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STYLING | 9 out of 10
unmistakably the Challenger from any angle
handsome retro styling
looks spectacular in orange
Car and Driver
direct, heritage-inspired connection to the original
The styling of the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8--Chrysler's entry into the Detroit pony car revival--has been an instant hit since the concept version made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in 2006.
The production 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 remains very true in overall appearance to the concept car that set the automotive world abuzz a couple of years ago. But upon closer examination, there are many subtle details that set it apart from its predecessor. One of the first things one might notice is the undivided grille, which replaces the concept's split grille. Also, the SRT team finessed the aerodynamics of the car in the name of high-speed handling. This includes "a small lip spoiler out back, plus a splitter and two small dive-plane winglets up front," says Motor Trend.
Unlike the Charger sedan, which shares little with its ancestral namesake, the Challenger "was designed after the 1970 model and is unmistakably the Challenger from any angle," notes Cars.com. This is a significant achievement, considering that the Dodge Challenger, 2008 edition also shares Chrysler's LX platform (minus four inches in wheelbase) upon which the Charger and 300 sedans are both built.
Dodge stays less true to the original car where the interior is concerned. While a black headliner echoes that of the original, Cars.com points out that the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8's interior is less 1970s than 21st century, including "exclusive materials and prominently bolstered leather sport seats with accent stitching and embroidered SRT8 logos." Edmunds was less enthusiastic about the Dodge Challenger; 2008’s interior is "somber and dull with only a few metallic trim pieces and orange seat accents to spruce up what is otherwise a sea of gray."
TheCarConnection.com has spent a few weeks behind the wheel of the new 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8, and judges its styling an unqualified success. While some have criticized Dodge for not reaching far enough in terms of styling the Challenger, 2008’s version is worlds apart when it’s placed next to a 1970 edition. The exterior is spot-on, and while the interior styling could stretch further, it’s at least functional and built from good-quality materials.
In a time when pale, warmed-over remakes of decades-old classics abound, the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 thrills just like the original.