The Dodge Challenger is raising the bar in the ultra-competitive muscle car segment. That’s because all-wheel drive will be offered with the new-for-2017 Challenger GT. It’s the same available all-wheel drive system found in the 2017 Dodge Charger sedan, and an option neither the 2017 Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro provide.
The Challenger GT is powered exclusively by a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 305 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission is matched to an active transfer case and front-axle disconnect.
Like the all-wheel drive Charger, torque is sent automatically to the rear axle, providing familiar rear-wheel drive performance found in other Challenger models. If the system detects grip loss, it automatically engages the front axle, seamlessly shifting the Challenger GT into all-wheel drive mode for as long as it is needed. Stability and traction control also help the all-wheel drive coupe stay poised on slippery surfaces.
Production of the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT begins in January with models arriving in the first quarter or well before winter gives way to spring. The new model has a starting price of $33,395 (plus a $1,095 destination charge). The Challenger GT makes an EPA-estimated 18/27 mpg city/highway.
Challenger GT Performance Attributes
Other features supplied with the Challenger GT include steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a Sport mode that provides quicker gear changes and holds engine revs higher — wholly desirable attributes that enhance acceleration and improve overall performance.
Also present is a Super Track Pak button that provides quick access to launch control and performance settings on the Challenger’s 8.4-inch color touch screen. Here, drivers can measure such performance details as 0-60 mph times, lap times and reaction times. This model also has three-mode stability control, including a “full-off” feature for serious handling fun on slippery surfaces.
The Challenger GT comes equipped with projector fog lamps, black 19-inch aluminum wheels, all-season performance tires and a rear spoiler. Moreover, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors are included. Upgrades include a $995 GT Interior package, adding seats trimmed in Nappa leather and Alcantara, as well as a nine-speaker Alpine audio system with a 506-watt amplifier and a performance steering wheel.
The Dodge Challenger Family
There are 10 other 2017 Challenger models to consider, ranging from the entry-level SXT to the beastly Hellcat. And with prices ranging from $26,995 to $64,995, the Challenger GT comes in at the lower end of that spectrum.
Besides the standard V6, a pair of Hemi V8 engines are available and come paired with the automatic transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox. The Challenger SRT Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with 707 horsepower, which is more power than the Mustang and Camaro currently offer.
Should you consider the Challenger GT? Unless you require V8 power, the GT offers a compelling option for muscle car fans. And if you live in snow country, you’ll no longer face the dilemma of whether to keep your sports car off the road until spring, or at least until the snow plow clears your street.