“Rumble, younger man, Rumble!”
— Muhammad Ali
It’s unusual to suppose that the trendy iteration of the Dodge Challenger has now been in manufacturing for twice so long as its inspiration. One has to both admire or despair on the means that Dodge has managed to maintain this one-trick pony on the lips of the automotive universe, just by throwing increasingly more horsepower at it. FCA is aware of their viewers — who cares that the platform is greater than a decade outdated? Simply make it sooner! Would any of us be shocked to see a 1,000 horsepower Challenger revealed subsequent 12 months? Hell, why not simply make it so highly effective that it rips itself in half?
However, as with most performance-oriented automobiles, the actual cheddar comes from the amount fashions. The Deep South is rotten with V6-powered Challys, and the unique three.5-liter, 250-horsepower fashions are the star of many a Purchase Right here Pay Right here Lot. And whereas the 2015 and newer Pentastars, that are masterfully mated with the ZF 8HP computerized, could be fulfilling to drive, let’s be the realest right here, ok? No person lusts after a Challenger with too few cylinders. It’s the HEMI rumble that you really want. And the Dodge Challenger R/T delivers it, albeit in 5.7-liter type, and it does it at a value that’s proper consistent with the typical new automobile value in these United States of America.
I chosen the Challenger R/T from the rental row at Miami Worldwide Airport (Professional tip: if you’d like the most effective rental automobile choice, fly in on a Sunday — NOBODY flies in on Sunday), resplendent in what some may name Rental White, and what Dodge would name White Knuckle, however on a Challenger, it might probably solely be referred to as Vanishing Level White. From the surface, it’s a good-looking steed. 20-inch painted rims come customary, and the restricted badging — somewhat R/T right here, somewhat HEMI there — is a tasteful trace that there’s one thing extra than simply the Pentastar underneath the hood.
When positioned side-by-side with the Ecoboost Mustang convertible leases, because it was by my good buddies at Nationwide, one is shortly reminded of simply how large the Chally is. The trendy Mustang is already far too giant and bloated, however the Challenger outsizes it. This isn’t a foul factor, particularly in case your pony automobile schedule consists of extra cruising than monitoring. For those who plan to make any use at all the again seat, the Challenger’s further bloat shall be price it, and the extra trunk house is useful, as effectively.
A automobile this immense requires immense presence. To not fear. To my delight, merely beginning the Challenger within the MIA storage brought about a number of surrounding automobile alarms to go haywire. That is, in fact, by design — the rumble of the 5.7-liter V8 is distinctive, simply differentiated from the sixer, and almost as loud contained in the cabin as out.
Oh, no. I discussed the cabin. Properly, may as effectively get this unhappy story out of the way in which.
It sucks. I imply, it suuuuuuhhhhhhhhhcks. It’s a miserable, unhappy, defeating place to spend your time. This infotainment display screen belongs in a Journey, not in a R/T Challenger. It’s not even purposefully minimalistic, just like the stereo system discovered within the 2012/2013 Boss 302. It’s simply low-cost —if you’d like the actual uConnect display screen, it’s gonna value you one other grand. And it doesn’t get higher elsewhere contained in the Chally’s inside — supplies are visibly bargain-oriented. In actual fact, there’s just one teensy little redeeming issue contained inside.
Okay, that is an admittedly horrible image, however hopefully you may make out that little “SPORT” button on the console. That button, my buddies, is the important thing to unlocking the aural masterpiece that’s the Dodge Challenger R/T. One little push, and bam, the exhaust turns into a cacophonous symphony, due to greater shift factors from the Eight-speed.
However whereas the ZF transmission and the Pentastar appear to be a match made in heaven, the 5.7 and the ZF are extra like a match made on Tinder — they by no means truly speak to one another. The transmission at all times needs to upshift earlier than your ears suppose it ought to. Simply whenever you’re beginning to make a pleasant little ruckus, nope, sorry, we’re shifting now! For true aural enjoyment, you’ll wish to maintain the shifting your self. For decent Zero-to-60 runs, you’ll wish to observe the experience of the gentleman on this thrilling video under:
The sq. 245 all-season tire setup does nothing to encourage efficiency driving within the hearts of males. The rears will break free underneath any important throttle, and the fronts wash out slightly simply. They do, nonetheless, make glorious squealy sounds from a standing begin, and when driving across the imply streets of Miami, the mixture of the roaring 5.7 and the smoke and keening from the tires at crimson lights will make you an immediate goal of Dade County’s best.
Sadly, that’s the one time anyone will be aware of you within the Challenger R/T. The sheer ubiquitous nature of the Challenger, nearly visually unchanged for a decade, signifies that a automobile that may have gotten you some appears to be like again within the day is now the social equal of an Altima. No person will mistake the R/T for a Hellcat Widebody, both in appears to be like or sound.
All that being mentioned, there’s a superb case to be made for the bottom mannequin of the Challenger R/T as a every day driver. With all of the incentives at the moment provided, a Chally identical to my rental could be had for $31,430, and that’s earlier than a single little bit of negotiation takes place. Add an actual infotainment system and a few summer season tires, and also you’re nonetheless at simply over $33ok — or, in different phrases, precisely the typical US new automobile transaction value. For that, you get a automobile that can run a mid 13 within the 1/Four, sounds just like the enterprise, and will get, effectively, horrible gasoline mileage. I averaged about 19 mpg. Nevertheless, it might probably truly be used for 4 adults, and can assist you to put a couple of suitcase within the trunk.
The case in opposition to? There are a number of, the primary of which could be discovered on the identical lot because the R/T. The Scat Pack will get you the bump from the 5.7-liter to the 6.Four-liter, in addition to the related 110 horsepower, for less than $Four,000 extra after incentives. For those who don’t want the elevated energy, you then may as effectively bump all the way down to the Pentastar and save your self over $5,000. The 5.7 doesn’t appear to serve a lot goal within the Challenger lineup.
Secondly, Ford’s and Chevrolet’s entries on this house are not any slouch, and comparable cash for both a Mustang or Camaro will get you a GT or SS. The R/T Challenger won’t ever see the headlights of both, not on a dragstrip or a street course. In fact, you possibly can’t see something in a Camaro, and the backseats of the Mustang, whereas purposeful, are usually not wherever close to as livable as these within the Chally.
For my cash, I’d step as much as the R/T Scat Pack for every day use, or maybe examine the T/A for extra leisure functions. However as a rental automobile, for a person touring by himself, it could be onerous to spend your $35 a day and have any extra enjoyable than I did in my Challenger R/T.
[Images: © Mark “Bark M.” Baruth/The Truth About Cars]