Having worked as a mechanic for years and tested a plethora of cars, I’ve developed a keen sense for what makes a vehicle stand out. The Dodge Challenger, with its iconic design and powerful performance, has always been a favorite of mine. But there are also rumors that in 2024, you won’t be able to buy any dodge car.
The Dodge Challenger, which began its journey in 2008, is a quintessential muscle car. It boasts a vintage look, muscle-car road manners, and impressive V8 powertrains. While the Dodge Challenger has had its highs and lows over the years, Dodge’s commitment to innovation is evident in their other models as well, such as the anticipated transformation of the Dodge Durango under Stellantis.
Best Years for the Dodge Challenger
2023 and 2022
The 2023 and 2022 Challengers mark the culmination of the third generation introduced in 2008. These models are the most advanced and reliable to date. With a plethora of trims, including SXT, GT, R/T, and SRT, there’s something for everyone. The R/T Scat Pack edition, in particular, offers a perfect blend of power and premium features. Add the Widebody appearance package, and you have a beast that looks as powerful as it feels.
- Price Range: $33,000 to $90,000
- Fuel Efficiency: Approximately 23 MPG combined, 19 MPG city, and 30 MPG highway.
- Consumer Scores:
- 2023 Challenger: Edmunds (4.5/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.7/5.0)
- 2022 Challenger: Edmunds (4.5/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.7/5.0), JD Power (87/100)
The 2021 model stands out with its multiple V8 engine choices and a surprisingly spacious cabin. With nine types to choose from, including the SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody and the R/T Scat Pack, there’s no shortage of options. Owners have lauded this model for its spaciousness, interior design, and handling.
- Safety Features: Blind Spot Monitoring, Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
- Consumer Scores: Edmunds (4.4/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.7/5.0), JD Power (87/100)
The 2020 model is a powerhouse with multiple V8 engine choices. It’s more comfortable and spacious than its competitors, the Camaro and Mustang. This year introduced the limited edition 50th Anniversary package and the 807-horsepower SRT Super Stock trim.
- Primary Trims: SXT, GT, R/T, R/T Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat.
- Consumer Scores: Edmunds (4.7/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.7/5.0), JD Power (87/100)
The 2015 model was a significant year for the Challenger, marking a major overhaul in its design and features. The introduction of the 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat was a game-changer, making it one of the most powerful muscle cars on the market. The Uconnect infotainment system was updated, and the interior received a much-needed facelift.
- Notable Features: 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a rearview camera.
- Consumer Scores: Edmunds (4.5/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.6/5.0), JD Power (82/100)
2013 and 2014
These years maintained the Challenger’s reputation for power and performance. The introduction of the R/T Redline and the Shaker hood options added more flair to its design. The V6 engine became standard for the SXT trim, offering a balance of power and fuel efficiency.
- Primary Trims: SXT, R/T, SRT8 392.
- Consumer Scores: Edmunds (4.4/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.5/5.0), JD Power (80/100)
The 2012 model saw the introduction of the SRT8 392 Yellow Jacket and the R/T Classic trims. With a focus on performance, this year’s model offered a range of powerful engine options, including the 6.4-liter V8 in the SRT8 trim.
- Notable Features: Improved suspension, steering, and brakes.
- Consumer Scores: Edmunds (4.3/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.5/5.0), JD Power (79/100)
Worst Years for the Dodge Challenger
The 2010 model stands out as one of the most problematic years for the Challenger. Owners frequently reported engine stalling, battery drain, and structural engine defects. The model had a total of 406 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com.
- Engine Stalling: Many owners reported that the engine would stall without warning, especially while driving at low speeds.
- Battery Drain: There were frequent complaints about the battery draining overnight, leading to the car not starting.
- Structural Engine Defects: Some Challengers from this year had issues with engine components, leading to major repairs.
The 2011 model had a range of issues, with many owners reporting problems with the car’s electrical system. The most common complaints were related to the car’s alternator failing prematurely. There were also some reports of the car’s engine stalling or failing to start.
- Alternator Failure: A significant number of owners faced premature alternator failures, leading to battery issues and electrical malfunctions.
- Engine Stalling: Similar to the 2010 model, the 2011 Challenger had reports of the engine stalling, especially during cold starts.
- Transmission Issues: Some owners reported transmission slipping or the car jerking during gear shifts.
The 2016 model, while generally well-received, had some issues reported by owners. The most common complaints revolved around the car’s electrical system, with some facing problems with the infotainment system freezing or malfunctioning.
- Infotainment System Freezing: The Uconnect system in some of these Challengers would freeze, requiring a system reboot or dealer intervention.
- Electrical Malfunctions: Owners reported various electrical issues, from malfunctioning sensors to issues with the car’s start-stop system.
- Engine Overheating: Some owners faced issues with the engine overheating, especially during long drives or in hot weather.
The 2009 model had its share of problems. Owners reported issues with the car’s brakes, with many reporting premature brake wear. There were also some reports of the car’s engine overheating.
- Brake Wear: Owners reported premature brake wear, leading to frequent brake replacements.
