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2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe

#34
in Compact coupes
2018 MODEL

$26,995 - $83,295

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Overview

It's a common knowledge that the tree that does not bend with wind is uprooted. While others are flowing with the change, the 2018 Dodge Challenger stands against the headwind of engine downsizing, CVTs, hybrids and even electrics. While the forces of change have ensured its demise is inevitable, it refuses to yield.

The Challenger is unapologetically brash. While competitors are adopting turbo I4, Challenger has three V8s on offer – and even the force-fed among them are not turbocharged – they are supercharged to ensure the rumble muffles all the critics. And yes, that supercharged 6.2L V8 belts out 707 hp in hellcat. Worst still, with that long flat bonnet, outside visibility is as comic as ever – good luck taming it.

However, the Spartan interior boasts one of the best infotainment system currently available – U-connect. And with optional “Performance Pages”, you don't need a trackside technician on dragstrip. Also, the Challenger GT AWD is the only all-weather muscle car available. So, the other muscle cars? Challenger has to deal with two challengers – the Mustang and the Camaro.

And arguably, the Mustang has more cult following. While recently the Mustangs and Camaros were seen chasing Porsches around Nurburgring (although a track spec Challenger T/A is also on loose), Dodge was busy working on a drag racing and wheelie popping beast – the Demon. So get the others if you crave corners. Long for an old school muscle car? Get the Challenger.

See detailed review »

Pros

Future-Retro styling

Nostalgic V8 engines

Wildly overpowered hellcats

Comfortable and roomy interior

Cushy suspension

Cons

Intimidating dimensions

Intimidating to handle

Gas guzzler

What's New?

840 hp 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon available

Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody is now available


Features

0 to 60

2.6

Engine

v6 cyl

3.6 disp

MPG

21 city

30 hwy

Power

305 hp

268 torq

drivetrain

rear wheel drive

transmission

Automatic

warranty

3 yr./ 36000 mi.



Styles

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe in Torred Clearcoat color  2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe in Redline Red Tricoat Pearl color  2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe in Pitch Black Clearcoat color  2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe in Octane Red Pearlcoat color  2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe in Indigo Blue color  2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe in  premium leather color  2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe in Yellow Jacket Clearcoat color  2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe in Granite Pearlcoat color
Torred Clearcoat

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.5

Engine

7.7

Fuel Economy

7.5

Interior

6.7

Exterior

7.7

Safety

7.4

Driving

8.4

7.7

OVERALL RATING

Variant Name

MSRP


 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe SXT

SXT

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$26,995

Configurations
SXT 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
Engine: V-6 Transmission: 8A
Drivetrain: RWD MPG: (19/23/30)
Torque: 268 lbs.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe SXT Plus

SXT Plus

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$29,995

Configurations
SXT Plus 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
Transmission: 8A Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (19/23/30) Torque: 268 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe GT

GT

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$33,495

Configurations
GT 2dr Coupe AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
Engine: V-6 Transmission: 8A
Drivetrain: AWD MPG: (18/21/27)
Torque: 268 lbs.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe R/T

R/T

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$33,495

Configurations
R/T 2dr Coupe (5.7L 8cyl 6M)
Engine: V-8 Transmission: 6M
Drivetrain: RWD MPG: (15/18/23)
Torque: 410 lbs.-ft. @ 4,300 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe R/T Plus

R/T Plus

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$36,495

Configurations
R/T Plus 2dr Coupe (5.7L 8cyl 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (15/18/23) Torque: 410 ft-lbs. @ 4300 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe R/T Shaker

R/T Shaker

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$36,995

Configurations
R/T Shaker 2dr Coupe (5.7L 8cyl 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (15/18/23) Torque: 410 ft-lbs. @ 4300 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe T/A

T/A

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$37,495

Configurations
T/A 2dr Coupe (5.7L 8cyl 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (15/18/23) Torque: 410 ft-lbs. @ 4300 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe R/T Scat Pack

R/T Scat Pack

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$38,995

Configurations
R/T Scat Pack 2dr Coupe (6.4L 8cyl 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (14/17/23) Torque: 475 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe R/T 392

