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2012 Dodge Challenger

Overview
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2012 Dodge Challenger Review

By

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.
Favorite Features

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)

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?

2012 Dodge Challenger Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.3
Out of 10

Based on 319 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.3/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.6/10

INCREDIBLE BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS!!!

By on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

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

THIS IS MY BABY!! I STILL GASP EVERYTIME I OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR!

"I've waited my whole life for a "HEMI"!IT'S THE THING I'VE WANTED THE MOST IN MY LIFE AND WITH BEING A SINGLE PARENT RAISING 2 CHILDREN KNEW I COULD NEVER HAVE,!!!! DREAMS DO COME TRUE!!! THIS CAR IS SO FAR BEYOND MY WILDEST DREAMS! The technology has come along way from dropping a Hemi in a 70's Challenger!! This car is mind boggling for a car that weighs over 4000 lbs. The performance the handling , the driveability of this vehicle is AWESOME THE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS VEHICLE IS AWESOME!!! BEST THING I EVER DID!!"

THIS IS MY BABY!! I STILL GASP EVERYTIME I OPEN THE GARAGE DOOR!

A THRILL TO DRIVE!

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very fast, handles well. Thrill to drive w/HEMI"

Cons: "Skip shift feature...nuisance."

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

"I bought this car because I wanted a classic car, but since I am a female, classic cars require reliable mechanics. I don't know any and did not necessarily want a project car. The comfort of the drivers seat was important to me as well, because I have had 2 back surgeries. The 2013 Challenger met my needs. I have the R/T, 5.7 Hemi, 6 spd manual. This car is amazing to drive. There is nothing like the thrill of feeling all that power under your feet. The car performs well and is very fast! There is only one disappointing feature; the car automatically takes you from first gear to 4th when traveling at the exact speed - its suppose to save you mpg's but I find it annoying. IF you pause, you can continue to manually shift into 2nd, 3rd, then 4th. They do sell something called a skip shift eliminator for $30.00 - I may look into having that installed. It also downshifts from 5th to 4th when you actually want 6th gear. Again, if you pause for a few seconds, you can shift manually. This feature is not popular and a real nuisance. As you should be aware, this is NOT a winter car. Since it is a rear wheel drive car, it will slide on wet pavement (rain) - especially since it is a manual trans, so you need to take it easy. Living in Michigan - there are still plenty of dry days to enjoy this car. The overall styling of this car is really attractive. The back seat has room for adults but it really is a two person car. Mt granddaughter (4) calls it Noni's "Hot Rod" and always begs for rides in it, but honestly, it is NOT a kid car. It weighs 4200 pounds and it does perform like the 70-72 Muscle cars. I just turned 60 and this is a car that you can appreciate and enjoy driving. I resist the urge to RACE because I surely don't need any speeding tickets at my age. It is definitely a "bucket list" car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

A THRILL TO DRIVE!

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very fast, handles well. Thrill to drive w/HEMI"

Cons: "Skip shift feature...nuisance."

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

"I bought this car because I wanted a classic car, but since I am a female, classic cars require reliable mechanics. I don't know any and did not necessarily want a project car. The comfort of the drivers seat was important to me as well, because I have had 2 back surgeries. The 2013 Challenger met my needs. I have the R/T, 5.7 Hemi, 6 spd manual. This car is amazing to drive. There is nothing like the thrill of feeling all that power under your feet. The car performs well and is very fast! There is only one disappointing feature; the car automatically takes you from first gear to 4th when traveling at the exact speed - its suppose to save you mpg's but I find it annoying. IF you pause, you can continue to manually shift into 2nd, 3rd, then 4th. They do sell something called a skip shift eliminator for $30.00 - I may look into having that installed. It also downshifts from 5th to 4th when you actually want 6th gear. Again, if you pause for a few seconds, you can shift manually. This feature is not popular and a real nuisance. As you should be aware, this is NOT a winter car. Since it is a rear wheel drive car, it will slide on wet pavement (rain) - especially since it is a manual trans, so you need to take it easy. Living in Michigan - there are still plenty of dry days to enjoy this car. The overall styling of this car is really attractive. The back seat has room for adults but it really is a two person car. Mt granddaughter (4) calls it Noni's "Hot Rod" and always begs for rides in it, but honestly, it is NOT a kid car. It weighs 4200 pounds and it does perform like the 70-72 Muscle cars. I just turned 60 and this is a car that you can appreciate and enjoy driving. I resist the urge to RACE because I surely don't need any speeding tickets at my age. It is definitely a "bucket list" car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

A THRILL TO DRIVE!

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very fast, handles well. Thrill to drive w/HEMI"

Cons: "Skip shift feature...nuisance."

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

"I bought this car because I wanted a classic car, but since I am a female, classic cars require reliable mechanics. I don't know any and did not necessarily want a project car. The comfort of the drivers seat was important to me as well, because I have had 2 back surgeries. The 2013 Challenger met my needs. I have the R/T, 5.7 Hemi, 6 spd manual. This car is amazing to drive. There is nothing like the thrill of feeling all that power under your feet. The car performs well and is very fast! There is only one disappointing feature; the car automatically takes you from first gear to 4th when traveling at the exact speed - its suppose to save you mpg's but I find it annoying. IF you pause, you can continue to manually shift into 2nd, 3rd, then 4th. They do sell something called a skip shift eliminator for $30.00 - I may look into having that installed. It also downshifts from 5th to 4th when you actually want 6th gear. Again, if you pause for a few seconds, you can shift manually. This feature is not popular and a real nuisance. As you should be aware, this is NOT a winter car. Since it is a rear wheel drive car, it will slide on wet pavement (rain) - especially since it is a manual trans, so you need to take it easy. Living in Michigan - there are still plenty of dry days to enjoy this car. The overall styling of this car is really attractive. The back seat has room for adults but it really is a two person car. Mt granddaughter (4) calls it Noni's "Hot Rod" and always begs for rides in it, but honestly, it is NOT a kid car. It weighs 4200 pounds and it does perform like the 70-72 Muscle cars. I just turned 60 and this is a car that you can appreciate and enjoy driving. I resist the urge to RACE because I surely don't need any speeding tickets at my age. It is definitely a "bucket list" car."

A THRILL TO DRIVE!

By on Thursday, April 10, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very fast, handles well. Thrill to drive w/HEMI"

Cons: "Skip shift feature...nuisance."

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

"I bought this car because I wanted a classic car, but since I am a female, classic cars require reliable mechanics. I don't know any and did not necessarily want a project car. The comfort of the drivers seat was important to me as well, because I have had 2 back surgeries. The 2013 Challenger met my needs. I have the R/T, 5.7 Hemi, 6 spd manual. This car is amazing to drive. There is nothing like the thrill of feeling all that power under your feet. The car performs well and is very fast! There is only one disappointing feature; the car automatically takes you from first gear to 4th when traveling at the exact speed - its suppose to save you mpg's but I find it annoying. IF you pause, you can continue to manually shift into 2nd, 3rd, then 4th. They do sell something called a skip shift eliminator for $30.00 - I may look into having that installed. It also downshifts from 5th to 4th when you actually want 6th gear. Again, if you pause for a few seconds, you can shift manually. This feature is not popular and a real nuisance. As you should be aware, this is NOT a winter car. Since it is a rear wheel drive car, it will slide on wet pavement (rain) - especially since it is a manual trans, so you need to take it easy. Living in Michigan - there are still plenty of dry days to enjoy this car. The overall styling of this car is really attractive. The back seat has room for adults but it really is a two person car. Mt granddaughter (4) calls it Noni's "Hot Rod" and always begs for rides in it, but honestly, it is NOT a kid car. It weighs 4200 pounds and it does perform like the 70-72 Muscle cars. I just turned 60 and this is a car that you can appreciate and enjoy driving. I resist the urge to RACE because I surely don't need any speeding tickets at my age. It is definitely a "bucket list" car."

LUV MY CHALLENGER IN RED

By on Monday, April 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,120

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: "Performance, exterior, quiet, engine, controls"

Cons: "windshield doesn't have sunshade"

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

"I fell in loved in this car head over heels thought was the best sports muscle car ever been put on the road. It drives extremely fast on plenty of power have under the bolstered engine. Features are outstanding along car new exterior looks and have all books and records. Challenger has responsive handling...SXT Plus version I got was available in more features includes UCONNECT touchscreen navigation, Ventilated seats, Bluetooth, radio overall best in a excellent sound system. Love how it rides perfectly in a quiet (black metallic interior) there are too many things can be listed on Challenger. Every time I drive my handsome sports car reminds me of that old Chevy drove on some winding roads but now I'm driving a more upgraded high performance sports car its faster on those winding roads still travel like back doing old times. I never bought a Chrysler/Dodge vehicle before when saw this shining red Challenger SXT Plus off the highway at dealership it was calling me to drive off the lot now very happy owning and paid cash for my Challenger an Mopar sports car ever."

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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?