2012 Dodge Challenger Coupe Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Dodge Challenger Coupe

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Dodge Challenger Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 6.4 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 470 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Dodge Challenger

  • The 2012 Dodge Challenger might look and move like a muscle car, but its ability to double as a grand touring coupe confirms its status as the most livable of the reborn muscle cars.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Compliant ride; spacious and comfortable cabin; strong V6 and V8 engines; huge trunk; upscale interior quality; distinctive exterior styling.

  • Cons

    Compromised rear visibility; handling not as sharp as rivals.

  • What's New for 2012

    For 2012, the Dodge Challenger lineup receives a renamed base trim, a new, optional premium audio system and available shift paddles for the five-speed automatic.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (10 total reviews)


Lots of problems

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Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Challenger

I bought my '11 SE model with less than 7000 miles on it. (It turned out being wrecked). I have had two recalls (which came after the problems started and the dealers didn't know how to fix). Just recently, my alternator died and I couldn't find an aftermarket one, so the mopar alternator cost over $500. The radio was not at all powerfull so I had to put in an aftermarket amp which may have lead to the Alt. breakdown. Lots of frustration and disappointment! The blind spot is huge and is hard to back up to park. On the bright side I love my car when it is running. Haha! I always get compliments on it and I think it rides better than the CTX Caddie.




R/t classic gwe

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Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Challenger

Love this car. Green with envy color. I live in NYC and get people taking photos all day long. It is just beautiful. And when I am on the highway, the engine just purrrrrs. No problems. Plenty of power, torque, plenty of room inside. My only real complaint is the steerting wheel is not the most comfortable, like they are in most modern cars.




Too many recalls

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Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Challenger

I've had my 2011 Challenger since the end of 2011 and still have less than 15,000 miles. My wife stays at home and this is not a commute vehicle. I had problems with the door handles and wiring harness before the recalls even came out. Now the torque converter gave itself up internally. After taking back twice dealer is replacing the torque converter only and "flushing" the transmission. Antioch Dodge in Northern California is not the right place to get proper service done right the first time.



5 of 5 people found this review helpful

Year old and still #1

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Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Challenger

Purchased July 2011, have 17k miles on the hub with NO problems in quality, performance & reliability. Added a CAI and HHO to the V6 and it came alive after 8k miles of break in. For a V6 it turns 0 - 60 in 6sec flat all day long. It will bury the needle with a little effort approaching the 140mph mark. Dodge did it "RIGHT" with this combination. Can honestly admit that the Challenger can hang with the Mustang or Camero of equal equipment any day of the week and in most cases walk away in second gear and never look back.




Disappointing quality

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Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Challenger

I chosen the Challenger because it was roomy, looked good, & JD Powers scored it high for initial quality, but in the 6 months i had the car, interior trim fell off, power window motors screwed up, and the driver's seat motor refused to back up. The midline stereo could not be turned up without causing interior trim buzzing (and we're talking only 21 on the vol dial), and of course, even with the Pentastar V6, I was getting no better than 17 mpg city or highway. the pitch black interior was hard to live with. My first and last Chrysler product.



12 of 20 people found this review helpful

One more thing to go

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Vehicle: 2011 Dodge Challenger

I do have to start this out by saying, I LOVE my car!! Pure white V8, super classic looking!! From when I drove from Michigan to Ohio to pick the car up this has been by far the WORST relationship I have ever had with a company. And I mean you Chrysler!! From the dealer I picked the car up at to this very day with customer service on the phone. Listed issues: Electrical: steering, dash, headlights, blower system, windows, locks Body: Doors, hinges, molding, paint, trim, R/T badge, front bumper ass. Mechanical: trans, steering, exhaust



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 14
  • cty
/
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Dodge Challenger Review

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Dodge Challenger lineup receives a renamed base trim, a new, optional premium audio system and available shift paddles for the five-speed automatic.

Introduction

To the uninitiated, the 2012 Dodge Challenger might seem like just an overgrown retro-mobile. Indeed, when this classic nameplate returned for 2008, it certainly looked like a slightly plus-sized version of the original early 1970s Mopar icon. It was also very fast (at first just the 425-horsepower SRT8 was available), surprisingly comfortable and spacious enough to seat four adults with ease. But many people felt that the reborn Challenger was too bulky and not agile enough for a performance car. In other words, it was more like the original than perhaps some folks wanted. Furthermore, the later-introduced V6 version -- burdened as it was with nearly 2 tons of boulevard bruiser -- was too slow for something that made such a powerful visual statement.

Last year, however, revisions to the steering, brakes and suspension gave the Challenger the moves to match its muscle. And thanks to a new 305-hp V6 that also boasts better fuel economy than the lackluster engine it replaced, the base Challenger is now more competitive with its V6-powered rivals. Also introduced last year was a new engine for the top-dog SRT8: a mighty 392-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) 470-hp V8. The old-school, cubic-inches specification is a nod to the famous (for older car guys, anyway) 392 Hemi of the late 1950s.

In our opinion, the 2012 Dodge Challenger to get is the middle child of the family: the R/T with its plenty-potent 5.7-liter V8 and wide array of styling options (such as 1971-style stripes). The SRT8 is pretty darn cool, but it's also overkill given its price premium over the still-speedy R/T. On the other end of the spectrum, a muscle car with a V6 will always seem a little wrong.