R/T 392

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$38,995

Configurations
R/T 392 2dr Coupe (6.4L 8cyl 6M)
Engine: V-8 Transmission: 6M
Drivetrain: RWD MPG: (14//23)
Torque: 475 lbs.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe R/T Plus Shaker

R/T Plus Shaker

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$39,995

Configurations
R/T Plus Shaker 2dr Coupe (5.7L 8cyl 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (15/18/23) Torque: 410 ft-lbs. @ 4300 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe T/A Plus

T/A Plus

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$40,495

Configurations
T/A Plus 2dr Coupe (5.7L 8cyl 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (15/18/23) Torque: 410 ft-lbs. @ 4300 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker

392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$43,495

Configurations
392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker 2dr Coupe (6.4L 8cyl 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (14/17/23) Torque: 475 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe T/A 392

T/A 392

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$43,995

Configurations
T/A 392 2dr Coupe (6.4L 8cyl 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (14/17/23) Torque: 475 ft-lbs. @ 4100 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe SRT 392

SRT 392

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$49,495

Configurations
SRT 392 2dr Coupe (6.4L 8cyl 6M)
Engine: V-8 Transmission: 6M
Drivetrain: RWD MPG: (14/17/23)
Torque: 475 lbs.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe SRT Hellcat

SRT Hellcat

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$63,795

Configurations
SRT Hellcat 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl S/C 6M)
Engine: V-8 Transmission: 6M
Drivetrain: RWD MPG: (13/16/21)
Torque: 650 lbs.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe SRT Hellcat Widebody

SRT Hellcat Widebody

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$69,795

Configurations
SRT Hellcat Widebody 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl S/C 6M)
Transmission: 6M Drivetrain: RWD
MPG: (13/16/21) Torque: 650 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm

 2018 Dodge Challenger Coupe SRT Demon

SRT Demon

Fuel: Premium unleaded (recommended), Transmission: Manual, Seats: 5

$83,295

Configurations
SRT Demon 2dr Coupe (6.2L 8cyl S/C 8A)
Engine: V-8 Transmission: 8A
Drivetrain: RWD MPG: (13/16/22)
Torque: 717 lbs.-ft. @ 4,500 rpm

Expert Review


carhp editor October 6, 2018

7.7

Overall Rating


8.5/10
Features

 

7.7/10
Engine

 

7.5/10
Fuel Economy

 

6.7/10
Interior

 

7.7/10
Exterior

 

7.4/10
Safety

 
 
 

The Challenger is unapologetically brash. While competitors are adopting turbo I4, Challenger has three V8s on offer – and even the force-fed among them are not turbocharged – they are supercharged to ensure the rumble muffles all the critics. And yes, that supercharged 6.2L V8 belts out 707 hp in hellcat. Worst still, with that long flat bonnet, outside visibility is as comic as ever – good luck taming it.

Features

8.5/10

With four engines, two transmission and 15 trims on offer, the 2018 Dodge Challenger intimidates even when you are shopping for it. However, unlike the bread and butter cars, each of the Challenger models has its own legacy. We explain each one of them.

Dodge Challenger SXT and Challenger GT

The SXT ($26,995) is the gateway to Challengers turf. The SXT plus ($29,995) adds luxuries without any change in performance. Both SXTs can be equipped with “Super Trak Pak” adding upgraded suspension components and the sweet “Dodge Performance Pages”.

Trims SXT SXT PLUS GT-ALL WHEEL DRIVE
MSRP $26,995 $29,995 $33,495
Engine 3.6L V6 24 Valve VVT Engine 3.6L V6 24 Valve VVT Engine 3.6L V6 24 Valve VVT Engine
Features
  • Uconnect 4 with a 7-Inch Touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto
  • Dual-Zone Automatic Temperature Control
  • ParkView Rear Back-Up Camera
  • Keyless Enter and Go Available for Remote Vehicle Start
  • 18-Inch Cast Aluminum Wheels
  • Adds to or replaces SXT features:
  • 20-Inch Granite Crystal Aluminum Wheels
  • Heated and Ventilated Sport Nappa Leather-Trimmed Seats
  • Sirius Satellite Radio
  • ParkSense Rear Park Assist System
  • Six Premium Alpine Speakers
  • Projector Fog Lamps
  • All-Wheel Drive
  • Dodge Performance Pages
  • 19-Inch Aluminum Wheels
  • Heated Leather-Wrapped Performance Steering Wheel with Paddle Shifters
  • Heated Leather-Trimmed Front Seats
  •  

The Challenger GT ($33,495) is the only pony car with AWD on offer, so that seals the deal if you live in wintery locations. As for the powertrain, these three trims come with 305 hp 3.6L Pentastar V6 mated exclusively to an 8-speed automatic. These are quick but don’t expect muscle car noise or performance.

