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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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 May Not Like This Car If...
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.
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.
HEMI ENGINE 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.
2014 Dodge Challenger Details
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.
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.
Under the Hood
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.
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.
"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."
"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."
"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."