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2021 Dodge Challenger Review

The 2021 Dodge Challenger ranks in the top half of the sports car class thanks in part to its potent engine lineup, user-friendly technology, and surprisingly roomy interior.

Pros & Cons

  • Insanely powered engine lineup
  • Roomy second row
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Huge trunk for the class
  • Less agile than rivals
  • So-so interior quality

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Dodge Challenger's #3 ranking is based on its score within the Sports Cars category. Currently the Dodge Challenger has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 72 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.0

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 7.9
Interior: 8.4
Safety:
This rating isn’t available yet for the current model year. In the meantime, last year’s rating of 7.9 for safety is being used to calculate this vehicle’s overall score.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Dodge Challenger?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Dodge Challenger a Good Car?

Yes, the Challenger is a good sports car. It has some of the most powerful engines on the market, with three SRT-tuned variants that make more than 700 horsepower. The standard V6 is no slouch, and this wouldn't be a Dodge without two proper V8 Hemi options. The Challenger is most at home when going in a straight line, as it lacks the deft handling of other muscle cars.

No other car in the class has as much trunk space or as roomy a back seat as the Challenger, which also boasts a user-friendly infotainment system. Interior quality and atmosphere largely depend on the trim and how you outfit the car.

Why You Can Trust Us: 72 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 72 Dodge Challenger reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 Challenger is the right new car for you.

This 2021 Challenger review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2008.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Dodge Challenger?

If you prioritize ludicrous amounts of horsepower above all else, the Challenger should be on your short list. It also merits serious consideration if you’re looking for a muscle car with a large trunk, easy-to-use tech features, and enough space for five people.

For defter handling, check out the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro. However, those don't provide the interior accommodations that the Challenger does.

Find a 2021 Dodge Challenger for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Dodge Challenger: What's the Difference?

The most notable change for the 2021 Challenger involves the SRT Super Stock model, which puts out 807 horsepower from its supercharged Hellcat engine. This trim was introduced as a late-2020 model with a very limited production run, but it will be more widely available for 2021. In addition, Dodge expands the availability of the Widebody package to more Challenger R/T Scat Pack variants.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 Challenger »

Dodge last redesigned the Challenger for the 2008 model year. Here are the key changes for the Challenger over the last several years:

  • 2015: refreshed interior and exterior design; eight-speed automatic transmission became standard; R/T Scat Pack, 392 Scat Pack, and SRT Hellcat debuted
  • 2016: no major changes
  • 2017: added optional all-wheel drive, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay; Challenger T/A and Challenger T/A 392 models introduced
  • 2018: 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay added to standard features list; SRT Hellcat Widebody and SRT Demon debuted
  • 2019: SRT Hellcat Redeye replaced Demon; SRT Hellcat gained 10 horsepower; R/T Scat Pack Widebody debuted
  • 2020: 50th Anniversary Edition appearance packages became available; minor updates to interior and exterior appearance; SRT Super Stock model introduced
  • 2021: Widebody package available for more models

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Dodge Challenger, 2019 Dodge Challenger, and 2020 Dodge Challenger reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Dodge Challenger Cost?

The 2021 Dodge Challenger SXT starts at $28,295, an above-average base price for a sports car. The Challenger GT retails for $31,295. All-wheel-drive versions of both those trims cost an extra $3,000. For $34,995, you can get the V8-powered Challenger R/T.

R/T trims with a larger and more powerful V8 retail for about $40,000 to $50,000. Challenger SRT models, including two Hellcat variants, have a price range of between $60,000 and $80,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Dodge dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Dodge deals page.

Dodge Challenger Versus the Competition

Dodge Challenger vs. Ford Mustang

The Ford Mustang usually finishes higher than the Challenger in our rankings because it delivers sportier handling and drives like a smaller car. A standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine kicks off the Mustang lineup, which also includes a trio of naturally aspirated V8s, as well as a 760-horsepower supercharged V8 in the Shelby GT500. The Dodge offers a roomier second row than the Ford, as well as more standard features and a larger trunk. The Mustang, on the other hand, has an advantage in cabin quality and predicted reliability. Picking between these two depends on if you prefer the corner-carving attributes of the Mustang or the spaciousness of the Challenger.