Dodge Challenger R/T and Challenger Shaker

Now you are deep within the muscle car turf. HEMI V8 rumble eco around this old neighborhood filled with references to “good old days”. It all starts with historic R/T (Road/Track) nameplate that originated during the glory days of pony cars. The Challenger R/T ($33,495) with 375 hp 5.7L HEMI V8 is the cheapest true pony car you can own blaring out that famed V8 rumble from low restriction exhaust.

Trims R/T R/T PLUS R/T SHAKER R/T PLUS SHAKER
MSRP $33,495 $37,995 $38,495 $41,495
Engine 5.7L V8 HEMI MDS VVT ENGINE 5.7L V8 HEMI MDS VVT ENGINE 5.7L V8 HEMI MDS VVT ENGINE 5.7L V8 HEMI MDS VVT ENGINE
  • Features
  • 20-Inch Premium Painted Aluminum Wheels
  • Six-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Electronically Controlled Low-Restriction Active Exhaust
  • Leather-Wrapped Performance Steering Wheel with Paddle Shifters
  • Adds to or replaces R/T features:
  • Uconnect 4C with an 8.4-Inch Touchscreen, Apple CarPlay Support, and Android Auto
  • Heated and Ventilated Nappa Leather-Trimmed Seats
  • 20-Inch Granite Crystal Painted Aluminum Wheels
  • ParkSense Rear Park Assist System
  • SHAKER Hood and Mopar Cold Air Intake System
  • Dodge Performance Pages
  • ParkSense Rear Park Assist System
  • Super Track Pak with Performance Steering, Brakes, and Suspension
  • Adds to or replaces R/T features:
  • SHAKER Hood and Mopar Cold-Air Intake System
  • Heated and Ventilated Nappa Leather Performance Seats with Alcantara Suede Inserts
  • Heated Performance Steering Wheel with Paddle Shifters

 

 

The R/T Plus ($36,495) adds luxury to the standard R/T. Now comes the R/T Shaker ($36,995) ready to drown you into yet another nostalgia – the Shaker hood. An air scoop protruding from a large aperture in the hood is mounted directly on the engines air cleaner. So when you crank that HEMI V8, the scoop shakes with the engine vibration right in front of your eyes – properly bad.

Dodge Challenger Scat Pack

Next up is the Scat pack. Dodge introduced Scat Pack way back in 1968 with the Charger R/T, Coronet R/T, Dart GTS, and Super Bee. A car was taken in the Scat Pack club when it could do 0-60 mph within 14.99 seconds.

Trims R/T SCAT PACK 392 HEMI SCAT PACK SHAKER
MSRP $39,995 $42,795
Engine 6.4L V8 SRT HEMI ENGINE 6.4L V8 SRT HEMI ENGINE
Features
  • Four-piston Brembo brake
  • Dodge performance pages
  • Satin Black Rear Spoiler
  • Cloth Houndstooth Performance Seats
  • SHAKER Hood and Mopar Cold-Air Intake System
  • Performance Leather/Alcantara with Embroidered Bee Logo

The 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack ($39,995) brings with it the iconic 392 HEMI V8 delivering 485 hp. The 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker ($42,795) combines the 392 HEMI V8 with that dramatic Shaker hood.

Dodge Challenger T/A

The T/A refers to the Trans-Am race series in which Dodge participated with the 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A. The 2018 Dodge Challenger T/A ($37,495) gets 5.7L HEMI V8 and differentiates itself from others with huge Mopar cold air intake and plenty of old-school satin black stripes. You can even have those old school hood pins ($425) for a rough and ready look.

