While it might not be the most talked about muscle car on the block, the Dodge Challenger is certainly one that can’t be ignored. Sure, there’s a brand new Camaro out this year, and the Mustang has just been upgraded to Corvette-bashing potential with the arrival of the lightweight Shelby GT350. But neither has an available 6.2-litre supercharged engine that churns out 707 horsepower. And neither has a NHRA-certified quarter-mile time of 11.2 seconds.
While this is all and good for the almighty Challenger Hellcat, there’s still a plenty of reasons to consider the Mopar. It may not be as agile or nimble as its rivals, but the Challenger strikes back with a usable back seat, a big trunk, and seating for five. Lesser models still offer impressive performance; the standard V6 with 305 hp and an eight-speed automatic still has enough grunt to smoke the rear tires, while the Scat Pack offers up nearly 500 hp for less than $50,000.
Two optional V8 Hemis – a 5.7 and a 6.4 – power the R/T and the Scat Pack / SRT 392. They make 375 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque, and 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque, respectively. All V8-powered Challengers feature a six-speed manual as standard with an eight-speed automatic as an option. For those serious about performance, Dodge offers the Super Track Pak that includes beefed up sport suspension, Bilstein shocks, performance tires, and a lap timer.
Updated just last year, the Challenger features a refined interior that draws upon the ’71 model. Most receive Chrysler’s excellent 8.4-inch Uconnect display screen, which features a much-needed reverse camera. The modern cabin features plenty of soft-touch materials, vintage-inspired trims (houndstooth upholstery!), and a modern rendition on the Tic-Toc tach. New premium fabric upholstery marks an upgrade from standard cloth seats, while a new Blacktop package adds gloss-black exterior and interior trim, plus gloss-black 20-inch five-spoke wheels. While Sublime has dropped off the colour pallete, Dodge has added two other memorable retro hues: Plum Crazy and Go Mango.
The 2016 Dodge Charger is priced from $31,795 for the SXT. The range-topping Hellcat offers its devastating performance for just $76,445.