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2012 Dodge Challenger

Overview
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2012 Dodge Challenger Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

The 2012 Dodge Challenger coupe continues to play in a 3-car rivalry with the Ford Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro. While it remains true that the Challenger's V6 and V8 engines fall short of the horsepower benchmarks set by Ford and Chevy, the differences are not insurmountable. There is still plenty of performance to be had from the 2012 Dodge Challenger coupe, especially in the potent SRT trim. With comparable pricing and features for each corresponding trim, you might be wondering why you'd choose a less powerful Challenger model over a Mustang or Camaro. Comfort is a big reason, as is everyday drivability. Where the Mustang and Camaro offer practically no rear-seat room and a tiny trunk, the larger 2012 Dodge Challenger coupe provides ample space for four people and their luggage. The Challenger's interior is also much less claustrophobic than that of the Chevrolet Camaro, although its interior plastics are not quite up to the standard set by the Ford Mustang.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're old enough to remember driving or craving to drive the original Challenger, the 2012 Dodge Challenger coupe will bring back a lot of memories. If you're not old enough to remember the original, now's your chance to share a little bit of history repeating.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're all about maximum horsepower and top speed, the Ford Mustang GT and Shelby editions, as well as the Chevy Camaro ZL1 easily outmuscle the 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T and SRT8. Those looking for a light, nimble rear-drive sport coupe might be happier in a BMW 3 Series or Infiniti G37 Coupe.

What's New for 2012

Along with new trim designations, the 2012 Dodge Challenger gains some new optional features including a 900-watt, 18-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, and zinc steering-wheel paddle shifters on SXT Plus and R/T. The SRT8 392 trim gains a new 2-mode adjustable suspension-damping system and an available heated steering wheel.

Driving the Challenger

Driving Impressions Even the most basic 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT coupe comes with a 305-horsepower V6 engine that provides plenty of get-up-and-go. But, if you really want to experience what the 2012...

Dodge Challenger is all about, you must slip behind the wheel of a HEMI-powered R/T. Unlike its 1970s' namesake, the current Challenger is a pleasure to drive. The ride is firm, but not jarring, although things do get a bit more rigid with the upgraded 20-inch wheels and sport suspension packages. In R/T form, the Challenger's 5.7-liter V8 has plenty of muscle for fast off-the-line starts and terrifyingly quick passing maneuvers. While some of our testers found the 2012 Dodge Challenger's steering to be on the heavy side, no one complained of losing confidence when executing high-speed maneuvers. The 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T's suspension is sufficiently tight to control excessive body roll but, if all-out handling and gut-punching acceleration take precedence over a comfortable ride and reasonable fuel economy, the SRT8 392 trim is the obvious choice.

6.4-liter HEMI V8
It's the HEMI that brings the Challenger legend to life and with 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, the 6.4-liter monster motor in the SRT8 392 ensures only a handful of cars will be able to keep up.

18-speaker Harman/Kardon audio
This 900-watt powerhouse uses the latest energy-efficient technology to produce amazing sound with minimal power draw.

2012 Dodge Challenger Details
Interior

Although functional and possessing a few cool styling features, the overall interior of the 2012 Dodge Challenger doesn't live up to the promises made by its flashy exterior. Still a product of the previous-generation Charger, the Challenger's interior has not received the opulent update of its 4-door big brother, so the hard plastics, dull colors and somewhat loud interior remain in place for 2012. The 2012 Dodge Challenger's front bucket seats are wide and firm, with good side bolstering and adjustable lumbar support (something you won't find on the Camaro) so crucial on long drives. And, unlike the Mustang or Camaro, the 2012 Dodge Challenger's rear seats can actually fit two full-size adults (three in a pinch). A sizable trunk also gives the Challenger a leg-up on its Mustang and Camaro rivals.

Exterior

While some people see the 2012 Dodge Challenger sport coupe as a rehashed version of the original 1970s muscle car, we see it differently. The two cars may share similar visual cues, but the 2012 Dodge Challenger is much bigger, much wider and has a number of styling characteristics all its own. Bold exterior colors are designed to make the Challenger stand out even more than its attractive styling already does, and available accessories such as a hood scoop and rear spoiler, allow for individual customization of the car. Based on the Dodge Charger platform, the Challenger provides sedan-like comfort hidden inside a cool coupe shell. Our only regret is that Dodge couldn't engineer the rear quarter windows to retract, a feature that would make the 2012 Dodge Challenger a true 2-door hardtop.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT includes the 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 305 horsepower, a 5-speed automatic transmission, automatic air conditioning, 18-inch aluminum wheels, cruise control, 6-way power driver's seat with power lumbar adjustment, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, leather-wrapped shift knob, vehicle information center and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with auxiliary audio input jack. Depending upon the trim level, additional features include the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, a 6-speed manual transmission, limited-slip differential, foglights, security alarm, Sirius Satellite Radio, USB port, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather seating, Boston Acoustics speakers, 276-watt amplifier, Uconnect Voice Command with Bluetooth, heated front seats and a variety of trim and convenience features. The SRT8 392 includes premium leather with accent stripes, 20-inch wheels with performance tires, a functional hood scoop, rear spoiler, performance-tuned steering, Brembo brakes front and rear, specific trim features and the SRT Track Experience, where new owners can go to learn how to better control the car's incredible performance.