Trims T/A T/A Plus T/A 392
MSRP $38,995 $41,495 $44,995
Engine 5.7L V8 HEMI MDS VVT ENGINE 5.7L V8 HEMI MDS VVT ENGINE 6.4L V8 SRT HEMI ENGINE
Features
  • Satin Black Painted Hood with Mopar Cold-Air Intake System
  • Satin Black Roof, Decklid, and Heritage-Inspired Bodyside Graphics
  • Illuminated Air-Catcher Headlamps
  • Illuminated Air-Catcher Headlamps
  • Low Back Houndstooth Performance Cloth Seats
  • Adds to or replaces T/A features:
  • 20x9-Inch Forged Aluminum Wheels.
  • Heated and Ventilated Nappa Leather Performance Seats with Alcantara Suede Inserts
  • Adds to or replaces T/A features:
  • Illuminated Air-Catcher Headlamps.
  • Six-Piston Brembo Brakes.
  • 20x9.5-Inch Forged Aluminum Wheels.
  • Houndstooth Cloth Performance Seats.

However, nothing is as rebellious as those air intakes running straight through the center of the inboard headlamps (called “Air Catcher Headlamps”) – being discreet is not is Challengers dictionary. As obvious, T/A Plus ($40,495) adds creature comfort. The Challenger T/A 392 ($44,995) swaps the 5.7L HEMI V8 in T/A with the 392 HEMI V8 (or the 6.4L HEMI V8) along with brakes and suspension upgrades.

Dodge Challenger SRT

Challenger SRTs sit at the apex of Challenger turf. The SRT (Street and Racing Technology) is the modern rendition of classic R/T badge. The Challenger SRT 392 ($50,495) equipped with 6.4L HEMI V8 and expensive performance hardware kick off the range.

Trims SRT 392 SRT HELLCAT SRT HELLCAT WIDEBODY
MSRP $50,495 $65,495 $71,495
Engine 6.4L V8 SRT HEMI ENGINE 6.2L SUPERCHARGED HEMI V8 SRT ENGINE 6.2L SUPERCHARGED HEMI V8 SRT ENGINE
Features
  • Three-Mode High-Performance Bilstein Adaptive Damping Suspension
  • SRT Flat-Bottom Steering Wheel
  • Heated and Ventilated Laguna Leather-Trimmed Performance Seats With SRT Embossed Logo
  • Adds to or replaces SRT 392 features:
  • Quarter Mile in 11.2 Seconds.
  • 199 MPH Top Speed.
  • 20x9.5-Inch Low Gloss Black '5Deep' Lightweight Aluminum Wheels
  • Adds to or replaces SRT Hellcat features:
  • 20x11-Inch Aluminum Wheels on 305/35ZR20 Pirelli All-Season Performance Tires
  • Electronic Power Steering with Driver Selectable Steering Tuning
  • Widebody Fender Flares - Adding 3.5 Inches to the Overall Width

Next is the Challenger SRT Hellcat ($65,496) with the absolutely psychopathic 6.2L supercharged HEMI SRT V8 producing stupendous 707 horsepower. SRT Hellcat Widebody ($71,495) adds widebody fender flares that increase the overall width by 3.5 inches and wider wheels and tires. Then there is the demonic 2018 Challenger SRT Demon belting out 840 hp. Air catcher headlamp makes an appearance here too.

Trivia: We mentioned the “air catcher headlamps”. In the Challenger T/A and Challenger SRT Demon, they are present in both inboard headlamps. However, in the two Hellcats, only driver side has the air catcher lamps – like a Pirate with an eyepatch. Don’t stare at it.

Too many to choose from? We help you find the best trim

Firstly, base 3.6L V6 is a bit too sedate for Challenger. Even though Challenger R/T ($33,495) feels special with its 5.7L V8, get the iconic 392 HEMI V8. Also, at 485 bhp, it’s the most powerful in its class and you will never be left wanting for more. Although 392 HEMI V8 is available from $39,995 onward with R/T Scat pack, we will spend $2k more for the dramatic “Shaker hood” and get 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker.

