While other automakers have tweaked the recipe for their renditions of a muscle car, Dodge has stuck to its guns with the Challenger. The 2018 Dodge Challenger is more powerful than ever, has the unmistakable look of a muscle car, and has multiple models that make it a do-it-all type of machine.
What's New for 2018
The Challenger gets various updates for 2018, including two new models that push the boundaries of what a muscle car is. The new Challenger SRT Demon is the most powerful muscle car on the road, as the automaker claims, thanks to the 6.2-liter Hemi Demon V8 engine under the hood that makes 840 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque. It'd take us an entire page to cover all of the Demon's facts, but the muscle car can get to 60 miles per hour in just 2.3 seconds, while the quarter mile is over in just 9.6 seconds.
There's another new addition to the lineup with the Challenger SRT Widebody that cranks up the regular Challenger SRT Hellcat's madness to 10 with fender flares, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and electric power steering.
While the new models are the most obvious changes for the 2018 Challenger, additions have also been made to other vehicles in the lineup. The Challenger SRT Hellcat model gets new badges, illuminated Air-Catcher headlights with the Hellcat logo, and wheels that can be finished in Matte Vapor – a new color. The car's Brembo brakes can also be finished in black, gunmetal, or orange as an option.
Changes have also been made to the Challenger SRT 392 model that gets Brass Monkey wheels as an option and “5Deep” lightweight aluminum wheels standard. The Challenger R/T and Challenger R/T 392 models can be fitted with optional red Brembo brake calipers. The rest of the alterations are model specific. Trims with the 5.7-liter V8 engine, high-performance suspension, and Brembo brakes can be fitted with a new Performance Handling Package. The Challenger GT AWD can be fitted with 19-inch aluminum wheels. Nappa/Alcantara performance seats now come with the Super Track Pak on Challenger SXT Plus and R/T Plus models. Challenger SXT, R/T, R/T Shaker, and T/A models get Uconnect 4 with a 7.0-inch touchscreen as standard.
Lastly, every model in the Challenger family gets a rearview camera and one-touch up windows as standard, while F8 Green and IndiGO blue paint options have been added to the vehicles and B5 Blue and Plum Crazy return for 2018.
Choosing Your Dodge Challenger
With seven available models to choose from (and 16 total if you count the so-called Quick Order Packages, which feel more like trims), finding the perfect Challenger boils down to what kind of performance you want. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 305 hp, while the most powerful model is the 840-hp SRT Demon. Consumers wanting something in between can choose from two other V8 engines, including a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that produces 375 hp and a 6.4-liter 392 Hemi V8 motor that generates 485 hp. A six-speed manual is standard on every V8 model except the SRT Demon while eight-speed automatic transmissions span the entire range. The V6 is only available with the automatic and it’s the sole engine that works through an available all-wheel-drive system.
Once you've figured that out, the next step is to navigate Dodge's numerous packages. While listed as individual trim levels on Dodge's own consumer pages, the reality is that the Plus, Shaker, T/A, Scat Pack, and Widebody are all packages that can be attached to the SXT, R/T, R/T 392 Scat Pack, SRT 392, and SRT Hellcat trims.
The Plus package is a $2,670 option group available on the SXT and R/T and comes standard with an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a six-speaker audio system with HD radio and SiriusXM satellite radio, leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rear parking sensors, and a power tilt/telescopic steering system.
An available Shaker package is available on the R/T as a standalone option or alongside the Plus package and as part of the R/T 392 Scat Pack. With the 5.7-liter R/T, the Shaker pack demands $3,115 while adding it to the 475-horserpower Scat Pack adds $2,492 to the price tag. For those prices, you get the eponymous hood scoop, dedicated graphics, a black rear spoiler, Goodyear-branded high-performance rubber, and an upgraded steering rack.
The T/A package, available as an upgrade to the R/T, R/T Plus, and R/T 392 is as focused as performance-focused as the Challenger gets outside of the big, bad Hellcat trim. Requiring $3,560 on the R/T and R/T Plus and $4,450 on the R/T 392, the T/A adds a heap of performance gear. A Mopar-branded cold-air intake works through an Air Catcher headlamp borrowed from the SRT Hellcat, while a firmer, more aggressive suspension tune, performance-focused steering, and meaty, six-piston brake rotors make this one of the most agile Challengers on the market. And of course, there are plenty of aesthetic details. The T/A adds a heritage-derived flat-black hood, roof, rear decklid, and spoiler, and of course, lots of T/A badging.
Finally, the Widebody package is only available on the Challenger SRT Hellcat. Taking a page from the SRT Demon’s playbook, it adds huge fender flares with 12-inch wide tires at all four corners. The result is a Hellcat that should provide more usable grip than its narrow-body cousin (it doesn’t – 707 horsepower is a lot to tame) while incorporating the menacing look of its drag-strip-devouring big brother. This package adds a neat $6,000 to the SRT Hellcat’s total.
While 707 hp or 808 hp sounds great on paper, that kind of power is a little too much for the road. The SRT 392 with its high-performance parts and 485-hp engine has plenty of oomph to have fun on the road, plus the SRT goodies also look menacing. The R/T Plus with the Super Track Pak and the Performance Handling Group has roughly 85 percent of the same fun factor as the more expensive models, but is much more affordable.