2019 Dodge Challenger Review
2019 Dodge Challenger Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Mark Takahashi has worked in the automotive industry since 2001. He has written thousands of car-related articles and tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Mark has also contributed to Motor Trend, Auto Aficionado, Chevy High Performance and several motorcycle magazines in various roles. Mark is also a juror on the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year Awards and can be seen regularly on the Edmunds YouTube channel and sometimes representing the company in media interviews.
- Boffo V8 engine choices
- Roomy cabin can actually accommodate four adults
- High degree of customization thanks to many trim levels and options
- The ride is pretty comfortable compared to its muscle-car rivals
- Large and heavy with cumbersome handling
- Rear visibility is somewhat compromised
- Unlike main rivals, a convertible is not available
- The SRT 392 and limited-edition SRT Demon leave the lineup
- A new 797-hp SRT Hellcat Redeye model debuts
- Other Hellcat models get a new dual snorkel hood and a 10-hp increase
- The R/T Scat Pack Challenger is now available in Widebody form
- New Brass Monkey and Stars and Stripes appearance packages
- All-wheel drive is now available on the base SXT trim
- Part of the third Challenger generation introduced for 2008
There aren't a lot of vehicles we consider to be muscle cars. The 2019 Dodge Challenger, with its outlandish horsepower and classic styling, certainly qualifies. Muscle cars are also known for their lack of practicality, but the Challenger bucks that trend by making fewer sacrifices in everyday usability thanks to its large trunk and relatively spacious rear seats. Compared to the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang, the Challenger is downright sensible.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2019 Dodge Challenger SXT 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 8A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.57 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$186/mo for Challenger SXT
Avg. Large Car
This year, Dodge has retired the range-topping 840-horsepower Demon. To compensate, there's the new 797-hp SRT Hellcat Redeye. It's basically the Demon but with a slightly detuned V8 and less drag-race-specific hardware. There are also some changes in the supporting trims. All-wheel drive is now available on the base SXT, the Widebody treatment is offered on the R/T Scat Pack, and a new dual-snorkel hood increases Hellcat output by 10 hp. Some trims also come with fewer standard features and corresponding price drops.
Even without these latest changes, the Challenger would have remained one of our favorite vehicles in any class. It doesn't have the corner-carving chops of the Camaro or the Mustang, and we're quite fine with that. Not many cars have this kind of sinister style or performance that won't break the bank or overtly compromise your daily drive.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.8 / 10
Performance is king among muscle cars and, unfortunately, it usually comes at the expense of practicality. But the 2019 Dodge Challenger defies convention. Its trunk and rear seats are far larger than the Ford Mustang's or Chevrolet Camaro's. You also get stylish and looks and mega amounts of power.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Widebody (6.4L V8 | 6-speed manual | RWD).
|Overall||7.8 / 10|
The Challenger may not be as fast or as responsive as the Mustang or Camaro, but it's always a hoot to drive. The Dodge's sheer size makes in-town maneuvering a bit tough (the widebody fenders don't help), but meaty tires and upgraded suspension help with handling and body roll.
With the 6.4-liter V8, power is readily available in any gear at almost any speed. Zero to 60 mph took just 4.9 seconds at the Edmunds test track, which is properly quick but slower than other modern muscle cars by a few tenths. If you want more speed, there's always the 707-hp Hellcat.
The brake pedal travel is a little long and a bit light at the top. But when you press into the stroke, the pedal feels confident and well-suited for everyday driving. During Edmunds testing, the Challenger came to a stop from 60 mph in 105 feet — a very short distance for such a big vehicle.
The Challenger's steering feels hefty and reassuring while driving straight down the road, but it's a bit heavy for maneuvering around town. The wide tires from the widebody configuration worsen its bulkiness. Turn-in response happens quickly at speed, though there isn't much feedback communicated from the tires or road surface.
Based on its sheer size (our Scat Pack widebody tester weighed in at 4,298 pounds), this is no sprightly sports car. But handling characteristics are surprisingly forgiving, and the grip limits are relatively high thanks to wide tires and the adaptive suspension that helps keep body roll in check.
Power delivery from the hulking 485-hp V8 is very smooth. Predictable clutch engagement and an easy-effort pedal mean smooth starts and gear changes with the six-speed manual. Responsive steering helps with highway maneuverability. But in the city, there is no avoiding this car's immense proportions.