 

Engine

7.7/10

“Compared with the sharper and stickier handling of the Camaro and Mustang, however, the Challenger is too soft in the twisties and its steering is too numb. The slow-to-react helm is well suited to leisurely drives and easily controlled, power-induced tail slides.” – Car and Driver

Ask a child to describe a fast car and most probably he will picture a loud muscle car drifting through a street full of startled onlookers. The Challenger is perfect for this role – provided you get the HEMI V8s. It’s large, heavy and softly sprung. All these cause it to heave like an ocean liner at high speeds. Outside visibility? Battle tanks are better. Are you an apex hunter? Go straight to Mustang or Camaro.

However, if you need a cool car that can cruise through the Wild West and pull out some spectacular tire smoking antiques while inside the town, the Challenger with its retro looks, howling V8, pliant suspension, and roomy interiors fit the bill perfectly. And there is hardly any alternative. In fact, we think if the Zorro came to the 21st century, he will ride a Challenger instead of a Mustang.

Powertrain

A Dodge Challenger can stir up the crowd solely by its looks. However, what’s under that long striped hood is equally special. Although a base 3.6L V6 is also available, the R/T is your stepping stone to the classic HEMI V8 engines.

The HEMI V8s

Under the long hood of Challenger R/T sits a 5.7L pushrod 16-valve Iron Block HEMI V8 developing 375 hp and 410 pounds-feet of torque. And yes, that legendary V8 rumble is complimentary through low restriction exhaust. Unlike most modern engines, it only has 2 valves per cylinder – a necessary requirement for the iconic HEMI head.

Getting the R/T Shaker adds that Shaker hood (we described it earlier). It was invented in early days to increase engine power through “ram effect”. Next up is the iconic 392 HEMI V8 developing 485 hp and 475 pounds-feet of torque - enough to flatten an entire suburb. It employs same cast iron block construction and pushrod valve-train with 16 valves.

Fact: 392 in 392 HEMI V8 denotes the displacement – 392 cubic inches. This translates to 6.4 Liter.

Models Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Ford Mustang GT Fastback Chevrolet Camaro 1SS
MSRP $39,995 $35,095 $37,995
Engine 6.4-Liter V8 SRT HEMI Engine 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 Engine 6.2L V8 DI Engine
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Power 485 hp @ 6100 rpm 460 hp @ 7000 rpm 455 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 475 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm 420 lb-ft @ 4600 rpm 455 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm

The Supercharged HEMI V8s

Not sufficient still? Want to go to another world? Behold the Supercharged Intercooled 6.2L HEMI SRT Hellcat V8. While the displacement is down 0.2L against the HEMI 392, the supercharger shovels in 30,000 liters of air through those massive hood scoop and the scary wormhole-like “air catcher” headlamps into the HEMI head.

Result? 707 horsepower and 650 pounds-feet of torque. Thankfully, there is a way to calm it down. Hellcat comes with two key fobs – a Black and a Red. Using Black key fob limits the power to 500 hp while the Red unleashes the full 707 horses. And we talk about the even snortier 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon in another review.

Trivia: Even the HEMI V8s block is painted in the original “HEMI orange”.

The Pentastar V6

After all these talks, the 3.6L Pentastar V6 gives you a soothing comfort. It develops 305 hp (suddenly, 300 hp sounds friendly). It’s smooth, efficient and quick but not even remotely scary. You can only have it with a smooth and quick 8-speed automatic. It’s even available with AWD in Challenger GT and it does work when things get slippery – friendly. Oh, wait, still thinking about those V8s?

Acceleration

Although the Mustang and Camaro are now increasingly frequenting the Nurburgring, the Challenger still calls the drag strip its home. In fact, the 2011 Challenger Drag Pak is one of the rare cars that broke the 2 seconds barrier doing 0-60 in a mere 1.8 seconds (although it was not street legal). The SRT Hellcat can cover a quarter mile in 11.2 seconds with an otherworldly ferocity. But what about the others?

The 5.7L HEMI V8 equipped Challenger can do 0-60 in 5.7 seconds – not that fast but it’s a huge iron block of all the muscle car heritage and that HEMI V8 sound does make it feel faster than that. Next up is the 392 HEMI V8 equipped R/T Scat Pack. This can do 0-60 in 4.2 seconds – 0.1 of a second faster than the Mustang GT but 0.2 of a second slower than the Camaro.

