Rapid yet refined, docile when it needs to be, athletic handling despite its considerable heft, comfortable cabin, awesome V8 soundtrack.
Too bulky, too heavy, light and numb steering, missing a few high-end features, R/T version offers greater bang for the buck.
Funny how the mists of time can alter one's memory. You know how it goes — you used to run five-minute miles, you had so many hot dates that your friends lost count, and you never met a ski slope you couldn't conquer.
Many longtime muscle car buffs recall the cars of their youth with similar accuracy, or lack thereof. To hear these gearheads tell it, every car they owned could blister the quarter-mile in 12 seconds flat. The reality is that the bark coming out of those dual exhausts was sometimes meaner than the car's bite. And those fans' selective memories usually forget the mediocre handling and braking, the finicky engines that were prone to overheating in traffic, the Nautilus-machine-level clutch effort and the lack of passenger comfort. The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 manages to offer all the nostalgia without any of the negatives conveniently left out of all those selective memories.
Unlike last year's version, the newest Challenger SRT8 offers a manual transmission. Fire it up, give the throttle a few jabs and the rectangular exhaust tips roar with the 425-horsepower Hemi V8's chest-reverberating timbre. As you grab the pistol-grip shifter to select 1st gear, you're instantly transported back to the age of eight-tracks and bell bottoms. And thankfully, Dodge's retro muscle car doesn't keep the "endearing" characteristics of the original that some so readily forget.
The modern Challenger turns willingly, stops quickly and provides ride comfort and isolation approaching that of a Chrysler 300 luxury sedan. The latter's not too surprising, considering the two cars (along with the Dodge Charger) are platform mates. But this means the Challenger is more of a high-performance luxury coupe at heart than a raw-edged tire roaster, though it'll certainly light 'em up whenever the mood strikes.
Yes, the $40 grand that the top-dog Challenger SRT8 commands isn't chump change, but that's a mere pittance compared to what the originals are going for these days — and those aging brutes simply can't compete with the SRT8's everyday drivability. The only good reason not to buy one might be for another Challenger — the new-for-'09 Challenger R/T, which lists for $10,000 less and still sports a 370-hp Hemi.
The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 brings nothing less than a 425-hp Hemi V8 to the party. This 6.1-liter powerhouse is a pussycat when you want it to be, perfectly content to putter through rush-hour traffic. But the Challenger's other personality comes into effect once the tach swings past 4,000 rpm, shoving you back in your seat as the Hemi hits its stride and the engine provides a thrilling staccato soundtrack.
The pistol-grip shifter, conveniently canted toward the driver, recalls the good old days — except now, instead of plastic that vaguely resembles wood, it's covered in leather. Working the shifter and clutch requires surprisingly little effort, and the action of both is refined. A few staffers even felt this team was too polished, saying that changing gears in a retro-styled muscle car should require a bit more flexion from the driver's biceps, à la Ford's Mustang Bullitt. But most of us had no complaints.
At the track, the SRT8 sprinted to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds and ran through the quarter-mile in 13.8 seconds. That's certainly quick, but still oddly slower than the times we got with an automatic Challenger SRT8 we previously tested (zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds, quarter-mile in 13.2).
Kicked back and cruising on the interstate, the 6.1 is just loafing along — 75 mph equates to just 1,750 rpm in 6th gear. Against EPA ratings of 14 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined, we averaged 15.1 mpg.
The SRT8's large Brembo disc brakes, along with its sticky Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar high-performance tires, enabled a short 119-foot stopping distance from 60 mph at the test track. Furthermore, there was no fade to speak of after repeated hard stops, and pedal feel, though on the soft side, remained consistent. The SRT8's handling is downright impressive for a 4,140-pound bruiser, as this heavyweight hustled through the curves with eager turn-in and a flat, unwavering cornering attitude.
However, the steering, though precise, is too light and devoid of road feel for a car this capable. There is no build-up in effort when you're carving up corners, and the wheel itself is too big in diameter, making us long for the smaller "Tuff" steering wheel that was available back in the day.