Compare the Challenger and Mustang »

Dodge Challenger vs. Chevrolet Camaro

About the only leg up the Chevrolet Camaro has on the Dodge Challenger is that it’s more poised in tight turns and available in a convertible body style. Unless you want a drop-top with a more engaging ride, the Challenger is a better bet. The Camaro's standard turbo-four engine is underwhelming, and its maximum horsepower rating of 650 is a far cry from what the Challenger tops out at. Furthermore, the Chevy's back seat is puny, it only has about 9 cubic feet of trunk space, and it earns the lowest possible predicted reliability rating.

Compare the Challenger and Camaro »

Compare the Challenger, Mustang, and Camaro »

Challenger Performance: Bat Out of Hell

Challenger Engine

For several years now, the Dodge Challenger has boasted one of the most powerful engine lineups on the market. The standard V6 feels sufficiently muscular, but with the car's bulk, it may not be enough to propel you off the line as fast as you'd like.

For more satisfaction, look to any of several V8 engines. Both the 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter Hemi options deliver smooth and strong acceleration. Then there's the 6.2-liter supercharged V8, a behemoth found in three SRT trims. Even the lightest tap of the throttle launches you forward with drag-race capability.

Dodge Challenger Powertrain/Performance Options:
  • Base engine: 3.6-liter V6 with 303 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque; starts at $28,295 (standard in SXT and GT)
  • Available engines:
    • 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque; starts at $34,995 (standard in R/T)
    • 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque; (standard in R/T Scat Pack)
    • 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 with 717 horsepower and 656 pound-feet of torque; (standard in SRT Hellcat)
    • 6.2-liter high-output supercharged Hemi V8 with 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque; (standard in SRT Hellcat Redeye)
    • 6.2-liter high-output supercharged Hemi V8 with 807 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque; (standard in SRT Super Stock)
  • Drivetrain: standard rear-wheel drive; available all-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard eight-speed automatic; available six-speed manual
Dodge Challenger Appearance Packages:
  • Blacktop package (available in SXT, GT, and R/T): 20-inch black painted alloy wheels, black grille and instrument cluster, black rear spoiler, black fuel door, trim-specific badging, and front fog lamps
  • Plus package (available in SXT, GT, R/T, R/T Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock): 20-inch satin carbon painted wheels, bright pedals, ambient lights, and stitched instrument panel and doors
  • Shaker package (available in R/T and R/T Scat Pack): Shaker under-hood decal, gloss black grille, Shaker hood and intake, and satin black rear spoiler
  • T/A package (available in R/T and R/T Scat Pack): 20-inch low gloss black wheels, gloss black grille, satin black rear spoiler, functional hood scoop, unique body graphics, and detailed instrument cluster
  • Performance Plus package (available in R/T): 20-inch forged/painted aluminum wheels and summer tires
  • Painted Black Satin Graphics package (available in SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock): satin black hood, roof, and decklid
  • Laguna Leather package (available in SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock): Laguna leather seats with SRT Hellcat logo
  • Alcantara Appearance package (available in SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock): Alcantara/Laguna seats with SRT Hellcat logo and a Wild Wheel Alcantara steering wheel
  • Widebody package (available in R/T Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock): widebody fender flares, competition suspension, and 20-inch forged/painted wheels
Dodge Challenger Performance Packages:
  • Performance Handling package (available in GT and R/T): 20-inch Lights Out painted wheels, Brembo four-wheel ABS brakes with black calipers, high-performance suspension, performance steering, a 3.09 or 3.90 axle, and an anti-spin differential
  • Dynamics package (available in R/T Scat Pack): six-piston Brembo front brakes and 20-inch painted aluminum wheels
Dodge Challenger Individual Performance Options:
  • Adaptive Damping Suspension (available in R/T Scat Pack)
  • SRT Performance Spoiler (available in R/T Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock)
  • Rear Seat Delete package (available in R/T, R/T Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock)
Challenger Gas Mileage

With the standard V6 engine, the Dodge Challenger gets an EPA-rated 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those figures are about average for a V6-powered sports car. With the base engine and optional all-wheel drive, fuel economy drops to 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

Models with the 5.7-liter V8 get up to 16/25 mpg city/highway, while models with the 6.4-liter V8 get up to 15/24 mpg. The supercharged SRT models are the biggest gas guzzlers in the lineup, with ratings of 13 mpg in the city and 21 or 22 mpg on the highway, depending on trim.