Models Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Ford Mustang GT Fastback Chevrolet Camaro 1SS
0-60 MPH 4.2 sec 4.3 sec 4.0 sec
Quarter mile 12.6 sec @ 112.3 mph 12.9 sec @ 110 mph 12.4 sec @ 114.6 mph
Engine 6.4L 5.0L 6.2L
Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year) 10.3 9.8 9.3

The Camaro is faster despite having 30 hp power disadvantage. This is mainly down to the Challengers massive curb weight – almost 4000 pounds compared to the Camaros 3700 pounds. Same goes for Challengers quarter mile time of 12.6 seconds – faster than Mustang but slower than the Camaro.

Ride and Handling

“There's no getting around it: For a sports coupe, the Challenger is big. And heavy. Even with our tester's Super Track Pak (which adds a sportier suspension and performance tires), body roll is pronounced when going around turns. Still, there's enough grip to have an enjoyable time.” - Edmunds

The Challenger is best left doing lazy tail-slides in the streets and racing on the dragstrip. Through a corner, that big iron block HEMI and soft suspension make it unwilling and even unnerving when pushed too hard. However, it’s a perfect hot rod cruiser with a pliant suspension that gobbles up road imperfection brilliantly and its lazy handling just adds to the cool and laid back character.

Braking

The Challenger R/T Scat Pack gets 14.2-inch brake rotors up front and 13.8-inch rotors at the back. These haul over 4000 pounds of this muscle car from 60 mph to dead stop in 108 feet – slower than the Camaro 1SS but faster than the Mustang GT. Challenger SRT weighs a massive 4400 pounds. Solution? Dodge fitted 6-piston 15.4-inch two-piece brake rotors – largest in Chrysler group.

“Powerful Brembo brakes provided chest-compressing stops and linear brake-pedal feedback during normal driving.” – Car and Driver

Model Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Ford Mustang GT Fastback Chevrolet Camaro 1SS
Brake Front(in) 14.2 13.9 13.6
Brake Rear(in) 13.8 13.0 13.3
Curb weight(lbs.) 4232 3705 3685
60-0 MPH (ft.) 108 ft. 109 ft. 104 ft.

 

Fuel Economy

7.5/10

“The Challenger and its domestic rivals have improved their fuel economy immensely since the old days of single-digit gas mileage. The Challenger V-6 and V-8s have EPA ratings that are similar to the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang” – Car and Driver

Muscle cars have long been the eyesore for environmental agencies and they still are. However, with technologies like cylinder deactivation, the classy V8s do produce respectable fuel economy figures. The 392 HEMI V8 equipped R/T Scat pack gets 17 mpg combined rating – 1 mpg lower than Mustang GT and 2 mpg lower than Camaro 1SS – not bad considering the 392 HEMI develops almost 20 more horses.

Model Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Ford Mustang GT Fastback Chevrolet Camaro 1SS
Mpg city 14 15 16
Mpg highway 23 24 25
Mpg combined 17 18 19

The 3.6 Pentastar V6 is far better with 25 MPG combined. The 5.7 HEMI is almost as thirsty as the 392 HEMI but it’s the supercharged 6.2 HEMI V8s in the Hellcats and the Demon that have the potential to spark an emergency meeting in EPA with their scary economy figure – 17 mpg combined.

Interior

6.7/10

“The Challenger is a king among coupes with its class-leading passenger and cargo space. It's a far more livable daily driver than its coupe/muscle-car competition. But wrestling the large doors open to gain access can be a challenge.” – Edmunds

The Challenger is the only pony car that can seat 5. On top of that, it’s far roomier than the Mustang and Camaro. This is further aided by cushioned ride, excellent noise deadening and thick leather on higher trims. All these make it that flamboyant loud muscle car that can cruise all day long.

Model Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Ford Mustang GT Fastback Chevrolet Camaro 1SS
Passenger capacity 5 4 4
Passenger Volume(ft. cube) 93.9 84.5 93
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 39.3/58.5/42 37.6/56.3/44.5 38.5/55/43.9
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 37.1/53.9/33.1 34.8/52.230.6 33.5/53/29.9

Infotainment System

If you think a touchscreen will look alien in a legend like the Challenger, take a look at Dodge Performance Pages. It can display information like Oil Pressure, Coolant temperature and Intake Air Temperature in Naturally Aspirated HEMI while in Hellcat, supercharger specific data like Boost Pressure and Intercooler coolant Temperature are also available.

