Aged to perfection. Truly, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For its faithful fans, the 2020 Dodge Challenger looks just as handsome as it did when it was released way back in 2008.
The Challenger relies on an iconic design with modern touches to pull it off. It's noticeably larger and heavier than its chief competitors, the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, and it offers a contemporary interpretation of the coke-body layout popularized by the original.
Dodge offers the Challenger in a variety of styles, but even the standard SXT offers available stripes and decals for a nominal price. The standard carbon aluminum wheels look great, and there are nine exterior color choices for consideration. Move up through the trim range and hood scoops, shakers, and wider wheel wells give this sport coupe a more aggressive look.
Every year, Dodge develops at least one special model, a formula that keeps the Challenger relevant after 13 years. The SRT Hellcat Widebody Redeye is this year's flavor, delivering on-point style to match its standout performance.
Power to the people. The base Challenger has a 3.6-liter V6 engine with a satisfying 305 horsepower. It's the engine of choice for buyers who want the look, but not the cost outlay or diminished fuel economy of a big V8.
It's the V8 engines that get all the attention, offering performance levels ranging from 375 to almost 797 hp. Shoppers have a choice of 5.7- or 6.4-liter naturally-aspirated V8 engines or a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The latter motivates the range-topping Hellcat models.
Although heavy and bulky, V8-powered Challengers are fast. Its strength is on the straightaways, but the adaptive dampers on the upper trim models make this sport coupe a joy in cornering.
All that power comes at the expense of fuel economy: you'll be hard-pressed to achieve 15 miles per gallon combined if you regularly engage in spirited driving.
Everything you want. We already hinted that the Challenger can be personally customized. Dodge makes it easy by offering a variety of wheel and body trim designs. There's just no need to aftermarket shop when the options list includes nearly everything you want. From alloy wheels to enhanced brakes to a high-performance suspension system to improved are engine cooling, it's all there.
Inside, the cabin is roomy, at least upfront. The standard cloth seats are first-rate and there are various leather-trimmed options with thickly bolstered front seats to consider. The rear seats are cramped and most useful for children, but only occasionally. It's dark back there and lonely.
We like the 16.2 cubic foot trunk, which will swallow up nearly everything it can take. The opening is small, however, so that big bike of yours just won't fit.
Today's technology. What's not iconic about the Challenger is its technology, and that's a good thing. The standard 7-inch touchscreen interface for infotainment is highly useful and welcome. You can upgrade to an 8.4-inch screen too.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility come standard. You'll find at least one USB port and even the base audio package satisfies. Among the upgrades is an Alpine audio system and navigation, although we wouldn't spring for the latter if we're using our smartphones.
Although we laud Dodge for its technology, the Challenger isn't up to the challenge on the safety front. There's an optional forward-collision warning system, but it won't stop the Challenger from crashing, as it lacks automatic emergency braking. Ford and Chevrolet have more robust systems in place; we're waiting for Dodge to upgrade its possibilities.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Dodge Challenger keeps its classic looks and high horsepower to once again make it a muscle car favorite. It's large, comfortable, and offers modern infotainment features. We just wish the safety offerings were as up to date as the connectivity ones. Looks to rivals if you're seeking more of those or a more stylish cabin.
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