Oversized though it may be, the steering wheel does tilt and telescope, so most drivers should be able to find a suitable driving position. The large, heavily bolstered front buckets are comfortable on long drives, but they were a bit too wide and soft for some drivers. A benefit of this new-age Challenger's imposing size is its spacious rear seat, which can accommodate two adults as long as they aren't over 6 feet tall. The seat is high enough to provide adequate leg support, and there's also a generous fold-down armrest back there.
Even though the SRT8's suspension is tuned more for sporty handling than plush ride comfort, it's supple enough to handle the bumps and ruts of poorly maintained city streets without ruffling passengers. That's all the more impressive considering the SRT8 rolls on 20-inch wheels with low-profile tires. For the most part, the cabin is impressively insulated from wind and road noise; only grooved freeways cause the latter to filter through.
The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 offers up 16.2 cubic feet of trunk capacity — on par with a roomy family sedan — as well as a 60/40-split folding rear seat. The trunk had no problem holding a set of golf clubs, along with a large rolling suitcase. Accessing the roomy trunk can be awkward, however, as the lift-over is rather high.
Most controls are user-friendly, including the radio and the simple three-knob climate control. But we would've liked to see keyless entry (to go with the keyless ignition) and auto-up windows on a car in this price range.
Though the backseat is roomy for a performance coupe, getting back there is a hassle, as only the front passenger seat slides forward — and it takes a healthy shove to do so. As a result, installing a baby seat can be tough, and that seat can only face rearward if a shorter person is occupying the seat in front.
Design/Fit and Finish
At first sight, the Challenger's beefy silhouette with the kicked-up rear haunches is nostalgic and familiar. So, too, are its four round headlights and slim, full-width taillights. Though it's obvious that the designers stayed true to the original form, it's not until you see the old and new Challengers side-by-side that the difference in scale is obvious. Sitting considerably taller and with a longer wheelbase, the 2009 Challenger looks like you chose "125 percent" while viewing it on your computer's photo program.
Fit and finish on our 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 was very good throughout. The door panels are notable for their finely stitched armrests and grab handles. While the white instrument faces add a touch of sportiness, the dash could still use some metallic trim to brighten it up, though we appreciate that it's covered in a rich soft-touch material.
Who should consider this vehicle
Enthusiasts who frequent classic car shows and have a stack of Hot Rod magazines in the bathroom, as well as anyone who likes the combination of the original Challenger's style and the new one's modern character.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
2009 Dodge Challenger Overview
The 2009 Dodge Challenger is offered in the following submodels: Coupe, SRT8. Available styles include SRT8 2dr Coupe (6.1L 8cyl 5A), R/T 2dr Coupe (5.7L 8cyl 5A), and SE 2dr Coupe (3.5L 6cyl 5A). Challenger models are available with a 6.1 l-liter gas engine or a 5.7 l-liter gas engine or a 3.5 l-liter gas engine, with output up to 425 hp, depending on engine type. The 2009 Challenger comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic, 5-speed automatic. The 2009 Challenger comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a used 2009 Dodge Challenger?
Save up to $300 on one of 28 used 2009 Dodge Challengers for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, Virginia with prices as low as $13995 as of Dec 16, 2017, based on data from 18 dealers and 13 consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from 1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for used 2009 Dodge Challenger trim styles:
The 2009 Dodge Challenger SE is priced around $14492 with average odometer reading of 62865 miles.
The 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T is priced around $17013 with average odometer reading of 65927 miles.
The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is priced around $25207 with average odometer reading of 41641 miles.
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How do people like the 2009 Dodge Challenger? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2009 Dodge Challenger and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2009 Challenger 4.7 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2009 Challenger.
