The Dodge Challenger is a no-holds-barred burnout machine. What do you need to know before you buy a Dodge Challenger? Don’t worry, we’ll tell you everything right here in the Ultimate Buyer’s Guide.
No modern muscle car pays better homage to its forefathers than the Challenger. It looks and feels like it’s straight out of 1970. It’s a big, heavy, rear wheel-drive muscular cruiser meant to rip smokey burnouts down Woodward Avenue. Unlike Ford and Chevy, who are trying to communicate a more “sophisticated” tone for their muscle cars, Dodge is marketing its Challenger the only way it knows how: ripping nasty, ozone depleting, asphalt crumbling, tire shredding burnouts.
And that’s really the Challenger in a nutshell: it’s not an engineering marvel by any means, but it doesn’t try to be. The Challenger is an honest, simple, American machine that still embodies an era full of protests, heavy drug use, and rock ‘n roll. It’s a total wild child.
That said, mechanically the new car is quite different from the Challenger of yore. The suspension is independent all the way around allowing for a much smoother ride, there are lots of creature comforts available inside, and the engine options don’t guzzle quite as much as the old 1970 car. Still, the soul of the original car remains intact, even if that means this isn’t the most “advanced” car in the segment.
The 2015 model year brought some significant changes to the Challenger. The fascia is new, with revised headlights and a new grille. The taillights have also been refreshed with LED units. There were also a few changes made for 2015 in the interior, but the real story is the addition of the 8-speed automatic transmission on all trim levels. The new gearbox offers both improved fuel economy and acceleration performance- the best of all worlds.
Even more exciting than the transmission, though, was the introduction of the Challenger Hellcat for 2015. With a 707 horsepower 6.2L supercharged V8, the Challenger screams when you punch the skinny pedal. The sound from that supercharger mixing with that V8 growl is truly intoxicating. And the power is insane. If there were ever vehicles expressly designed to annihilate tires it’s the the Challenger and Charger Hellcat twins.
“That thing got a HEMI?” Why yes it does. Three, in fact. The Challenger can be had with a trifecta of V8 Hemi goodness: a 5.7L on the small end (yes, small), a 6.4L naturally aspirated motor on the big end, and a 6.2L supercharged V8 in between. They say there’s no replacement for displacementm but there is: a Supercharger. Despite the lower displacement, that 707 HP 6.2L mill is the most powerful of the options. Though, the 5.7L and 6.4L engines are no slouches, pumping out 375 HP and 485 HP, respectively. The 5.7L with the automatic gets cylinder deactivation technology, which brings its horsepower number down a few ticks to 372.
All Challengers come with at least 300 ponies, so no matter what you choose, you’ll still be able to do unspeakable things to an empty parking lot. If you want to dump the clutch to lay down those elevens, you’ll have to get a V8, as the six only comes with the 8-speed automatic transmission. The V8s offer both the 8-speed auto and the 6-speed manual.
2015 Dodge Challenger Engine Options
|Engine||Max Horsepower (hp)||Max Torque (lb-ft)|
|6.4L V8||485 @ 6000 rpm||475 @ 4200|
|6.2L Supercharged V8||707 @ 6000 rpm||650 @ 4000|
|5.7L V8||375 @ 5150||410 @ 4300|
|5.7L V8 (auto)||372 @ 5200||400 @ 4400|
|3.6L V6||305 @ 6350||268 @ 4800|
The Challenger’s fuel economy numbers make sense for a big, heavy sedan. City fuel economy is poor for all powertrains. On the highway, though, where aerodynamics and gearing matter more than overall mass, the Challenger does okay. The 8-speed transmission keeps the revs low, and even the 707 horsepower Hellcat is able to cruise down the highway at over 20 MPG. Not bad.
If you like the Chally’s old-school looks but would like to put some distance between gas stops, the V6 is really your best bet. While 30 MPG isn’t stellar for the segment, it’s really not bad considering the Challenger’s sheer size.
2015 Dodge Challenger Fuel Economy Ratings (City/Highway/Combined)
|3.6L V6||5.7L V8||6.4L V8||6.2L V8 |
|Fuel Economy - Manual|| NA||15/23/18||14/23/17||13/21/16|
|Fuel Economy - Auto||19/30/23||16/25/19||15/25/18||13/22/16|
- SXT: Base model. Starts at $26,995. Notable standard features include: 3.6L V6, 8-speed automatic transmission, ABS brakes with brake assist, electric power steering, power driver cloth seat, 7-inch digital cluster display, dual zone climate control, power windows, keyless entry, tilting and telescoping steering column, 5-inch touchscreen display for in-car communication system, 18” aluminum wheels, all season tires, projector headlamps, LED tail lamps, dual exhaust, power heated mirrors.
