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- Highs Two potent Hemi V-8 options, spacious interior, suspension tuned for pleasant cruising.
- Lows Standard V-6 is bested by the competition, numb steering feel, substandard interior materials.
- Verdict The 2018 Dodge Challenger sports an evocative retro design, the choice of strong Hemi V-8 engines, and a comfortable interior with the latest tech features.
The Challenger's old-school roots are obvious: witness the retro design and simplistic interior. Available with a class-exclusive, all-wheel-drive powertrain for the base V-6 engine, Dodge’s pony car also can be fitted—in rear-wheel-drive form—with a 375-hp or mighty 485-hp Hemi V-8. Both engines have a standard six-speed manual transmission; a proficient eight-speed automatic is optional. The Challenger’s cushy ride and comfy cabin make it a compelling cruiser, but the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang have elevated performance expectations.
What's New for 2018?
The 2018 Challenger has updates that include new standard equipment and performance upgrades. Red Brembo brake calipers are now an option on several V-8 trims. An all-new Performance Handling package is available on models with the 5.7-liter V-8. The all-wheel-drive Challenger GT adds optional 19-inch wheels with painted pockets. The Super Track Pak package now features nappa leather and microsuede sport seats. Some models receive a standard 7.0-inch Uconnect touchscreen. The 2018 Challenger lineup adds a backup camera and new paint colors, including F8 Green and IndiGO Blue exterior colors.
- SXT: $28,690
- GT: $35,390
- R/T: $35,390
- T/A: $39,390
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Challenger's base 305-hp 3.6-liter V-6 won’t satisfy thrill seekers. It lacks the acceleration and excitement of the Mustang’s turbo inline-four or the Camaro’s V-6. The Dodge’s Hemi V-8 engines are another story. The 375-hp 5.7-liter we tested had plenty of juice, and its guttural growl was satisfying. Those seeking more power will want the 6.4-liter V-8, which produces 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the bigger engines, and an exceptional eight-speed automatic is an option. The latest models of the Challenger handle far better than their ancient predecessors, but compared with the sharper handling of the Camaro and Mustang, the Challenger is too soft in the twisties and its steering is numb.
EPA fuel economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest and most accurate fuel economy numbers on current and older vehicles, we use the U.S. Department of Energy's fueleconomy.gov website. Under the heading "Find & Compare Cars" click on the "Compare Side-by-Side" tool to find the EPA ratings for the make, model, and year you're interested in.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Challenger has a classic muscle-car interior, with a simple design inspired by its 1970s-era predecessors. And the Dodge is far roomier inside than its current rivals. Unfortunately, its rubberized materials resemble old vinyl rather than premium plastic. The Challenger’s spacious interior and broad front seats are comfortable for cruising, but even the optional seats, with added bolstering, don’t hug their occupants like those in the Camaro and Mustang. The big-bodied Challenger’s large trunk surpasses the competition. Its limited interior storage isn’t uncommon in this class, but it has a useful amount of cubby space.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Challenger's base Uconnect system includes a 5.0-inch touchscreen, a single USB port, and a six-speaker stereo. An available 8.4-inch touchscreen includes another USB port, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The upgraded interface allows climate-control adjustments and access to optional performance settings. Navigation with real-time traffic and weather is optional, as are two more elaborate audio systems.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.