Ready to leave other cars in a thick cloud of white smoke? We love the 2017 Dodge Challenger's authentic muscle-car persona, whether you choose the capable V6 or one of the increasingly awesome V8s. We also appreciate the Challenger's available creature comforts and its surprising practicality.
The new T/A trim takes the 2017 Challenger's existing Shaker trim and infuses it with design and performance upgrades from the range-topping Hellcat. An updated version of the Uconnect interface gains new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. All V8 Challengers now come with an active exhaust system.
At its core, the 2017 Dodge Challenger is a muscle car, so we'd have to start with one of the several robust V8s. The Challenger is available with many performance and luxury features that make it difficult to select just one variation. Given our fondness for the outrageously powerful (but expensive) SRT Hellcat, we'd try to select a similar version that's a little more budget-friendly. For that reason, we'd get the T/A Plus, which includes a 5.7-liter V8, Hellcat exterior styling and lots of interior upgrades.
The 2017 Dodge Challenger is a five-seat, two-door coupe that harkens back to the good old days of the muscle-car era. A wide range of engines are available, but larger still is the number of trims and configurations for the Challenger. The main trim levels are SXT, R/T, R/T Scat Pack, SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat. Most trims have several subtrims that represent different luxury and performance upgrades. We'll do our best to break it down.
First up is the SXT, powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine (305 horsepower, 268 pound-feet of torque). Although the V6 Challenger isn't the fastest kid on the block, at least you'll be rolling with plenty of standard features. The SXT comes with 18-inch wheels, heated mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control and a power driver seat. Tech features include Bluetooth, a 5-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system with a USB port.
Stepping up to the R/T adds a 5.7-liter V8 (372 hp, 400 lb-ft with the automatic and 375 hp, 410 lb-ft with the manual). Also included are 20-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, foglights and an active sport exhaust.
The R/T Scat Pack is the next rung up the ladder. It's powered by an even larger V8, this one displacing 6.4 liters (485 hp, 475 lb-ft). In addition to the stronger engine, there's Brembo performance brakes (four-piston front and rear), a sport-tuned suspension, a black decklid spoiler, sport seats, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and an Alpine audio system. Front and center in the cabin is an 8.4-inch touchscreen with the newest version of Uconnect, HD and satellite radio, two USB ports, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
The SRT 392 model builds upon the Scat Pack's offerings, adding xenon headlights, a special air intake, power-folding mirrors, beefier front Brembo brakes (six-piston front), adaptive suspension dampers, a power-adjustable and heated sport steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, configurable driving modes, an 18-speaker audio system, navigation, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The SRT Hellcat is all about raw speed, evidenced by its whomping supercharged 6.2-liter V8 (707 hp, 650 lb-ft). It's also equipped with unique exterior styling, a sportier suspension, quad exhaust tips, automatic high beams and automatic wipers.
Not too crazy, right? Most of the above trims pair a new set of features with an increasingly more powerful engine. The fun part is that many of the features and performance upgrades from the upper trims are available on the lower trims as part of subtrims and packages themselves. Buckle up.
The R/T Shaker and 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker (a variant of the R/T and Scat Pack, respectively) add a Shaker hood with a large cold air-induction scoop extending through the hood as well as the Super Track Pak performance items (see below), black exterior trim elements and a sport steering wheel. Exclusive to the R/T version of this trim are the rearview camera, rear parking sensors, sport seats and satellite radio. The Scat Pack version gets the power-adjustable and heated steering wheel.
New for 2017 are the T/A and T/A 392 subtrims, which modify the R/T and Scat Pack, respectively. They include many upgrades from the Shaker variants, along with styling elements from the Hellcat, including the unique air intake that masquerades as a headlight.
Still with us? Going with the Plus versions of the SXT, R/T, R/T Shaker and T/A gets you a bunch of features. It ensures that all trims get 20-inch wheels, foglights, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, the power-adjustable and heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated sport seats, leather upholstery, the 8.4-inch touchscreen and its entertainment features and the Alpine sound system. The SXT also gets the brakes from the R/T. The R/T Plus Shaker includes imitation-suede seat inserts.
As we said, there are many features packages that add features to specific trims. We won't list them all, but here are a few notables:
For those who like to turn the volume up to 11, the Sound Group I (SXT, R/T, R/T Shaker, T/A) adds the Alpine stereo system, while Sound Group II (all Plus models, both Scat Pack models, T/A 392) adds a nine-speaker system. The same models are eligible for the 18-speaker audio system with the Premium Audio package.
Looking for more luxury and safety features? Try the Cold Weather package (SXT, SXT Plus, R/T), which adds heated front seats and a heated steering wheel. The Driver Convenience package (all models except the SRT 392 and Hellcat) includes the xenon headlights, power-folding mirrors, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and remote engine start. The Technology package (all models except the Hellcat) adds adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, automatic wipers and forward collision warning.
The 2017 Challenger is all about performance, and there's no reason why the expensive trims should get all the fun. The Super Sport package for the SXT adds 20-inch wheels, a shorter rear-axle ratio, the performance brakes from the R/T, steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles and a rear spoiler. The Super Track Pak (all SXT and R/T models) includes the Super Sport's features, as well as the rearview camera, rear parking sensors, sport-tuned steering and suspension, and performance reporting functions in the trip computer (0-60 timer, g-force loads, etc.). Upgraded brakes are available on R/T and above trims with this package.
The Challenger also offers a variety of retro-look side- and hood-stripe options as well. The Blacktop package (SXT models, R/T, R/T Plus) adds black-colored exterior trim and a few other extra features from other packages.
A sunroof and navigation system are optional on all Challenger trims. New SRT model buyers also get a one-day course at an SRT Driving Experience school.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT Plus Coupe (3.6L V6; 8-speed automatic).
The SXT Plus performed surprisingly well considering it's overshadowed by the V8 models. Handling is impressive due largely to grippy summer tires. The upgraded brakes are outstanding. In terms of drivability, the Challenger SXT is an acceptable, if not enjoyable, daily commuter.
The 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is smooth yet hard-revving. The 3,930-pound SXT accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, which is a bit slower than rivals with base engines. Obviously, the Challenger's various V8s provide significantly quicker acceleration.
The brake pedal feel is medium-firm and well-suited for everyday driving. During panic-stop testing, the portly Challenger needed just 104 feet to stop from 60 mph. This is a great result, but keep in mind it had the benefit of summer tires.
Turn-in response is quick, though there is little in the way of feedback between the road and the driver. Some drivers could find the steering's hefty weighting to be a bit much for daily duties around town.
There's no getting around it: For a sports coupe, the Challenger is big. And heavy. Even with our tester's Super Track Pak (which adds a sportier suspension and performance tires), body roll is pronounced when going around turns. Still, there's enough grip to have an enjoyable time.
The Challenger's responsive steering helps maneuverability, but the car just feels big, especially on narrow roads and tight corners. The gas and brake pedal are responsive and easily modulated. The eight-speed automatic also shifts quickly and maintains gears well on grades.
A firmer ride is acceptable from a sporty car like the Challenger, so it is impressive that it manages small bumps so well. Larger bumps are much more noticeable in the cabin. Still, the combination of comfortable seats and a quiet ride makes this a nice place to be for extended periods of time.
The front seats are comfortable, and we have no complaints after spending hours on the road. If one area could be improved, it is the front seat's insufficient lateral support. The door and center console armrests are nicely padded, though.
Equipped with the Super Track Pak's firmer, sport-tuned suspension, the Challenger has a firm ride that's to be expected for the class. It does a great job absorbing small road imperfections but feels jarring over larger bumps and dips.
Noise & vibration3.0
You'll hardly notice the V6 at highway cruising speeds. The Challenger's sound deadening is quite good for the segment, although tire noise is evident over certain surfaces. Overall, it's a pretty quiet car.
The Challenger is a king among coupes with its class-leading passenger and cargo space. It's a far more livable daily driver than its coupe/muscle-car competition. Wrestling the large doors open to gain access can be a challenge, however.
Ease of use4.5
Controls consist of a combination of knobs and buttons that are large and easy to use. Some functions are tucked away in the touchscreen, but otherwise it's one of the most user-friendly interfaces in the industry.
Getting in/getting out3.0
The doors are large and open fully, allowing the potential for easy entry and exit. That said, the Challenger's big doors are heavy, and their size is a hindrance in tight parking spaces. Rear seat access is a bit better than in rival muscle-car coupes.
The Challenger has a lot of front legroom and shoulder room. Headroom is slightly compromised by the sunroof, though most 6-footers will still fit. The rear seat isn't quite made for all sizes, but it is far bigger than those of competitors and offers three seats versus two.
Not good, but typical for the segment. There are significant blind spots over the shoulder. Forward sightlines are acceptable, but it can be difficult to judge the front corners. A large-display rearview camera is standard and helps considerably.
Coupes aren't generally known for a spacious cargo area, but the Challenger boasts a trunk that puts the Mustang and Camaro to shame. Cargo measurements are just slightly smaller than those of the Charger sedan.
The Challenger has decent small-item storage all around, and the moderately sized center console is useful for holding a variety of items.
The trunk opening is large, and its capacity blows the class away with a midsize-sedan-like 16.2 cubic feet. The rear seatbacks fold in a 60/40-split configuration to expand the Challenger's space even further.
We've had a lot of experience with older versions of Dodge's infotainment system, Uconnect, and we've even tested the newest Uconnect 8.4 system in other cars. We haven't tested it in the Challenger yet, but in those other cars, it offers crisp graphics, quick responses and simple, logical menus.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
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