Dodge Challenger 2009 Detail Specification Video Reviews


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Nostalgic exterior styling, ripping performance with R/T and SRT8, agile handling for such a big car, SRT8’s strong braking, comfortable ride, generous cargo capacity.

Narcolepsy-inducing interior styling, poor rearward visibility, V6’s frumpy four-speed automatic transmission.

Dodge fills out the Challenger lineup for 2009 with the introduction of a base V6 model and midlevel R/T. Joining the pavement-searing SRT8 trim, the V6 trim sports a 250-horsepower V6, while the R/T boasts a 370-hp 5.7-liter V8. Also new this year is the availability of a manual transmission for the R/T and SRT8.

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Thanks to the massive press coverage of last year’s Dodge Challenger rebirth, you probably know as much about it as we do. But in case you missed all those headline road tests featuring the burnt-orange car, here’s the skinny. Borrowing heavily from the styling of the original 1970-’74 Challenger, the reborn version sports similar lines and proportions. But you needn’t worry about the 2009 Dodge Challenger merely being a poser’s visual link to the past — it can be had with Hemi V8 power, rear-wheel drive and the right sound burbling from its rectangular exhausts.

The Challenger is based on Chrysler’s LX platform, which is also used for the 300 and Charger sedans. Its wheelbase is 4 inches shorter than the Charger’s, though with a 2-ton curb weight, the newer model is frighteningly similar to its forebear in terms of sheer bulk. Of course, the 2009 Challenger has features that previous Mopar designers could hardly have dreamed about, such as stability control, side curtain airbags and an available hard-drive-based navigation system that can also store music and video files. The new Challenger also differs by being fairly athletic and able to go around corners without scraping the Goodyear lettering off the tires.

Last year, Dodge offered just one model — the top-level SRT8. For 2009, Dodge expands the Challenger family with a couple of less intimidating alternatives that make this retro-styled sport coupe more accessible to the masses. Starting things off is the new base Challenger, fitted with a V6 engine and four-speed automatic, a pairing as ill-suited as Charlize Theron and Gilbert Gottfried. You’ll get 250 hp and a 25-mpg highway rating from this powertrain, but considering that you’re stuck with four speeds, it’s hardly set up for optimal efficiency. Sitting between the base car and the SRT8 is the best pick of the bunch: the new R/T, with its 370-hp V8. This year also brings back another Mopar icon, a pistol-grip-shifted manual gearbox. Available on the V8 cars, this tranny features six speeds.

Considering that the resurrected Camaro is set to debut next year, Dodge’s preemptive strike with this full family of Challengers couldn’t have come at a better time. And considering the cost of gasoline nowadays, we imagine the V6 model will be fairly popular. Overall, we like how the 2009 Dodge Challenger impressively combines the visceral and visual excitement of the past with modern engineering, safety and convenience features. Yes, there is competition in the form of the upcoming Camaro and the Ford Mustang. But for a modern take on the old muscle car, the Challenger certainly gets almost all of it right.