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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)

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 388 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
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.5/10

My 2012 Dodge Challenger

By on Monday, July 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

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

Pros: "More FUN than should legally be allowed :)"

Cons: "No small block V-8 option."

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

My 2012 Dodge Challenger

"Let me start by saying that this car soooo reminds me of the 1972 340 'Cuda I owned all those decades ago. I get in the car, settle in a very comfortable drivers seat, place my hands on the steering wheel...and the memories come flooding back. Push the start button, shift into Drive, hit the gas, and all of a sudden it hits me...this ISN'T my 72' 340 'Cuda! First of all, this car has the 3.6L V-6 engine, gets 30+ mpg on open-road long distance drives, and delivers 30 more ponies under the hood then the 275 HP rated 340...and yeah, it's noticeable to me! Pull out into traffic, and it immediately becomes obvious...this car doesn't want city traffic, it wants the open road...especially ones with lots of curves! It's then that I realize this isn't my old 340 'Cuda. Those E-Bodies of yesteryear never handled turns like THIS...not even close! So yes...I can give the 2012 3.6L Challenger two thumbs up in the Fun to Drive category. That said, I do have a few reservations. I would have much prefered a more 'retro-look' instrument cluster over the Lunar White one. The center console floor-mount shifter could have taken on a more retro look also. Believe it or not, my '04 Jeep Liberty has exactly what I'm referring to. Having the wipers hidden under the hood cowl would have been a nice touch and given this car a much cleaner look. The push button start is nice and very easy to get used to, but would it have hurt to put a key ignition mounted on the steering column? And lastly...why oh why was the 4.7L V-8 never offered for the Challenger...?!?"

My 2012 Dodge Challenger

Love this car!

By on Sunday, July 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun, good quality and functional"

Cons: "None that I found yet"

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

"Every time I walk out to drive somewhere and I see my car there I smile- it's just a good looking car. It's comfortable on long trips and gets decent HWY mileage (28mpg -on a recent road trip from SF to Vegas). It doesn't get the city mileage that was advertized (19city/23hwy) but since the hwy mileage is so much better than I thought it would be I'm okay with the 17mpg I get around town. The interior is quality craftsmanship. It's a solid car- lots of room in the front - huge truck and it's heavy. When I was shopping for a new car I didn't really have it on my radar and just test drove it to rule it out really. It was the test drive that did it -the Dodge Challenger just swept me off my feet. The only thing I wasn't prepared for, which is not at all unique to the car, is the cost of replacing performance tires- ouch!"

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

i bought because it's a A+ car

By on Monday, July 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 350

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): 9

"I own 2 of these challengers. Redline ,hemi,leather int.,loaded!!! Both have less than 400 miles. Will use as collector cars till I pass then each child will receive one!!I'm 62 yrs old so I can enjoy going for a ride every now and then."

10 people out of 19 found this review helpful

special order from factory numbered production

By on Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,500

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: "good on gas very fast and fun driver roomy"

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

"This car is number 715 of 1000 produced in 2014. Has all options available. Navigation, moon roof, heated seats and cold air intake from factory. stitched soft leather interior with monogramed seats. number pate on dash. 6 speed automatic with shifter paddles on steering. 20 inch dodge wheels. special edition shaker graphics decals. exterior is black. which makes this car a rare car since very few are black with the black graphics. very fast but smooth ride. great gas mileage for this breed of car at 23 HI way."

10 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Handles And performs like a race car

By on Saturday, June 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,600

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: "With every penny"

Cons: "Ha ha ha. There are no cons."

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

"Near perfect cond. drove first year never in salt sand or snow. Been covered in garage since. Start up and take around block every 2 week. You won't find a 2012 392 6 speed SRT in better shape"

9 people out of 22 found this review helpful

Great Value!!

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great price, fun to drive,roomy,great styling"

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

"For the money I think this car is a great value because you can haul 4 people easily, carry a trunkload of luggage,go from 60-100m.p.h. in no time flat and stop even faster. Great retro styling with a well designed interior. Lots of power etc."

10 people out of 25 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?