The 2012 Dodge Challenger continues to lead the way with exterior styling that turns heads the way few cars can. The throwback styling along with the option of two throaty V-8 engines makes the Challenger a tough coupe to overlook.
The Challenger is based on the same underpinnings as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, sharing engines, suspension, and many interior features as well. The Challenger separates itself from the other two with the option of configuring the interior in all black. However, as a result of the shared chassis, the 2012 Dodge Challenger is notably bigger than its primary competitors: the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. Its size also makes maneuvering tight parking lots and urban streets, well, challenging, and visibility out the rear window is tight, too. However, while its size may be a problem outside, it results in a surprisingly spacious interior for a sporty coupe.
Engines: 3.6-liter V-6, 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, 6.4-liter V-8 HEMI
Transmissions: five-speed automatic, six-speed manual
Models: SE Rallye, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Classic, SRT8
The 2012 Dodge Challenger's models get renamed. The Challenger SE is now the SXT and SXT Plus, and both benefit from the addition of an all-new V-6 engine: the 305-hp Pentastar V-6. If that's not enough you can opt for the R/T model and with it comes the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine churning out 375 hp. A 900-watt, 18-speaker audio system has also been added on for the 2012 model year. If you still have a hankerin' for more power, there's the SRT8 392, with a 6.4-liter V-8 putting out a whopping 470 hp.
Since its relaunch in late 2007 as a 2008 model the Challenger has turned heads wherever it goes. The paint scheme is offered in regular as well as bright colors in tribute to the model that was released in 1970. The 2012 Dodge Challenger is offered in three performance packages and five models.
The 2012 Dodge Challenger's Uconnect Media Center has a 6.4-inch touch-screen display and is capable of storing 20 to 28 gigabytes of entertainment depending on the model. A choice of navigation guidance is offered with either Garmin or SIRIUS Traffic, both of which feature SIRIUS Travel Link, a real-time weather and fuel pricing service. The latest Challenger features contoured seating with enough cushion to make a long trip feel manageable. The driver's seat tilt's forward to let out the three small passengers that can fit in the Challenger's back seat making entering and exiting easier. The Challenger has the most rear head and legroom in the muscle car class and has five seats; squeezing five full-size passengers is another story though.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Dodge Challenger sits on a second-generation rear-wheel-drive chassis enabling sharper handling. Coupled with one of three available suspension set-ups and high performance wheel and tire configurations the overall ride feel is enhanced. The Challenger offers three performance packages, Sport-, Performance-tuned, and Super Track Pak, each offering different size wheels and other minor styling tweaks. The 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar engine cracks the whip on 305 horses while the optional 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine directs 395 ponies to the pavement. The SRT8 offers a Hemi V-8 engine mated to either a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission.
Dodge touts its flagship pony car having 45 safety and security features such as electronic stability control, Ready Alert Braking, and Rain Brake Support. The two latter features enhance overall handling and performance by engaging the brake when the vehicle deems appropriate. Side-curtain airbags, driver's knee bag and front-row head restraints are all standard features on the 2012 Dodge Challenger.
EPA Fuel Economy
SXT: 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway
R/T: (automatic) 16 mpg city/25 mpg highway, (manual) 15 mpg city/23 mpg highway
SRT8: (automatic) 14 mpg city/22 mpg highway, (manual) 14 mpg city/23 mpg highway
- Retro styling
- Exhaust note
- Roomy interior
You Won't Like
The Harley-Davidson of cars
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Camaro
- Ford Mustang