Review As a child in 1969 I went with my dad when he picked up a new 1970 Dodge Charger. I sat in an orange car that I later learned was a Challenger. I've owned a lot of cars over the years, including a new 1997 Trans AM WS-6, which is a beautiful car until you have to do any engine work. I can say the Challenger is arguably the best new car I've ever owned. It is huge, it's larger and weighs as much as my truck, a 1st gen 5.9L Durango, yet it gets almost 24 MPG on the Interstate. It has many bells & whistles never thought of in 1970, and it's the best looking retro muscle car in my opinion. Due to size and weight, it's not as fast as the smaller Camaro, but to each their own.
2009 Dodge Challenger inventory listings Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Dodge Challenger for sale near Ashburn VA. There are currently 432 new and 630 used and CPO 2009 Challengers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as 11495 and mileage as low as 7685. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2009 Dodge Challenger. Then select Edmunds special offers, perks, deals, and incentives to contact the dealer of your choice and save up to 300 on a new, used, or CPO 2009 Challenger available from one of 2807 dealerships in your area.
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Exterior Colors: Pitch Black Clear Coat, Bright White Clear Coat, Granite Crystal Metallic Clear Coat, Destroyer Grey Clear Coat, White Knuckle Clear Coat, Black Clear Coat, Billet Clear Coat, Go Mango, Granite Pearl Coat, Billet Silver Metallic Clear Coat, Torred Clear Coat, Octane Red Pearl Coat, Yellow Jacket Clear Coat, Black Clearcoat, Jazz Blue Pearl Coat, Redline Red Tri-Coat Pearl, Sublime Pearl Coat, Maximum Steel Metallic Clear Coat, Phantom Black Tri-Coat Pearl, B5 Blue Pearl Coat, Bright White Clearcoat, Plum Crazy Pearl Coat, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearlcoat, Blackberry Pearlcoat, Ivory White Tri-Coat Pearl, Hemi Orange Pearlcoat, High Octane Red Pearl Coat, Redline 3 Pearlcoat, Toxic Orange Pearlcoat, Tungsten Metallic Clearcoat, Bright Silver Metallic Clearcoat, Green Go Clear Coat, Inferno Red Crystal Pearlcoat, Plum Crazy Pearlcoat, TorRed, Torred, Blue Streak Pearlcoat, Header Orange Clearcoat, Phantom Black Tri-Coat Pearl Coat, Redline 3 Pearl Coat, Stinger Yellow Clearcoat, Billet Metallic Clearcoat, Dark Titanium Metallic Clearcoat, Deep Water Blue Pearlcoat, Header Orange Clearl Coat, B5 Blue Pearlcoat, Contusion Blue Pearl Coat, Detonator Yellow Clearcoat, Furious Fuchsia Pearlcoat, Green with Envy, HEMI Orange Pearl Coat, Stone White Clearcoat
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Black leather/suede, Black leather, Dark Slate Gray cloth, Dark Slate Gray leather, Black premium leather, Dark Slate Gray premium leather, Black/Tungsten premium cloth, Black/Ruby Red leather, Black/Sepia premium leather, Black/Ruby Red premium leather, Black/Ruby Red leather/suede, Dark Slate Gray/Radar Red leather, Dark Slate Gray/Radar Red premium leather, Dark Slate Gray/Foundry Black leather, Dark Slate Gray premium cloth, Dark Slate Gray/Molten Red leather, Black/Pearl leather
Popular Features: Auto Climate Control, Post-collision safety system, Automatic Emergency Braking, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Parking sensors, Keyless Entry/Start, Back-up camera, Mobile Internet, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Cooled Seats, Blind Spot Monitoring, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-collision safety system, Lane Departure Warning, AWD/4WD, Aux Audio Inputs, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Power Driver Seat, Rear Bench Seats, Tire Pressure Warning, Stability Control, Alarm, Heated seats, Leather Seats, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Bluetooth, Remote Start, Trip Computer, Sunroof/Moonroof, Upgraded Stereo, Upgraded Headlights, Navigation, USB Inputs, Upgraded Engine