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The Auto Channel; Enjoy The Drive: 2018 Dodge Challenger GT Review by John Heilig +VIDEO

2018 Dodge Challenger GT (select to view enlarged photo)
2018 Dodge Challenger GT

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 Dodge Challenger GT

ENGINE: 3.6-liter V6

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 305hp @ 6,350 rpm/268 lb.-ft. @ 4,800 rpm

WHEELBASE: 116.2 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 197.9 x 85.4 x 57.5 in.

TIRES: P235/55R19

CARGO CAPACITY: 16.2 cu. ft.

ECONOMY: 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway/17.7 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 18.5 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 4,106 lbs. #/HP: 13.5


COMPETITIVE CLASS: BMW 6 Series, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro

STICKER: $40,555 (includes $1,095 delivery, $5,965 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Dodge Challenger GT offers a quiet ride, but still with adequate power to go along with its retro styling.

There are a couple of versions of the Dodge Challenger, along with its sedan sibling, the Charger. All offer retro styling that makes them look like 1970s cars, and those 70s cars had great styling. The versions range from the GT (our tester) with a 305 horsepower 3.6-liter V6, all the way up to the 808 horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 - the aptly named Demon (Hellcat in the Charger).

While we had driven a V8-powered version earlier, the GT comes across as a far more civilized vehicle. True, simply blipping the gas pedal in the V8-powered car emits a healthy roar (I’m almost afraid to listen to the Demon), the 3.6-liter V6-engined GT creates a roar, but a gentler one.

A golfing buddy of mine was with me in the earlier version and was almost disappointed with the GT. Also, I had one observer question whether our tester was a new car or an older one, and he knew cars.

Although our tester was not so equipped, the Challenger is available with all wheel drive, making it the only performance coupe with AWD.

Ride quality in the Challenger is very good. A long wheelbase and two tons of curb weight help soften most road irregularities. The downside is that handling can be less than great, with a larger diameter turning circle. Trying to maneuver the Challenger into a shopping center parking space can be a challenge. What it needs is a 360 degree “overhead” view to help negotiate lines and spaces.

On the instrument cluster there is an information panel between the tachometer and speedometer that has a digital speedometer mode. I found this more readable the the 160 mph analog speedometer, which was hard to read at a glance. Yes, it looked good, but wasn’t the most practical.

For entertainment, Chrysler’s Entune functions can only be enabled with the screen on. In fact, you can’t adjust anything with the screen off - heated wheel and seats, audio, phone, climate, navigation, phone or clock. We enjoy musical background when we ride, so it’s okay to a degree.

Challenger is a coupe, so even though the rear seat has decent legroom thanks to the long wheelbase, my granddaughter was almost strangled by the front seat belt the first time she got in. She later learned how to work around it.

Rear seat visibility is horrid. I’d hate to be claustrophobic back there. The sun roof helps get some light back there, though. The rear is also only good for two passengers thanks to a tall center hump. Front seats are comfortable with good side support.

I was impressed - and helped - by the Challenger’s safety suite. If you’re motoring along and the vehicle in front of you decides to slow or stop, all hell breaks loose. Alarms go off and the dash yells “BRAKE’ and “STOP”. Fortunately, I was aware of the situation a split second before all the commotion, but it was comforting to be warned.

Other safety goodies include blind spot monitors and rear cross traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control with “distance” switches on the wheel help keep you safely behind other vehicles when cruise is on.

Challenger has a good trunk, but it suffers from the 1970s problem of less than ideal access.

Overall, the Dodge Challenger brings a great retro look to the table. With the 3.6-liter V6, it also brings a quiet, comfortable ride.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate