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2020 Dodge Challenger Performance

U.S. News Best Price Program

2020 Dodge Challenger Performance Review


Performance: 7.8

The 2020 Dodge Challenger produces more than 300 horsepower in its wimpiest iteration and nearly 800 in its brawniest setup. All of the engines have more than enough power for most driving situations, and the Challenger rides smoothly over most road surfaces. Handling is a relative weak spot: The Challenger is composed around turns, but its size makes it less nimble than competitors.

  • "Now, for broad strokes, expect every Challenger to be more cumbersome to drive than its muscle car competitors. Its handling just isn't as good, regardless of the model you choose. Now, its ride tends to be more comfortable, but the magnetically controlled suspensions available on the Mustang and Camaro are actually able to best it in that arena as well. As such, if your automotive tastes skew toward the handling/mountain-road variety, the Challenger isn't for you. If, however, you're more of a high-speed-cruising/road-tripping/shred-the-tires-in-apocalyptic-amounts-of-smoke kinda guy, well, this is definitely the car for you." -- Autoblog
  • "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)
  • "One of the … 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. … 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." -- Edmunds (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The Challenger comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. This engine doesn't feel as energetic as the turbocharged base engines found in some rivals, but it still has plenty of juice for most driving situations.

There are several Hemi V8s available. Most come with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic (the SRT Hellcat Redeye is only available with an automatic). The first eight-cylinder power plant is a 5.7-liter V8 found in R/T models. It produces 372 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque (with the manual transmission those numbers are 375 and 410, respectively).

Next up is a 6.4-liter V8 (also called the 392, with 392 representing how many cubic inches the engine is). It makes 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. This engine powers R/T Scat Pack models.

Challenger SRT Hellcat models feature a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that puts out 717 horsepower and 656 pound-feet of torque. There's also an uprated version of the same engine in the Hellcat Redeye. This version produces 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque, and it only comes mated to an eight-speed automatic.

All of the V8 engines pack plenty of punch and feature a nice growl. You can probably already guess this, but the two Hellcat trims are the quickest in the lineup.

The EPA has not yet published fuel economy estimates for the 2020 Challenger, but we expect them to be in line with the nearly identical 2019 Challenger. 2019 models with the V6 get 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Gas mileage ratings for Challengers with the Hemi V8 engines range between 13-16 mpg in the city and 21-25 mpg on the highway.

  • "The 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is smooth yet hard-revving. The 3,930-pound SXT accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, which is a bit slower than rivals with base engines. Obviously, the Challenger's various V8s provide significantly quicker acceleration." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "I already feel that the Hemis are the best-sounding American V8s right now. They have such a round, mellow rumble, and it's particularly loud and hearty in the Red Eye. Then you add the urgent whine of the supercharger under the hood, and it becomes a harmony of raw power. And the sound isn't reserved to redline or full throttle … They deliver a serious wallop of torque right off the line, but also near-instant throttle response and a level of smoothness that even the best turbo engines don't quite match. It's an effortless feeling that catches you off guard. So even when it's only delivering a fraction of its total output, the Hellcat Red Eye's engine makes for a special, fun experience." -- Autoblog (2019)
  • "The base car's 305-horsepower V6 provides plenty of day-to-day power, and you can even get the all-weather security of all-wheel drive -- unique to the class." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Handling and Braking

This is a heavy car, and it handles like one. The Challenger isn't as nimble as most rivals, but it does deliver a cushioned ride over most road surfaces. A performance-oriented suspension comes standard in the higher trims, which have more powerful engines. Rear-wheel drive comes standard. A couple trims feature all-wheel drive, which you won't find in every rival.

  • "The handling is a bit sloppy compared with the athletic Mustang and Camaro. … But still, this thing is full of personality and style, and I would never blame someone for picking it over its crosstown competitors." -- Autoblog (2019)
  • "There's no getting around it: For a sport coupe, the Challenger is big. And heavy. Even with our tester's Super Track Pak (sic) (which adds a sportier suspension and performance tires), body roll is pronounced when going around turns. Still, there's enough grip to have an enjoyable time." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Yet the Challenger -- even the Hellcat -- is no challenge as a daily driver thanks to its comfortable suspension and relatively quiet interior." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
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2020 Dodge Challenger

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