What it is: If you haven't heard of the Dodge Challenger at this point, then this is not the car for you. It's big, it's bad, and it's got a decent revision for the 2015 model year. There are changes to the front and rear fascias (both improvements), new LED rings around the quad headlights (awesome), and the biggest change is the new interior. The cabin looks fantastic and is a great blend of retro and futuristic. A seven inch TFT LCD is embedded in the gauge cluster, and a 8.4 inch infotainment/nvaigation system control setup (5 inch standard) blends really well into the materials and shape of the interior.
My tester model was the SXT trim which is the base trim, but offers lots of features you find on nicer trims typically. 18” aluminum wheels, LED tail lamps, the previously mentioned seven inch LCD in the gauge cluster, power seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry, and more. The base price is only $26,995 for the Challenger, (plus destination) and that is an immense level of bang for your buck there.
My test model also came equipped with the $495 six speaker upgraded stereo package, and the $1,400 super sport group. It takes you up to 20” wheels, performance brakes, a spoiler, and paddle shifters. Lots of value there as well.
Being a muscle car, the first thing you are going to get asked is “Does that thing got a Hemi?!?” and to be short, the SXT doesn't. It does have a 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 300hp (that I gush about on a regular basis) and it gets 30 mpg on the highway, which is extremely impressive, but alas, no Hemi V8. You'll need to step up to the R/T trim ($31,495) for the 5.7 liter V8 producing 375 hp, or the R/T Scat Pack for the 6.4 liter V8 ($38,495), or if you have horsepower needs that outweigh your sanity, the SRT Hellcet with a supercharged 6.4 liter V8 with 707hp. ($59,995). Hint: if you want more speed, it's hard to argue with the R/T Scat Pack. 485 horsepower for under $40k is fantastic.
Now that your testosterone has increased after reading the last paragraph, let me easy you back down and say that 300 horsepower is still PLENTY to have fun with. While you are locked into the eight-speed automatic transmission, you still feel the pull of the “Dukes of Hazard” every time the Challenger starts up. Ramps start to look like jumps. Is that Rosco driving that patrol car? I could probably get away from the cops if I had to...
The day to day reality is a little difficult driving the Challenger unfortunately. Street parking is difficult if you aren't used to the insanely long hood. It's a giant car, but it still only has two doors, so getting in and out of the backseat is a pain. It was a much smoother ride than I thought though, and much like the Camaro, I wouldn't have any hesitancy asking most grandmas to drive around in one (except parking).
MPG: 19 city / 30 highway
Price: $26,995 base price. $29,885 as-tested.
Upsides: Great looks, fun to drive, and seats five people.
Downsides: Hard to park. Hard to see out of.
Wrap-up: Dodge took a good car, and made it much better for the 2015 model year. If you were at a dealer and comparing a '14 and a '15, then you are going to be kicking yourself for not going with the '15 every time you lay eyes on the interior of your '14. The Challenger is a car I would certainly own myself, and I would own it because of the killer aesthetics, cheap V8 power, and an optional manual transmission (V8 only). It's not a hard combination to unlock, but it is difficult to do with the refinement that the Challenger has.