2018 Dodge Challenger Introduction
Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro are three of a kind (never mind that in NASCAR it’s the Mustang, Camaro and Toyota Camry, the latter front-wheel drive in production form).
The Mustang and Camaro are smaller, nimbler, and more graceful, so the Challenger can’t run with them in the corners. But MoPar fans don’t much care. They have the 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat, with its 6.2-liter supercharged V8. Megahorsepower can quickly make up for handling disadvantages.
And now, the SRT Demon joins the 2018 Challenger lineup. Try 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque. Why? Well, it’s a factory production drag car, the fastest muscle car in history, offering acceleration from zero to sixty in 2.3 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 9.65 seconds, and a top speed of more than 200 miles per hour. It’s the first production car that will do a wheelstand: 2.92 feet, as certified by Guinness World Records.
But wait, there’s more. For 2018 there’s another new model, the Hellcat Widebody. It gets fender flares, 20-inch aluminum wheels that are 11 inches wide, and 305/35ZR20 Pirelli tires.
The 2018 Challenger Hellcat gets a new grille and fender badges, so-called Air-Catcher headlamps with the Hellcat logo, and Demonic Red Laguna leather upholstery. New options include Brembo brake calipers painted black, orange and gunmetal; and a wheel finish called Matte Vapor.
Drive one of those, and you can sneer at Camaro and Mustang drivers.
There are more new performance upgrades and options for 2018, as well.
We would be here a long time, if we got into the details of all of the Challenger possibilities. There are no less than 16 models. Challenger SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Shaker, R/T Plus Shaker, R/T Scat Pack, T/A, T/A Plus, T/A 392, GT AWD, 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker, SRT 392, SRT Hellcat, SRT Hellcat Widebody, and last but for sure not least, the SRT Demon.
Base engine in Challenger SXT is Chrysler’s 3.6-liter V6 making 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque. The R/T uses a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. The R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 use a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 making 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet. The Hellcat’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 makes 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque, and can do the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 199 mph.
Transmissions for the Challenger are an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual. It depends on the model which one is standard, and which one is optional.
The V6 gets an EPA-rated 23 combined miles per gallon with the automatic (30 mpg highway), while the 5.7-liter V8 gets 18 mpg combined with the 6-speed manual and 19 mpg with the automatic. The manual needs premium fuel, while the automatic is okay with regular. That’s because the engine mated to the manual gearbox is a bit more powerful.
In crash testing, the NHTSA gives Challenger five stars overall, with four stars for frontal collision and rollover. The IIHS gives top Good scores for moderate overlap front and side impacts, but only Marginal in the difficult small-overlap front collision test, with Acceptable grades for roof strength head restraint security. Automatic emergency braking isn’t available on the Challenger.