$20,268 - $47,645

2016 Dodge Challenger Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2016 Dodge Challenger was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.3

The 2016 Dodge Challenger has a range of potent engines, and test drivers report that each performs very well. Critics find that the eight-speed automatic transmission changes gears quickly. The V8 engines can be outfitted with an available six-speed manual transmission that reviewers say has long shifter throws and a parking brake pedal located too close to the clutch. The Challenger handles surprisingly well for its size and weight, with minimal body roll. Nonetheless, on windy roads the extra weight is noticeable.

  • In all, the Challenger is a much better cruiser than before, which is good since--even with the aforementioned improvements--it's still no match for the Camaro or Mustang when the road goes all bendy." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "While the biggest news this year is the SRT Hellcat and its 707-horsepower supercharged V8 engine, the reality is that every 2015 Dodge Challenger benefits from significant upgrades. The standard-issue automatic transmission is now the excellent 8-speed we've enjoyed in the Chrysler 300. Here, it helps even the V6 SXT achieve new performance heights." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)
  • "While it's true that they don't have 707 hp--the V6 models make do with less than half that figure--the non-Hellcatted Challengers are still worth a look." -- Road and Track (2015)
  • "As tempting as all that horsepower may be, the Hellcat's $60K price tag puts it in some pretty exclusive territory. Better make sure you're fine with owning the drag strip, as there are plenty of cars at this price point that will leave the Hellcat in their tracks when the road turns twisty." -- Edmunds (2015)

Acceleration and Power

A 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque comes in base Challenger SXT models. They come with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission. The base Challengers earn an EPA-estimated 19/30 mpg city/highway, which is good for a V6-powered muscle car.

R/T and R/T Shaker models come with a 5.7-liter V8 that produces 372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Scat Pack and SRT 392 models are powered by a 6.4-liter V8 that makes 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. The Challenger SRT Hellcat is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that yields 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. All V8-powered models are available with a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. According to Dodge, the SRT Hellcat produces a 0-60 acceleration time in the low three-second range.

Critics report that the V6 is a strong engine that is sober enough to motor quietly around town. Test drivers like the excellent power of the V8 engines, though some say the 5.7-liter V8 doesn’t perform satisfactorily when you push the car harder. But all agree that the Hellcat's supercharged V8 produces tremendous power. Test drivers say the automatic transmission is top-notch. The six-speed manual suffers from a shifter that has long throws, and a foot-operated parking brake can get in your way when reaching for the clutch.

  • Although the manual transmission is easy to operate, it does have somewhat long throws and is saddled with an annoying foot-operated parking brake that can get in the way when you're sliding your foot from dead pedal to clutch. Having said that, this is a muscle car and opting for the manual is still the cooler way to go. Nevertheless, the eight-speed automatic is an excellent transmission that'll return better fuel economy (should you care) and actually snap off quicker shifts for those planning on running quarters on Grudge night." -- Edmunds
  • Around town, the V-6 is quiet and subdued, and the overall feeling is one of massiveness and maturity. This particular model doesn't encourage displays of raw testosterone, as do the brutal Challenger Hellcat or the naturally aspirated Hemi models." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "The R/T's 5.7-liter V8 sounds great and is plenty quick, but it's somewhat limited by its sub-6,000-rpm redline, which seems to cut in right when the party's getting started. The 6.4-liter V8 revs more freely and makes a lot more power besides, with a soundtrack that's totally NASCAR-worthy when you're deep in the throttle." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • "The slushbox is quick-acting and includes a Sport mode that also tightens up throttle response." -- Road and Track (2015)

Handling and Braking

The 2016 Dodge Challenger handles decently overall and has little body roll for a large, heavy car, but its size and mass do affect its performance. Some critics say that the base SXT model’s handling feels rather loose, and they recommend the optional sport suspension to improve performance. On the highway, test drivers report a quiet, smooth ride. They also find the available Brembo brakes very strong.

  • One of the 2016 Dodge Challenger's signature traits is its excellent ride quality. You could take this big coupe on an all-day road trip and feel as if you never left your sofa. The default suspension tuning of the base SXT is pretty floaty, however. As such, we recommend springing at least for the Super Track Pak option. … Otherwise, the Challenger actually handles rathe[r] well. This is especially true of the higher-performance versions, which provide a crisp, responsive and confident drive on a curvy road. Still, none of them will let you forget about the car's sheer bulk, especially on narrow roads. The Mustang and Camaro are more agile and less imposing around tighter turns." -- Edmunds
  • "Body roll in corners is minimal despite the car's prodigious dimensions -- a marked change from the roly-poly Challengers of a few years ago. Of course, if you just want to cruise, the Challenger is a champ, eating up highway miles in virtual silence no matter how high your speed." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • The R/T's suspension is a bit softer, too, but it's relatively stable through corners as long as you scrub off a lot of speed beforehand. That said, the Challenger excels on the open highway as a grand tourer, soaking up bumps with ease." -- Motor Trend (2015)
  • "The 4-piston Brembo brakes make a world of difference when hauling this big coupe down from speed, and the stiffer suspension makes it easier to exploit the car's full horsepower on the track. Around town, that same suspension also offers a surprisingly supple ride, easily comfortable enough for day to day driving." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015, R/T Scat Pack)

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