Even when fitted with the Widebody package and stiffer adaptive suspension, the Challenger's highway ride quality is very good. Seat comfort is still near the top of the class. A relatively quiet cabin helps make it a nice place to be for extended periods.
The seat cushions are relatively flat and firm but comfortable enough for long road trips or commutes. Bolstering keeps you in place well enough around corners. The door and center armrests are nicely padded. The rear seats are genuinely adult-size and relatively comfortable, which is rare for the class.
The Challenger delivers a comfortable ride over small road imperfections but can feel pretty unsettled over larger cracks and potholes. The adaptive suspension helps increase handling limits but is still pretty stiff in its softest setting for everyday driving. The large 20-inch wheels and stiff tire sidewalls don't do it any favors either.
Noise & vibration7.5
The Challenger is normally one of the quietest cars in the class. But with the optional 6.4-liter V8 and extra-wide tires, there's a bit more road noise. The rumble from under the hood is also always there, but it turns into a deep, pleasant growl under full acceleration. There were no squeaks or rattles evident in our test car.
Dual-zone climate control is standard on the R/T and maintains the desired cabin temp well. Climate is controlled via the touchscreen or the knobs and buttons directly behind the shifter, making it somewhat hard to access. The seats heat well, but the ventilation could be more effective — and those controls are accessed exclusively in the touchscreen menus.
The Challenger is king when it comes to passenger and cargo space. It's a far more livable daily driver than its crosstown competition. Wrestling the large, heavy doors open to gain access can be a challenge, however, and visibility suffers a bit like the rest.
Ease of use8.5
The 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 this interface is otherwise one of the easiest to use in the industry.
Getting in/getting out7.0
The doors are large and open fully, allowing the potential for easy entry and exit. That said, the big doors are heavy and their size is a hindrance in tighter parking spaces. The handles are also a bit difficult to get a grip on. Rear-seat access is average for a muscle car.
The Challenger is big everywhere, including the dashboard and seats. The driving position can be adjusted to fit most drivers, but it feels a bit cramped when you move your seat toward the dashboard for better forward visibility. The driver's seat has both power and manual adjustments, which is a bit cumbersome.
This cabin is the roomiest in the segment with lots of legroom and shoulder room up front. Headroom is a bit tight for taller passengers, but that's common for the class. The rear seat doesn't quite fit passengers of all sizes, but it is far bigger than that of competitors and offers three seats versus two. A family car!
Outward visibility is generally poor but typical for the segment. There are significant blind spots over both shoulders, and the windshield pillars obstruct forward sightlines more than your average vehicle. A large rearview camera display and a blind-spot monitor help considerably, but the rear camera resolution is very low.
There were no squeaks or rattles to speak of in our test car, which felt like a well-built car. The interior design is a bit dated, however. The materials quality is decent for the Challenger's lower trim levels but gets harder to accept as you look at the more expensive models such as the R/T Scat Pack and Hellcat.
While big American coupes aren't exactly perfect examples of utility, the Challenger easily leads the class throughout this category. You can legitimately fit children (or adults) in the back seat, and the trunk is massive compared to those of rivals.
There's decent small-item storage throughout the cabin, but the cupholders are right behind the gearshift, which is somewhat problematic with a manual transmission. The door pockets are small, with small bottle holders up front. In coupes this size, space is at a premium, but the Challenger uses what it has relatively well.
The trunk opening is large, and its capacity blows the class away with a midsize sedan-like 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space. The Mustang's and Camaro's are a lot smaller. The rear seatbacks fold in a 60/40 split for extra utility.
Child safety seat accommodation7.5
The rear seat has three sets of lower LATCH anchors, so with the right seats you can fit the kids three-wide in the back. The anchors are buried a bit, and of course this is a two-door coupe, but this back seat is still far more versatile than those of the Challenger's direct rivals.
With Apple CarPlay and Android Auto accompanying the Challenger's already easy-to-use Uconnect system, this plug-and-play system is one of the best out there. It's very easy to use with multiple solutions for the same commands. Compared to the class, however, the interface looks a bit dated.
Audio & navigation8.0
While the Uconnect system may look similar to older iterations, it's one of the most user-friendly systems in the class. The base six-speaker sound system has adequate sound quality but doesn't bump as hard as we'd like. Navigation instructions are clear, and inputting an address or point of interest is relatively simple.
Uconnect is one of the easiest systems on the market to use, and it has aged well. Quick smartphone connection, easy-to-understand controls and simple command structures make for easy, distraction-free driving. And if you don't like the Uconnect, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard.
A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are standard. The Driver Convenience package adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. They worked well during our test without any false alerts.
The voice controls use a simple, easy-to-learn structure and take basic commands for the audio, navigation and hands-free calling. Connecting your smartphone makes things even more familiar.
Which Challenger does Edmunds recommend?
As far as we're concerned, the 2019 Dodge Challenger wouldn't be the same without a V8. That's why we recommend the R/T, which is the entry-level trim packing eight cylinders. Even better, you won't feel as if you're missing out on much since there's a long list of options. That means you can specify the R/T to meet your particular tastes and budget.
2019 Dodge Challenger models
The 2019 Dodge Challenger is a five-seat, two-door coupe that is available in seven major trim levels, most of which are further divided into several subtrims. Major trim levels include the SXT, GT, R/T, R/T 392, SRT Hellcat and SRT Hellcat Redeye. The SXT and the GT Challenger trims are powered by a V6. The others are driven by increasingly more powerful V8s, culminating in the 797-hp Redeye.
Dodge Challenger SXT
First up is the SXT, powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine (305 horsepower, 268 pound-feet of torque) matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 18-inch wheels, keyless ignition and entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver seat and 60/40-split folding rear seats. Tech features include Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, two USB ports and a six-speaker sound system. The all-wheel-drive SXT upgrades to 19-inch wheels and upgraded brakes.
Dodge Challenger GT
The GT employs the same V6 and expands on the SXT's feature list with 20-inch wheels, the upgraded brakes, foglights, a hood scoop, rear parking sensors, remote ignition, a sport suspension, a performance steering system, more aggressively bolstered front seats, a sport steering wheel with shift buttons, and performance-related in-car apps. The all-wheel-drive GT reverts back to 19-inch wheels and loses the performance steering and sport suspension.
Dodge Challenger R/T
The R/T is the least expensive way into a V8 Challenger, offering a 5.7-liter engine paired to either a six-speed manual transmission (375 hp, 410 lb-ft) or the eight-speed auto (372 hp, 400 lb-ft). In addition to the GT features, you get different 20-inch wheels, a chrome fuel filler door, upgraded brakes, a limited-slip differential and an active sport exhaust.
Dodge Challenger R/T 392
The R/T 392 gets an even larger 6.4-liter V8 (485 hp, 475 lb-ft) along with launch control, a line lock for drag strip burnouts, Brembo performance brakes (four-piston front and rear), a higher-performance sport-tuned suspension, configurable driving modes, special styling elements, a black fuel door, a rear spoiler, heated cloth sport seats, a heated steering wheel, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with the newest version of Uconnect, a Wi-Fi hotspot, additional performance-related in-car apps, premium speakers, and HD and satellite radio.
There are also variants of the above, such as the Plus, R/T T/A, R/T Scat Pack and R/T Shaker that add a few extra features, special styling or performance enhancements. A new R/T Scat Pack 1320 has drag racers in mind, with numerous mechanical upgrades and weight reductions. The rear seats have been removed but can be added back for only $1.
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
The SRT Hellcat is all about raw speed, evidenced by its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 (717 hp, 650 lb-ft). It's also equipped with unique exterior styling, a dual-snorkel hood, a sportier adaptive suspension, six-piston Brembo brakes, quad exhaust tips and interior ambient lighting. The R/T 392 and the Hellcat are eligible for the Widebody package that has fender flares to accommodate wider tires that improve the car's handling and grip.
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
The new SRT Hellcat Redeye takes some inspiration from last year's Demon. The power output has been increased to ludicrous levels (797 hp, 707 lb-ft) and is only offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Most of the features found on the upper trim levels can be added to the lower trims as options. Other add-ons include a sunroof, exterior stripes and graphics, xenon headlights, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control (automatic transmission only), forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, ventilated seats, leather and/or faux suede upholstery, removal of the rear seat, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a nine-speaker Alpine audio system, and an 18-speaker Harman Kardon premium surround-sound system.
A sunroof is optional on all Challenger trims, and new Hellcat buyers get a one-day course at an SRT Driving Experience school.
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Dodge Challenger is everything.
2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 2dr Coupe (6.4L 8cyl 6M)
Exceeds all expectations. Power to spare. Rides like a dream and accelerates like a champ!