Good as the Challenger is, you can't ignore its age-old competitors. The Chevrolet Camaro arguably has the flashiest styling, though it comes with the costs of even more compromised outward visibility and a lack of rear seat room. The Ford Mustang is still the most well-rounded choice, giving up the Dodge's rear passenger room and comfort for an edge in performance and handling. An outside consideration is the Hyundai Genesis Coupe for those who like the idea of a muscle car in a more modern wrapper.

Of course it comes down to personal taste, especially in such a style- and performance-conscious segment. But if you're looking for the muscle car that can take four adults on a road trip as easily as it leaves two long black stripes on the pavement, then it doesn't get any better than the 2012 Dodge Challenger.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Dodge Challenger is a five-seat coupe available in three trim levels that each correspond to a different engine: SXT, R/T and SRT8 392.

The SXT's standard equipment includes 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, full power accessories, cruise control, automatic climate control, rear A/C outlets, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel (with audio controls), a six-way power driver seat (with power lumbar adjustment), a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, a trip computer and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

The optional SXT Plus package adds foglights, automatic headlights, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated visor mirrors, Bluetooth connectivity/streaming audio and an upgraded sound system with satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The SXT also offers a number of other packages. The Super Sport group includes 20-inch chrome wheels (with performance tires), a rear spoiler, a 3.06 rear axle ratio, performance-tuned suspension/steering/brakes and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. An Interior Appearance group includes metal-accented pedals, a car cover, upgraded floor mats and a T-handle shifter. The Electronics Convenience group includes heated mirrors, remote start and displays for tire pressure and outside temperature. The Sound Group II package comes with a 6.5-inch display screen, Boston Acoustic speakers and digital music storage.

The Challenger R/T gets a V8 engine, the SXT's Super Sport group (except with 18-inch alloy wheels), automatic headlamps, foglamps, heated mirrors, a USB/iPod interface, satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity/streaming audio. The R/T Plus package adds the rest of the features of the SXT Plus package that aren't already standard. The R/T Classic package includes the R/T Plus items as well as 20-inch "heritage-style" wheels, black side stripes, functional hood scoops and xenon headlights. The Super Track Pak (not a typo) includes higher-performance steering, brakes, shocks, tires and stability control programming. Audio/navigation options essentially mirror those of the SXT. The R/T also offers the Interior Appearance group.

Individual option highlights for the SXT and R/T include the UConnect voice command system (includes Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted controls), a sunroof and a variety of special Mopar trim pieces and styling enhancements.

The Challenger SRT8 392 gets all the R/T's basic equipment, but adds xenon headlamps, unique 20-inch wheels, sport seats, an upgraded trip computer with real-time performance data, hydraulic power steering (versus electrohydraulic), upgraded brakes and suspension and a one-day driver training course at the Richard Petty Racing School. Optional for the SRT8 are a navigation system and a premium 18-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 305 hp and 268 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard. EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined.

The Challenger R/T gets a 5.7-liter V8 that when paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission cranks out 376 hp and 410 lb-ft. When hooked up to the available five-speed automatic, output drops slightly to 372 hp and 400 lb-ft. In Edmunds testing, a manual-equipped Challenger R/T went from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds; the automatic raises that to 5.8 seconds. Fuel mileage estimates are 16/25/19 for the automatic with the manual getting about 1 mpg less.

The Challenger SRT8 392 gets a 6.4-liter V8 that produces 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard and a six-speed manual is available with the Track Pak. In Edmunds testing, a manual-equipped SRT8 392 went from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Fuel mileage estimates are 14/22/16 for the automatic, with the manual getting about 1 mpg less.

Safety

Every 2012 Dodge Challenger comes standard with antilock disc brakes (size and power differs based on trim and certain option packages), stability and traction control, active front head restraints, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. In Edmunds brake testing, the SRT8 392 came to a stop in an excellent 114 feet.

Interior Design and Special Features

Unlike the Dodge Challenger's distinctive-looking exterior, the interior is quite bland. A few styling cues, like the large beveled dashboard and distinctive shifter knobs, are reminiscent of Challengers past, but overall, the interior experience pales in comparison to its retro-themed rivals. Rearward visibility, because of the car's chunky rear roof pillars, is also poor.

Despite a slightly confusing audio interface, however, the interior is quite functional and its materials are of good quality, with plenty of soft-touch surfaces. The gauges feature a cool cobalt-blue glow. A relatively small-diameter steering wheel that's well-contoured makes for a pleasant interface between the car and driver.

The front seats in most Challengers are wide and flat, which doesn't do much for lateral support, but they're exceptionally comfy for long-distance drives. The SRT8's have better bolstering and are also covered in leather and faux suede. The rear seats are surprisingly roomy for two adults, with good headroom and decent legroom. The backseat also features a 60/40 split-folding back, a fold-down armrest and a middle seat for tiny/good-natured folks. At 16.2 cubic feet, the Challenger's trunk is positively enormous for this segment and bigger than those of many midsize sedans.

Driving Impressions

While all 2012 Dodge Challengers are blessed with a ride quality that's comfortable enough to keep your mom happy when you pick her up from the airport, the base tuning of the SXT is pretty floaty. We highly recommend going for the Super Sport group's performance-tuned suspension, which brings with it more responsive steering and brakes. Or you could just get the R/T, which comes standard with those upgrades, plus the big V8 that, as expected, will have your mother screaming with anger or delight as you tear away from Arrivals. That goes double for the SRT8 392. Overall handling is pretty respectable, particularly with the R/T and SRT8 392, though competitors like the Mustang or Genesis Coupe are noticeably more agile.

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