By Don Fuller, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
For all those who missed the muscle cars the first time around, they're back, the 2014 Dodge Challenger is right there with the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro and they're all far better than their ancestors. In the intervening decades, technology has made huge leaps, and the 2014 Challenger, as with the Mustang and Camaro, is better in every way: It's far quicker, handles far better, rides far better, and has far better brakes. It's also far more efficient and far more reliable. The higher-performance versions of the Mustang and Camaro are probably slightly faster on the track, but the Challenger has more interior room, has looks closer to the original, and has something the others don't: Available Hemi V8 power.
There is no doubt: If you're drawn to the Challenger's image and powertrains, or missed a Challenger the first time around, or just have to drive a Hemi, nothing else will do.
You will like a car like this or you won't – there's nothing between. Comparisons of ultimate performance numbers favor the Mustang and Camaro, but if you're not enchanted with muscle cars and their stomping engines and cramped interiors, you really ought to be looking at something else.
There are no significant changes to the Dodge Challenger for 2014.
Driving Impressions Whatever you thought or remembered about the way those muscle cars of times past drove, forget it, because the 2014 Dodge Challenger is a completely new and far, far better...... driving experience. Even the base model has a V6 of 305 horsepower. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 churns 375 horsepower with the manual transmission, and the monstrous 6.4-liter SRT8 goes to 470. The fully-independent suspension gives a level of handling that would have been unimaginable in those old days. The Challenger delivers a nice ride on city streets yet, in the hands of a skilled driver, can attack corners with a rampaging gusto. And, make no mistake: With this potential level of performance, a fairly high level of skill will be required to get the most out of it and, even then, such activities are best suited to track days. This is one capable, and impressive, muscle car for the new age.
18-SPEAKER HARMAN/KARDON AUDIO SYSTEM
With 900 watts of audio blasting through 18 – yes, eighteen – speakers, this upgrade makes the Challenger sound better than many home-theater systems.
Pardon us if we just can't resist, but there is an undeniable attraction in knowing that, under the long hood, there sits a Hemi V8 just waiting to get with the program.
If the 2014 Dodge Challenger is a terrific representation of muscle-car glory on the outside, it's sort of merely adequate inside. The layout seems uninspired. There are hard plastics, so-so color choices, only-average textures, moderately-adequate details, a lot of ho-hum. But the seats are wide and firm, with sufficient side bolsters and adjustable lumbar support. Two adults can actually fit in the rear, although getting there requires a bit of gymnastics. The Challenger also provides, surprisingly, a fairly generous trunk.Exterior
The 2014 Challenger is longer, higher and altogether larger than the old version. Park the old and the new side-by-side, and the differences become clear. Still, there's no mistaking the family line, with the long hood, short rear deck and retro styling cues. Of all the current muscle cars, the Challenger seems most related to its ancestor, visually, and that resemblance to its past lends a flavor that tends to show up with classic cars: You drive them not so much to another place but in another time, and so it is with the Challenger. And that's a good thing.
The 2014 Dodge Challenger line goes from the base SXT to the loaded SRT8. The base SXT model includes keyless entry, 18-inch all-season performance tires, automatic climate control, remote start and 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input and Chrysler's Uconnect hands-free communication system. The R/T model has the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, an upgraded sound system with Boston speakers, fog lights and a rear spoiler. With the SRT8 model, you'll get the biggest engine available and a 1-day "Track Experience" where you can learn how to better control your car's performance. We like the SRT8, and we heartily recommend the Track Experience.
Numerous upgrades are available for the 2014 Challenger individually or as parts of packages, depending upon trim level. Among the highlights are high-intensity headlights, sunroof, 18-speaker harman/kardon sound system, track suspension, navigation system, 20-inch wheels and various appearance packages to make the Challenger appear even bolder.
The 2014 Dodge Challenger is available with a choice of three engines: The base 3.6-liter V6 makes 305 horsepower and is all you really need, with loads of performance for the open road or canyon curves. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8, with 375 horsepower with the manual transmission, is plenty more than enough. Beyond that is the 6.4-liter SRT8 Hemi, with 470 horsepower and the ability to melt tires and gas-station credit cards. With an EPA highway rating of 27 mpg and plenty of responsive performance, the V6 is the prudent choice but, if you're being prudent, you probably aren't considering a Challenger in the first place.
305 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
268 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg
5.7-liter Hemi V8
372 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm (automatic)
375 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: 15/25 mpg (automatic), 15/23 mpg (manual)
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 mpg
The 2014 Dodge Challenger SXT has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $26,500. At that price, it's roughly $3,500 more than a base Ford Mustang and over $2,200 more than a base Chevrolet Camaro. At the top of the Challenger pack, an SRT8 version tops $45,000, a price that can also be reached with higher-end versions of the Mustang and Camaro. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see what others in your area are paying. As for resale, we expect the Challenger's residual value to hold up well, comparable to the Camaro and above the Ford Mustang.
By Swanie on Thursday, December 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks, acceleration, leather interior, fun"
Cons: "Gas milage 14-15 in the city"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought my 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T in September 2011 and it has 9000 miles. The color is Toxic Orange which I love. Before this car I owned five (5) Mustangs between 1994 and 2010 including a 1996 Mystic Cobra and a 2003 Mach 1. The Challenger is a little heavier than the Mustangs and doesn't handle quite as well but it is much smoother cruising on the highway and the acceleration is what you buy the car for. The leather interior is very comfortable and easy to keep clean. I have had no problems with the car other than the three (3) recalls. A great car to own and I would definitely buy another R/T. This car really attracts attention."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Karefree12 on Sunday, November 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to drive, great value, great options"
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."
6 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By Woody on Wednesday, November 12, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful