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2015 Dodge Challenger SXT Review By Larry Nutson - The Auto Channel


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2015 Dodge Challenger SXT



2015 Dodge Challenger SXT
SRT Hellcat’s little brother

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel


The slightest mention of Dodge Challenger will have anyone who is even loosely connected to the automotive scene think of the supercharged 707HP Challenger SRT Hemi Hellcat.

Well, not every Challenger can be an SRT Hellcat and not every Challenger buyer can step up to the $59,995 price nor can they use the Hellcat’s astonishing performance. The most powerful U.S. car of all time has its rightful place.


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Dodge offers eight different Challenger models, three different engines along with two different transmissions to choose from. Additionally, there’s a Challenger SRT available with the aforementioned Hemi Hellcat or a 392 Hemi.

The 2015 Challenger is available in eight trim levels (see all specs below review): SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Shaker, R/T Plus Shaker, R/T Scat Pack and 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker.

SXT and SXT Plus models come with the 305HP 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 mated to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic.

R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Shaker and R/T Plus Shaker get the 375 HP 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 that develops 410 lb.-ft. torque and is mated to either a Tremec six-speed manual or the eight-speed automatic.

The two Scat Pack models have a new 485 HP 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 that develops 475 lb.-ft. torque and can be mated with the Tremec six-speed manual or the eight-speed automatic. These Challenger models can do 0-60 mph in the mid-4 second range with the new TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and cover the quarter mile in the low-12 second range. Top speed is a very fast 182 miles per hour (mph).

Adding to this model range, the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat features the all-new supercharged 707HP 6.2-liter HEMI. Challenger SRT’s standard 392 HEMI V-8 delivers 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of peak torque. The TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission is equipped on both new Dodge Challenger SRT models.


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I spent a week driving the little brother in the Challenger family; the V6 powered Challenger SXT. Priced at $26,995 to start, my SXT was also equipped with a $495 Sound Group which begat more watts and more speakers. A $1400 Super Sport Group gave this car 20-inch wheels, 245/45 tires, paddle shifters, performance brakes and a trunk lid spoiler. Throw on a body side stripe for $395 and the $995 8.4 inch touch screen media center with Uconnect access, HD radio and a navigation system, add in the no-choice $995 destination charge and we end up totaled at $31,275.

Now there’s a couple interesting facts to point out on this pony car compared to the other two, namely Mustang and Camaro. The Challenger is a bit larger, built on the same platform as the Charger, and that helps with space. It’s a five-seater, has a large 16.2 cuft trunk, and the rear seat is 60/40 split fold down to make even more cargo room.


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The SXT V6 Challenger is by no means a slouch with its 305HP. Chrysler says it does zero to 60 mph in the low 6 seconds. Conveniently, Chrysler provides an on-board performance indicator that saves you from holding a stopwatch and trying to be accurate. Simply scroll the IP display to the 0 to 60 mph timer, come to a stop, wait a bit and then ram the throttle to the floor and the tenths of a second tick off until you hit 60mph. I did a few runs and managed a 6.4 second 0 to 60 time. It’s not an easy and slightly risky feat to pull this off on the expressways of a crowded city, but I will say had I done a couple more runs I believe I could have knocked off a tenth or two.

On the other end of the spectrum is fuel economy performance. The EPA test ratings for the V6 Challenger SXT are 23 mpg combined, with 19 mpg city and 30 mpg highway. Fill the 18.5 gallon fuel tank and a road trip can be non-stop for 550 miles or so. That is, if you take it easy on the throttle applications. But you will find the throaty exhaust tempting you to be heavy on the gas pedal.

Handling is quite nice on the Challenger with its independent front suspension with high upper “A” arms, coil spring over gas-charged monotube shock absorbers and stabilizer bar, and lateral and diagonal lower links with dual ball joint knuckles. In the rear is a five-link independent with coil springs, gas-charged monotube shock absorbers, stabilizer bar and isolated suspension cradle.


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The optional performance brakes on this SXT have 13.6 inch vented rotors and dual piston calipers, which is enough to handle the 3834 pound SXT. Steering is electric powered and I thought feedback to be good and nicely weighted coming back through the well designed sport steering wheel.


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Even though the Challenger has been around since its revival in 2009, Dodge went more-retro this year with a 1971-inspired design, both inside and out. There’s a new split grille, more pronounced and functional power bulge hood, LED halo headlamps and LED tail lamps. On the inside the all-new interior with 1971-inspired high-sill center console and driver-focused instrument panel is now available in 14 different color and trim selections, including throwback Houndstooth cloth to Ruby Red, Tungsten or Pearl with Black leather performance seats. Houndstooth or hound dog, whatever.

Outward visibility and sight lines are quite good on the Challenger and the interior fit, finish and quality of material is pleasing to both the eye and to the touch. The infotainment and nav systems performed well and were easy to operate.

Dodge didn’t leave out safety on the Challenger. A rear view camera is available as is a new Adaptive cruise control, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection as well as Forward Collision Warning.

If you want to compare the new 2015 Dodge Challenger to other sporty, pony cars you can do that right here on www.theautochannel.com. If you would like more information and detailed specification on the 2015 Dodge Challenger they can be found a mouse click away at www.dodge.com.

Dodge says the Challenger is “built by car guys for car guys.” But we know that “guys” is really not gender specific in today’s world and female as well as male car guys will really have fun with a 2015 Challenger.

© Larry Nutson