Unabashedly retro in looks and character, the Challenger swaggers on as the big, simple-fun option of the pony car scene.
New for 2020: A limited-time 50th Anniversary Edition joins the Challenger lineup for 2020. The $4,995 option will show up on no more than 1,960 versions of the Challenger, spread evenly across four trims: GT RWD, R/T Shaker, R/T Scat Pack Shaker and R/T Scat Pack Shaker Widebody. All 50th Anniversary Editions get a unique interior to set them apart, with a color-matched dashboard badge signifying their place in history.
The Challenger lineup spans from mild, 305 hp V6 models to wild, 797 hp, supercharged V8, widebody Hellcat Redeye editions. That gives it the rather unique distinction of having the widest spread of available horsepower across all new cars on sale.
Also unique amongst the segment is an all-wheel drive option, something the smaller Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro don’t offer.
It won’t carve corners like either of those cars, but the Challenger doesn’t care. It’s a cruiser through and through, even in the fire-breathing top trims. We’re big fans.
For 2020 the Challenger lineup consists of six models. The SXT and GT both feature the 3.6-liter V6 engine and a standard eight-speed automatic. Only the six-pot has the option for all-paw traction: make the move to the powerful V8s and you’ve got only the rear wheels to tame them.
R/T and R/T Scat Pack models feature a 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter Hemi V8, respectively. The R/T is one of the cheapest ways to drive off the lot in a V8 that isn’t a pickup truck. 375 hp ain’t nothing to sneeze at. Neither is the Scat Pack’s 485 hp, especially for an MSRP under $40k. Meanwhile the SRT models bolt a supercharger on for laugh-out-loud power. All V8s come with the option of a six-speed manual transmission, except the Redeye: the 797 hp son-of-Demon is auto-only.
All that affordable horsepower does come with some trade-offs. The interior isn’t what you’d call luxurious—but then again, that’s sort of the point here. The Challenger does make use of Chrysler’s easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment, however. Considering the car’s substantial size (outside, not in), the available driver assists, like blind-spot warning, rear cross-path detection, and parking assist, are most welcome.
2020 Challenger pricing ranges between $29,490 and $79,790 before options, including $1495 in destination.
Pros/ Plenty of customization options / Straightforward fun / More comfortable than other pony cars
Cons/ Big and heavy / Poor visibility / Limited manual availability
Bottom Line/ Instead of fighting the Mustang and Camaro, the Challenger sticks closest to the original muscle car ethos: big body and big power.
Table of contents
2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody Review
By Craig Cole
There’s one in every crowd.
I’m talking about that friend who defies convention, eschews cultural norms. He’s loud, rude and often quite crude, unafraid of cracking a dirty joke in mixed company. Almost certainly not the person you’d take to a fancy restaurant, he’s nonetheless a one-man carnival and the guy everyone else wants to hang out with.
In many ways, the Dodge Challenger is that sort of rowdy companion. With Hemi power under the hood, this old-school coupe is boisterous and bellicose, but also an absolute blast, whether you’re ripping down a country two-lane, lighting up the rear skins or just blipping the throttle while sitting in rush-hour traffic.
Dodge Challenger Powertrain
Dodge is proud to tout the Challenger’s engine lineup as the most diverse in the segment. Offering a V6 and three different V8s—one of which comes in two flavors—there’s plenty of options for Challenger buyers.
The SXT and GT models are the value propositions, sticking to the six-pot Pentastar. It comes with just one transmission option these days: an agreeable eight-speed auto. V6 Challengers do come with the option of AWD however, which remains a USP in this segment.
Graduate to the R/T trim for a good ol’ American V8. This 5.7-liter packs a healthy 375 hp, and in addition to the afore-mentioned auto, can also send its power to the pavement via a six-speed manual transmission. The R/T Scat Pack drops a bigger, meaner 6.4-liter V8 under the Challenger’s long, long hood, adding a full 110 horses to the regular R/T’s pony count. It too comes with either transmission option; select the auto and the V8 can shut down half of its cylinders to boost fuel economy.
The next jump is a big one: the V8’s swept volume is down somewhat, to only 6.2 liters, but Dodge bolts on a supercharger for good measure. The result is 717 hp, with 656 lb-ft of torque backing it up. Just like the other V8s, you have a choice of transmission here.
Not enough power for you? Step into the Redeye, a demonic 797 hp killer of tires. There’s no transmission choice here: only the eight-speed automatic is capable of containing the power.
