This Challenger makes no practical sense. It weighs 4,250 pounds and stretches 198 inches from nose to tail. Yet, it provides less interior space than a Honda Civic. The 6.4-liter Hemi burns fuel like a runner gulps water after a marathon. Its front doors are about as long as paddle boards; you will not be able to both park in a normal space and get out of the car. And, if you want a V8, there are other, faster options.
But I love it.
Brilliantly silly, the T/A 392 put a smile on my face while commuting home. That engine makes proper noise, like when you inadvertently yell out “hull ya!” while blatting the throttle. Despite its size, the chassis is balanced and forgiving. You feel in control, and that 485 hp is just enough. Our example included the optional eight-speed automatic and that did nothing to diminish the experience. Sharp stabs of the throttle lit up the rear wheels in anger. Shifts came at appropriate revs and quickly snapped from cog to cog. If manuals have to go, engineers should calibrate automatics like this. Inside you sit in a comfy cabin, yet to the commuting public you look the business. It’s visceral, innate, elemental car-driving joy.
–Robin Warner, managing editor
This nutty thing is squirrely in the rain, I’ll tell ya. Put the car in D, barely press the gas (perhaps the pedal is a bit too sensitive) and the wheels just spin till the traction control figures out what the hell is happening. Then it hooks up OK, but not great. I see our example has summer tires on it. Indeed.
I drove it over the weekend to get more experience. On the dry roads, it hooks up much better but can still spin the tires at will. In other words, it’s a gas. I love the V8’s sound and power and the car’s looks and the T/A stickers and the hood pins — especially the hood pins. They remind me of when I was a kid. I am seriously digging this gunmetal gray paint. “That thing looks sinister,” a neighbor said. Right on. The seats felt great and I also liked that the cockpit is nice and roomy, at least in front.
Damn, I’m getting old.
–Wes Raynal, editor
Options: Customer Preferred Package 24X including 20 inch by 9.5 inch forged/painted aluminum wheels, 392 fender decal, Brembo six-piston front brakes, satin black hood, illuminated air-catcher headlamps, cold air intake system by Mopar, Pirelli brand tires, Rhombi two-piece wheel center cap, satin black wrapped roof/decklid, T/A air grabber hood with air bezel, T/A bodyside graphic, T/A package, T/A spoiler decal, white face instrument cluster, leather performance steering wheel, satin black fuel filler door, gloss black grille, stain black rear spoiler, glass black instrument cluster trim rings, “Challenger Script” grille badge, park-view backup camera ($6,000); Leather interior group with heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, power tilt/telescoping steering column, hectic mesh interior bezels ($1,695); Harman Kardon premium sound group including 18-speakers premium audio system with subwoofer, Harman Kardon Green Edge amplifier ($1,595); TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission including AutoStick automatic transmission, steering wheel paddle shifters ($1,500); Technology Group including automatic high beam headlamp control, rain sensitive windshield wipers, adaptive speed control, forward collision warning ($1,195); Driver Convenience Group HID headlamps, blind spot and rear cross path detection, remote start system, universal garage door opener ($1,095): UConnect 8.4 Nav including navigation, SiriusXM Traffic Plus, SiriusXM Travel Link 5-year subscription ($795); 270/40ZR-20 Pirelli P Zero summer tires ($695); black hood pins ($295)
ON SALE: Now
BASE PRICE: $39,090
AS TESTED PRICE: $53,955
DRIVETRAIN: 6.4-liter OHV V8, RWD six-speed
OUTPUT: 485 hp @ 6,100 rpm; 475 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 4,239 lb
FUEL ECONOMY: 15/25/18 mpg
OBSERVED FUEL ECONOMY: 12.72 mpg
PROS: True old-school muscle car spirit in a modern(ish) package
CONS: Impractical, guzzles gas, skimpy interior space.