2009 Dodge Challenger Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Dodge Challenger Coupe

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Dodge Challenger Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 6.1 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 425 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Dodge Challenger

  • Comfortable, stylish and impressively capable in terms of performance, the 2009 Dodge Challenger is exactly what a modern version of an old muscle-car icon should be.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Nostalgic exterior styling, ripping performance with R/T and SRT8, agile handling for such a big car, SRT8's strong braking, comfortable ride, generous cargo capacity.

  • Cons

    Narcolepsy-inducing interior styling, poor rearward visibility, V6's frumpy four-speed automatic transmission.

  • What's New for 2009

    Dodge fills out the Challenger lineup for 2009 with the introduction of a base V6 model and midlevel R/T. Joining the pavement-searing SRT8 trim, the V6 trim sports a 250-horsepower V6, while the R/T boasts a 370-hp 5.7-liter V8. Also new this year is the availability of a manual transmission for the R/T and SRT8.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (19 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Mopower

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Challenger

I've been a Mustang guy all my life. So this is a walk on the wild side for me. But have been very pleased so far. Great road car. Took it on a 1,400 mile road trip the 2nd weekend it had it. Got 22 mpg and it rides great on the slab. Got lots of looks. Mine is Hemi Orange. So it kind of stands out. I usually drive manual muscle cars too. But the 5-speed Autostick is impressive. I manually shift it more than half the time. With an open air element, headers, and a cat-back system she really sings out over 4,000 RPM.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

I'm in love!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Challenger

As a former BMW and Acura driver, I am accustomed to quality and reliability along with performance. I must say, this Dodge is the best car I have ever owned! It's comfortable, quiet and fast. It is also the best looking car on the road. The dealer service is also outstanding. Dodge has finally done it!




Miles of smiles

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Challenger

I have to say I have driven muscle cars all my life. Never has there been a time I have driven a car that is powerful, comfortable, reliable and such a social stigma around all walks of the general population. I believe it lets many of us older boomers relieve our young adult childhood. The new Challenger SRT8 is everything I could ask for and then some. I never got 20 miles to the gallon on the hiway with my old 1970 Cuda and I must say there is no way to measure the comfort and reliabilty comparing the two. If you have a chance to even test drive an SRT8, Just Do It!!!!!!!!!!




Love it

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Challenger

I've always owned american muscle cars and this is hands down the best I've ever experienced. Perfect combination of classic styling with 21st century performance & features. I can't even stop for gas without having someone come over and drool on it for 5 minutes. I give fuel economy a 10 because it gets as good or better than I expect. I didn't buy it to get 20mpg! If it gets 10mpg, I'm happy (I'm getting about 16 or so average). And who cares if anyone is comfortable in the back seat, this is a 2 seater! The back seat is for your jacket or dog. Rides like its on rails, I've gotten the lateral g-meter up to .75 on an offramp so far and that's not even trying hard. Dodge hit a homer!




Amazing

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Challenger

Chrysler did this one right! Gut wrenching acceleration, comfort, conveyance, looks, style, value and uniqueness! All BMW's, Porches and Mercedes look basically the same. None have the pizazz of the Challenger. Hand stitched leather and a painted orange engine block to name a few. It's also usable; I drive it to work everyday, moved my daughter to college (the back seats fold down opening into the truck) and go out to dinner. After that, I leave 99% of cars in the dust in a cloud of white smoke. It's like Clark Kent turning into Superman!




2008 challenger srt

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Challenger

Although it has a lot of muscle power it can't breathe at 5300 feet where I live in New Mexico. No dome light. Built in cup holders don't fit any known cups. Seats are nice but built for large people. Steering wheel design stinks because the spokes are located right where you rest your fingers around the wheel. Steering wheel is adjustable but does not go down low enough for a 5'6" person to sit low and still see over the wheel. No spare tire. Doors don't want to stay open when exiting. Can't keep the wheels clean because of the brake dust. Needs stickier tires because the rear end swings around too easily. Tranny not user friendly.



Full 2009 Dodge Challenger Review

What's New for 2009

Dodge fills out the Challenger lineup for 2009 with the introduction of a base V6 model and midlevel R/T. Joining the pavement-searing SRT8 trim, the V6 trim sports a 250-horsepower V6, while the R/T boasts a 370-hp 5.7-liter V8. Also new this year is the availability of a manual transmission for the R/T and SRT8.

Introduction

Thanks to the massive press coverage of last year's Dodge Challenger rebirth, you probably know as much about it as we do. But in case you missed all those headline road tests featuring the burnt-orange car, here's the skinny. Borrowing heavily from the styling of the original 1970-'74 Challenger, the reborn version sports similar lines and proportions. But you needn't worry about the 2009 Dodge Challenger merely being a poser's visual link to the past -- it can be had with Hemi V8 power, rear-wheel drive and the right sound burbling from its rectangular exhausts.

