2019 Dodge Challenger Review

Challenger

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2019 Dodge Challenger Overview

The Dodge Challenger has undergone several rounds of changes in its 11 model years on the market. But the same basic formula remains: it’s a large, performance-oriented grand-touring coupe with style and power in spades. For 2019, it gets some tweaks.

The biggest changes are powertrain related. The base 3.6-liter V6, with 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque, along with an 8-speed automatic, returns for the SXT and GT trims. Previously, SXT was rear-wheel drive (RWD) only, while GT was all-wheel drive (AWD). For 2019, both are available with RWD or AWD. The new RWD GT is a performance model in its own right, with standard Super Track Pak, a modified hood, better brakes, and a wider sway bar.

Slotting above that is the 5.7-liter V8 engine in R/T models, making as much as 375 hp and 410 lb-ft. It drives the rear wheels via either a standard 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. For those looking to eke a bit more power out of R/T, there’s a Performance Plus Package that adds track-ready 20-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, and enhanced handling. You can also now choose to delete the rear seats and seatbelts, to save a bit of weight.

The Scat Pack series and base SRT offer the same transmissions as R/T, but bump the engine up to a 6.4-liter V8, with 485 hp and 475 lb-ft. For 2019, Dodge introduces an R/T Scat Pack Widebody variant, with widened fender flares that add 3.5 inches to the car’s width, as well as uprated brakes, wider wheels and tires, and a superior suspension. Scat Pack versions also ge the “power-bulge” aluminum hood with heat extractors and “Air Catcher” headlights that were previously reserved for higher trims, to keep the engine bay cooler.

Finally, there are the potent SRT Hellcat models, which get considerable upgrades. The base Hellcat houses a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 10 more horsepower than last year, for a total of 717, and 656 lb-ft, a gain of 6. Like the other V8s, a 6-speed manual transmission is standard, while an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters is an option. The range-topping SRT Demon model of 2018 was a limited-edition model and so doesn’t carry into 2019. But fans who missed out can console themselves with the new SRT Hellcat Redeye edition, which puts up an insane 797 hp and 707 lb-ft of torque. Much of the technology from the Demon, from cooling, to brakes, to weight-savings, makes its way into SRT Hellcat Redeye. Dodge touts it as being able to hit 60 miles per hour in as few as 3.4 seconds, along with a quarter-mile time of 10.8 seconds and a top speed of 203 miles per hour. Both SRT Hellcat and SRT Hellcat Wideye are available in Widebody variants.

Fuel economy numbers range, depending on the trim level. They start at 17 mpg city and and 23 highway and climb to 23 city and 30 mpg highway.

Meanwhile, amenities haven’t changed much, but that isn’t a bad thing at all. Standard features include cloth upholstery, 18-inch alloy wheels, a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless access and start, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED daytime running lights, and LED tail lights. Amenities like leather upholstery, heated and cooled seats, navigation, a larger 8.4-inch infotainment system, remote start, a sunroof, and memory settings are available, depending upon the trim and options packages selected.

Lest you think Dodge is too focused on performance and looks, the Challenger offers a full complement of safety options. A reversing camera is the only standard safety item, but forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, reversing sensors, and rear cross-traffic detection are available. That said, the Challenger only managed middling scores in its most recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash tests.

The Dodge Challenger is a unique piece of magic in its own right. It’s rare to find a full-size coupe that can seat five people, looks classically handsome, and offers insane amounts of performance, while maintaining its civility when necessary. But the Challenger achieves all that. And with the new performance options, there’s never been a better time to buy one.

Updated

Kyree is new to the automotive journalism scene, but has voiced snarky public opinions about cars for quite some time. When he's not drooling over the latest European luxury sled, he's designing web experiences or writing backend code.

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