5 out of 5 stars
First time challenger owner
Brandon Schuld, 07/14/2019
2019 Dodge Challenger SXT 2dr Coupe (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
I was able to get out of an old junker Into a beautiful certified 2019 sxt challenger. People have made fun of me for saving some money and getting an sxt but, I really enjoy the ride the gas mileage (17.8 avg) for me is great. It's not loud at all unless u really punch it but I didn't buy it to race. Being a young parent too it's very roomy and very easy to put a car seat in unlike most … other muscle cars I was looking at. The entertainment features are overall good I like the size of the screen the Bluetooth is very smooth and easy to understand. One lacking feature I have to say is no nav at least on mine kinda is a let down considering there is a "compass" button like I really want my whole screen to be a silly compass. The speakers it comes with are very nice as a bass/sub enthusiast they sound very good from the start. The seats are comfy and have a cool design to them. Trunk space is really good too fits pretty much any kinda grocery bags or items within reason. I think on of my favorite thing about the car is the dash, the gauges look amazing! Whoever is in charge of the redesign they got on the interior a few years ago deserves a raise. Overall I'm very happy with my new car and in a few years I'll upgrade to the rt or scat pack but if your a young guy or girl lookin to get a challenger but can't afford the rt or scat pack there is no shame in the sxt it's a great vehicle, besides it's not like 23 year old me with a 1 year old is gonna be racing anyone around nj. Id recommend this vehicle to anyone.
5 out of 5 stars
In My Opinion Its The Best Bang For The Buck
Eric Kirshner, 02/16/2019
2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 2dr Coupe (6.4L 8cyl 6M)
I have owned a Mustang which was fun. I then followed the SUV/Crossover trend and owned SUVs for many years. I decided I wanted something fun and fast. I bought the Scat Pack Challenger. I had a few concerns like fuel mileage, insurance costs, and winter driving in the Chicago area. The gas mileage isn't spectacular but on the highway I can get high 20's. Insurance wasn't as bad as I … thought. My age has something to do with that I'm sure. If you're in your teens or 20's this isnt a cheap car to insure. As far as winter driving I decided to get winter tires. I actually have more confidence driving my Scat Pack in snow and ice with winter tires than any of the 4wd SUVs I have owned that had all season tires. This car is fast. Its fast enough that I have no desire to own a Hellcat. There is only so much speed you can use on the streets. I dont take my car to the track. If i did then maybe a Hellcat would make sense. Horsepower does change everything. When a car has this much power it's hard not to enjoy driving. Even if you thought your previous cars had sufficient acceleration this might change your mind. I have always wanted a Lamborghini or Ferrari since I was a kid. This car is faster than the Countach and the Testarossa cars I dreamed of having. It's just a slight bit slower than the Huracan or Hellcat 0-60, and maybe 1.5 -2 seconds slower in the quarter mile. Not bad considering this is a $45,000 car well equipped with Alcantara seats.
4 out of 5 stars
Running in the SNOW it was better than my JEEP!
Beignet at the Beach, 04/29/2019
2019 Dodge Challenger GT 2dr Coupe AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
I've driven several variants , and I really like the all wheel drive GT version with the 8 speed ZF automatic and the V6 pentastar engine. On the mountain twistys in VA & WVA it was outstanding . Quite a confidence builder for my long trip. A convertible version of this platform would be a MUST BUY for me. How about it FCA?