Dodge Challenger Features and Pricing
Challenger SXT: Starts at $29,490 (AWD + $3,000)
Not many vehicles offer horsepower for less than $100 per pony, but the most of the Challenger lineup does. The SXT swings in under that unique bar, at $96.68 a head. Add all-wheel drive and what you lose in value you gain in a sense of all-weather security.
For that money you get a 305 hp V6 hooked up to an eight-speed auto. SXT trims feature 18-inch wheels, eight-way adjustable power seats, automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather steering wheel, and FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system in 7.0-inch format. Uconnect supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
An available Plus Package ($3,195) adds 20-inch wheels, an upgraded six-speaker sound system, 8.4-inch touchscreen, fog lamps, heated front seats and steering wheel, leather seating, and a power tilt/telescope steering wheel. Three additional $1,295 packages are available for the SXT as well:
- Driver Convenience Group: Adds blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, HID headlights, rear park-assist, power mirrors and remote start.
- Technology Group: Adds automatic high beams, front collision warning and rain-sensing wipers.
- Blacktop Package: A largely aesthetic pack, this adds 20-inch wheels of its own and dips various exterior trim pieces in black.
Standalone options include the 8.4-inch Uconnect system with navigation, an Alpine audio system, and a power sunroof.
Challenger GT: $32,490 (AWD+ $3,000)
The GT adds a handful of the most popular features to the SXT base. In come 20-inch wheels, foglights, remote start, and rear parking sensors (hallelujah!). The Plus Package, Technlogy Group, and Driver Convenience Group all remain on the options list, at the same price as they are on the SXT. The Blacktop Package drops to $1,095. Exclusive for the GT is a Performance Handling Group, which adds unique 20-inch wheels, Brembo brakes, unique suspension tuning, and a flat-bottom steering wheel with shift control, all for $1,595. A Harmon Kardon sound system joins the options list for the same price.
Challenger R/T: $36,090
The cheapest V8 model in the Challenger lineup is all about that engine. If you want more creature comforts, you’ll have to dive into the options menu, same as the GT. In addition to that trim’s available option packs, the R/T also offers a Shaker Package ($2,595) with functional shaker hood; T/A package ($3,495) with unique wheels, white gauges and black exterior accents; Carbon and Suede Interior Package ($1,595); and Performance Plus package with wider wheels and 275-series Pirelli P Zeroes.
You can even delete the rear seats for a princely sum of $1, on any of the V8 models.
Challenger R/T Scat Pack: $41,490 (Widebody + $6,000)
You know the story by now: standard kit is cloth seats, six-speed manual, and a big ol’ V8 up front, now measuring 6.4 liters. Uconnect is also up, to the 8.4-inch screen. Newly standard is line lock and launch control, making it clear what the Challenger prioritizes: straight-line speed.
Available options are all the same as before, in addition to a new Dynamics Package. For $2,395 it swaps in Brembo six-piston front brakes, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and unique 20-inch wheels.
The pricey widebody kit isn’t just about the improved stance or fat 305-series rubber: it also adds Bilstein adaptive suspension and the upgraded Brembo brakes.
Challenger SRT Hellcat: $62,190 (Widebody + $6,000)
As we move up the performance ladder, horsepower gets cheaper: the Hellcat charges owners just $86.73 per pony for its 717 hp. The Hellcat features everything the R/T Scat Pack Widebody does, either in the same big-boi body or the regular Challenger shell.
Outside of the usual options packages, the Hellcat-specific choices are for either all-leather or leather/Alcantara seats.
Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye: $73,790 (Widebody + $6,000)
The Redeye can’t boast the dollar-per-horsepower ratio of the regular Hellcat, but you do still get bragging rights over anything this side of a Bugatti. The Redeye boosts power to a faintly believable 797 hp, and torque to an absurd 707 lb-ft. Options remain as they do on the lesser kitty.
Dodge Challenger Recommended Trim
Picking just one Challenger out of the whole lineup is like limiting yourself to a single type of pizza for life. No matter what your choice ends up being, you’ll just miss the rest.
If we’re forced to choose, it’d have to be a V8. The Mopar engine sounds great in every form, so there’s no wrong choices here. As wild as the Hellcat can be though, you’re talking at least $62k—and nearly that much in tire costs over the years.