Optional Equipment

Available options for the V6 model include the SXT Plus package that adds leather seating, heated front seats, foglights, automatic headlights, Bluetooth streaming audio and phone connectivity with UConnect voice command, and a 276-watt Boston Acoustics audio system. Stand-alone options include updated audio systems, navigation and a number of dealer-installed accessories. R/T trims can be equipped with the Track Pack that includes 20-inch wheels and performance tires, heavy-duty brakes, performance steering and a track-tuned suspension. There are a variety of options for the SRT8 392, which are appropriate for its very high-performance mission in life.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Dodge Challenger coupe offers a choice of three engines. Chrysler's modern 3.6-liter V6 makes 305 horsepower and delivers plenty of performance for any reasonable use on the highway or a curving mountain road. The value leader is to be found with the 5.7-liter HEMI; with the 5-speed automatic it's rated at 372 horsepower and with the 6-speed manual it's at 376 horsepower. At the top end resides the SRT8 392 of 6.4 liters. Producing a whopping 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, the only drawback to owning this powerplant is the cost incurred at the pump and possibly the courthouse.

3.6-liter V6
305 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
268 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27

5.7-liter HEMI V8
372 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm (automatic)
376 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm (manual)
400 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (automatic)
410 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm (manual)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 (manual), 16/25 (automatic)

6.4-liter HEMI V8
470 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
470 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/23 (automatic); 14/23 (manual)

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2012 Dodge Challenger Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 361 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

I love my Challenger!!

By on Sunday, November 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,400

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, great value, great options"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I traded my 2013 Chrysler 300 in for the 2014 Challenger, 100th Anniversary Edition SXT-Plus. I have all the comfort and options my 300 gave me. I wasn't sure at first that I made the right decision but now I am sure of it. This is a car I would certainly recommend."

Coolest Car to Cruise in

By on Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I have the SXT/Plus V6 with leather, remote start, shift paddles and sports package in beautiful Rally Red 3 Coat Pearl. BEST CAR I have ever owned at 43 years old. Each time I drive it a smile comes across my face. The sport button gives it a great kick in the rear when you want to ZOOM to your destination. She is a looker and I get stopped often by others asking about her. I have over 36,000 miles on her and she is running like a champ. New tires just put on her as well. If you are looking for a car that is fun to drive short or long distance AND can fit your teens in the back seats without complaints, this is the one."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Garage kept-Stored during winter - never saw snow

By on Tuesday, October 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,450

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Solid car - Nice ride - Turns heads - sweet ride"

Cons: "Not enough nice days to drive it."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Built this car. Color Tungsten Metallic with additional clear coat - No stripes - 20" SRT design forged aluminum with Black pockets wheels - Stainless Steel Megna Flow exhaust with Catbacks - Nice deep sound. K & N Cool Air flow - Engine stablizer bar added. Other Options added: Short throw shifter with pistol grip, Brushed Stainless door sill guards with Challenger logo including Custom floor & trunk mats, Rear park assist system - Electronic vehicle tracking system (EVTS), Media Center 730N CD/DVD/MP3/HDD/Nav radio with voice command and still has the new car smell. Car cover included"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

I love this car. Great value. 25 M.P.G.

By on Saturday, October 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this car. I consider it a great bang for your buck--value. As far as reliability and quality--no issues so far; I know only 9200 miles. It drives and corners solid. I think the design of the interior and exterior of the car is fantastic. The SRT-8 has huge well bolstered leather seats with real nice orange stripe accents (the car is Header Orange) so they have really taken some thought and time to personalize the interior with the color of the car. It is way more comfortable than my friends SS Camaro and gets better gas mileage than the Camaro SS even though it makes 55 more horsepower and weighs apron. 400 lbs. more than the SS. If I drive the car at 65-70 M.P.H it will get 25 M.P.G. I think it is a great value for a performance car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

This car is best.

By on Saturday, October 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Beats mustang & Camaro"

Cons: "Just a little more horsepower and its a ten."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car is very well engineered.I have owner a lots of cars in my lifetime,This car is the best.On a scale of one to ten I have to give it a ten."

A Must Buy

By on Monday, September 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Power, fun to drive, looks, value, comfortable"

Cons: "city MPG"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my 2013 R/T Challenger 6-speed and absolutely love it. Its great as just a daily driver, but it never hurts knowing you can get from 0-60 in a mere 5 seconds. The car has lots of room as well, especially compared to the mustang and camaro. It really will get 25 MPG Highway and is very comfortable for those long road trips. I just drove 1,000 miles and didn't have a single problem. Must have for true muscle car lovers!"

8 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?