The Dodge Challenger. A story that started in 1970 when gas was cheaper than water and people were “free” to do donuts in the street. What a great time! From the other side of the Atlantic ocean, we had the incredible impression that everybody owned a muscle car to do car stunt through fire and escape from the County Police.
All of us were thinking that time came to an end. However, the 3 main 70s’ muscle cars are back on production lines. The Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger all compete in the same segment. Sports while affordable coupe. They are not practical, neither really gas efficient but they represent the heritage of the American car culture.
Among the 3 modern muscle cars the Challenger really stands up with its proportions and stunning classical design, at least in our opinion.
But time changes and burning tires on the street is not that common anymore. The folks at Dodge then decided to come up with an all wheel drive version of their muscle car: the Dodge Challenger GT.
Some of you guys will think it’s crazy some others it’s brilliant. Personally, we were not really sure about which side we would find myself on.
First, let’s put some numbers on the table. the Dodge Challenger GT is powered by the 3.6L Pentastar V6 that develops 305hp at 6,350 tr/min and 363Nm of torque at 4,800 tr/min. The power is delivered to the four wheels with a predominance to the rear (thanks Dodge for this). As per the weight of car? It is heavy, very heavy. Probably a bit too heavy for the engine with 1,862kg on the scale, like in the good old days. But lets wait and see to judge its real capabilities on the road. And lets not forget. With a base price of 39,000$CAD and 45,700$CAD for the one I got, it’s quite a good value for money.
Enough numbers, what matters the most is how fun it is to drive. Well, the very first thing that came to mind when we saw it was : Is it a boat? With its 5m length, it is one of the biggest coupes ever produced. However, surprisingly behind the wheel you don’t feel the size that much of the car despite the never ending hood.
First thing’s first. When you get into it it’s comfy. I mean really comfy. The seats are big and quite soft. It doesn’t feel like a sports car. It is a GT and even with the engine off you can notice it.
I really appreciated the fact that the cockpit is not fully digital, the counters are nicely designed and the information you get on the dashboard is customizable and useful. Well done. The all entertainment system is also one of the big pluses of the car. It is easy to use and full of fun gadgets. It even has a launch control if ever you want to add some spiciness to your trip (we must confess, we did use it a lot). The centre console does not have a billion buttons and everything necessary comes up really easily to your hand.
One of the little things well made in my opinion is the automatic gear selector, it’s flat on the top and quite large which allows you to rest your wrist/arm while playing with the system. Considering you cannot choose to have a manual gearbox it is at least one compensation element, even if it looks like a boat throttle.
Time to drive, the engine comes to life quietly and you immediately feel that you are not gonna get any form of crazy performance but rather confort and steady strength. I believe that Dodge tried to create a car usable on a daily basis with the Challenger GT and I do believe after 700km that it’s a success.
The sound of the engine gets more present around 3,000 rpm and then sounds like a real American car. It is not loud in any manner but it is really pleasant to get around with some deep engine sounds.
American car. It is probably what defined the best the Challenger GT. It is not a performance car but it’s a grand tourer ready to swallow highways. we tried hard to beat my own time in the 0-100km/h but we could not do better than 6.5 seconds.
The 8-speed automatic gearbox adds to this GT feeling, you never want to push too much, even if it shifts quickly and smoothly. Want to play with the gears? You can still use the sequential shifter (which is in the right way) or the (too small) paddle shifter!
One of the most important characteristics for a GT is to be polyvalent. In this field the GT does quite well. As mentioned before, highway is its domain of predilection. With its adaptative cruise control you can switch on the “autopilot” and let it drive you like in a limousine (2+2 version of a limo though).
The power is really accessible so a small pressure on the throttle allows you to get out of pretty much any situation. Do not fool yourself, it will never print your ribs on the back of the seat but the sound of the engine will make you feel good.
On the backcountry road the feeling is pretty much the same. Surprisingly, it does not take as much body roll than expected. It definitely deserves a bit more power but sometimes it feels good not to risk your driving license because your pushing the 2nd gear to the red zone.
Consumption! In the urban area, stuck in traffic you start to worry about your wallet as the fuel hand falls much quicker than expected. Our right feet annoyed by the traffic is perhaps responsible for it, at least in part, but we cannot by the only one to be blamed. We did 18.3l/100km which is quite higher than the range announced by Dodge. However once you take it on the Highway or the backcountry roads the combined consumption falls to an acceptable 12.5l/100km.
#FuntoDrive score : 67/100
At the end of the day we will give a 67 score to this car. The orange suits it so well and the 70’s look of the car is awesome. Also its polyvalence is pretty impressive. Why not 75 or 80? Mainly, it lacks power and it cannot do donuts because of the 4 wheel drive.
Anyway, keep it #FuntoDrive !
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