- SXT Plus: Mid range model. Starts at $29,995. Notable standard features over SXT: performance brakes, shorter axle ratio, power tilt and telescoping steering column, heated and ventilated leather seats, heated steering wheel, sporty pedal covers, unique interior trim and color options, premium speakers with amplifier, 8.4-inch touch screen display for in-car communication system, satellite radio, 20” aluminum wheels, wider tires, fog lamps, spoiler, shark fin antenna, rear park sensors, back-up camera.
- R/T: Base V8 model. Starts at $31,995. Notable standard features over SXT: 5.7L V8, 6-speed manual, performance brakes, limited slip differential, sporty pedal covers, unique 20” aluminum wheels, wider tires, fog lamps, unique exhaust, body color rear spoiler.
- R/T Plus: Optioned-up R/T. Starts at $34,995. Notable standard features over R/T: power tilt and telescoping steering column, heated and ventilated leather seats, heated steering wheel, unique interior trim and color options, premium speakers with amplifier, 8.4-inch touch screen display for in-car communication system, satellite radio, unique 20” aluminum wheels, shark fin antenna, rear park sensors, back-up camera.
- R/T Shaker: R/T trim with a unique shaker hood. Starts at $35,795. Notable standard features over R/T: super track pack (unique 3-season tires, high performance brakes, performance steering, performance suspension, unique wheels, and digital performance display), shaker hood, cloth performance seats, unique interior trim, performance steering wheel, rear park sensors, back-up camera, black grille, unique decals.
- R/T Plus Shaker: Optioned-up R/T Shaker. Starts at $38,795. Notable standard features over R/T Shaker: power tilt and telescoping steering column, heated and ventilated leather seats, heated steering wheel, unique interior color options, premium speakers with amplifier, 8.4-inch touch screen display for in-car communication system, satellite radio.
- R/T Scat Pack: Performance Model. Starts at $38,995. Notable standard features over R/T Shaker: 6.4L V8, active exhaust, severe duty cooling package, 4-piston Brembo calipers, shorter axle ratio, electric power steering, Bilstein high performance suspension, premium speakers with amplifier, 8.4-inch touch screen display for in-car communication system, satellite radio, unique wheels, spare tire delete, chrome grille, Scat Pack badging, all season tires.
- 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker: Optioned-up Scat Pack with shaker hood. Starts at $43,595. Notable standard features over R/T Scat Pack: Shaker hood, performance steering, power tilt and telescoping steering column, heated and ventilated leather seats, heated performance steering wheel, unique interior trim, premium speakers with amplifier, black grille, unique badging, 3-season performance tires, blind spot detection.
- SRT 392: Higher performance model. Starts at $46,695. Notable standard features over 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker: 6-piston red Brembo brake calipers, 230mm rear axle, electric power steering, tilting and telescoping steering column, Leather/Alcantara seats, flat bottom leather steering wheel, unique interior trim, 8.4-inch touch screen display for in-car communication system, Harman Kardon Amplifier, 18 speaker audio system with subwoofer, satellite radio, 20” unique wheels, unique all season performance tires, HID headlamps, functional hood scoop. No active exhaust, no shaker intake.
- SRT Hellcat: Monster performance model. Starts at $59,995. Notable standard features over SRT 392: 6.2L Supercharged V8, unique exhaust tips, taller axle ratio than 392, power hydraulic steering, Bilstein 3-mode active suspension, unique interior trim, unique 20” wheels, automatic high beam headlamp control, ran sensitive wipers, unique badging. No fog lamps.
Dodge has gone nuts with the new Challenger. There are so many variants, it can be hard to decide which is really the best performance bargain. We love the Hellcat. It’s a crazy machine that has lunatic power numbers and sounds incredible. But, to us, the best value for the money appears to be the Challenger R/T Scat Pack.
Starting at $38,995, the Scat Pack is over 20 grand cheaper than its Hellcat brother. And, while it doesn’t crank out 707 HP, it still makes a more than respectable 485. More importantly, it’s just a more civilized car. The power comes on smoothly and is within the limits of what the tires can handle. The Hellcat is ferocious and difficult to keep between the lines. The engine makes promises the tires can’t keep, and it can be downright frightening. We say, save yourself a pair of trousers and 20 grand. Go buy the Scat Pack.
MSRP: $26,995 - $59,995 Top Speed: 199MPH [6.2L]
Acceleration: ~3.2 to 60 [6.2L] MPG: 19 city / 30 hwy / 23 combined [3.6L]
Engines: 3.6L V6, 5.7L V8, 6.2L Supercharged V8, 6.4L V8
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front Engine, RWD
Photo Credit: Dodge