The 2015 Dodge Challenger Review: Despite the growing popularity of fuel-economizing hybrid and electric cars, there is still a segment of the population that wants to drive fun, powerful cars. In 2015, you can buy a new Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, and a Dodge Challenger, three of the original muscle cars. The 1970 Challenger was Chrysler’s response to the 1965 Mustang and 1967 Camaro. Although late to the party, it offered another kind of experience, including the famous Hemi V8 engine.
The car, however, didn’t last past the early 1970s. The latter-day version is based on Chrysler’s 300 / Dodge Charger, which itself started life on the old Mercedes-Benz E-Class platform. Using a larger platform gives the Challenger more room inside, and that means it will carry a bass in the front passenger seat. If you can find an old Challenger, park it next to the new one and you’ll be astounded not only by how much bigger the 21st-century version is, but also, by how the stylists translated much of the beloved shape onto the modern platform.
My tester arrived in Sublime paint, with emphasis on the “lime.” As a further retro touch, while the recent Challenger has been modeled after the 1970 model, the 2015 version is updated to the 1971 styling, so you get a split grille and taillamps, just the kind of annual model change that distinguished cars of the 1950s and 1960s.
The 2015 receive an all-new, and much nicer, interior. Apparently the stylists kept an actual 1971 dash available: much of its trapezoidal shape is referenced in today’s materials and requirements. The gauges are beautiful dials, while in the center of the dash is an eight-inch touch-screen display for selecting entertainment choices and vehicle configurations. The genuine stamped aluminum trim and nicely assembled components provide an upscale, retro ambiance.
There is a new Hellcat 701-horsepower version of the Challenger out, but it’s a very special and expensive reputation enhancer for the brand. Most folks will choose from the three more common levels, defined by their powertrains. My tester was the R/T Scat Pack, with a 6.4-liter V8 that sent 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. It’s good for zero-to-60 runs in the mid-four second range, and the quarter-mile in the low 12-second area. Top speed is 182 mph.
EPA environmental numbers for the 6.4-liter V8 engine are 5 for Smog and 4 for Greenhouse gas. The fuel economy numbers are 15 City, 25 Highway and 18 Overall with the automatic, and 1 mpg lower with the stick. I averaged 15.4 mpg.
Below the 6.4 is the 5.7-liter V8, with “only” 375 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque. The “entry-level” Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 with 305 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque.
I had to feather the accelerator so I didn’t leave patches of rubber at every stoplight. Checking the Super Track Pack screen, I discovered that I had been driving in “Sport” mode the whole time. Dialing back to “Normal” moderated some of the car’s urge to leap forward at every opportunity.
With the two larger engines, you can order either a six-speed manual or a remarkable eight-speed automatic. My tester had the latter. You can let it work or use the small steering wheel paddles to choose your own gear.
The Chrysler / Dodge / Jeep / Fiat user interface is one of the easiest to learn and use. The colorful eight-inch center screen is sensibly laid out. It was easy to connect my phone for calls and music streaming. The climate adjustments are intuitive, and the audio system sounds nice. My favorite, though, is the back-of-the-steering-wheel adjustments for the audio system; switch from satellite radio to FM or Bluetooth with the push of a button, and select stations and modulate volume easily, too.
The Challenger contains all the safety features you could want. These include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning light/buzzer, and Forward Collision Warning. My tester also boasted more than $10,000 worth of upgrades, including leather / altantara seating, the eight-speed transmission, and upgraded sound. The Scat Pack appearance package adds heritage Bumble Bee striping on the tail and 2015-style 20-inch black alloy wheels with low profile rubber.
Pricing for my Scat Pack with the automatic and the extra equipment came to $47,860, including $995 for destination charges. A plain V6 SXT model begins at $27,990, and will deliver much of the looks and still provide an exciting driving experience.
Built in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, the thoroughly updated 2015 Dodge Challenger offers all the fun of a traditional muscle car, updated for today. This segment of the car market is predicted to grow, and as long as it does, you will be able to relive some of the excitement of days gone by.
By Steve Schaefer © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
The Bottom Line: The 2015 Dodge Challenger has been updated and takes its styling lines now from the 1971 model. With a new for 2105 front end split grill to the rear split taillights the new challenger looks pretty cool. The model I drove was a Limelight / Sublime colored SRT 392 Hemi Scat Pack model with 485 HP and 475 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. This combo, with front line lock, made for fantastic burnouts at will.
The 392 Hemi mill just puts out so much power that all it takes is a light right foot to bring lots of tire smoke and big grins in an instant. And that’s with only the 485 HP engine! I just can’t wait to drive the new 707 HP Hellcat engines in the SRT upgraded Challenger and Charger models. And maybe, just for that reason alone, you should “Drive one, and Buy one, Today ©” And remember: “ You Are What You Drive ©”
Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
The 2015 Dodge Challenger Bottom Line Review provided by: Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net - “Tony the Car Guy” is an automotive writer, editor and publisher in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you have a question or comment for Tony send it to TonyLeo@pacbell.net or visit AutoWire.Net at www.autowire.net - And remember: “ You Are What You Drive © ”
Column Name: It’s 1971 Again, but Better
Topic: The 2015 Dodge Challenger
Word Count: 1,085
Photo Caption: The 2015 Dodge Challenger
Photo Credits: Dodge Challenger Internet Media
Series #: 2015 - 01
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