While most people would love to drive a muscle car, the lack of practicality makes them pause. While the Mustang or Camaro will give you a thrill behind the wheel, they have so little space that they’re impractical for everyday driving. The Dodge Challenger, on the other hand, offers drivers a pathway into both worlds. The Challenger is undeniably powerful, with engines ranging from 305 to 797 horsepower on the 2019 model. Yet, the Challenger also has plenty of room, with a large back seat, comfortable cabin, and ample trunk space. All-wheel drive, which is available even on the base trim as of 2019, makes the Challenger even more appealing for everyday driving.
If you’re considering a Dodge Challenger or just contemplating making your muscle car dreams a reality, learn more in this review.
Size and Seating Capacity: The Dodge Challenger is a two-door car, but despite that it has a surprising amount of space. Unlike most other sports car, the Challenger has seating for five passengers, not four. In the rear seats, passengers have 33.1 inches of legroom. The Challenger also has 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, which is much more than other sports cars and comparable to sedans like the Honda Accord.
Price: The 2019 Dodge Challenger has a starting price of $28,095 for the base level SXT trim. Prices for the higher trim levels increase steeply: the 2019 Hellcat has a starting price of more than $69,000, and the Hellcat Redeye has a starting price of nearly $72,000. These prices are roughly in line with comparable American muscle cars, and since the Dodge Challenger is more practical as a daily driver, you might feel that the Challenger is worth the price.
Trims and Features: The 2019 Dodge Challenger is available in six different trim levels. This model year the Dodge Hellcat Redeye (with 797 horsepower) was introduced into the lineup. It replaces the Dodge Challenger SRT demon. That model, which has 840 horsepower and drag-racing equipment, was discontinued after the 2018 model year.
The Challenger comes standard with a seven-inch display screen, with an optional 8.4-inch display screen available. All models have Dodge’s Uconnect® infotainment system, as well as Apple CarPlayTM and Android AutoTM. The Challenger has a six-speaker audio system, with optional upgrades to 9- and 18-speaker sound systems available. Cloth seats are standard, but leather is an available option on all trim levels. Here’s what you can expect from each trim level:
- SXT: The SXT comes with the Dodge Challenger’s base engine, a 305-horsepower V6, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and a sports-tuned suspension. It comes in rear-wheel or all-wheel drive (on model years 2019 and later). The SXT has cloth seats and comes standard with Dodge’s Uconnect® infotainment system, as well as Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
- GT: The GT also comes with the base engine, eight-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive. This trim comes standard with The Challenger’s performance suspension system, with the option to upgrade to the high-performance suspension system. An 18-speaker Harman Kardon® audio system becomes available as an option at this trim.
- R/T: The R/T trim comes with a V8 engine that produce 375 horsepower. It comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, with the option to upgrade to an eight-speed transmission. The R/T comes standard with the performance suspension, with an optional upgrade to high-performance suspension available.
- R/T Scat Pack: The Scat Pack trim is where the Challenger steps its power up a notch. The Scat Pack comes with a 485-horsepower V8 engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission. An eight-speed automatic transmission is an available option. This trim level comes standard with high-performance suspension, launch assist and the available option of a three-mode adaptive suspension. The interior gets upscale touches included heated from seats and a larger 8.4-inch display screen.
- Hellcat: The Hellcat, again, steps the Dodge Challenger’s power. The Hellcat trim comes with a supercharged V8 engine that produces 717 horsepower. It has a standard six-speed manual transmission, with an optional upgrade to an eight-speed automatic. The Hellcat comes with a competition-tuned suspension system for optimal handling, as well as a three-mode adaptive suspension system. Exterior touches like hood scoops give the Hellcat a distinct outward appearance.
- Hellcat Redeye: The Hellcat Redeye is new to the Dodge Challenger lineup for 2019. It produces a massive 797 horsepower with its supercharged V8 engine, enough to go 0 to 60 in just 3.4 seconds. There’s no option for manual transmission at this trim level; it comes standard with an eight-speed automatic. A competition-tuned suspension and three-mode adaptive suspension system are also standard.
In addition the trim-specific features outlined above, the Dodge Challenger comes with a host of available options. For example, a sun roof, heated and ventilated front seats, and safety features including forward collision monitoring are available at all trim levels.
Engine Options and Fuel Economy: The 2019 Dodge Challenger is available in five engine options, which get various fuel economies:
- 305-horsepower V6 (standard on the SXT and GT trims) get 23 mpg combined fuel economy in automatic transmission.
- 375-horsepower V8 (standard on the R/T trim) gets 18-19 mpg combined fuel economy, depending on whether you choose automatic or manual transmission.
- 485-horsepower V8 (standard on the R/T Scat Pack Trim) gets 17-18 mpg combined fuel economy, depending on whether you choose automatic or manual transmission
- 717-horsepower supercharged V8 (standard on the Hellcat) gets 16 mpg combined fuel economy in both manual and automatic transmission.
- 797-horsepower supercharged V8 (standard on the Hellcat Redeye) gets 16 mpg combined fuel economy, although you can expect to use lots more fuel if you’re driving it to its full potential.
Safety: The Dodge Challenger is a safe car. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2019 model a perfect five-star rating, while The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2019 Challenger its highest rating of Good. A rear-view camera is standard on all trim levels, and rear parking sensors are standard on all but the base level SXT trim. Additional safety features including blind spot monitoring and forward collision monitoring.
Reliability: The 2019 Dodge Challenger has a reliability rating of 4 out of 5 from J.D. Power and Associates, which is above average. As of this writing there is one recall on the 2019 Dodge Challenger, related to driver warning systems not illuminating properly. The 2018 Dodge Challenger was subject to four recalls, including one about the cruise control not being able to be stopped. If you’re buying a used Challenger, be sure to check the VIN to see whether the vehicle was subject to any recalls.
Ratings: The Dodge Challenger is often considered one of the most popular sports cars. Among comparable sports cars, the Challenger Hellcat Redeye has the highest horsepower. It’s also the only car in its class available with all-wheel drive.
The Takeaway: The Dodge Challenger is a powerful vehicle, even in the lower trim levels. The V8 engines deliver even more performance. Still, the Challenger is practical enough for daily use, with seating for five and a back seat that it larger than that of its competitors.