2019 Dodge Challenger videos
Muscle Car Debrief: Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye vs. Chevy Camaro ZL1 vs. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
[ENGINES ROARING] - Hi. Welcome to this totally natural muscle car education experience because we know nothing about cars. Isn't that right, Alana. - I have all these books, and I've memorized them. - Memorized them? Good, because I need to work on my homework. Welcome to our muscle car drag race comparison roundup video where Kurt, Alana, and myself are going to talk about our favorite moments from this experience-- let's call it that-- answer some of the most common questions we saw, and talk about things that didn't make the final edit. Just go into more detail on nuance, than we were able to in the video. - Let's start with the first, most prominent question that we got. Why are we so bad at driving, Kurt? - I'm an auto-journalist, and auto-journalists can't drive. ALANA: I'm 47 squirrels in a t-shirt. And squirrels can't drive. HOST: I use a revolving door of stunt doubles, and they're all pretty bad. - And poorly payed. - Yeah. - Go! - Let's talk about the cars that we brought. And to back it up, this whole thing started when Ford got ready to unveil the GT 500 and let us drive it. And we do a GT 500, you do a comparison. And that's what we did. - Yeah. If you bring a Ford, you have to bring a Chevy. So if you bring a Mustang, you have to bring a Camaro. And if the Mustang has a wing on it, the Camaro needs to have a wing on it. - But the challenge is a little tricky too because it's kind of a different care, almost. - Well, certainly in the Drag Race video, Dodge has made more drag race specific cars, the Demon. But the rule for this video was these had to be the top of the line offering that you could currently purchase in a dealership and a Demon you can only get as a used car currently, so. - Exactly. We were looking for the highest performing ones that you could get new. And that's why we didn't get the standard ZL1, which actually might have fared better in many ways, but it-- - It's a little more comfortable. - It also would have been like another 10 grand or 15 grand less expensive, which even makes the playing field that we tried to level out as much as possible even more difficult to do. And also, you get the 1LE. It's sexier, right? But also let's talk about how it ties to our personal cars. Kurt, what do you drive? - I have a 1966 Mustang coupe. Not a fast back there, but I'm building it to be a replica of FIA group 2 car, which they raced. But a little known fact is that Carroll Shelby actually built 16 of the cars for Ford to race in the early Trans Am series, and FIA Group 2. So this has Shelby badge on it, so the same thing, right? - It's got stripes too, right? - I hate stripes. - Now, Ilana, you have a lot of cars. We're gonna let you-- only going to let you talk about one. - Well, I mean the only one that applies to this is the 1970s Dodge Challenger. I bought it from the original owner. I used it as a daily driver with a 440 for about 10 years, and then I got all clever and I built a 505 cubic inch stroker motor. Now it gets 8 miles per gallon and I barely ever drive it. - And I've got a 1972 Chevy C-10. Some guy found it on a farm, painted it, fixed the rust, shortened the bed. It's got a 350 and a four speed on the floor, and it's nowhere near as well put together as either of your guy's cars, but it sure is loud. But slow, and kind of hairy about 40 miles an hour. - I hate that your truck is louder than my car and I have side pipes. - Tilt them downwards and they just reverberate off the ground, and your neighbors and wife will hate you. - OK. - I talk from experience. - I mean, really, don't we all just want more people to hate us? - That's why we did this comparison. - Let's talk about the first video we put up, the drag race, which was great fun. - Can we do nothing but drag race videos from now on? Like, Edmunds! We do nothing but drag race videos. HOST: You joke. But we'll talk about that later. KURT: Good. HOST: Well, you know, you get three super powerful muscle cars next each other, even though ones kind of built for road racing. You do the drag race. And that's what we did. We had some trouble getting it all to work right, because it was 40 degrees out, and all the cars had trouble hooking up. Right? But the funny thing is, the final placement actually matched what we got at the test track. We tested all these cars at our test track at sea level, essentially. On a warmer day, we actually had to correct our acceleration. Kurt, you drove a lot of the vehicles. You did the testing in it. Tell us about it. - Yeah. All three of the cars performed in a very similar manner, as we experienced. And they all behaved in a very similar manner as well, where the Shelby couldn't really care less if it was a launch control or just in sport, or track mode. It manages wheel spin well, and the motor is just ferocious. Like over 5,000 RPMs, and it just pulls, and pulls, and pulls. It goes all the way to 2,500, bangs off a shift, that's it. Similarly, the Camaro is fairly easy to launch. It's almost like if you can imagine Usain Bolt tripping, and there's the pause where the Camaro kind of processes wheel-spin-- - What just happened? - And, then it just explodes. And it just took off, and I think I used a lot of profanity when I did the passes. But also like, it just shifts really quickly. It's easy to control the car. And then there was the Redeye, which has launch control, but the launch control is engineered I think for a prepped surface and lower pressures and we run-- we run with what the car says the tire pressures should be. We don't run on a prepared surface, and the Redeye just can't really handle that. And the traction control as you found out, it fights it for the longest time, and then it just kind of goes, fine. And then you just light 'em up. - And the Hellcat, the launch technique is pretty different, right? - Yeah, it is. Because first and second are so short in that car, and it is basically engineered to run on a prep surface. I found that using second gear and not really even brake torquing the car at all, just rolling in to the throttle to you think it can handle the power, and then just flooring it. So it's a very sensitive procedure to make sure that the car does not just incinerate through the top [INAUDIBLE]. [LAUGHTER] - And the Camaro, too. It has the problem of being a car that's built for road racing, so it's got extremely firmer suspension. So it doesn't get the weight transfer that it needs to get that additional rear grid, and then take off. That's why it was having such a difficult time, but hey, you can't fault a road race car for not being good at drag racing, unless it's a Camaro. And Ilana, you were having frustration. You were frustrated at the launch control during the drag race as well. - I hate launch control. Stupid. - Well, like Kurt said, you know, it would hold it, and then it would just dump it. And then I would spin and watch him go by, watch you go by, very frustrating. - On a prep surface you'd have a better time for sure, but again, we have to reiterate that the times that you saw at the end of the drag race video are what we got from our test track on at sea level in pretty ideal weather conditions. If you're on a prep surface, yeah, the numbers would probably be better. They would definitely be better, but the placement is roughly the same. And it was impressive that even though we were drag racing them in cold weather, we matched the placement that we got at the test track. That was-- that was interesting. - Yeah. And if you were racing, if you were truly drag racing these cars, the rules are totally different. There's a whole lot more about reaction time, and so, yes, I could absolutely beat Kurt in the Mustang with the challenger if I was just a better driver on a drag strip with the lights and all of that. But we didn't have those rules. We were following rules that we had set. HOST: Also, the Challenger doesn't have that delay with the launch control. KURT: Yeah, and I will completely admit, yes I got treed. I got a whole-shotted. However you want to explain it. It was just me getting used to waiting, and the wait time seemed slightly inconsistent. But I-- yes. - You still won. - Yeah. - Moving on to the comparison test, which we should say is a separate video. We've done a drag race video, the comparison video, and also this round table discussion video. But now we're gonna talk about the comparison, which was a ton of fun. ALANA: I wish we were doing right now. It was pretty much the best day ever. - It was great. And I'm glad that we started with the burnout super test because that's an old Edmunds' video idea that we used to do a long time ago, and I'm going to try to bring it back. So if you enjoyed that, let us know, because it was really silly. And really, really fun. ALANA: We are willing to do it again. KURT: Burnouts for science. For you. HOST: But there were some technical challenges with the burnout, surprisingly. You'd figure if you had a, you know, average horsepower on 730 and a rear-wheel drive car, you could do Smokey's all day, but apparently you can't. - Why did you guys look at me? - Because the Mustang lost. - That's not my fault. - It's just, it's not-- it's not made for that. KURT: It has a higher purpose. HOST: It has a higher purpose. It's a Mustang, there's no higher purpose. Well, then the challenge is, so OK, if you're going to do a rolling burnout, right, you're going to sit two feet in, brake on, gas on, and then you're going to come off the brake pedal and pump on the gas pedal a little bit just to just do a smoky as long as you want. You're going to control the front wheels and spin the rears. Right? Unfortunately with these cars, you could do that until you had no tire left, so we had to limit it, somehow. And that's why saying, no brakes. The surprising thing was the Mustang didn't really do a big smoky to start out with-- - Right. - Neither did the Camaro. And then the Challenger-- - If there are any SRT engineers watching this right now, good job gang. You know what we want. - I just remember looking over at the cloud of smoke and just giggling. Because it was-- it was insane. It wasn't just the length. It was like, how dark the tire marks were. It was great. It was-- it was fantastic. - Yeah, I was trying to count the shifts as the car accelerated. I think you wind up in fourth gear and the car is just like, sure. OK. You want more? I got more. This is great. - We can do this all day. - This is great. - Now, line-lock. Most of these cars have line-lock, but we didn't use it. And there's a good reason for that. Philosophically, of course, if you just want to do a burnout to impress your friends, the longer it takes you to actually do the burnout from the time that you've decided to do the burnout, the worse off you are. You can't just like look out the window, your friends-- hey, hold on a sec while I figure out the computers and electronics and stuff. I firmly believe, the further away we get from clutch in, full throttle, clutch out, the further away we get from God. - Right. Anyone who disagrees with you is wrong. - So like the Mustang can do a big Smokey in line-lock, but it's a kind of a pain in the butt to get there. - Yeah, it's just not-- like you said, it's not a fluid movement of hey y'all, watch-- this. You can't just do that. It takes time, and then no one cares anymore. You look like an idiot, so, yeah. - Yeah. You've lost the cars and coffee, you know, Instagram video timeline. You can't fit it in there by the time it takes you to do that. - Well, a burnout should never be something you think about doing, is the thing. It should just happen. - There's no logic to it. Just enjoy it. That was great. That was a lot of fun. - The utility test, too, surprisingly insightful and useful. KURT: Right? ALANA: I laughed really hard the whole time too, so that was pretty fun as well. HOST: It was nice. We had the spare tires lying around, so we decided like, yeah, we can use that to see how big and useful each interior is. But it's actually helpful for these cars, right? ALANA: Well the original idea came because, I mean, I used to go drag racing all the time, and I would take my extra tires, my drag-racing cars, throw them in the car, one in the trunk, one in the backseat, and drive to the track and change them, and then head home. So I mean, it is a real thing, I assume other people did it too. HOST: Yeah. I mean after this video went live, a guy reached out to me-- I think it was on Reddit, or something. He said, like hey, I drag race my Corvette. I put a spare tire in the hatch, I put a spare tire on the front passenger seat, and I don't run skinnies because I have nowhere to put them. So this is actually a hugely valuable thing for these kind of cars. And then people laugh that we give a two-seat Mustang the win for utility. To them I say, have you ever sat in the backseat of a Mustang? KURT: Yeah, or the backseat of a Camaro. - I mean, generally, you pretend those seats don't exist. The Challenger has usable back seats. For people, but not for tires. - I mean, you can fit a little bit of tire. - Now, sound. Muscle car has gotta sound cool. Pony car has got to sound cool. Sports cars should sound cool. Unfortunately, much like burnouts, you need to be able to just show off to your buddies when you're parked. And you can't with the Challenger and the Camaro. - Yeah. I mean, I guess logically I understand why the cars are protecting us from our own stupidity. But I do not want to be protected from my own stupidity. I embrace it. And I want to make loud noises. - What do you would want out of me, like a sad trombone or something? Like-- Mustang engineers might not have gotten the out burnout part of their engineering correct-- I don't even care that much about that-- but they certainly let you rev the piss out of it. And that's what it's all about. HOST: And, it's great. Like the Mustang gets it. You're driving along, you pull both paddles in, you get neutral, and you can just rev the hell out of that thing. It's literally there to impress kids on the school bus. Like when I was driving up to the shoot, I was on the freeway. I was 15, and there's a guy in Hyundai. He was like recording video, giving me the thumbs up. Yeah. Neutral, raa, raa, raa, raa. It was-- everybody was happy. It was a great time for everybody on that freeway. I'm going to believe. But the guy in the Hyundai was real happy about that. At least they sound good while flying by. - Yeah they all sound good under full throttle. - Yeah. But when you're driving, like when we did our drive-ability mountain road comfort test, that's when we really started to see how specific some of these cars were with their intentions, right? Yeah. The Camaro was terrible. ALANA: That's spoken like a man whose tailbone still hurts. - The Camaro is super road racing build has got really, really, really, really firm suspension. And it's super uncomfortable on real roads. Like, driving back in to La, you know, the front tires would hit a bump, and the rear tires feel like they would go off a shelf. And it was like, really? What happened? What's wrong? It's like-- oh, that's just how firm it is. Camaro was bad, but the challenger and the Mustang were really good. - That was one of the things that just blew me away on the Shelby, was just the breadth of capability. If you wanted to drive to track two hours away, Shelby wouldn't beat you up on the way there. Then you could put it in track mode, have a lot of fun, and head home. And you're not tired and exhausted. I drove that Camaro once, and that is the first car I've driven that makes the case for not buying that car, and buying three other vehicles instead. A truck, a trailer, and an actual race car. But going back to the Shelby, the seats are great. I mean they're not wide-boy seats like the Redeye has in them. But the Recaros are still fairly comfortable. They bolster so you can get past them, and they hold on to you and hug you and breathe OK. ALANA: Aww. Who doesn't want a hug. I mean, I'm assuming that wide-boy comment was to the car and not to me, but even if it wasn't-- yeah, the Challenger, right? Wide seats, wide car. A lot of criticism for how big it is, but that bigness is what makes it so comfortable. It's comfortable inside. It's comfortable on the road. And, you know, it just feels good as you're driving around. - Say except, for the transmission. Because it's the first and second gear on that thing are so short, that when you're leaving from a stop, like leaving out of my driveway, by the time I'm at 15 miles an hour, I'm already in third, and those gear changes are k'thunk. K'thunk. Yeah, it's a minor complaint about an 800 horsepower Challenger. You know, the transmission is built in a way to make that work. But the Mustang shows that you don't need that kind of harsh shift for that kind of power. - Right. Like I actually think it's cool how hard and firm the shifts are in the Redeye. Like it's like this car's built for the power. But then you get in the Ford, and it's like, yeah, this car's built for the power too, and it just doesn't have any of that. - It's really nice. When it came to the timed laps though, that's what I think really surprised us all. Yeah, I was driving. I tend to have a preference for the Camaro. I ran all the cars as hard as I felt like I could. And the results were surprising. I honestly expected the Mustang to win. And it didn't. And we should let you know that off camera, we ran the Mustang again, and got a similar result to what we got first time, and it was still slower than the Camaro got with the bad launch. KURT: Yeah. HOST: And I think if you were on a track that had longer straights, the Mustang would pull an advantage, but it definitely shows the advantage of the Camaro's tires. KURT: Yeah. And I think just the overall purpose of that car is a hot lap. And yeah, I think, on a track, over a whole afternoon, the Camaro would probably hold up a little bit better and probably even be more consistent. - It certainly would have more fuel at the end. - I began to think that the Shelby had a hole in the fuel tank. It rips through gas. Just rips through it. We got to highlight the Challenger, though. The Challenger is a blast. So fun. It's amazing fun. On the road course, yeah, it's slow. But I was laughing harder driving that car than the other two cars, because you would come out of a corner, you'd start a little drift, but you'd keep accelerating forward so you just, OK, maintain the drift, and the transmission would just keep up shifting as your power sliding. I was laughing while doing it. It was so much fun. To be-- yeah, it was just ridiculous. And, again, that shows the strength of the Challenger is more the personality. It's how much fun that car has. - Yeah. I mean, you know, I don't like losing, still. But I had more fun losing in that car than I've had winning in some others, so, I mean, it is a blast. - The conclusion of both videos is, the Mustang wins. It wins the drag race, and it wins the comparison, and pretty handily so. That said, What's your favorite takeaway, Kurt? KURT: Just how good the GT500 is. Of these three cars I would genuinely use my own money to buy it. In reality, I'd just go buy a GT 350. - Ilana? - I mean I sort of sound like a nursery school teacher here, but I feel like there were no losers in this comparison. No matter which one of these three cars is sort of your pony of choice, they're so good. They're so amazing. The technology is incredible that allows you to have a car that you could use as a daily driver and then go run drag-racing numbers that would have literally been race car numbers in the '60s. That, you know, somebody would have been a professional race car driver or a factory racer get those kind of drag strip numbers. So, good job everybody. - That's not to say that like everybody gets a participation award. - I am saying that, actually. - Well, I mean there's no losers here. But there's definitely a winner, and it's the GT 500. Right? But it should win, right? - Oh. Yeah. I mean it basically had the time to look at everybody else's homework, copy it, make edits, and then turn in it's own, so, yeah. - My takeaway is that I agree with Kurt. I'd probably get a GT 350, because it's 8000 RPM in a six-speed manual, and way better fuel economy. - Way better. - Way better fuel economy. So on that bombshell, thank you guys for watching. If you like this particular video, let us know. If you don't, I guess, let us know, too. You're going to do that anyway. Make sure to subscribe, and visit edmunds.com to find your next perfect car. Thanks for watching. Now let's learn about muscle cars. Oh, I've already memorized those.
Muscle Car Debrief: Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye vs. Chevy Camaro ZL1 vs. Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
In this video, Carlos Lago, Elana Scherr and Kurt Niebuhr answer the most common questions about our muscle car drag race and comparison videos. Questions like, "Why didn't you use the Demon?" and "Why didn't you run on a prepared surface?" and "Why did a two-seat Mustang win a… utility award?" and "Why are you all so bad at driving?"
2019 Challenger Highlights
|Combined MPG||23 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$186/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||rear wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
Our experts like the Challenger models:
- Blind-Spot Monitoring
- Illuminates a light on either of the Challenger's side mirrors when a vehicle enters its blind spot.
- Forward Collision Warning
- Helps prevent collisions by sounding an alert when the Challenger detects an imminent collision.
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
- Sounds a warning if a vehicle is approaching the Challenger from the side while it is backing into traffic.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall4 / 5Driver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover11.1%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestMarginal
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestAcceptable
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintAcceptable