Continuing the recent trend of U.S. automakers reviving muscle car era nameplates, Dodge has resurrected an icon from the early 1970's: the all new 2008 Dodge Challenger. This 2-door, 5-passenger rear wheel drive coupe is strikingly similar to the original 1970 to '74 Challenger.
Once again tearing down backcountry roads and city streets, the new Challenger plays on the muscle car aura with a long, air scoop-clad hood is complemented by a bustle rear deck. The new Challenger captures the essence of a by-gone era when gas was plentiful and cheap and automotive performance was a macho benchmark, right down to the fuel-filler cap.
We tested the Challenger SRT8, the only model available for the inaugural year. The recessed lights, front diffuser, and 20-inch aluminum SRT design wheels that are a full 9 inches wide give the Challenger an aggressive, powerful stance that is hard to ignore.
This brawny retro design is backed by a monstrous 6.1-liter HEMI V8 that churns out 425 horsepower and 420 pound feet of torque. All of this grunt is sent to the rear wheels through a 5-speed automatic transmission with Autostick gear selection.
Muscle cars are not driven with fuel economy in mind. The Challenger gets 13 miles per gallon city, 18 miles per gallon highway.
The Challenger may look like its right out of the 70's but rest assured it has the latest in automotive technology. The stock anti-spin rear differential is aided by Electronic Stability Program and All-Speed traction control.
Back in the 70's, front discs were optional with drum brakes coming standard. Today, stopping is achieved with anti-lock performance disc brakes on all four wheels.
Other standard equipment on today's Challenger includes a trip computer with outside temperature reading and compass, front heated bucket seats, front and side curtain airbags, and a 13 speaker Kickker sound system. Features such as power sunroof and MyGig entertainment system with navigation are options.
Base MSRP for the 2008 Dodge Challenger is $37,320. Selection of the sunroof and the MyGig system will push the price just past $42,000. The Challenger is backed by a now popular 5-year, 100,000-mile power train warranty.
It's been over 30 years since the classic 1970 Challenger roamed America's Main Streets and back roads. The 2008 Dodge Challenger embodies those classic good looks while coming packed with the many advances in automotive technology that have rolled down the pike since then.