$20,780 - $51,277

2017 Dodge Challenger Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Dodge Challenger was new.


Performance: 8.2

The 2017 Dodge Challenger offers up an immense amount of power in an easy-to-handle package. Its ride is quiet and smooth – perfect for road trips – with about average fuel economy for a muscle car. Brakes are strong and the steering is responsive, but the Challenger isn't as agile in the corners as some. New for 2017 is the all-wheel-drive Challenger GT.

  • "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, as it includes firmer underpinnings. Otherwise, the Challenger actually handles rather 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, and can be fitted with wider and grippier tires. In that way, the Challenger is the most classic muscle car of them all." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "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)

Acceleration and Power

Dodge offers four different engines for the 2017 Challenger, starting with the base 3.6-liter V6. This 305-horsepower engine (268 pound-feet of torque) delivers a respectable mix of power and fuel economy, with a rating of 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. That's average for a muscle car.

The Challenger's available engines represent three different iterations of Dodge's Hemi V8. Under the hood of most R/T and T/A trims is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that cranks out 372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The R/T Scat Pack joins Challenger 392 trims (like the T/A 392) to employ a 392-cubic-inch Hemi V8. This is equivalent to a 6.4-liter engine, and it has a 485-horsepower, 475-pound-foot rating. Only the Challenger SRT Hellcat comes with the monstrous 6.2-liter Hemi V8. This supercharged engine punches out 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. Gas mileage for the Hemi V8 engines averages 14 mpg in the city and 22 on the highway.

Experts say the eight-speed automatic transmission (standard with the V6 engines and available with the V8 engines) is refined and fast-shifting. A six-speed manual transmission comes standard in all V8-powered Challenger models. It's easy to shift, though it has long throws and the foot pedal for the emergency brake can sometimes get in the way of the clutch pedal.

  • "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 (2016)
  • "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)

Handling and Braking

Like many sports cars on the road, the Dodge Challenger has rear-wheel drive. This changes somewhat for 2017, with the addition of the all-wheel-drive Challenger GT. In select trims, you can also upgrade your handling with available goodies, including Brembo brake packages, high-performance and competition-grade suspension systems, and a Bilstein adaptive damping system (for rapid suspension adjustments). The Challenger is quiet and smooth on the highway, aided by ample brakes and steering, though it leans quite a bit if you take a corner too quickly.

  • "The Challenger's responsive steering helps maneuverability, but the car just feels big, especially on narrow roads and tight corners. The gas and brake pedal are responsive and easily modulated." -- Edmunds
  • "The Challenger may look mean, but it's surprisingly docile behind the wheel. Steering effort is light, ride quality is luxury-car smooth, and road noise is subdued by performance-car standards. However, there's no getting around the Challenger's considerable mass, which imparts a commanding feel on the highway but becomes quite evident on tight roads. Although sportier Challengers are capable by the numbers, they feel big and heavy when driven like sports cars." -- Autotrader (2016)
  • "The Hellcat is a more extreme machine than the Scat Pack, but it's just as comfortable when puttering around town. That's down to its three-mode suspension, which offers a surprisingly compliant 'Street' mode. 'Sport' mode and super stiff 'Track' mode are also available. The Hellcat is a couple hundred pounds heavier than the Scat Pack, but it boasts higher cornering limits thanks to its Track suspension setting and wider 275-width Pirelli tires. Again, the Hellcat is much more balanced and well controlled than you'd expect from a big muscle car, but it's still not as nimble as a true sports car." -- Left Lane News (2015)

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