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2012 Dodge Challenger

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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 394 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

great car super attention getter

By on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,000

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
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive,attract attention"

Cons: "attitudes from brand xers"

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

"This car peforms great and is an absolute blast to drive,only complaint is you would not want to drive it in bad weather as it would destroy exterior.Lots of compliments and always fun to drive,roomy,muscular and great combo for family/show off."

cool factor is through the roof

By on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,700

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fast, super cool and fun to drive."

Cons: "rear visability not so good."

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

"I've never had a car that gets this much attention. on the road I get thumbs up everywhere. in parking lots I get tons of positive comments. even at the drag strip people constantly come up to me asking what it is. it's fast when you want it to be but so easy to drive normally around town. it's big and comfortable. the clutch is incredibly light for a car with 485 hp. this car isn't for most people but if you want good old fashion American muscle give it a look."

Coolest Car I've Ever Owned

By on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

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

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
9/10

Pros: "Fast, responsive and a blast to drive."

Cons: "None"

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

"I wasn't really in the market for this car but when I saw it, I couldn't walk away. It's a 2012 Yellow Jacket and it's cool and fast!! It has a sun roof and a 6 speed manual and an absolute joy to drive. It's a head turner for sure. It still has that new car smell too. Dodge really did well with this car, especially the SRT8."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Owned the car since 2010 still is awesome to drive

By on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Driving it period !"

Cons: "Winter driving NOT recommended !"

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

"Dodge really knocked this one out of the park. Had 1 service issue and it was taken care of . No regrets this is an awesome vehicle , and its been 5 years ."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

i love this car

By on Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Cons: "wish the shoulder strap was adjustable"

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

"Added shaker hood/scoop, k&m cold air intake, flow master exhaust. Changed the white stock stripes to charcoal gray metallic to match, the stock wheels. The hood scoop is dark gray carbon fiber. The car is Green with Envy"

OUTSTANDING car.

By on Monday, August 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,700

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: "Its manuel and a rare find."

Cons: "Cant think of one."

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

"This car has been under a car port or garage. Has not been driven in the rain nor snow. Well taken care of and babied."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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