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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 380 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

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

dodge did an excellent job on the look of this car

By on Sunday, May 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, dependable"

Cons: "not for young inexperienced drivers"

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

"I would not recommend for young drivers or no experience on a manual transmission. A lot of power that some may not know how to handle. I have a lot of trouble getting it into 2nd gear, sometimes it won't go back into 1st or 3rd either. Battery is hard to get out of the car. I like the sound of the car. Overall I enjoy my car more than any other car I have ever owned."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Awesome!!

By on Saturday, May 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,900

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

"purchased new in May 2014 off the carrier. 6900 Pampered miles. All service recently completed. Great car I hate to give it up."

It just can't get much better!

By on Sunday, May 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,650

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fair price, very fun to drive, 5.7 will go"

Cons: "Should have made the leather seats complete leathe"

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

"I own this 2013 Blacktop R/T Plus Challenger and don't have a single regret putting my investment into this car. I'm happy with my 5.7 Hemi but if I had just one second thought, it would possibly be having the 392 under the hood. Nothing against the 2015 revised models but, after looking at them and comparing the redone front and back end and the interior changes, I still like mine better. I have to rate her right at the top of the scale. Why take away the manual pistol grip style? To me, looking at the new interior it just looks cheaper to me, but to each, their own. It's the ONLY real retro vehicle that is so true to it's roots in 1970 bar none."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best car I've owned

By on Saturday, May 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

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
8/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"Been driving this car for 5 trouble free years. Minor issue with AC control but dealer fixed under warantee. Others than that all I've ever done to it routine Maintenace. Has a big car ride and sports car performance. I'm 6"2" and fit nicely. Has a lot of space vs the Camaro and Mustang. Even the rear seats are roomy. Cruisin at 80 mph I'm getting 26 + mpg. What.s not to like?"

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Moderate value for high cost

By on Wednesday, May 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Look and handling are both nice. Comfortable ride"

Cons: "Poor craftsmanship, low quality materials"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Original and only owner - experience with the vehicle has been mostly good until the last year and a half due to the air conditioning system's endurance (or lack thereof). From the posts I've seen online about other Dodge vehicles, the blend door actuator failure and door freezing in the heat/open position is common for a lot of the dual control (zoned) air conditioning systems. This is a single control system with the same problems. After only 36000 miles in 5 years (2 yrs and 22000 miles of which were highway only), the air conditioning system has completely leaked all freon twice and had the blend door stick in place once causing hot air to come out the passenger and rear vents while only cool, not cold, air blows from the driver side vents (currently being repaired). This is apparently a software issue Dodge has refused to recall and fix since 2007 or earlier. However, not only has the AC failed twice barely after the original warranty mileage expired, but the rubber seals around the inside of the hood have dry rotted and fallen off in that time as well. This is a garage kept vehicle. Sounds like poor quality materials and bad design to me. Hopefully the newer (2011 and up) models have been improved since the price has been jacked up so much since I purchased this one. If you buy one, good luck! And get rid of it before you hit the 5 year mark."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

would highly recommend the dodge challenger

By on Friday, May 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"ive had my challenger for a year now, I love my car. it may not be as fast as the Camaro or mustang v8s but to me the challenger looks the best. retro style with all the comforts and safeties of a new car."

4 people out of 5 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

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