The federal government has released updated crash-test results for the 2015 Dodge Challenger, and the results are mostly good for this big performance-oriented coupe lineup, which includes the 707-horsepower Challenger Hellcat.
The five-star overall rating, the automaker claims, is the highest possible score in the federal crash-test program. However more discerning shoppers will judge that not quite to be the case, as looking at frontal crash and side crash categories individually, the Challenger earns four-star and five-star ratings, respectively.
The specific model run through federal New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) testing was a V-6-powered 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT, a model that we quite like for its better-balanced feel behind the wheel. While the R/T Scat Pack and Hellcat models pack in the power, the SXT and to some degree the R/T models offer an impressive touring-coupe (verging on personal-luxury) ambiance, with muscle-car style.
Of interest, perhaps, is that the related 2015 Dodge Charger sedan carries its mass a little bit lower than the 2015 Dodge Challenger coupe—perhaps one of the reasons why we’ve preferred the Charger from the driver’s seat. The Charger earns five stars for rollover, while the Challenger gets four stars.
The 2015 model, it’s also worth noting, wasn’t rated as high in all categories as last year’s model. The Challenger run for previous results was a 2013 Challenger SXT. That model achieved five-star results for frontal impact—better than the 2015 model—but it did have issues with the door coming open during the side impact test, and with a poor (two-star) performance in the side pole test, which isn’t factored into the overall side score.
"The structure is unchanged," said the automaker's safety spokesman, Eric Maybe. "FCA US LLC studies all test results with a view to improving vehicle performance."
While the 2015 model carries over its body structure, a new interior might have something to do with that change in occupant protection. And it's possible that an unfortunate rounding issue may have come into play in the lower rating.
The 2015 Challenger hasn’t yet been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the other major U.S. agency that conducts crash tests. We’ll update our full review of the 2015 Dodge Challenger with this information, and as soon as there’s more safety information with which to make an informed decision.