Why the Dodge Challenger is the Best Pony Car
The Dodge Challenger has been back in production for over a decade now with pretty much the same body platform. We have only seen refreshed front grilles and other slight adjustments with the styling of this Dodge pony car and nothing else. Only recently, Dodge put an all-wheel drive on the options list. This makes it the first pony car to be sold with power going to each wheel. When I say pony car, I am referring to the trio of muscle cars that America is known for; the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger. After driving the Challenger, I think that it is by far the best when it comes to the basic power options of the three. Why? I shall explain.
The Challenger has kept its tried and true styling unlike the Camaro and Mustang. Since the birth of the sixth generations of the Ford and Chevrolet's muscle cars, Dodge has kept the formula the same with a few minor tweaks. The standard grille has been slightly changed along with the tail lights. The stance is a little bit more aggressive and it has a hood scoop to help with airflow. Also, a bottom lip has been given to help said airflow as well. The Camaro and Mustang were ruined because they were designed like they needed something new looking. Secretly, in my opinion, they are just refreshed bodies that were as unattractive as sauerkraut. Dodge, in my words, pretty much said, "if it isn't broke, don't fix it." Sure it sits differently on its wheels and is maybe a bit rounder, but that is it. And that is what most people want.
Not only was the interior brilliantly and simply designed, it was spacious as well. Especially in the head region. As any sports car, there is not much room to offer in the back, but it doesn't matter. Not when most of the time, cars like these will be taken to meets to show off to their friends. In turn, those friends would have shown up in their own cars. I love how everything is set up and easily accessible. The plastic, leather, and alcantara seats all blended perfectly together. It felt a bit luxurious and sporty at the same time. The seats offered me great comfort and support. The steering wheel felt proper as so did the paddle shifters. Even though they were attached to the steering wheel. Now, back to the space part that is really important. In the Camaro, there was almost next to no room between my head and the ceiling. The Mustang was not too far off from that either. The Challenger, from a 6 foot 2 inch man's perspective, was roomy. I could have been told the ceiling was the sky and I would have believed it.
But what is the price tag of the Challenger? Well this model is priced at just over $40,100. What do I get for that price? Well in the safety department, I get multistage front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, back-up camera, electronic stability control, traction control, tire pressure monitoring, hill start assist, electric power steering, side curtain front and rear airbags, park assist system, blind spot detection, cross traffic alert, and performance brakes to stop better than the average car. The government safety rating on the Challenger is a "5 Star" Overall score. There are only two "4 Star" scores being given to frontal driver crash and rollover. The other scores were are "5 Stars." Other features include Bluetooth connectivity, heated and ventilated front seats, heated power tilt and telescoping steering wheel, Wi-Fi hot spot, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Uconnect, and ambient lighting. Compared to the Camaro RS I drove, priced at almost $40,000, and the Mustang I also drove, priced under $30,000, it offers the most for the money.
Performance for the Challenger is top notch of the three. Sure, the Mustang I drove had the turbo 4 cylinder and made a tad more horsepower, but the Challenger delivered it better. The Camaro and its V6 pushes out nearly 340 horsepower which is fine and all, but it is not delivered in the fashion of this Challenger. The Challenger I had came with the AWD option, which means exactly that. The power delivery went to each wheel causing the acceleration to not be just quick but drama free as well. For a V6 kicking out 305 horsepower and moving something that is big and heavy like the Challenger is quite the surprise. If no one knows, the Challenger can weigh up to 4,100 pounds before someone sits in it. Sadly though, the 0-60 numbers tell a different story. It takes the Challenger GT with AWD to get to 60 miles an hour in 6.7 seconds. But that is a lot of car. Not only that, but the rest of the Challenger performs stupendously. Its suspension keeps it tidy in the corners. It also is able to withstand bumps and potholes that don't stand a chance. Seriously. The Challenger is such a comfortable ride, potholes seem non-existent. The steering is sharp, crisp, and light. The throttle response is quick and the braking and gear changes are just as fast. The fuel economy is not so bad either. 21 miles to the gallon combined, 18 miles per gallon in the city, and 21 miles per gallon on the highway.
So, why again is the Challenger the best pony car? In my opinion, it is because it never fails. The Camaro has some major flaws as well as the Mustang. The only flaw I found in the Challenger was that I could not adjust the seat the way I wanted it to to improve my posture before driving. Sure, the Mustang is priced cheaper, the Camaro is a bit faster, but at the end of the day I prefer the Challenger because of the whole "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" method. The styling of the Challenger is timeless, just like my admiration for it. It has earned my upmost respect.
If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to "Bump" this post and "Join" my tribe. I try to post new car reviews or articles at least twice a week and love getting feedback and suggestions.