The retro styled Dodge Challenger continues to sell well and is perhaps the best looking of the current crop of retro muscle cars that include the Chevrolet Camaro and the perennial Ford Mustang, But whilst these two latter cars are becoming more daring. sleeker and low slung in appearance, the Challenger with its upright stance and broad beefy looks is a more original interpretation of its illustrious ancestor. Exterior changes include standard dual exhaust with bright tips, bright fuel filler door and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, there are new front seats, EZ-Entry function on the passenger seat for rear-seat access, and a new steering wheel. Suspension changes include revised geometry, monotube shocks and revised sway bar diameters and bushing rates.
2013 changes to the Dodge Challenger are few Interactive Decel Fuel Shut-Off, which shuts off fuel during deceleration for improved fuel economy is now standard. The R/T receives interior LED lighting and a UConnect Tunes hard-disc-drive stereo replaces the previous available six-CD/MP3 stereo. Hot news is the 3.6-litre V6, a new SRT8 392 model a few exterior and interior styling changes, revised suspension and as standard front seat side airbags and driver’s knee airbag.
Other changes include a new 3.6-litre V6 replaces the previous 3.5-litre V6, while the SRT8 trades its 6.1-litre V8 for a new 6.4-litre V8; the model becomes the SRT8 392, including a special limited-production inaugural edition of 392 vehicles for Canada. the new engine includes the multi-displacement system for improved fuel economy that is also used on the 5.7-litre V8.
The Dodge Challenger is available with a choice of three engines: a 3.6-litre V6 in the SXT and SXT Plus; a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 in the R/T; and 6.4-litre V8 in the SRT8 392. All use a five-speed automatic transmission.
The SRT8 392 added modified front fascia, dual 392 Hemi badges, engine cover and key fob. Also exclusive is on the limited-production SRT8 392 Inaugural Edition are 20-inch alloy wheels with satin black painted pockets, pearl white leather trim seats with blue accent stitching and stripes, serialized dash plaque, silver brushed-metal centre stack, bright quad exhaust tips, body-colour spoiler and grille, and etched Mopar decal in the rear window. It comes only in Deep Water Blue with dual white centre stripes, or in Bright White with dual Viper Blue centre stripes.
My test R/T came with the 5.7-litre Hemi V8 with an optional six-speed manual transmission instead of the five speed autobox; performance brakes, polished aluminum fuel filler door, automatic headlamps, pushbutton start, heated mirrors, rear spoiler, heated leather-faced seats, Boston Acoustics speakers, Sirius satellite radio, performance steering, and performance suspension. The R/T Classic adds racing-style fuel cap, dual square chrome exhaust tips, hood scoop, and body stripes.
Opt of the SRT8 version and one gains 20-inch forged alloy wheels, high-performance brakes, electronic vehicle information centre, severe-duty engine cooling, automatic xenon headlamps, garage door opener, illuminated cupholders, auto-dimming rearview mirror, security alarm, premium leather-faced heated seats, UConnect hands-free connectivity, performance-tuned steering, wheel-mounted audio controls, high-performance suspension, outside temperature display, and tire pressure monitoring display.
Curious about the Hemi’s fuel consumption? The 6.1-litre runs on regular fuel, but it is recommended that premium stuff be used for smoother running and averages a measly 16.5 L/100 km in the city and 10.9 on the highway. Performance? Chrysler claims an 0 to 100-km/h times of less than five seconds.
My blue 2013 Dodge Challenger R/T wore the black R/T stripes and classic R/T badge script, egg-crate grille with heritage “R/T” badge, body-color rear spoiler, functional hood scoop and bright racing style fuel-filler door for extra show.
The interior also is restrained, but not entirely Spartan. The big seats are comfortable and supportive and are very roomy. Otherwise you are confronted with a neat, tidy dash with Chrysler’s typical large, easy to use controls. Nothing too fancy, just pleasing and ergonomically fine. The rear seat is well shaped, but legroom and visibility for rear passengers will be severely compromised unless the front seats are pushed well forward.
Creature comforts abound. On the road the Challenger is just too much fun to drive. Coast along in traffic and you could be driving your Moms grocery shopping car… it is that docile. One is not even aware of that beast of an engine in front of you. Stab the throttle and a lion-like roar rewards you. The acceleration is neck snapping- should you want to play a little boy or girl drag racer on long straight roads. On the bends and varying ranges of road, it is a surprise to find this large; heavy car also handles well. The tuned suspension is surprisingly tight with just a trace a body roll, but is responsive in the steering and handling department. It is no svelte sport car, but it’s no land yacht either. Meanwhile the big brakes are very efficient and haul this monster down speedily and without fuss. For people like me who have lusted long after the original Dodge Challenger, it is finally here and everything you dreamed it would be. The Challenger with its iconic styling and in the hemi- engined guise is probably the most desirable retro American coupe in the last few years. Terribly exciting to own and drive.
2013 Dodge Challenger R/T priced from $37,395.