’s most-stolen cars, tastes have finally evolved. According to the Highway Loss Data Institute’s list of vehicles most likely to be stolen, Hemi-equipped Dodge Challengers and Chargers are now the ride of choice for automotive miscreants. Interestingly, bandits seem to prefer larger vehicles on the whole — with full-sized pickups and large-engined cars topping the charts.

However, there are a couple items that need to be sorted out before we progress. You’ll probably continue seeing Accords, Corollas, Civics, and F-Series pickups on subsequent most-stolen lists. Their volume alone makes them popular targets and any study going by sheer numbers is bound to include them. But the HLDI report quantifies automobiles by their relative risk using insurance data, suggesting its big-boy season for car thieves.  (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2019

Buy/Drive/Burn returns this week with three American sports cars in their most basic, purest form. The Big Three are represented here, and they don’t get any cheaper than this. No options or fripperies are allowed, and one must receive the Buy.

Start your (small) engines — it’s sports car time.

(Read More…)

By on April 11, 2019

Despite being manufactured in Canada, the Dodge Charger and Challenger feel like the most American vehicles currently on the market. Large, brash, and deliciously unapologetic about it, the vehicles embody multiple historical stereotypes thrown onto the United States citizenry. While those characteristics aren’t a good fit for everyone, Dodge says its holdout muscle cars capture the highest percentage of active military buyers in their respective segments (according to mTAB).

Now, Fiat Chrysler says it’s time for Dodge to “celebrate the men and women who serve our country,” providing a new Stars & Stripes Edition for the Charger and Challenger — along with some fleshing out of their existing appearance packages. (Read More…)

By on March 20, 2019

Rampant speculation surrounds the Dodge Charger and the possibility it might eventually receive the same wide-body treatment applied to the Challenger SRT Hellcat and R/T Scat Pack. Last month, Mopar enthusiasts, claiming insider knowledge, said Dodge would have sedan versions ready for the 2020 model year.

It wasn’t much to go on, but the automaker recently confirmed there will be a concept Charger on display at California’s Spring Fest this weekend, following the appearance of an online video showing a camouflaged SRT sedan cruising around Southfield, Michigan.  (Read More…)

By on January 19, 2019

Are the 66,716 Americans who helped take the venerable Dodge Challenger to a new sales record in 2018 just Luddites, rebelling against a rising tide of electrification and autonomy? Maybe, but the era of a Challenger line powered solely by gasoline is drawing to a close.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley addressed the muscle car’s future at this week’s Detroit auto show, admitting that, at some point, the Challenger needs to grow greener. That means venturing into the unsexy world of electrification — an unthinkable act for some American muscle purists. (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2018

2018 Dodge Challenger GT AWD

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.

(Read More…)

By on August 21, 2018

The year is 1982. You’re a lover of domestic sports cars, but also suffer from a distinct lack of funding in this era of American Malaise. Three updated, base model, fuel sipping rides are in your purview — all of them with four-cylinder engines.

Which one do you take home?

(Read More…)

By on August 8, 2018

2019 Dodge Challenger

I’ve always admired the Dodge Challenger for being very clear about what kind of car it is.

It is not a crossover pretending to have off-road chops. It is not a wagon pretending to be an SUV. It is not a four-door “coupe” that’s really a hatchback.

It’s simply a large American muscle car that offers a V8, loads of available power, and operates as a throwback to an era that existed before most folks younger than Baby Boomer age were born.

In short, it doesn’t mess around.

(Read More…)

By on August 1, 2018

2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk front quarter

Monday’s QOTD post by Matthew Guy inquiring about some of the seriously overpriced metal on today’s collector car market got me thinking. And what it got me thinking about was the present state of cars, and if there’s going to be much worthy of collecting at a later date.

We’re in some dark times, automotively speaking. Allow me to explain.

(Read More…)

By on July 30, 2018

If you’re the proud owner of a Hemi-powered Dodge Charger, Challenger, or Chrysler 300, you probably love getting that sweet baby up to highway speeds in a hurry. However, you’re also likely fond of having the ability to stop it whenever you wish and not entering into a real-life version of the movie Speed.

We’ve got some unfortunate news. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, you might have to take a couple of extra steps to avoid that being a possibility. Fiat Chrysler has issued a recall on 2014-2016 Chrysler 300s, Dodge Chargers, and Dodge Challengers equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 and Mopar Stage 1 Performance Package powertrain control module. The 2018 Challenger SRT Demon is also affected by the recall.

Apparently, the PCM is sick and could screw with the cruise control system. You’ll definitely want to get this one fixed as soon as possible. FCA claims the defect may not just prohibit cruise control from disengaging — there’s also a possibility it could cause the car to accelerate unpredictably. That’s about the last thing you want an 800-horsepower car to do without you giving it the go-ahead.  (Read More…)

By on July 20, 2018

Image: FCA

If you went to bed last night worried that Dodge doesn’t field enough Challenger variants to satisfy your diverse driving whims, rest easy tonight. The Challenger, which harbors more personas than David Bowie, wants you to go to the dragstrip again.

For 2019, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack gives birth to a new offering that, while borrowing much of the defunct SRT Demon’s launch-assist hardware, rejects its hellish dragster predecessor’s supercharged 6.2-liter in favor of 6.4 liters of naturally aspirated grunt.  (Read More…)

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