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2018 Dodge Challenger

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2018 Dodge Challenger Expert Review

By Keith Buglewicz

KBB Expert Rating: 8.2

The 2018 Dodge Challenger is the muscle-car that can do it all. From the entry-level model with its 305-horsepower V6 and available all-wheel drive, to increasingly hairy chested V8 models ranging all the way to the supercharged SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon, this 5-passenger 2-door blends classic muscle car cues and performance with all the modern technology you could want. Its interior offers comfortable seating, high-tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a surprisingly quiet and refined ride. It even boasts 5-star crash-test ratings from the Department of Transportation. But lest you think this car is too practical, make no mistake: There's no Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro that can match the Hellcat's 707 horsepower, much less the drag-race-ready Demon's 840 horses. This is as serious as muscle gets.

You'll Like This Car If...

Whether you want to go fast or not, the 2018 Challenger is a terrific looking car, with clean lines that blend classic proportions with modern design. It offers a V6 with all-wheel drive, or if you absolutely must win the horsepower wars with your buddies, the SRT Hellcat offers 707, and the SRT Demon offers 840.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro are both lighter than the Challenger, and notably smaller, and both offer V8 engines that are also comically powerful and better handling on the kinds of twisty roads that many enthusiasts enjoy. Plus, both are available as convertibles, while the Challenger is coupe-only.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 8.2
  • 8.6
  • 9.0
  • 8.8
  • 8.6
  • N/A
How It Ranks
2018 Dodge Challenger Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

The big news is the 2018 Dodge SRT Demon, a Challenger-based drag-race special with a supercharged V8 engine putting out a whopping 840 horsepower on 100-octane fuel. Other news includes the Hellcat Widebody, which includes wider tires for better handling, and various changes to trim and color, including the return of Plum Crazy.

Driving the Challenger
2018 Dodge Challenger Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

From the base Challenger SXT to the ridiculous SRT Demon, all Challengers are satisfying to drive, albeit in different ways. The base car's 305-horsepower V6 provides plenty of day-to-day power,...

... and you can even get the all-weather security of all-wheel drive -- unique to the class -- in the GT. Models powered by either the 5.7-liter or 6.4-liter V8 lean more toward performance. That latter engine used to be the top line, and its 485 horsepower moves the Challenger with extreme gusto. These days, the SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon occupy the top spot, with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The Hellcat is now available in a Widebody model that adds bigger wheels and tires for better handling, while the Demon is designed for trips to the drag strip. Yet the Challenger -- even the Hellcat -- is no challenge as a daily driver thanks to its comfortable suspension and relatively quiet interior.

ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
Muscle cars are all about burnouts and youthful exuberance, but the 2018 Dodge Challenger GT adds the responsibility of all-wheel drive (AWD) to the mix. The Challenger is the only muscle car to offer AWD, meaning it'll be the first choice for skiers and buyers in snowy climates.

SRT DEMON
The 2018 Dodge SRT Demon is sold out, unfortunately, but we admire the car for its sheer ridiculousness, and its power. Able to put out 840 horsepower on race gasoline, the Demon is a pure drag-racer, complete with drag radials, a deleted rear and passenger seat, and race-ready driver assists built in.

2018 Dodge Challenger Details
2018 Dodge Challenger Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

You'd never know that the Challenger was capable of shenanigans from its pleasant and comfortable interior. The touch screen in the center is an old friend, enhanced this year with Uconnect 8.4, which brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There's a retro feel that still looks modern, and we like the big driver info center between the main gauges. No doubt, the thick rear pillars take some getting used to, but blind-spot warning and a backup camera make the Challenger easy to drive. The rear seat can actually fit three across, unusual for this class, and the trunk is actually enormous, albeit with a high liftover.

Exterior
2018 Dodge Challenger photo

The Challenger's classic long-hood/short-deck proportions and wide stance grumble performance in every single model, and with their flared fenders and other details, the Hellcat Widebody and SRT Demon shout it outright. Details like hood scoops, badging and optional stripes throw in a retro feel. It just looks cool, successfully fighting the urge to be overly old-fashioned and remains sleek and modern with a timeless appeal and the masculine swagger of an MMA champion. And if that swagger isn’t enough you can also get some of the bright colors with the fun names from back in the day, like IndiGO Blue and Plum Crazy.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2018 Dodge Challenger SXT comes with the V6 engine, a Uconnect infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touch screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary inputs, 2-zone automatic climate control, remote start and a host of additional convenience features. There are 16 different Challenger models, each with its own list of "standard" equipment, but generally the higher up you go the more stuff you get. Hounds-tooth cloth seats are standard on SXT, R/T, R/T Shaker and R/T Scat Pack models. An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard on V6 models and optional on V8 models.

Optional Equipment

The Challenger GT adds all-wheel drive to V6 models, while Challenger R/T, R/T Plus, T/A, T/A Plus, RT/Shaker, R/T Plus Shaker get the 5.7-liter V8. We recommend the Performance Handling Package for 5.7-liter models to upgrade the suspension and brakes. Challenger R/T Scat Pack, T/A 392, 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker, and SRT 392 all come with the bigger V8 and generally nicer interiors and equipment levels. The supercharged SRT Hellcat and Hellcat Widebody are basically loaded from the factory. The (sold out) SRT Demon is actually stripped of its rear and passenger seats, although both can be added for $1. We recommend the Uconnect 8.4 system, which enhances the infotainment with a bigger screen and navigation.

Under the Hood
2018 Dodge Challenger Engine photo

The 3.6-liter V6 in SXT and GT models sends its 305 horsepower to either the rear or all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The 5.7-liter V8 in the R/T and T/A variants makes 375 horsepower with a 6-speed manual transmission or 372 with the 8-speed automatic. The R/T Scat Pack, 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker, T/A 392 and SRT 392 share the same 485-horsepower 6.4-liter V8. The SRT Hellcat adds a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 707 horsepower, which would make it the king of the hill if it weren't for the 840-horsepower (on race gas) SRT Demon. All V8-powered challengers except the Demon can be ordered with a 6-speed manual transmission, but the 8-speed automatic doesn't shortchange performance. Obviously, none of these cars are fuel-economy kings, although the V6 models aren't bad.

3.6-liter V6
305 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
268 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/30 mpg (RWD), 18/27 mpg (AWD)

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: 16/25 mpg (automatic), 15/23 mpg (manual)

6.4-liter Hemi V8
485 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
475 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/25 mpg (automatic), 14/23 mpg (manual)

6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 (SRT Hellcat)
707 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
650 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/22 mpg (automatic), 13/21 mpg (manual)

6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 (SRT Demon)
808 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (91 octane)
840 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (100 octane)
717 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm (91 octane)
770 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm (100 octane)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/22 mpg

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price on a base model Dodge Challenger SXT starts at about the $28,100 mark, including the $1,095 destination charge, a lot of car for the money. Add about $6,000 for the all-wheel drive and higher equipment level of the GT. The nicely equipped R/T with the 5.7-liter V8 starts at about $34,500, while the R/T Scat Pack and its 6.4-liter V8 starts at about $40,000. The SRT 392 is very nicely equipped, justifying its $50,500 price tag. Looked at one way, the $67,400 price of the 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat isn't cheap, but on the other hand, it's a heck of a bargain for that much power. The SRT Demon lists for about $84,400, but dealers aren't exactly beholden to that. Check the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to see what others in your area paid, and note that the Challenger bucks the trend of low resale value on Dodges, holding its own against the Mustang and Camaro.

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