Thursday, July 9, 2015

Challenger still has the look, the feel, the vroom

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo reviews of the latest motor vehicle models also can be seen on The Sacramento Bee’s website at

This review originally appeared in the June 2015 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California – Like its Dodge Charger running mate, the 2015 version of the Dodge Challenger received major changes this time around.

Thankfully, Dodge did not mess up an already good thing.  The 2015 Challenger still has that American muscle look, that road warrior feel and more than enough vroom to turn the heads of other motorists. (PHOTO taken by Charles Glover)

With the Charger having four doors, the Challenger remains the true beast of the Dodge high-horsepower lineup.  And I say that having spent a week in one of the relatively “modest” versions of the Challenger, an SXT Plus with a mere 305 horsepower produced by the 3.6-liter V-6.

The V-6 certainly made a sound like a V-8, and I appreciated that.  Even if the neighbors did not.

And here’s the thing about the Challenger (and the Charger too, for that matter): It feels like a lot of car, just sitting in it.  It feels long, wide and powerful, like it’s radiating that get-outta-my-way attitude for all wavelengths.  You see a Challenger in the rearview mirror, your gut says: “Don’t mess with it.”

This feeling is boosted by the super-sporty, classic American muscle looks of the Challenger.  You have the smackdown grille on the front, widening at the hips toward the back end and a nicely sculpted/well-lighted back end.

On the roll, acceleration of the tested Challenger was brisk but not neck-snapping.  For all of its big feel, the tester was actually easy to steer into and out of tight places.  I experienced some body roll on hard corners, but not enough to make me adjust my steering patterns.

I appreciated the old-school gauges behind the steering wheel.  Took me back in time … in a good way.

Fuel mileage was pretty good at 19 miles per gallon in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.  The starting price of $29,995 was bulked up to $34,175 on my ride with the addition of some customer-pleasing extras.  That included a $1,195 power sunroof.

Standard features were plentiful, with ventilated/heated front seats, lots of leather surface touches and a strong audio system leading the way.

Having sampled the 2015 Charger and Challenger back to back, I think it boils down to a matter of preferences and personal environment.

If you have a family and other people to haul around on a regular basis, but you still like to unwind an American car with a storied muscular past, my guess is that you’re probably going to be happy in the Charger.

If you spend a lot of time by yourself in a car, and most of that time is spent enjoying the feel of your right foot deeply planted in the accelerator, the Challenger is going to be your preferred cup of tea.

Kudos to Dodge for keeping the spirit and legacy of these two models alive, while peppering both with some most-positive improvements for 2015.

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