- Engine Overheating: There were reports of the engine overheating, especially during stop-and-go traffic or on hot days.
- Transmission Issues: Some owners reported issues with the transmission, including hard shifts and transmission leaks.
The 2008 model, being the rebirth of the Challenger, had its share of teething problems. Owners reported issues with the car’s transmission, with some facing problems with the transmission slipping or failing.
There were also complaints about the car’s interior, with some finding the seats uncomfortable or the interior materials of low quality.
Consumer Feedback Over the Years
The 2019 model year was well-received, with the introduction of numerous new features and updates. This year saw the debut of the 797-horsepower SRT Hellcat Redeye model and a Widebody version of the R/T Scat Pack trim.
Owners particularly appreciated its balance of performance and practicality, thanks to its spacious trunk and rear seats.
- Notable Features: Blind Spot Monitoring, Forward Collision Warning, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
- Consumer Scores: Edmunds (4.6/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.7/5.0), JD Power (83/100)
The 2018 model year stands out with its array of powerful engine choices, including the 840-horsepower Demon trim. This year introduced the Hellcat SRT Widebody model and a larger standard touchscreen infotainment system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto were also integrated, enhancing the user experience.
- Primary Trims: SXT, GT, R/T, R/T 392, SRT 392, SRT Hellcat, SRT Demon.
- Consumer Scores: Edmunds (4.8/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.7/5.0), JD Power (84/100)
2017 and 2016
Both these years are top picks among consumers. They benefited from the major overhaul in 2015 but without the initial issues.
The updated Uconnect infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto was a significant addition. Owners loved the powerful engine choices and the spacious interiors.
- Consumer Scores for 2017: Edmunds (4.6/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.7/5.0), JD Power (83/100)
- Consumer Scores for 2016: Edmunds (4.8/5.0), Kelley Blue Book (4.7/5.0), JD Power (87/100)
Alternator and Electrical Issues
One of the recurring problems with some Dodge Challenger years, especially between 2011-2014, was electrical issues. Owners reported problems with the alternator, power window mechanisms, and headlight flickering.
Engine and Performance Issues
The 2010 model year, in particular, had issues with engine stalling, excessive battery drain, and structural engine defects. Some owners also reported cylinder misfires in the 2015 model.
The 2009 and 2008 models were majorly affected by the Takata airbag recall, posing significant safety risks to the drivers and passengers. The faulty airbags were known to explode, firing metal shrapnel into the cabin.
Alternatives to Dodge
While the Dodge Challenger is an iconic muscle car, there are other options in the market that potential buyers might consider:
- Ford Mustang: Known for its performance and style, the Mustang is a top competitor. It offers a range of powerful engines and has a starting price of $27,770.
- Chevrolet Camaro: Another classic American muscle car, the Camaro offers a blend of power and style. It starts at $26,400.
- Subaru BRZ: For those looking for a more modern touch, the Subaru BRZ offers a sleek design and commendable performance, starting at $28,595.
What is the best performance Dodge Challenger?
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is considered the best in terms of performance. With its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine, it produces 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful production cars available.
What Challenger has the best engine?
The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon boasts the most powerful engine in the Challenger lineup. Its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine produces an astounding 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque when running on 100-octane race fuel.
Are V6 Challengers reliable?
Yes, the V6 Challengers, particularly those equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, are generally considered reliable. They offer a good balance of performance and fuel efficiency, making them a popular choice among daily drivers.
Is 2015 a good year for Dodge Challenger?
The 2015 Dodge Challenger saw a significant overhaul in design and features, including the introduction of the 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat. While it introduced many positive updates, some owners reported issues with the new 8-speed automatic transmission and cylinder misfires. Overall, it’s essential to check individual vehicle histories when considering a 2015 model.
What is the most famous Challenger?
The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon are among the most famous models due to their extreme performance capabilities. The Demon, in particular, gained significant attention for being a street-legal drag racing car.
Which is better, SXT or SRT?
The answer depends on what you’re looking for. The SXT is the base model Challenger with a V6 engine, offering a balance of performance and fuel efficiency. The SRT, on the other hand, is a high-performance variant with a powerful V8 engine. If you’re looking for raw power and performance, the SRT is the better choice. However, for daily driving and better fuel economy, the SXT might be more suitable.
What is the strongest Dodge Challenger?
The Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is the strongest in terms of horsepower and torque. With its supercharged V8 engine, it can produce up to 840 horsepower and 770 lb-ft of torque, making it one of the most powerful production cars ever made.
The Dodge Challenger is more than just a car; it’s a symbol of American muscle and automotive history. Its roaring engines, iconic design, and the thrill it offers to drivers make it a timeless classic. While some years have been more reliable than others, the Challenger’s spirit remains unchanged. Whether you’re a car enthusiast, a potential buyer, or someone who appreciates the beauty of well-engineered machines, the Challenger’s legacy is undeniable. As with any vehicle, always do your research, test drive, and ensure you’re making an informed decision. Here’s to the open road and the roar of a V8 under the hood!