2015 Dodge Challenger Review

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The Car Connection
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The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
August 4, 2015

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat rules the roost; meanwhile the entire Challenger lineup gets more retro-modern than ever—all while offering up touring comfort you won't find in the other muscle coupes.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger lineup has been largely upstaged by one of its own: the Hellcat. A new 707-hp top-performance model, the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat arrives this model year as the most powerful muscle car ever.

As for the rest of those changes to the 2015 Challenger models, they're significant. With carefully refined exterior styling, new powertrains, upgraded suspension, and an all-new—and far more pleasant—interior, the 2015 Dodge Challenger stays up to date in the face of competition from not only the Chevy Camaro but an all-new Ford Mustang this year.

The Challenger has always been the largest and blockiest of the muscle cars, giving it substantial road presence. Looked at through a different lens, the Challenger has been slightly more of a touring coupe--large and comfortable, with a supple ride on long trips. Now that persona is joined by an array of even more powerful, rip-up-the-track models at the top end, for Challenger buyers who want to keep pace with the most powerful vehicles in the competition's lineups.

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The revised exterior styling adopts cues from the classic 1971 Challenger, including a new split grille in a slimmer front opening with projector headlamps surrounded by LED halos, a pronounced and fully functional "power bulge" hood, and LED tail lamps in a glossy piano black surround. Inside, the 2015 Challenger's interior has been completely revamped. The sweeping surfaces of hard black plastic are gone, replaced by a modern dash with soft-touch surfaces and a fully modern instrument cluster with a fully customizable 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) center display screen and available 8.4-inch touch-screen system.

Its slightly larger size pays dividends inside: The Challenger is the only one of the three muscle coupes to offer seating for five. Access to the back seat will entail some contortion, and only two adults will really fit back there, but it's doable. At 16 cubic feet, the trunk is also larger than those of even some mid-size sedans on the market.

The standard powertrain on the 2015 Challenger is a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6. Then there's the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which will be rated at up to 375 hp and 410 lb-ft or torque. Finally, there's a new 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 that Dodge estimates at 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. All three engines can be mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, the only one offered on any of the three U.S. muscle cars, with a Sport Mode and paddle shifters as well as visual and tactile feedback on the electronically-actuated shift lever. A six-speed manual gearbox remains available as well. Like all three of its competitors this year, the Challenger remains a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with independent rear suspensions.

Suspension changes across the board include a Super Track Pak available on all Challenger models, uprated suspension, and new electric power steering with three modes: Normal, Comfort, and Sport. A fully track-ready 6.4-liter Scat Pack model includes not only the 6.4-liter Hemi but also 20-inch aluminum wheels, Brembo disc brakes, and the 392 Scat Pack Shaker model adds a functional Shaker hood inlet scoop.

Eight separate trim levels will be offered on the 2015 Challenger: SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Shaker, R/T Plus Shaker, 6.4-liter Scat Pack and 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker. Customization options mean no two Challengers need be identical, with fourteen different interiors, nine wheel options, and a range of new paint colors, including retro shades like Sublime Green and B5 Blue.

Challenger sales have increased steadily throughout its life, so there's clearly a market for a retro muscle car. We tend to think that the best deals in the lineup include the base SXT, where the Challenger costs less than $30k and is far more flamboyant and exciting than any other comfort-oriented mid-sizer. R/T Scat Pack models are also quite the deal, with as much performance as you could possibly take advantage of on the street, all for around $40k.

9

2015 Dodge Challenger

Styling

Love it or hate it: Big, brawny, bright-colored, and almost cartoonish in its proportions and cues, the 2015 Challenger strikes retro stronger than ever before but gets a modern layout inside.

The Challenger has always been the largest and blockiest of the muscle cars, giving it substantial road presence. Looked at through a different lens, the Challenger has been slightly more of a touring coupe--large and comfortable, with a supple ride on long trips. Now that persona is joined by an array of even more powerful, rip-up-the-track models at the top end, for Challenger buyers who want to keep pace with the most powerful vehicles in the competition's lineups.

The revised exterior styling adopts cues from the classic 1971 Challenger, including a new split grille in a slimmer front opening with projector headlamps surrounded by LED halos, a pronounced and fully functional "power bulge" hood, and LED tail lamps in a glossy piano black surround. The basic shape remains unchanged, with a long nose, flat hood and deck lid, thick Seventies-inspired roof pillars and a pronounced kickup in the waistline. It keeps the Challenger more faithful to its decades-old ancestors than either the Camaro or Mustang, which have evolved with the ages.

Inside, the 2015 Challenger's interior has been completely revamped. The sweeping surfaces of hard black plastic are gone, replaced by a modern dash with soft-touch surfaces and a fully modern instrument cluster with a fully customizable 7-inch Thin Film Transistor (TFT) center display screen. The available 8.4-inch touchscreen in the center of the dash includes the UConnect Access system, with apps and navigation as well as the usual audio functions.

The center console has a higher edge on the passenger side, inspired by the 1971 Challenger, and the dash, instruments, and console has aluminum accents. Among the 14 options for interior color and trim is a classic Houndstooth premium cloth that Dodge actually calls a "throwback" to the 1970s, and premium leather and Alcantara suede high-performance seats.

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9

2015 Dodge Challenger

Performance

Burnouts, are here. So are stellar stopwatch times. But so is awesome drivability for the entire 2015 Challenger lineup.

Fully living up to muscle-car expectations, the 2015 Dodge Challenger packs big V-6 and V-8 engines under its hood, has rear-wheel drive, and handles well enough to feel controllable and secure with all that power—even the 707 horsepower of the top SRT Hellcat. It's definitely not nimble, but the Challenger has the goods to satisfy for most who crave a particular kind of uniquely American performance car.

At the base level, Challenger SXT and SXT Plus models get a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, making 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. It's now solely offered with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the combination offers up both enough off-the-line pep to feel like a muscle car but enough high-revving passing power to never feel short on steam.

Above that, on R/T models, you get a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 maki8ng 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. R/T models with the automatic transmission make 372 hp and 400 lb-ft and include Chrysler's Fuel Saver Technology, which allows the engine to run on four cylinders when coasting or cruising at low speeds; otherwise, the R/T doesn't feel all that much faster than the V-6 models, although it makes all the right sounds.

Both the new R/T Scat Pack model and the 392 Hemi Scat Pack Shaker includes a higher-output 6.4-liter 'Apache' version of the Hemi that makes 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet. Last year this engine was exclusive to SRT models, but this year it's more accessible; a six-speed manual gearbox is standard here, although the eight-speed automatic is available—and these models feel far quicker than the R/T. Stopping power is upgraded, too, with four-piston Brembo brake calipers, as well as Bilstein high-performance shocks and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires.

The Hellcat—the most powerful muscle car ever—will run a quarter mile in 11.2 seconds, at 125 mph. That’s on the Pirelli P Zero Y-rated performance tires, which have loads of grip; or when fitted with full-on drag radials, the Hellcat will do a 10.8-second run at 126 mph. Power gets delivered through a six-speed manual gearbox; although as much as we love manuals, we think the heavy-duty eight-speed automatic might be a more stable companion when you have more than 700 horses in the stable.

We’d rate the SRT Hellcat’s drivability above either the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It’s more at ease with itself on the power, near the limits or not, than the GT500, and it’s more comfortable than the ZL1—because while the ZL1 might have it beat for suspension sophistication, the ZL1 feels claustrophobic and crude next to the Hellcat’s superb interior, quiet cabin, and sprawl-out comfort. (Yes, taller folks, you have plenty of room for a helmet in the Hellcat.) Just beware that there are a lot of secondary motions in the Hellcat; it's far from a sports car, so tapping into that power on any sort of curvy road demands a lot of good judgement.

We're not huge fans of the new electric power steering that's offered on all models except for the top-of-the-line SRT Hellcat. In the V-8 models especially, it's precise yet seems to have all of its feedback (or kickback) tuned out—which can lead to more small adjustments that intended over choppier stretches of pavement. The only other issue we saw was that there's quite a bit of nosedive during hard braking—more than you might expect from a car with sporty aspirations—in base SXT cars, and even in the R/T.

If you want to stick to the more affordable SXT but want the better handling of the more powerful models, there's a Super Track Pak option that gets you a lowered ride height, larger sway bars, Bilstein shocks, high-performance brakes, and a three-mode stability control system.

Separately, on much of the lineup you can get a Performance Pages system that's paired with the larger 8.4-inch Uconnect screen and lets you set Drive Modes as well as activate Launch Control or display expanded gauge displays and performance timers.

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8

2015 Dodge Challenger

Comfort & Quality

Comfort probably isn't the first thing that people think about when considering the 2015 Dodge Challenger models, but throughout the lineup these are grand-tourers—almost luxury coupes.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger, at around 198 inches long and 76 inches wide, is a pretty large car. And although the Challenger doesn't necessarily deliver on the interior space that a modern sedan with its footprint promises, it offers generous seating space in front, enough room for adults in back, a large trunk, and a surprisingly sophisticated, quiet ride.

All along, the Challenger has always been a little more of a touring coupe than the other muscle cars or pony cars—and we feel like the interior changes of the 2015 lineup, collectively, take it further in that direction. In all, the standard 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT, SXT Plus, and R/T models feel almost like luxury coupes—refined, comfortable, and very finely detailed. They’re quiet, too, except for some engine noise when you want to hear it, which is when you’re accelerating hard in the V-6 and on all but gentle low-rev cruising in the V-8.

Front seats in the Challenger feel like they could be front a luxury car; they're soft yet supportive—although their width means that some slimmer drivers will be lacking side support. Meanwhile the new dash offers soft-touch surfaces pretty much everywhere the driver or front passenger will touch.

As for the back seat, the passenger space is there, but access is difficult. Credit the roofline, which tapers downward, the narrow roofline and high beltline, and the seatbelt for the front seats, which requires you do duck underneath. Once you're back there, it's just fine for two adults.

Trunk space is absolutely huge. With 16.2 cubic feet of space, it's the trunk of a large sedan; although it's shallow, it's wide and long, and could accommodate several large suitcases.

Even aggressive SRT Hellcat models are surprisingly comfortable on the road, with only a somewhat firmer, more jittery feel in their Normal 'Drive' mode. Ride quality becomes far harsher in the focused Track mode.

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8

2015 Dodge Challenger

Safety

The 2015 Dodge Challenger is indeed a high-power muscle car; but that doesn't preclude any of the safety equipment that you'd find in a premium sedan.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger is hardly a car that you'd think of if you're prioritizing safety; although it has no lack of items that, given responsible driving, will help keep you safe and sound.

All the passive and active safety features you'd find in a premium sedan are here in the Challenger—including seat-mounted side pelvic-thorax bags, knee bags, active head restraints, anti-lock brakes, Brake Assist, and Hill-Start Assist. Adaptive Cruise Control is available, as is a long list of active safety features that includes Forward Collision Warning, Blind-Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, a ParkSense assist system, and a rear backup camera system. Depending on the version, rain-sensing wipers, LED taillamps and HID headlights are also offered, with a 911 emergency-assist feature as part of Uconnect Access.

The federal government has crash-tested the 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT, and gave it five-star rating overall, with a four-star rating for frontal impact and five stars for side impact.

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8

2015 Dodge Challenger

Features

Base 2015 Dodge Challenger SXT models give you lots of bang for the buck, while this year's new R/T Scat Pack model gives you many of last year's SRT features, for less money.

In addition to the top-of-the-line SRT Hellcat, the 2015 Dodge Challenger will be offered in SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Scat Pack, and SRT 392 models. And as before, there are lots of personalization extras, as well as individual and packaged options.

Especially of interest to enthusiasts on a little more of a budget is a Challenger R/T Scat Pack model that brings a lot of the features of last year's SRT model, with the 6.4-liter 'Apache' Hemi engine now making 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque; 0-60 mph numbers roll in the low four-second range, and Chrysler estimates that it will get up to 25 mpg highway. It starts at just $39,490—that's nearly $3,000 less than last year's SRT Core.

The base-level Dodge Challenger starts at just $27,990, including the 305-horsepower Pentastar V-6 and newly standard eight-speed automatic transmission. SRT Plus models are the models for those who want a lot of convenience features, as they step up to 20-inch polished alloys, Nappa leather seating, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, the 8.4-inch version of Uconnect, Alpine sound, rear parking sensors, a backup camera, and a garage-door opener.

R/T models get the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, at 375 hp and 410 lb-ft, as well as a new eight-speed automatic transmission, a multi-view instrument cluster, an available Shaker hood, and the larger Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system.

Above the Scat Pack, the SRT 392 also gets the new 485-hp Hemi, plus a new Viper-inspired hood, Brembo six-piston calipers, an adaptive-damping suspension, SRT performance pages with launch control, special high-performance Nappa leather seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, 900-watt Harmon Kardon audio, and more. All said, it's $46,990.

Colors for the lineup dig deep into the 'high-impact' retro vault once again and include hues like Sublime Green and B5 Blue, as well as Bright White, Redline Red, Pitch Black, Granite Crystal, Billet Silver, Jazz Blue, TorRed, Phantom Black, and Ivory White. You can complement those colors with factory-original striping or graphics—with plenty of choices, especially at the R/T and SRT level. And across the lineup, there are 12 different wheel options, with eleven different 20-inch wheels.

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5

2015 Dodge Challenger

Fuel Economy

Yes, the 2015 Dodge Challenger lineup reeks of a heritage of tire smoke and gas fumes, but it's probably not as much of a guzzler as you might guess.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger lineup is more fuel-efficient than before; even though it's big and brawny-looking, with big engines and an emphasis on performance, much of the lineup will return numbers well near or above 25 mpg on the highway -- or, in the case of V-6 models, 30 mpg on the highway.

R/T models and their 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 return an EPA estimated 16 mpg city, 25 highway with the automatic, or 15/23 with the manual. Meanwhile, the SRT 6.4-liter in the R/T Scat Pack and 392 Shaker gets 14 mpg city, 23 highway with the manual or 15/25 mpg with the eight-speed automatic.

Top-performance, 707-hp Hellcat models, whether with manual or automatic transmissions, are rated at just 13 mpg in the city, with the automatic doing 22 mpg on the highway -- one better than the manual. This model will lope along on the highway and deliver that or even better in real-world driving, as we've observed.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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October 14, 2016
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe SRT Hellcat

Every system in this car, from engine to brakes, transmission, steeriing, infotainment, interior style and comfort are all eceptional and should be experienced by everyone at least once.

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The Hellcat (manual transmission model) surprised me with not just the engine, but the overall excellence of the rest of the car. Brakes are awesome with hard pedal, no dead zone and great response. Steering... + More »
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February 26, 2016
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe R/T Plus Shaker

DON'T BUY IT!!!! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN FAR FAR AWAY FROM IT

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This is one of the most UNSAFE vehicles that I have ever seen. Even Dodge can't figure out what is wrong with my car. Provided the dealership with not one but two videos of the vehicle malfunctioning and as of... + More »
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October 5, 2015
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe R/T Plus Shaker

Its My Dream Car what more can i ask for

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This car i have been longing and working hard to have for a long time i am blessed to have it its a great car
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October 2, 2015
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe SRT Hellcat

Outstanding Vehicle in Every Way!

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After waiting over 7 months it finally arrived early this week and I could not be happier with my new car. Clearly the performance enthusiast's performance car.
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August 31, 2015
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe SXT

great looking car

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6 cly fast best looking car out there trip to ny got 30 plus mpg round trip 3500 miles
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August 15, 2015
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe SRT Hellcat

The 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is "THE S**T!"

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The experience of owning and daily driving my 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat can be described in one word and that word is transformational. As far as life experiences go, driving "The Cat" ranks just... + More »
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June 25, 2015
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe R/T Plus

Never knew what I was missing

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This car is a dream to drive. The performance exceeds all of my expectations. The only draw back is that 70miles per hour feels like 40, thus you really have to pay attention to what you are doing. Ot is... + More »
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May 24, 2015
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe SRT 392

almost everything is great.

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only cons are no dvd player or hard drive had these in my 2012. also the usb port is not very convenient.sound system is not as good as in the 2012. other than that everything else is great. and it goes like... + More »
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May 2, 2015
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe R/T Scat Pack

An affordable car that is fast and street legal

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The 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack was built to satisfy the need for speed but priced in such a way that many people can now afford luxury, style, speed, and prestige. The car has subtle hints and a... + More »
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April 28, 2015
2015 Dodge Challenger 2-Door Coupe R/T

All I can say is WOW!!!

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I love my new 2015 Challenger R/T 5.7 hemi. I chose the super track pak option. I always had fast cars but never a true muscle car until now. I love the way it sits and handles with the track pak option. It is... + More »
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