What It Is
A modern-day muscle car with elements of the past.
Powerful Hemi engine provided strong acceleration.
The ride was jerky at best and shifting was difficult.
The 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T offers a classic design for the modern world.
The Challenger has been a staple of the Dodge brand for decades, much like the Camaro for Chevrolet. But to separate itself from the onslaught of sports cars, Dodge decided to do things a little differently in terms of styling. Instead of sticking with more modern design elements, the American automaker gave us a model reminiscent of those from the past.
There's been a huge debate about whether the risk that Dodge took paid off in the long run. Does this classic style ring true with up-and-coming buyers? Is it just for those who remember the model that featured a similar design? Chevy and Camaro decided it would be best to use elements from its classic models, but to keep the design fresh and relevant in today's market. But more than the exterior, what separates the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T from the rest of the pack?
What We Drove
You can walk away with a base 2014 Dodge Challenger for just $26,495, but we doubt that will be the model you really want. The R/T model bumps that price up to $30,495. But our model came equipped with the Blacktop package that adds exterior paint stripes, accent color grille, 20-inch gloss black aluminum wheels, performance tires, a track-tuned suspension, and more. Other available packages included the Electronics Convenience group, the sound group II, and Uconnect, all of which brought the price up to $36,280.
The 2014 Challenger offers standard safety features that include an array of standard airbags, hill start assist, all speed traction control, electronic stability control, ready alert braking, and more. In government crash tests, the 2014 Dodge Challenger earned an overall 5-Star rating, but there are some safety concerns that weren't reflected during the tests.
While manuals aren't ideal for that morning traffic commute, it's even worse when said car offers a jerky transmission. But we'll get into that a little bit later. The infotainment system really makes or breaks a commute, and while we loved the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T's touchscreen with its easy-to-use layout, pairing our phones was a hassle. Because you had to use voice commands to set up the Bluetooth, it was easy to get distracted and miss the next prompt. It took us a few tries, but we finally got it done. We hope this feature gets tweaked in new Dodge models.
The Grocery Run
There's a surprising amount of room in the trunk of the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T, perfect for a week of groceries for a family of two. While the back seat offers more room when needed, it may be a small feat to get anything in there. Especially people.
We wouldn't recommend taller passengers or child seats in that back row, as the front row seats slide forward a limited amount. Over our time with the model, we had some issues managing to climb into that back seat, and we can only imagine others will have the same issue. Because of the size of the Challenger, it would seem like parking would be a big issue, but thanks to great handling and visibility, navigating in and out of parking lots was relatively painless.
The Weekend Fun
When firing up the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T, there's a throaty growl that puts a smile on your face. But that smile is short-lived when driving out on the open road. While acceleration is strong, there are certain things about the Challenger that are just lacking. As soon as you even slightly let off the acceleration, there's an immediate decrease in power, and the car seems to jerk forward a hair.
Handling is amazing, and you can take a sharp corner with confidence. However, you have to be careful when shifting gears, as they're very close together and it's easy to jump into the wrong one. Added to that, it's just as easy to go in-between gears and struggle to throw it in one. But perhaps the brakes were the most perturbing part of the 2014 Challenger. We really had to slam on them to get a reaction, and when you're packing a Hemi V-8 under the hood, that's less than confidence-inspiring.
If you're looking to get a good sports car with a true American muscle heritage, there aren't many options out there. You have the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro. But there's a reason the Camaro and the Mustang remain in a constant battle and the Challenger trails behind. Compared to the other two models, the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T doesn't quite reach the level of refinement or excitement. Shifting is jerky and clunky, the transmission is anything but smooth, and for the price, we'd expect a few more bells and whistles. But the car isn't all bad. It takes the driver to the past and reminds them why these cars are so iconic. Everything from the pistol grip shifter to the body design brings with it a little taste of history that may be enough for some buyers.
EPA City: 15
EPA Highway: 23
EPA Combined: 18
Cargo Space: 16.2 cubic feet
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Fair
Estimated Combined Range: 344 miles
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Poor