By Cars.com EditorsSeptember 1, 2011
About the video
Cars.com's Mike Hanley reviews the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8.
<v Narrator>Cars.com Auto Reviews. Hi, Mike Hanley with cars.com. Of all the muscle cars available today, the Challenger is perhaps the purest, both in its performance and its looks.
But what makes it a great retro muscle car takes away some of what you're looking for in an everyday car. The Challenger has a lot of retro charm and the design has held up well since it's been on the market. But it also mixes modern touches like high-intensity discharge headlights, and on this high performance SRT8 version, 20 inch aluminum wheels. You can also tell the SRT8 from its functional hood scoop and also badging on the side and the rear of the car. The Challenger SRT8 is powered by a 6.4 liter V8 that makes 470 horsepower and 470 pounds-feet of torque, and it's strong enough to accelerate this big coupe from 0 to 60 in the high four second range according to Dodge, and that's very quick for a car like this. (tires screeching) (engine roaring) New for 2012 with automatic transmission models is a steering wheel that incorporates shift pedals to give you the ability to control gear changes right from the wheel. As you might expect, fuel economy is not a highlight of this car. With the automatic it's rated to just 14 in the city and 22 on the highway. Also new for 2012 is a two mode adaptive suspension, and you can engage the sportier setting by pressing the sport button located on the center console. It firms up the ride, but what's worth noting about the SRT8 is that for a performance car it's ride is still very comfortable and easy to use for everyday driving. The Challenger loses some of its retro appeal when you get to the cabin, and its interior isn't as distinctive as a Ford Mustangs or Chevy Camaro's, but it uses nice materials overall and the controls are thoughtfully arranged, like the air conditioning knobs and the stereo setup. In the SRT8, like we have, it has big sport seats that have nice bolsters that keep you in place when cornering this big coupe. The Challenger's great retro styling has consequences when you're taking out just for everyday driving and they include a roof line that's really low, which can make it hard to see stoplights sometimes, a really big hood that makes it hard to see a curbs when you're taking a turn, and also a big C pillar that can prevent how much you see when you're checking your blind spot. The Challenger's backseat is actually pretty usable for adult passengers. Headroom is good and seat comfort is pretty decent too. The only limiting factor is for taller passengers, they might have to have the front seat occupant share some of the space by moving their seat forward. Now, the trunk in the challenger measures 16.2 cubic feet. It's pretty big, big enough for a couple golf bags or load of groceries. And if you need to expand that space, you can fold down the seat I'm in right now to make more room. Of the modern day muscle cars on the road today, the Challenger holds closest to the idea of the original by delivering blistering straight line speed, a lot of road presence, and a ride that's comfortable enough for boulevard cruising. So if you always wanted one of these cars when you were growing up, I don't think you're going to be disappointed by the modern day version. (engine roaring) <v Narrator>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog KickingTires.net.