It’s like knowing the pulses of your car. In an era where everything is sugarcoated, Challenger brings something for the grease monkeys. Lower trims get a standard 7-inch touchscreen and optional 8.4-inch touchscreen. Higher trims get 8.4-inch screen U-connect as standard. Some other infotainment features that the 2018 challenger carries are:

  • USB Connection
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • 6 Total Speakers
  • 276 Watts Stereo Output
  • 12 Months Of Provided Satellite Radio Service
  • Auxiliary Audio Input And USB With External Media Control
  • Satellite Radio Satellite Radio

Interior Features

Let's see what this pumped up muscle has to offer us inside it:

  • Audio And Cruise Controls On Steering Wheel
  • Overhead Console With Storage
  • Front Seatback Storage
  • Cruise Control
  • Keyless Ignition
  • Climate Control
  • Manual Rear Seat Easy Entry
  • Dual Illuminating Vanity Mirrors
  • Front And Rear Cupholders
  • Electrochromatic Inside Rearview Mirror
  • Cargo Floor Mats
  • Leather And Simulated Alloy Steering Wheel
  • Electric Power Steering
  • Rear View Camera
  • Tilt And Telescopic Steering Wheel
  • Front Door Pockets
  • Interior Air Filtration

Cargo Capacity

The Challengers trunk is cavernous by sports car standards and it just adds to its USP as a sporty cruiser. Compared to 16.2 cubic feet of luggage capacity offered by the Challenger, Mustang offers 13.5 and Camaro a miserly 9.0 cubic feet. However, high loaded height can be a problem.

“Challenger boasts a trunk that puts the Mustangs and Camaro's to shame. Cargo measurements are just slightly smaller than those of the Charger sedan.” - Edmunds

Model Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Ford Mustang GT Fastback Chevrolet Camaro 1SS
Volume (cube ft.) 16.2 13.5 9.0

Exterior

7.7/10

“The Challenger's classic long-hood/short-deck proportions and wide stance grumble performance in every single model, and with their flared fenders and other details, the Hellcat Widebody and SRT Demon shout it outright.” – Kelley Blue Book

Modern cars are sculpted in the wind tunnel to ensure they slip through the air like a fish. The Challenger is not a modern car – it’s a modern rendition of its predecessor. It has basically no regards of aerodynamics – the long, flat hood with a large truck like radiator faces the air stream bluntly.

The side profile is dominated by the classic “coke bottle” fender line ending in an equally squared-off trunk. Then there are the wild details – the quad iconic headlamps now host wormhole like inboard air-catcher headlamps, the revived Shaker hood, and the large Mopar air scoops.

The color options are named equally heroically – like go-mango and maximum steel. A wide variety of Body stripes aids the go-faster look. You can even have those old-school hood pins right out of the factory.

Dimension and Weight

Among the three legendary pony cars, the Challenger is the longest, widest, tallest and heaviest. The 392 HEMI V8 equipped Challenger R/T Scat Pack has a curb weight of over 4200 pounds – a massive 500 pounds heavier than the Mustang GT and Camaro 1SS.

Model Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Ford Mustang GT Fastback Chevrolet Camaro 1SS
Curb weight(lbs.) 4232 3705 3685
Length(in) 197.9 188.3 188.30
Width(in) 75.7 75.4 74.7
Height(in) 57.5 54.4 53.1
Ground clearance(in) 5.2 5.3 -
Wheelbase(in) 116.2 107.1 110.7
Track width(in) F/R 63.4/63.8 62.3/64.9 63.0/62.9

Exterior Features

Let's see what adds up to the muscular look of this American Muscle:

  • Spare Tire Mobility Kit
  • Clearcoat Paint
  • Body-Colored Front Bumper
  • Body-Colored Rear Bumper
  • Black Side Windows Trim
  • Body-Colored Door Handles
  • Body-Colored Power Heated Side Mirrors w/Manual Folding
  • Fixed Rear Window with Defroster
  • Light Tinted Glass
  • Variable Intermittent Wipers
  • Galvanized Steel/Aluminum Panels
  • Lip Spoiler
  • Black Grille with Chrome Accents
  • Trunk Rear Cargo Access
  • Perimeter/Approach Lights
  • LED Brakelights
  • Fully Automatic Aero-Composite Halogen Daytime Running Headlamps with Delay-Off

Safety

7.4/10

The 2018 Dodge Challenger gets the standard backup camera – a legal requirement for all cars from the model year 2018 onwards. The Challenger gets advanced driver assistance systems like Adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot and rear cross path detection, rear parking sensor and more as an option. However, many of these are not available with manual transmission.

The Passive safety systems available in 2018 Dodge Challenger are:

  • 3-point safety belt restraint system for all seating positions
  • Glove Box Door Integrated Knee Airbag
  • Driver's knee airbag.
  • Belt-Minder front safety belt reminder
  • Dual front airbags
  • Front-seat side-impact airbags
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tether Anchors for Children)
  • Personal Safety System for driver and front passenger
  • Safety Canopy side-curtain airbags
  • SOS Post-Crash Alert System

The 2018 Dodge Challenger gets 5-star safety rating from NHTSA.

Overall Rating 5 star
Overall Frontal Barrier Crash Rating 4 star
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Driver 4 star
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating Passenger 5 star
Overall Side Crash Rating 5 star
Side Barrier Rating 5 star
Side Barrier Rating Driver 5 star
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat 5 star
Side Pole Rating Driver Front Seat 5 star
Combined Side Rating Front Seat 5 star
Rollover Rating 4 star

2018 Dodge Challenger IIHS Crash test rating:

Crashworthiness
Small overlap front driver side Marginal
Small overlap front passenger side Not rated
Moderate overlap front Good
Side Good
Roof strength Acceptable
Head restraints & seats Acceptable
Crash Prevention and Migration
Front crash prevention Basic
Headlights Not Rated
Child seat anchors (LATCH) Acceptable

However, the 2018 Dodge Challenger performed poorly in IISH testing with “Marginal” front small overlap crash rating and “Acceptable” Roof strength rating. This means it does not get Top Safety Pick rating from IISH. Although its primary competitors also do not score well in IISH crash test, they performed better than the Challenger.

Competition

In the hay days of muscle cars back in the late 1960s, many muscle cars came. However, only three true muscle car remains in the 21st century – The Ford Mustang, the Chevy Camaro, and the Dodge Challenger.

2018 Dodge Challenger vs Ford Mustang

The Mustang arguably has more cult following than the other two pony cars and it does have plenty going for it – upscale interiors, efficient and powerful engines, and corner craving dynamics. It’s far better than Challenger around twisty tracks too. However, if you want an old school muscle car, the Challenger is closer to its ancestors than the Mustang with its classic looks and HEMI V8s.

2018 Dodge Challenger vs Chevy Camaro

The Camaro is far closer to the Mustang than the Challenger – it’s tuned on the track, it’s small and lithe and it comes with small and efficient 4-Cylinders. So, if you want a muscle car for cruising and track days, Camaro and Mustang are better. The Challenger differentiates itself with its original bigger is better philosophy – big size, big engines, big interiors, and big trunk.

Final Verdict

The 2018 Dodge Challenger is an irresponsible block of metal even among its already irresponsible peers. When the engineers wanted the Mustang and Camaro to go faster, they made it lighter. When Dodge had to match these rivals, they just plonked in an even more powerful Iron block HEMI V8 under that long hood – properly old school.

It may not be an impressive apex hunter but it sure has the roomiest cabin and largest trunk in class with a cushioned ride. The HEMIs may seem irresponsibly loud but with the impending doom of combustion engines, this may be one of the last cars to get those large naturally aspirated V8s with manual transmission completely devoid of automation.

For now, Dodge has revived all the iconic elements from the heydays of muscle car era – the 392 HEMI, the Shaker Hood, the T/A badge and more. So get one as long as you can because when it all ends, future children will talk about these just like we talk about dinosaurs – large intimidating creatures that are hated when alive and missed when gone.

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