2010 Dodge Challenger

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2010 Dodge Challenger. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Ride comfort
  • Cornering stability
  • Comfortable bucket seats
  • Brake-pedal feel
  • Snow performance (SE)

The Bad

  • V-6 gas mileage trails competition
  • Visibility
  • Plain interior
  • Manual transmission not offered with V-6

Notable Features of the 2010 Dodge Challenger

  • Retro looks
  • V-6 or V-8
  • Manual or automatic
  • Standard stability system
  • High-performance SRT8 version

2010 Dodge Challenger Road Test

Mike Hanley
It's hard to think of a car more American than the retro-inspired Dodge Challenger — especially the one I tested, which featured a red, white and blue color scheme. For drivers and onlookers of a certain age, it's as much a time machine as it is a car.

Even though the Challenger looks like it could have stepped out of the 1970s, there's a thoroughly modern car under that classic sheet metal — and it's a surprisingly comfortable and quiet one. In short, the Challenger succeeds as a daily driver because its modern qualities and features don't get in the way of the throwback look, which Dodge nailed. If you grew up wanting a Challenger — but now don't want the headaches that come with owning a 40-year-old car — this one's for you.

I'd already driven all the Challenger trim levels except the base SE, and that's the version I tested this time around. There's no question you sacrifice performance by going with the SE and its 250-horsepower V-6, but the tradeoff is one buyers interested in cruising style — rather than stoplight racing — will find acceptable, even if the V-6's gas mileage isn't much better than the V-8 R/T's.

Big & Imposing
Some people love the big, brutish looks of the Challenger, and those are the people who will buy it. The Challenger is imposing in a way few cars are these days, and that's partly because it's very big for a coupe — it's n...

It's hard to think of a car more American than the retro-inspired Dodge Challenger — especially the one I tested, which featured a red, white and blue color scheme. For drivers and onlookers of a certain age, it's as much a time machine as it is a car.

Even though the Challenger looks like it could have stepped out of the 1970s, there's a thoroughly modern car under that classic sheet metal — and it's a surprisingly comfortable and quiet one. In short, the Challenger succeeds as a daily driver because its modern qualities and features don't get in the way of the throwback look, which Dodge nailed. If you grew up wanting a Challenger — but now don't want the headaches that come with owning a 40-year-old car — this one's for you.

I'd already driven all the Challenger trim levels except the base SE, and that's the version I tested this time around. There's no question you sacrifice performance by going with the SE and its 250-horsepower V-6, but the tradeoff is one buyers interested in cruising style — rather than stoplight racing — will find acceptable, even if the V-6's gas mileage isn't much better than the V-8 R/T's.

Big & Imposing
Some people love the big, brutish looks of the Challenger, and those are the people who will buy it. The Challenger is imposing in a way few cars are these days, and that's partly because it's very big for a coupe — it's nearly as long as a Chevrolet Tahoe. When the Challenger roamed U.S. streets decades ago, most cars on the road were big. Its size is more apparent today, in part because there aren't as many yacht-like cars on the road, especially ones with two doors. (To see a side-by-side comparison of the 2009 and 2010 Challenger, click here, or compare it against two key muscle-car competitors, the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, by clicking here.)

The Challenger's size is also evident when you get behind the wheel; you get the feeling you're taking up the entire width of whatever lane you're in. The hood stretches way out in front of you, and it initially takes a little faith when nosing into tight spots, as the corners of the hood look closer to barriers than they really are.

That's not to say the Challenger is a beast to drive, because it isn't. If you already drive a larger car, it probably won't take long to get familiar with where the corners are. If all you've known are small cars, though, the Challenger will take some getting used to.

Secure Handling & Comfortable Ride
If you're looking for a muscle car with a lively, nimble driving experience I'd probably direct you to the Ford Mustang. The Challenger, meanwhile, is for traditionalists; it holds its own in corners when it needs to, but it's most at home cruising from stoplight to stoplight or on an open stretch of road.

Old-school muscle cars weren't known for their handling — they were straight-line machines — and some people might not expect much cornering prowess from the Challenger. These shoppers will be pleasantly surprised, because the Challenger handles better than any car this big deserves to. Most impressive is its resistance to body roll; even when powering through a corner, the Challenger stays impressively flat and feels completely in control. There's still that big-car feeling, but there's little of the undesirable body motions typically associated with large cars.

Chrysler deserves even more credit, though, because while body roll has been handily mitigated, it hasn't come at the expense of ride comfort, which is good for a performance coupe whether you get a base SE or a V-8-powered R/T or SRT8. The suspension soaks up bumps before they jar you or your passengers, and the car just lopes along. The ride is noticeably firmer in the SRT8, but it's still quite acceptable for a high-performance coupe.

As luck would have it, a snowstorm struck Chicago when I had the Challenger. My test car was equipped with all-season tires, but I was still a little apprehensive about how the rear-wheel-drive car would handle the white stuff as it piled up outside. The car did much better than I thought it would, accelerating confidently as long as I went easy on the gas. Only once did I almost get stuck when attempting to park on a street with heavily drifted snow, but turning the standard electronic stability system off provided enough wheelspin to get the car moving again.

