As I always do!
But in this particular case, I took advantage of the new 2016 Dodge Challenger inventory featured at Dodge dealers. Once I spied the return of that vintage Plum Crazy hue, I knew I had to spec out the new Challengers and see which one best suited my needs and preferences.
Speaking of vintage, the Dodge Challenger has been an American muscle car icon for generations. The largest of the segment, it affords you sedan-like space, but with pulse-racing power.
Checking out the 2016 Dodge Challenger is at once an appreciation of the automotive past as it is an anticipation of what’s to come down the road.
Rising to the Challenge in the 2016 Dodge Challenger
Starting with the basics, the 2016 Dodge Challenger is a two-coupe, able to seat five. After it’s major overhaul last year, this year’s new Challenger gets a minor refresh, mostly restricted to exterior, cosmetic enhancements, like the addition of Plum Crazy and various trim and wheel options.
First in the trim level is the entry-level SXT, which features standard equipment like automatic headlights, heated mirrors, cruise control, rear air vents, six-way power driver seat, LED “halo” running lights, automatic dual-zone climate control, a 60/40-split back seat, Bluetooth phone and audio capability, UBS port, auxiliary audio jack, 5-inch touchscreen with six-speaker sound system, two-tone cloth interior, which comes in black with beige houndstooth, and a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel.
But, depending on the available groups, you can add extra bells and whistles for added comfort, performance, or entertainment. For example, the Cold Weather Group gets you a heated steering wheel, complemented by heated front seats and a stronger alternator.
If you want some edgier performance, check out the Super Sport Group, which provides a shorter rear-axle ratio, performance brakes, shift paddles on the steering wheel, and 20-inch wheels.
When it comes to boosting the beats, the six-speaker Alpine sound system in the Sound Group I is just what you need.
Continuing up the trim levels, the R/T sports 20-inch wheels, rearview camera, deck-lid spoiler, and enhanced brakes as extra standard details.
If you want to keep it vintage, check out the R/T Shaker trim, which equips the R/T with a cold air induction scoop which extends across the hood, and is complemented on the interior by two-tone leather seats featuring Shaker logos. The Shaker trim also boasts the performance enhancements available in the Super Track Pak, which are a shorter axle ratio, performance tuning on the steering, brakes, and suspension, 20-inch wheels, while the trip computer reports performance through functions like the 0-60 mph timer.
The Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack can also feature the Super Track Pak, and also adds Brembo performance brakes, heated sport steering wheel, and an enhanced exhaust.
Opting for the “Plus” level in the SXT, R/T, and R/T Shaker affords you the Cold Weather and Sound Group I packages, along with leather upholstery, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, ventilated front seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, satellite radio, emergency services connectivity, smartphone integration, and fog lights. However, the “Plus” version of the SXT gets a rearview camera and 20-inch wheels in addition.
Another perk of the “Plus” option is that the Sound Group II package can be added to it, which means you’ll be rocking out to beats broadcasting from a nine-speaker sound system.
If you want a power-adjustable steering wheel, ventilation, and leather seating, check out the Leather Interior Group on the R/T Scat Pack.
Double your sound system with the 18-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, which is optional on the Plus and Scat Pack trim levels via the Premium Sound Group.
No matter which trim level you choose, the Driver Convenience Group is optional across the 2016 Dodge Challenger lineup, which gets you rear parking sensors, blind-spot and rear cross-path warning, power-folding mirrors, bi-xenon headlights, and, the automatic transmission-exclusive remote ignition.
In addition, all trims are eligible for the navigation system and sunroof upgrades.
It might make your head spin to learn that there are even more trim-dependent package and group options for additional customization and personalization potential.
But, for now…let’s take a look at the powertrains.
Power Up in the 2016 Dodge Challenger
All 2016 Dodge Challenger SXTs come equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, generating 305 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque, operated by the rear-wheel drive, exclusively matched to the eight-speed automatic transmission.
According to Edmunds performance testing, the SXT made the zero to sixty mph dash in 6.4 seconds and returned EPA fuel estimates of 19/30/23 mpg combined – not bad considering the car’s heft and muscle.
R/T Challengers feature a 5.7-liter V8 engine, which produces 375 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque, paired to the standard six-speed manual transmission, which jumps to 372 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft. of torque if operated by the available eight-speed automatic transmission.
When mated to the manual, the R/T gets 5.8 seconds in the zero to sixty mph test, with fuel economy measured at 15/23/18 mpg combined, and the automatic returns 16/25/19 mpg combined.
Want extra speed and power? The 6.4-liter V8, powering the Scat Pack and SRT 392 generates 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque from both the standard six-speed manual and available eight-speed automatic.
So equipped, this Challenger needs only a blink above four seconds to reach sixty mph from a standstill. The EPA estimates fuel efficiency from this powertrain as 15/25/18 mpg combined from the automatic and 14/23/17 mpg combined returned by the manual transmission.
Ultimate power awaits in the 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, which roars from its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine, backed by a fearsome 707 horses and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. The six-speed manual transmission needs 4.8 seconds to move the Hellcat from zero to sixty mph while the automatic takes only 4.1 seconds.
Even with this increase in power, the fuel efficiency is not nearly as challenged as one might think, with the Hellcat rated at 13/22/16 mpg combined when paired to the automatic transmission, with the manual delivering 13/21/16 mpg combined.
Safety is No Challenge for the 2016 Dodge Challenger
Perhaps it’s surprising, given the car’s power and performance, but the 2016 Dodge Challenger was awarded five out of the five possible stars from government crash tests, specifically resulting from superior overall and side crash protection.
But, it will come as less of a surprise when you realize that the standard safety features on the 2016 Dodge Challenger include front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, traction and stability control, along with antilock brakes.
On the topic of brakes, Edmunds brake testing focused on a Challenger SXT Plus, complete with summer tires and the Super Track Pak, was able to make a complete stop from 60 mph in a mere 104 feet. The Hellcat wasn’t far behind with 108 feet.
In addition to the standard safety features, the 2016 Dodge Challengers can be further strengthened with rear cross-traffic, forward collision, and blind-spot alerts, while the “Plus” trims, SRT 392, and the Hellcat automatically come with a rearview camera.
Step Inside the 2016 Dodge Challenger
Although it gets plenty of competition from its muscle car rivals, the 2016 Dodge Challenger distinguishes itself when it comes to a spacious interior, evidenced by additional legroom and headroom, even in the backseat.
Cargo space starts at 16.2 cubic-feet, not unlike that featured in the full-size sedan segment, but extends even further after the 60/40-split seats are folded down.
Colorful Shades in the 2016 Dodge Challenger
Along with the new Plum Crazy and Go Mango, other exterior colors exist as B5 Blue Pearl Coat, TorRed Clear Coat, Redline Tri-Coat Pearl, Pitch Black, Maximum Steel Metallic, Jazz Blue Pearl, Sublime Green, Ivory Tri-Coat Pearl, Granite Crystal Metallic, Bright White, and Billet Metallic.
Starting at the MSRP of $26,995, pricing on the 2016 Dodge Challenger ranges up to $65,490 for the SRT Hellcat with automatic transmission.
Why don’t you rise to the challenge and “Grab Life” in a 2016 Dodge Challenger? Go for the Plum Crazy, I dare you!