The Challenger is based on Chrysler's LX platform, which is also used for the 300 and Charger sedans. Its wheelbase is 4 inches shorter than the Charger's, though with a 2-ton curb weight, the newer model is frighteningly similar to its forebear in terms of sheer bulk. Of course, the 2009 Challenger has features that previous Mopar designers could hardly have dreamed about, such as stability control, side curtain airbags and an available hard-drive-based navigation system that can also store music and video files. The new Challenger also differs by being fairly athletic and able to go around corners without scraping the Goodyear lettering off the tires.

Last year, Dodge offered just one model -- the top-level SRT8. For 2009, Dodge expands the Challenger family with a couple of less intimidating alternatives that make this retro-styled sport coupe more accessible to the masses. Starting things off is the new base Challenger, fitted with a V6 engine and four-speed automatic, a pairing as ill-suited as Charlize Theron and Gilbert Gottfried. You'll get 250 hp and a 25-mpg highway rating from this powertrain, but considering that you're stuck with four speeds, it's hardly set up for optimal efficiency. Sitting between the base car and the SRT8 is the best pick of the bunch: the new R/T, with its 370-hp V8. This year also brings back another Mopar icon, a pistol-grip-shifted manual gearbox. Available on the V8 cars, this tranny features six speeds.

Considering that the resurrected Camaro is set to debut next year, Dodge's preemptive strike with this full family of Challengers couldn't have come at a better time. And considering the cost of gasoline nowadays, we imagine the V6 model will be fairly popular. Overall, we like how the 2009 Dodge Challenger impressively combines the visceral and visual excitement of the past with modern engineering, safety and convenience features. Yes, there is competition in the form of the upcoming Camaro and the Ford Mustang. But for a modern take on the old muscle car, the Challenger certainly gets almost all of it right.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Dodge Challenger is a large five-passenger sport coupe available in three trim levels -- base SE, R/T and SRT8.

Standard features on the SE include 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, full power features, an eight-way power driver seat, air-conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat and a CD/MP3 player. The R/T gains a V8 engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and steering, minor exterior enhancements and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

The top-dog SRT8 ups the ante with even more power, black hood stripes, 20-inch alloy wheels, a sportier suspension and steering than the R/T, a limited-slip rear differential, Brembo brakes, xenon headlights, heated side mirrors, leather and faux suede upholstery, heated front sport seats, cruise control, keyless ignition, Bluetooth, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 13-speaker premium audio system (with six-CD changer, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls). Many of the upgraded features can be added on lower trims as options.

Other optional features, depending on the trim level, include a sunroof, ultra-performance summer tires, a 13-speaker premium audio system and the MyGIG combination navigation and music-server system. For the R/T, one may order the Trak Pak, which features a six-speed manual gearbox (in place of the automatic), a limited-slip differential, Hill Start Assist (prevents rolling back on hills with the manual), a recalibrated performance steering system and bright pedal accents. There are numerous Mopar accessories available, including a retro T-grip metallic automatic shifter.

Powertrains and Performance

The Challenger SE is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 with 250 hp and 250 pound-feet of torque. The only transmission for the SE is a four-speed automatic. The R/T sports a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that makes 370 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to a five-speed automatic, with a six-speed manual available -- with the latter gearbox, the 5.7 makes 5 more hp. The SRT8 comes with a 6.1-liter V8 packing 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque, with transmission choices mirroring those of the R/T.

Dodge claims the R/T will rocket to 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. We've timed an SRT8 with the automatic at 5.1 seconds to 60 and 13.2 seconds in the quarter-mile. Fuel mileage estimates range from 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway for the SE down to 13 city/18 highway for the SRT8.

Safety

Antilock disc brakes (with brake assist) and stability control are standard on R/T and SRT8 models and optional on the SE, while side curtain airbags are standard across the board.

Interior Design and Special Features

While the exterior is enthusiastically nostalgic, the Challenger's interior is rather bland. There's a faint echo of the original Challenger present in the 2009 version, but in total, the cabin is somber and dull, with only a few metallic trim pieces to spruce things up. There was certainly no effort to answer the Mustang or upcoming Camaro's retro interiors, but the Challenger at least provides good-quality materials. The well-bolstered sport seats in the SRT8 are covered in leather and faux suede, while the rear seats in all models features a fold-down armrest and a split-folding back. At 16.2 cubic feet, the Challenger's trunk boasts impressive cargo capacity for this segment.

Driving Impressions

Break out the bell bottoms and peace signs -- it's 1970 all over again. With the V8 versions, performance is thrilling, as one would expect. Provided there's sufficient grip, the 2009 Dodge Challenger lunges off the corners and swallows the straights, its sustained thrust complemented by long riffs of resonant mechanical music. However, we'd appreciate a rev-matching feature for the automatic transmission to make downshifts smoother when running along a curvy road.

For such a big car, the Challenger handles itself well, with minimal body roll and a surprisingly comfortable ride. Braking is up to the task as well. Large Brembos in the SRT8 (about 14 inches front and rear) are fitted with four-piston calipers and provide abundant stopping power. The brakes also automatically keep their pads closer to the rotors when driving in the wet, lightly wiping the discs off for improved braking in these conditions.

Read our Dodge Challenger R/T Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

Talk About The 2009 Challenger

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 13
  • cty
/
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs