Sunday, 20 September 2020

2021 Dodge Challenger Review

2021 Dodge Challenger


History tells us the 2021 Dodge Challenger competes with the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang, but reality tells me it has a totally different personality. 

While all three American muscle cars are headlined by high-powered V-8s, there's a big discrepancy in how they drive. 

Compared with the Chevy's and the Ford's razor-sharp handling, the Dodge is better suited for relaxed cruising, with a V-8 exhaust note always ready on command. 

2021 Dodge Challenger

Those who desire the mightiest version will want the SRT Hellcat (reviewed separately), which makes up to 807 horsepower. 

The Challenger's interior isn't always easy to look at or see out of, but it has comfier seats and more passenger space than its rivals'. 

2021 Dodge Challenger

Its capacious trunk, segment-exclusive all-wheel-drive option (available on V-6 models only), and roster of colorful paint options and retro-themed appearance packages also make it stand out from the Camaro and Mustang.

2021 Dodge Challenger

What's New for 2021?

The Challenger lineup receives several minor updates for 2021. Dodge now offers a memory feature for models with a power-adjustable steering column, driver's seat, and side mirrors as well as for the radio presets. 

A set of 20-inch wheels are newly optional on the all-wheel-drive SXT and standard on the all-wheel-drive GT. And R/T Scat Pack buyers can now add SRT branding to their Brembo brake calipers.

2021 Dodge Challenger

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Despite my preference for the V-8-powered Camaro and Mustang, there's a lot of nostalgia and value offered by the Challenger. So I'd maximize both of those attributes, selecting the R/T Scat Pack model. 

It comes standard with the 485-hp 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 (versus the 375-hp 5.7-liter on the regular R/T) and the choice of a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. 

Believe it or not, I'd opt for the $1595 automatic because it's much more responsive than the slushy-feeling stick-shift. 

2021 Dodge Challenger

I'd also add the adaptive dampers for adjustable ride quality and the Dynamics package for its wide 20-inch wheels, six-piston Brembo front brakes, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. 

The Plus package improves the interior with ambient lighting, faux-suede seat inserts, and much nicer materials on the dashboard and doors. 

It requires the Driver Convenience Group, too, which brings blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross-traffic alert, power mirrors, and high-intensity-discharge headlights.

2021 Dodge Challenger

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Challenger's base 305-hp V-6 won't satisfy thrill seekers. The modest engine mates exclusively to the eight-speed automatic, but in the heavy Challenger, it lacks the acceleration and excitement of rivals. 

The Dodge's Hemi V-8 engines are another story. The 375-hp 5.7-liter has plenty of juice to power-slide on demand, and its guttural growl is gratifying. 

2021 Dodge Challenger

Those looking to maximize the Challenger's potential will want the 6.4-liter V-8, which produces 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. 

The ZF automatic is incredibly responsive to throttle inputs, with quick power-on downshifts. 

2021 Dodge Challenger

The Challenger hustles through corners like a raging bull seeing red, snorting aggressively and swaying threateningly. 

The burly Dodge is a muscle car in the truest sense: It's better on the street and the drag strip than on two-lanes and road courses. 

2021 Dodge Challenger

Since the lineup's redesign in 2015, Compared with the sharper and stickier handling of the Camaro and Mustang, however, the Challenger is too soft in tight turns and its steering is too numb. 

The slow-to-react helm is well suited to leisurely drives and easily controlled power-induced tail slides.

2021 Dodge Challenger

Fuel Economy

The Dodge's 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter V-8s improve fuel efficiency by seamlessly deactivating four cylinders when they're not needed, such as when maintaining steady highway speeds.

2021 Dodge Challenger

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Challenger has a classic muscle-car interior, with a simple design inspired by its 1970s-era predecessors and comfortable accommodations. 

Compared with its pony-car rivals, the Dodge is far roomier inside, and adults can actually use the back seat.

2021 Dodge Challenger

2021 Dodge Challenger

Unfortunately, its rubberized materials resemble old vinyl rather than premium plastic, and rear visibility is lousy. 

The Challenger's broad front seats are comfortable for cruising, but even the optional seats, which have added bolstering, don't hug their occupants the way those in the Camaro or Mustang do. 

2021 Dodge Challenger

Dodge's pony car has an extra seven cubic feet of cargo space in its trunk versus the Camaro. 

This allows the Challenger to swallow two more bags of luggage than the Camaro. 

Fold the back seats down and that advantage grows to six. The Challenger has a big center-console bin and a useful spot for a smartphone.

2021 Dodge Challenger

Infotainment and Connectivity

Every Challenger has a version of Dodge's easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment system. The feature-filled unit includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration as standard equipment. Looking to get the Led out? 

Listen to Jimmy Page's spine-tingling guitar riffs with one of two optional Alpine audio systems or the crème-de-la-crème 900-watt, 18-speaker Harman/Kardon setup.

2021 Dodge Challenger

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The 2021 Challenger earned a four-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found the 2020 model to be Marginal overall. 

This old-school coupe is available with desirable driver-assistance technology

Key safety features:

  •  Available blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross-traffic alert
  •  Available adaptive cruise control
  •  Available automatic high-beams
  • 2021 Dodge Challenger
  • Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The Challenger has average limited and power-train warranties. Unlike BMW and Chevrolet, Dodge doesn't provide any complimentary scheduled maintenance.

  •  Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
  •  Power-train warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
  •  No complimentary scheduled maintenance.
  • 2021 Dodge Challenger


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