So we’re going with the R/T Scat Pack. 485 hp is plenty, it comes with either an automatic or manual, and can come with all the good options for under $50,000. Well, unless you want the Widebody; it’s expensive, but that stance is almost worth it all on its own.
Dodge Challenger Fuel Economy
Considering the Challenger is a couple inches shy of 200, and even the lightest model tips the scales at 3,894 lb, it’s quite the economical muscle car.
That lightest model is the SXT base trim. Thanks to its ubiquitous Pentastar V6 and eight-speed auto, the SXT is able to score 19 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, resulting in an average of 23 mpg.
Opting for the all-wheel drive Challenger and, naturally, it posts slightly worse numbers. We’re not talking much, though: its EPA scores are 18/27/22 mpg.
With an extra two cylinders the Challenger gets progressively thirstier. The 5.7-liter in the R/T is capable of 16 mpg in the city, 25 mpg highway, and 19 mpg with the automatic transmission. Elect to row your own and that drops to 15/23/18 mpg.
Scat Pack figures are barely worse, considering it adds 110 hp. Auto numbers are 15/24/18 mpg; the manual, 14/23/17 mpg.
Happily, all SRT Challengers post roughly the same numbers: if you’re packing over 700 hp, expect to see 13/21/16 mpg.
Dodge Challenger vs Ford Mustang
The whole pony car segment wouldn’t exist without the Ford Mustang, so of course it’s the Chally’s stiffest competition.
The Blue Oval has carefully massaged the Mustang lineup since the current generation launched in 2015. Gone is the V6, with an EcoBoost four-cylinder putting out the sort of power (310 hp) a V8 ‘Stang did only a dozen years ago, and all starting at $27,865. Of course, there’s still a V8 in the new model too, in 460 hp GT ($36,825) and 480 hp Bullitt ($48,900) trims. Beyond that are the track-honed Shelby GT350 and GT500, with a high-revving banshee shriek or an immensely powerful supercharged shove, respectively.
Even ignoring the Shelbys, the Mustang is more focused on sporty handling than the Challenger. The trade-off there is a less comfy long-distance cruiser, especially for those forced to sit in the back. The Mustang’s rear quarters are for kids at best, unlike the Challenger’s. Then again, the available convertible could tip things in the Mustang’s favor for sun-lovers.
Dodge Challenger vs Chevrolet Camaro
The Challenger has overtaken the Chevrolet Camaro on the sales charts the last few years. Don’t let that stop you from considering the Bow Tie pony car though: despite its questionable recent facelifts, it’s one heck of a fun drive.
The Camaro is the cheapest of them all, kicking things off at just $25,995 (including destination). That budget spec does net a 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and six-speed manual though, putting out just 275 hp.
The price of entry for a V6 is $28,090; the easiest way into a V8 just $34,995. Both come with the row-your-own option, or a 10-speed auto for $1,595 more.
Top of the pile is the 650 hp ZL1, powered by—you guessed it—a supercharged V8. The Camaro’s wildest option almost seems quaint against the 700-plus power of the top Challenger and Mustang, but with the 1LE handling pack it can embarrass much more expensive machinery on track.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but in our opinion the Challenger is the better looking car. It’s more spacious, not to mention easier to see out of. But if approachable, import-shaming performance is your jam, the Camaro has the Challenger licked.
|Price Range (USD) /||$29,490 – $79,790|
|Engine /||3.6L V6 / 5.7L V8 / 6.4L V8 / 6.2L V8SC|
|Horsepower (hp) /||305 / 375 / 485 / 717 / 797|
|Torque (lb-ft) /||268 / 410 / 475 / 656 / 707|
|Fuel Economy (mpg) /||19/30/23 (V6 RWD) – 13/21/16 (Redeye)|
|Drivetrain /||8AT/6MT, RWD/AWD|
Our Final Verdict
The Dodge Challenger shows that one can age gracefully, if by gracefully we mean getting progressively wilder. This generation of Challenger was already seven years old when the Hellcat arrived, and it’s on the cusp of teenage years now.
But the beauty of the package is that it offers something for everyone. The Challenger’s wide range of customization has kept it popular with buyers; it scored its best-ever sales year in 2018. Want a stylish coupe with AWD for the winter months? An affordable V8 cruiser that won’t break the bank? How about a bonkers tire-shredder with more horsepower than most Ferraris? The Challenger answers “yes” to all the above.
|Space and Comfort||8.0|