The original Dodge Challenger “pony car” came on the scene in 1969. Fourty six years later, the 2015 Dodge Challenger gets a refresh and aims to blend the heritage and the future. Does it get the point across?
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2015 Dodge Challenger R/T||$31,495||$44,255||372 / 400|
|EPA Rating MPG||As Tested MPG||Curb Lbs|
|Rating: LEASE IT!
||16 / 25 / 19||4,082|
This 2015 Challenger R/T model sports a modern 5.7L HEMI V8 with multiple displacement and variable valve timing. Multiple displacement means that it’s able to shut down four of the eight cylinders under light load to save some extra fuel. Since this test car is equipped with the 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, the engine output is down a little: 372 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm and 400 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (the 6-speed manual car is rated at: 375 horses and 410 lb-ft). Dodge recommends 89 octane fuel, although the 87 octane is acceptable.
On the other hand, the 8-speed automatic combination allows for better fuel economy estimates: 16 MPG in the city, 25 MPG on the highway, and 19 MPG combined. I found these estimates to be accurate during my few days with the car.
This HEMI is relatively quiet under light load or idling. However, it comes to a healthy song at full throttle. I expected a proper V8 muscle car to produce a little more noise throughout. You can remedy this by getting an aftermarket exhaust system or stepping up to the Challenger SRT or Hellcat.
The 2015 update consists of a new grille, new taillights, and rear facia. The dual exhaust tips are further integrated into the rear valance. These are welcome updates that keep the look modern, yet have a remarkable resemblance to the overall look of the 1970 Challenger.
Perhaps, the more noticeable updates are in the cabin. The dash and the rest of the interior have been redone with even more driver focus and improved fit and finish. The analog tachometer and speedometer are complimented by two large screens.
This R/T has the $695 Super Trak Pak optional package that includes blacked out 20-inch rims, performance tires, brakes, suspension, and steering tuning. It also includes Performance Pages application that can be accessed via the large 8.4 inch center screen. This lets you setup Launch Control rpm, track your performance, and monitor the vital signs of the drive-train. This package offers great value.
The Challenger is a little intimidating at first time behind the wheel. The car feels large, which it is. You can see the relatively long hood and the roof line is fairly low. It’s not as claustrophobic as the Camaro coupe, but it does convey the classic muscle car feeling and depends respect.
Oddly enough, the Challenger R/T becomes familiar just after an hour behind the wheel. It does not have the best steering feel, but the driver can gain confidence quickly. You just need to get used to the physical dimensions of the car, and off you go. You might think that the ride is harsh due to 20-inch rims and sport tuned suspension, but it actually has good compliance. You can tell the sporty character, but it won’t punish you on rough pavement.
The obvious Challenger R/T competitors are the Ford Mustang GT and Chevy Camaro SS. The Challenger is the more useful muscle car, if this even matters. At least you can tell your wife or girlfriend that the Challenger has by far the most interior volume and trunk space. The base R/T starts at a lower price than the V8 competitors. Although, the Challenger has less horsepower, it has many things going for it.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2015 Dodge Challenger a Lease It!
I wanted to give it our best Buy It! rating, but all the options (including the automatic transmission) take the price to over $44,000 and this takes away from the value equation. I would select a 6-speed manual version with the $695 Super Trak Pak for just over $33,000 and call it a Buy It! all day long.
And here is the 1970 Dodge Challenger with several R/T parts.
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, software engineer, writer, and reporter. He has been writing and reporting at TFLcar since 2011.