Knowing all the pros and cons of the Dodge Challenger before purchasing one is a smart move. After all, nothing is worse than spending a lot of money on a car only to realize two weeks later that it isn’t what you really wanted.
- On one hand, the Challenger is a fairly good looking alternative to a boring daily driver. It’s fast (even the V6 models are kind of quick), generally reliable, and the interiors of the latest models feel very sporty.
- On the other hand, “generally reliable” may not be good enough for daily driving. It’s also very heavy, uses a lot of gas, and is difficult to park in small spaces.
But good on you for feeling the need to read this guide. Most people (especially when it comes to muscle cars) tend to throw caution to the wind on purchases like this, and are willing to say “f*** it” without doing any research.
All the pros and cons of the Dodge Challenger
I’ve had the opportunity to drive a handful of Dodge Challengers over the years. Even though I’m a Mustang guy through and through, I’m not afraid to admit that I always look forward to getting into one of these things. If you don’t believe me, be sure to check out my 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Review. That thing was a beast.
I’m not ready to replace my Mustang with one however, and this pros and cons list will give you a better idea of why.
- Although this is purely objective, I find the Hemi V8 in the Challenger to be the best sounding V8 of any current vehicle sold in the US. The exhaust note is darn near perfect.
- Another nice thing about having such a great exhaust note is that you may not feel the need to spend extra money on an aftermarket exhaust for this car. It sounds so good in stock form.
- The Dodge Challenger has been in production (largely unchanged) since 2008. Some may see this as a con, but for me, it tells me that they’ve had lots of time to work out all the bugs. The latest models are proving to be very reliable.
- The interior of the Dodge Challenger is really good. It feels tight and sporty, and the newest version isn’t as cheap and plasticky as the original.
- The Dodge Challenger is an extremely common car here in the US, which means parts are cheap and plentiful. You won’t have a problem getting your Challenger serviced anywhere you go.
- The Hemi V8 models are ridiculously fast. It’s quicker than it looks!
- Aftermarket parts for the Challenger are plentiful. If you’re the type of person who likes to modify cars to your own taste, the Challenger will be a good choice. I wouldn’t go as far to put it on my best project cars list, but still.
- It’s inconspicuous. In a large parking lot full of other cars, the Challenger is common enough that it won’t stand out and draw attention. Flamboyant types may see this as a con, but for introverted people such as myself, it’s a blessing.
- It’s safe (relatively speaking). One of the benefits of the Challenger being so large is that its crumple zones do well to protect its occupants in collisions. It’s not the safest car on the market, but when it comes to hitting immovable objects, having more car around you to absorb the impact is always better.
- Every time I drive dodge challenger, I always find myself cursing about the doors. They’re huge. Good luck trying to get in and out of this car with any amount of grace in tight parking spots.
- It’s a gas guzzler. Even if you opt for the more economical V6 version, it’s still going to drink more fuel than your wallet may be comfortable with. Prepare to spend lots of money if you opt for the V8, as you’ll no doubt be tempted to dip into the throttle whenever possible. It’s just so much fun.
- Although the more recent model years of the Challenger are proving to be more reliable than the ones from years past, it doesn’t mean that it’s a high-quality car. Every challenger that I’ve ever driven made weird clunking noises from the chassis and suspension when going over bumps.
- There’s no way of saying the delicately, but there’s a “redneck” stigma associated with these cars that will be instantly applied you the moment you pull up in one. If this doesn’t bother you, rock on and enjoy your car.
- Along those same lines, if you opt for the V8, you are going to be “that guy” to your neighbors. It isn’t a quiet car, especially on cold start ups. On the other hand, if you hate your neighbors, then by all means, have at it.
- Outward visibility is challenging (pun totally intended). The windows of the Dodge Challenger are very short, and I guarantee you’ll be hating life the first time you pull up to a stoplight and you have to duck your head down in order to watch it turn green.
- The rear seats are so small that they’re essentially useless. Even with the front seat moved fully forward, they are very difficult to get to. If you like the vibe of the Challenger, but need a bigger car, I’d highly recommend a Chrysler 300 S (read my Chrysler 300 pros and cons list before buying one though).
- The interior is very small for a car of this size. I personally don’t mind this, but I would imagine that there would be a lot of potential buyers who might be bothered by it.
- It’s really expensive for what you get. As mentioned earlier, the Challenger has been in production since 2008, and everything about it is becoming somewhat dated. There are many newer cars that you can buy for the same amount of money that will give you better tech and safety features.
Two good reasons why you should buy a Dodge Challenger
Despite all the negative things that I’ve said about the Challenger in this pros and cons list so far, I still think it’s a really great car. I certainly wouldn’t be hating life if I was forced to daily drive one. Here are two good reasons why:
- With a Hemi V8 under the hood, the Challenger just reeks of “muscle car” (something I touched on in my Dodge Challenger vs Ford Mustang comparison). It sounds incredible, it’s insanely fast, and it has an intimidating presence on the road. And even though it’s one of the most common cars here in the US, people still turn around and look whenever they hear one rip away from a stoplight.
- Even though I don’t like big cars, the interior of the Challenger is so small and compact that it feels like a sports car. This may be a con depending on what you need in a daily driver, but I like the feeling of a tight cockpit over spacious interior with cushy seats.
Two good reasons why you shouldn’t by a Challenger
Is the Challenger a bad car? No. Not by a long shot. However, having driven so many of these things over the years, there are some significant issues I have with it (which may be a dealbreaker for some). Here are two of them:
- The Challenger is not a car for city driving. I live in San Diego (where the freeways are packed, and the parking lots are always full). The Challenger is a difficult car to drive here, since I always feel like I want to go fast but I can’t. Parking is always difficult as well because the spots are almost always small. I’d be much more tempted to daily drive a Challenger if I lived way out in the suburbs.
- The Challenger isn’t very economical. Sure, parts for it may be cheaper compared to other cars, but you’ll offset that cost savings at the fuel pumps. This is a very large (and heavy) car. It takes a lot of power (fuel) to get it moving, and if you like to drive fast, you’ll spending a lot of money on gas.