Challenger Ride and Handling

Due to its bulky size, the Challenger lacks the agility of more sure-footed rivals. Still, it feels relatively composed around corners and remains very stable at highway speeds. Ride quality is good.

How Fast Is the Dodge Challenger?

According to Dodge, the new Challenger SRT Super Stock can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.25 seconds. That makes it marginally faster than the Hellcat Redeye and its zero-to-60 time of 3.4 seconds.

The Challenger Super Stock is limited to a top speed of 168 miles per hour. The Hellcat Redeye has a top speed of 203 mph, and the regular SRT Hellcat tops out at 199 mph.

Range-topping models of rival muscle cars such as the Ford Mustang GT500 and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 are about a quarter of a second slower than the Dodge in their zero-to-60 times. However, lower trim Challengers are slower than their Ford and Chevy counterparts.

Does the Dodge Challenger Have All-Wheel Drive?

The Challenger is one of the few sports cars available with all-wheel drive, though it's only available in the SXT and GT trims with the base engine. Rivals like the rear-wheel Mustang and Camaro don't offer AWD.

Read more about performance »

Challenger Interior: A Spacious Two-Door

Challenger Cargo Space

The Dodge Challenger has a huge trunk. With 16.2 cubic feet, it offers more space than all other sports cars and even rivals some midsize and large sedans. The cargo opening is wide, but the trunk lip and liftover height are a little high.

How Many People Does the Challenger Seat?

There are five seats in the Challenger. The driver and front passenger enjoy ample comfort and supportive seats, and this Dodge boasts the roomiest second row in the class. Even tall adults can ride back there in comfort, once they squeeze past the coupe's front seats.

A minor downside to note is large rear pillars that can impact outward visibility.

Challenger and Child Car Seats

There are three complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear seats. All sets of lower anchors are set deeply in the seats. For the middle position, it requires some force to attach the car seat straps, and it's difficult to maneuver your hands around the anchors.

Challenger Interior Quality

The Challenger's interior is pretty unremarkable, with little good or bad to speak of. However, there are upgraded touches available across the lineup that make the car feel more upscale or sporty.

Challenger Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Dodge's Uconnect infotainment system regularly earns praise as one of the most user-friendly and intuitive systems on the market. In the Challenger, a 7-inch touch screen is standard, and an 8.4-inch touch screen is optional. It's easy to navigate through the touch screen's menus and find the functions you want, while standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration add another degree of familiarity.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 7-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, and a six-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: an 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, a six- or nine-speaker Alpine premium stereo, and an 18-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo
  • Additional standard features: dual-zone automatic climate control and proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: a sunroof, remote start, and a universal garage door opener

Read more about interior »

Challenger Reliability

Is the Dodge Challenger Reliable?

The 2021 Challenger has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Dodge Challenger Warranty

Dodge covers the Challenger with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Challenger Safety

Challenger Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2021 Dodge Challenger an overall safety rating of five out of five stars, with four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests and five stars in the side crash test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2021 Challenger.

Challenger Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Forward collision warning
  • Rear parking sensors

Read more about safety »

Challenger Dimensions and Weight

The Challenger is 16.5 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,858 to 4,454 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Dodge Challenger Built?

Dodge builds the 2021 Challenger in Canada.

When Did the Dodge Challenger First Come Out?

The Dodge Challenger was introduced for the 1970 model year in the height of the pony car craze that started with Ford’s introduction of the Mustang in 1964. These first-generation models featured inline-six cylinder and V8 engines, including the 7.0-liter Hemi V8 that made 425 horsepower. The Challenger's first generation ceased production in 1974. The second generation began with the 1978 Dodge Colt Challenger, which was a sporty coupe with significantly less horsepower than the previous generation. Instead of six- and eight-cylinder engines, this crop of Challengers featured a lineup of four-cylinder engines. Production of this generation, which ended in 1983, was outsourced to Mitsubishi. The third, and current, generation began in 2008 as a muscle car with retro styling. Its four headlights and horsepower ratings are reminiscent of the Challenger's first generation.

Which Dodge Challenger Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Dodge Challenger comes in seven trims: SXT, GT, R/T, R/T Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Redeye, and SRT Super Stock. The engine should be the main factor driving your choice, and we detail each below. SXT and GT models come with the V6, and they're the only trims available with all-wheel drive. R/T and R/T Scat Pack each have their own unique Hemi engine and offers more standard features than lower trims; these are probably the best combination of value and performance for most shoppers.

Dodge Challenger SXT

The 2021 Dodge Challenger SXT starts at $28,295. It comes with a 303-horsepower V6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional for $3,000. Standard features include a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, proximity keyless entry, and a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, two USB ports, and a six-speaker stereo.

Notable available features include Nappa leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, an 8.4-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, a six- or nine-speaker Alpine premium stereo, performance brakes, remote start, driver's seat and steering wheel memory settings, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a performance steering wheel, a heated steering wheel, a sunroof, and a universal garage door opener.

Most driver assistance features are only available as options, regardless of trim level. Those features include adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, and rear parking sensors.

Dodge Challenger GT

The Dodge Challenger GT retails for $31,295. It has the same powertrain as the base model, and it too is available with AWD for $3,000. Additional standard features include projector fog lamps, a performance steering wheel, paddle shifters, upgraded cloth upholstery, a universal garage door opener, rear parking sensors, and performance brakes, steering, and suspension.

Newly available features at this trim level include Brembo performance brakes, a high-performance suspension, Nappa leather and Alcantara suede upholstery, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and an 18-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound stereo.

Dodge Challenger R/T

The Dodge Challenger R/T starts at $34,995 and features a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine. With a standard six-speed manual transmission, it makes 375 horsepower, and with an optional eight-speed automatic, it puts out 372 horsepower. The R/T also comes with a larger rear axle and a performance-tuned exhaust.

Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack

A 485-horsepower 6.4-liter Hemi V8 powers the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack. This trim also includes Brembo performance brakes, launch control, a high-performance suspension, SRT drive modes, heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an 8.4-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and a six-speaker Alpine premium stereo.

Optional features include six-piston drilled and slotted Brembo front brakes, an adaptive damping suspension, drag radial tires, and a suede-wrapped steering wheel.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat features a 717-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine, six-piston Brembo front brakes, a heavy-duty differential, an open air intake, and a competition three-mode adjustable Bilstein suspension. Full Laguna leather upholstery is optional.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye

The SRT Hellcat Redeye has a 797-horsepower version of the supercharged V8. Its features list mostly mimics that of the standard Hellcat.

Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock

The new Challenger SRT Super Stock puts out 807 horsepower and comes with street-legal drag radial tires.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Dodge dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Dodge deals page.

See 2021 Dodge Challenger specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Dodge Challenger offers incredible horsepower options and a degree of passenger space and cargo utility that other sports cars can't match. If athletic handling and interior luxury aren’t high on your list of priorities, the Challenger merits a strong look.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Dodge Challenger is an antidote to mainstream vehicles. … Its retro styling has the right look. Its engines range from a strong V6 with 303 horsepower to a drag strip-incinerating 807-hp V8. Yet with a spacious rear seat and loads of trunk space, it’s even a coupe for families." -- Autotrader
  • "The Challenger follows its own path of not offering a convertible version and pushing engine output levels way past what the others can provide. It’s also the most practical daily driver, thanks to a roomy cabin, even in the back seat, and a generous trunk." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Challenger concedes points to rivals when it comes to interior refinement and sporty driving dynamics. But drivers who value comfort and utility will likely prefer the Dodge." -- Edmunds (2020)
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