CarsDirect Review

2022 Dodge Challenger Review

, Automotive Editor -

Ageless Wonder. You can’t talk about the 2022 Dodge Challenger and not mention its age. The last time Dodge gave the Challenger a large update was in 2008. That makes the Challenger 14 years old, which is ancient for anything that’s not a pickup truck. Despite its age, the Challenger continues to be a popular option. In fact, the Dodge Challenger had an excellent year in 2021, accounting for 54,314 units sold, beating the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.

The Challenger has aged incredibly well, featuring a design that continues to have just the right amount of retro cues, while being relevant. It’s not nearly as modern as the Camaro or as recognizable as the Mustang, but the Challenger’s muscular lines are reminiscent of past muscle cars. We think it’s the best looking of the muscular coupes on sale today.

Heroic V8 Engines.Dodge offers the Challenger with six different engines. The V8s are the star of the show, but they’re pricey. Plus, the standard 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 303 horsepower has something the other muscle coupes don’t — available all-wheel drive. The V6 isn’t the most exciting engine, but its AWD system is unique for the segment and a great feature for those in snowy climates.

We think most people shopping for a Challenger will be happy with the 5.7-liter V8 engine. It has a guttural sound while pumping out up to 375 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. For even more power, there’s an available 6.4-liter V8 that’s rated at 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. This engine is as high as we recommend going, as getting to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds is plenty quick. Plus, these two V8s are the only ones available with a six-speed manual transmission.

The four range-topping Challengers come with a version of Dodge’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 Hellcat engine. Output goes from 717 hp in the SRT Hellcat, 797 hp in the SRT Hellcat Redeye, and 807 hp in the new Jailbreak trim and the SRT Super Stock. The SRT Super Stock is capable of getting to 60 mph in just 3.25 seconds and is one of the most powerful cars on sale today.

With their hellacious growls, neck-snapping performance, and tire-burning capability, the supercharged V8 engines are beasts that never get old.

Drag Racing In Mind. While the Camaro and Mustang are available in high-performance models that are meant for heavy track use, the Challenger comes from a simpler time when going straight was more than enough. Even in its insanely powerful models, the Challenger is better suited at drag racing than a windy road. Call us crazy, but the Challenger is the most realistic take on a modern muscle car out of the bunch.

When not at a drag strip, the Challenger is a comfortable car for a highway cruise. The coupe’s elongated wheelbase, enormous power, and old platform make it a handful to drive on a windy road. Weighing shy of 4,000 pounds, the Challenger weighs almost as much as a midsize SUV. Add the weight with the outdated platform, numb steering, and slow-to-reach chassis and the Challenger is something that struggles to corner half as well as the Mustang or Camaro. The other two have morphed into offering similar performance to sports cars these days.

Slow the Challenger down on the highway and it behaves far better. Its ride evens out and without the need to make any sharp turns, it feels like it’s at home.

Modern Tech Features. The Challenger comes with an excellent infotainment system that's easy to use and available with one of the largest touchscreens in the class. A seven-inch touchscreen is standard, as are Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, two USB ports, and six audio speakers. A massive 8.4-inch touchscreen is available. Both come with Dodge’s Uconnect infotainment system that has good graphics, quick response times, and simple menus.

A rearview camera is the only noteworthy standard feature on the Challenger, but the coupe is available with a lengthy list of modern safety features. Forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring are available.

Final Thoughts. The old, outdated 2022 Dodge Challenger carves out a niche in the small American muscle car segment. While it doesn’t have the agile handling as the Mustang or Camaro, its retro design, spacious cabin, and incredibly powerful engines do enough to draw shoppers in. The Challenger definitely isn’t a sports car, but it is a modern take on an old-school muscle car.

The Chevrolet Camaro is the sharpest of the trio to drive. It’s available with a wide range of engines that include a four-cylinder engine up to a supercharged V8. It’s not as spacious, comfortable, or easy to live with as the Challenger.

The Ford Mustang splits the line between being a comfortable cruise and a sports car. The range-topping Shelby GT500 is a track beast, while other V8-equipped Mustangs are more than capable enough for a track day. The Mustang’s interior is starting to look dated and the base four-cylinder engine isn’t all that exciting.

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