The 2015 Dodge Challenger is one of the most iconic American muscle cars. The Challenger sees several updates for 2015, including a new 707 horsepower engine option.
Few cars are as embedded in the American psyche as is the Dodge Challenger. From the moment it entered the showroom in 1969, the Challenger embodied what the muscle car meant to buyers. When it was revived for the 21st century, the Challenger recaptured imaginations. The 2015 model year sees a few subtle exterior and interior styling changes, a revised V8 engine lineup, a new transmission and new technology options.
The 2015 Challenger is a two-door coupe that seats up to five. The base Challenger features a V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all Challenger models. The 2015 Challenger comes in SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Scat Pack, SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat trims.
Although polarizing with its nostalgic tough guy appearance, no one can deny that the Challenger is an American muscle car. A peering, narrow front end rolls back along the coupe to a muscular rear. Onlookers know immediately that the car is about power and speed. The exterior of the 2015 Challenger is inspired by the 1971 model, which is made clear by the shape of the grille and style of the taillights.
Standard features on the base SXT trim include 18-inch alloy wheels, while available upgrades include 20-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, fog lights and automatic headlights.
In the affordable sports car segment, few cars can boast the same level of interior quality as the Challenger. Even at the base level, the Challenger is roomy, comfortable, and well-appointed.
The 2015 Challenger’s front seats are best-in-class, with plenty of head, shoulder, leg and knee room. Unlike most coupes, the Challenger’s back seats are usable by adults and can accommodate child safety seats readily. The rear seats are not as large as a sedan’s, of course, but there’s a lot more room than what you’ll find in competitors like the 2015 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.
The base Challenger SXT comes standard with automatic climate control and split-folding rear seats. Options and features available on higher trims include a sunroof, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel.
The Challenger’s base 3.6-liter V6 engine has enough power to move the car, but has little performance value otherwise. It produces 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard with this engine. The EPA rates the V6 model at 23 mpg combined, with 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.
The Challenger R/T and R/T Plus trims come standard with a 5.7-liter V8 engine. Producing 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque, the V8 turns the Challenger a purring cruiser without much off-line speed. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and an eight-speed automatic is an option.
The automatic lowers engine output slightly to 372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The EPA rates fuel economy for models with the manual transmission at 18 mpg combined (15/23 mpg city/highway) and 19 mpg combined for the automatic (16/25 mpg).
The R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 trims have an upgraded suspension system and a 6.4-liter V8 that produces 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard and an eight-speed automatic is optional. These performance-oriented models rate comparatively well for fuel economy. The EPA gives models with the manual transmission a 17 mpg combined rating (14/23 mpg city/highway), while automatic models get an 18 mpg combined rating (15/25 mpg).
The Challenger SRT Hellcat, limited to just 1,500 units of production, has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 outputting a best-in-class 707 horsepower. Torque is rated at 650 pound-feet. A six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic transmission are available.
The base Challenger SXT model comes standard with keyless entry and ignition, a new 7-inch in-dash display, Bluetooth connectivity and a Uconnect infotainment system with a five-inch touch screen. Options and features available on higher trims include an upgraded Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touch screen.
A key upgrade is the addition of navigation, which is an option on all Challenger trim levels. This adds smartphone app integration to the Uconnect system, as well as an optional Wi-Fi hot spot upgrade.
With or without these additions, the 8.4-inch touch screen is easy to use and offers bright graphics and fast response times. Voice commands while on the road enhance usability.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has not yet crash tested the 2015 Challenger, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the Challenger a top 5-star rating for its overall performance in crash tests.
All Challenger models come with anti-lock brakes, a suite of air bags and electronic stability control. Forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors are optional.
Compared to other coupes in the sports car arena, the Challenger is relatively expensive, with a base price just shy of $27,000. A base Chevrolet Camaro or Ford Mustang is about $3,000 cheaper. In comparison, the Challenger’s low fuel economy and relatively high insurance costs are also drawbacks.
Though it has a roomier interior than most and a relatively high resale value against many competitors, the price and performance of the Challenger are sub-par at the base offering. Both the Camaro and Mustang offer more performance per dollar. On the other hand, chief selling points for the Challenger are its commanding road presence and nostalgic exterior styling.
With big, bold styling and a strong curb presence, the Challenger appeals to those who enjoy command of the road. With the upper-level V8 engine options, the Challenger’s street performance is underscored in a way that’s rarely matched by rivals.