A V-6 Muscle Car?
Muscle-car purists might scoff at the idea of a V-6-powered Challenger, but for those who want the style without the higher price of the R/T or SRT8, the V-6 is a smart choice; as long as you're not a diehard V-8 enthusiast, you won't find yourself regretting your decision due to a lack of power. (For a comparison of all three Challenger trim levels, click here.)

There's a leisurely quality to the V-6's power delivery that the power-hungry might not like, but for everyday commuting the V-6 more than gets the job done. Its exhaust rumble is surprisingly stout, too, nearly matching the R/T's under light acceleration.

The only transmission offered with the V-6 is a five-speed automatic that incorporates Dodge's AutoStick clutchless-manual mode. I normally don't have a need for that, but it proved handy when cruising at interstate speeds in the Challenger, when I used it to downshift to keep the engine revving higher, improving responsiveness and power.

While you might think fuel economy would be the V-6 Challenger's one clear advantage over the V-8 R/T, it's not. The V-6 Challenger is rated 17/25 mpg city/highway, while the automatic R/T gets an estimated 16/25 mpg. When paired with the automatic, the V-8 benefits from cylinder-deactivation technology, which shuts down half of the engine's cylinders under light loads. Even so, I expected better thrift from the V-6 — especially when V-6 versions of the Camaro and Mustang make more power and get better gas mileage.

V-6 Muscle Car Gas Mileage (city/highway, mpg)
ManualAutomaticHorsepower
2010 Chevrolet Camaro17/2918/29304
2010 Dodge Challenger--17/25250
2011 Ford Mustang coupe19/2919/31305

Cavelike Cabin
"Cavelike" isn't meant to imply there's an unrefined nature to the Challenger's cabin, but rather how enclosed you feel when sitting in the car. The big reason for this is the slotlike windshield and low roofline, which severely limit how far you can look up; you'll find yourself craning your neck to see overhead stoplights if you're the first car in line. The large rear roof pillars don't help visibility, either.

Fortunately, the cave has comfortable bucket seats that provide good thigh support for taller drivers, and they're wide enough that the side bolsters don't catch the sides of your back. A power driver's seat is standard, and my test Challenger had optional leather upholstery and heated front seats.

The places where you come in contact with the Challenger's cabin — the steering wheel, gear selector and leather seats — have a high-grade feel, but the dashboard and instrument cluster are rather plain. Plain, however, is sometimes better than radical — witness the gauges and controls in the Camaro, which are hard to decipher — but the Mustang's upscale interior walks a better line between unique and ordinary.

Safety
Our preferred source for crash-test information is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but as of publication it hadn't tested the Challenger. Standard Challenger safety features include antilock brakes, side curtain airbags for both rows of seats, and a stability system. For a full list of safety features, check out the Standard Equipment & Specs page.

Challenger in the Market
Despite plenty of nostalgia for certain nameplates, it's never a foregone conclusion that remakes will inspire the same passion. (The Ford Thunderbird is a good example. It returned as a 2002 model but ended its run as a 2005.) The Challenger, by comparison, inspired plenty of people when we first tested it a few years back — it's one of the few cars we've had in the Cars.com garage where you couldn't go anywhere without someone honking their horn, waving or staring at the car.

As you might expect, much of the frenzy around the Challenger has since waned and the car doesn't generate the kind of attention that it did before. That factor aside, the Challenger is still a good car — composed and comfortable. Whereas both the Camaro and Mustang have more performance-oriented bearings, the Challenger is a classic muscle car updated for the 21st-century driver. The result is an ideal blend of the past and the present.

Send Mike an email 



Latest 2010 Challenger Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.9)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.7)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Son?s car for college

by Stephanie from Spavinaw, Ok on October 15, 2018

We were looking for a reliable car for our son to drive to college next fall. We wanted something dependable and reasonably priced. We found exactly what we were looking for in this car!! Read full review

(5.0)

8yr old better than NEW

by 70-426_10-SRT from Oregon on July 12, 2018

After years of searching, I finally found the BLACK, 6-Speed SRT8 Challenger at a Subaru Lot 300 miles away, in a different state. No one in Oregon, had manual transmissions, only AUTOMATIC. Trucks ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Dodge Challenger currently has 0 recalls

NHTSA Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2010 Dodge Challenger SE

NHTSA rates vehicles using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Overall Rollover Rating
4 Star
Driver's
5 Star
Passenger's
5 Star
Front Seat
5 Star
Rear Seat
5 Star
Side Barrier Rating Driver
5 Star
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
5 Star
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Manufacturer Warranties

Backed by Dodge
New Car Program Benefits
  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits
  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    5 model years or newer/less than 75,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    3 months/3,000 miles

  • Powertrain warranty

    7 years/100,000 miles

  • Dealer Certification Required

    125-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All Program Details

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Challenger received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker