Challenger thoughts? 2012 model

Any Challenger drivers? What are your thoughts on the car?

I’ve driven one with the 5.7L Hemi and 5 speed automatic. It’s a cruiser, not a real performance car. It’s a heavy car, and one I drove had fairly narrow tires for the size of the car. Straight line performance was okay, but not as good as you would expect a 350+ HP car to have. Handling was no better than a typical family sedan, the interior was decent, and the car had a pretty compliant ride.

This a car that people get to be seen in, not a car that people buy to drive. Most of people I see driving these cars are older guys, who like the way they look, and don’t care about performance numbers.

Note the one I drove was a 2010 model.

I see you have another post asking about the new Camaro and Mustang too. I’m a Mopar guy, but I’d give the Mustang a look as well. The V6 has impressive numbers in performance and fuel economy, and that’s the one to look at in my opinion. The Hemi-powered Challenger is pretty, has a nice interior, and is quick and smooth. But the V6 Mustang is just as quick. The Camaro is kind of interesting, but I don’t think the Camaro V6 holds a candle to the Mustang, and this is from a guy that normally doesn’t care much for Fords. The touch screen control system in the Dodge is far superior to the ill-designed unit in the Ford.

I’d drive all 3 and see what you like though.

Looks good, but more expensive than I expected.

The closest thing to that I have driven was a Hemi Charger with the 5.7L engine. It felt smooth and powerful, although rather heavy. It didn’t have neck-snapping launches or acceleration, it just felt strong, and I suspect the Challenger would be much the same way. Some magazine reviewers have had the same complaint about the new Camaro, that while there’s a lot of power, there’s so much car to move around that the car does not feel performance oriented, but more like a big, heavy car with a big, heavy engine. I did look at a brand new Challenger a couple years ago, and it is very nostalgic in the styling department, including some, apparently, subtle details. The first thing I noticed under the hood was that the block and heads were painted Hemi Orange, a detail the owner said he had never even noticed.

If you want a quick car, get the Hemi. If you want a faster car, get the Charger>Challenger>300C SRT8 version. Bear in mind that you will get 13-18 MPG in the city with any of the Hemi-powered vehicles. You may frown at the gas pump, but you’ll have a smile on your face the rest of the time.

A thought from a non Challenger owner…get a Mustang. Hemi is the only thing Chrysler can come up with For years to one up the competition in perceived performance. Throw it in a truck or car and hope people really think it means something in this day and age. Don’t be taken in by the hype. Old school is more true to their approach. Ford and now GM have turned the corner and grown up.

Don’t discount the Hemi. It was on Ward’s top ten engine list from 2003 to 2009, skipping only 2008, and it is still relevant today. While it might not live up to the hype, it is a smooth, torquey, utterly reliable engine. With this generation’s updates such as variable cam timing and cylinder deactivation, it is more powerful than ever and gets good mileage for its size and power. If you think the “perceived performance” is a sham, test drive an SRT8 and see if you still feel the same. It is still a force to be reckoned with, and is as content whether going 120 MPH on the track for hours or taking the kids to school every day.

While I’m impressed with the engineering that went into Ford’s new V6, and the turbo version in the F150 is intriguing, and will beat the Hemi Ram in acceleration, guess which one I would trust more in a work truck or for severe duty? Not the over-boosted V6. Maybe time will show that the new Ford V6 is reliable, but it is an unproven engine, while the venerable Hemi is a reliable performer and just keeps getting better.

I hope Chrysler builds up the Pentastar V6 as well. Admittedly it isn’t up to the performance level of the Ford and GM offerings yet, but it has the potential, and when direct injection is added (which it was designed for), it should be a force to be reckoned with. Now that Chrysler isn’t the unwanted stepchild bounced from owner to owner, perhaps they can get more accomplished than just trying to stay afloat.

Oldscar, what are YOUR thoughts on the Challenger?

Personally, I like the musclecar styling revival, but I’m reliving my youth.

“Personally, I like the musclecar styling revival…”

The same can be said for the Camaro and Mustang. They are all updated, including the Challenger, but you can see the 60’s in the Camaro and Mustang; 70’s for the Challenger. And I’m still a kid, SMB. Just ask my children.

Wow, I just saw a purple 1970 Challenger picture when I looked up production years. It brought back memories of a roller coaster ride long ago. A friend and I were driving back from seeing girlfriends one snowy night. We were on Rte 22 between Allentown and Bethlehem, PA when the back end started to wiggle. He tried to straighten it out, but it just got worse. Then we spun around. I put my arms over my face in case there was any broken glass - it’s a good thing I wasn’t driving! We stopped spinning when we met the guard rail between east and wast-bound lanes. I thought it was a way-cool ride. But then again, the purple Challenger wasn’t my car. Even better than that, it reminded me of my friend Jim. What a great guy.

Oblivion …I don’t discount Chrysler motors in general. But the design of the “hemi” has more to do with convenience in this day and age then a right of passage. It just happened that the design used in more resent motors has a chamber lifted from Porsche that just happens to have a hemispherical design as well.

It’s not particularly efficient compared to other modern motors and really not the technical tour de force we were once lead to believe. Just more advertising hype. Not that others don’t do it as well, but IMO,OHC (overhead cams), fuel injection and other, had as much if not more to do with performance then the shape of the combustion chamber. To keep advertising motors as hemis makes no more sense in this day and age then hyping that a motor had spark plugs.

But, I have the same opinion of GM’s so called Northstar system and the like from everyone else.

dagosa… I agree with most of what you’re saying. I think it’s tacky to have “HEMI” plastered all over everything. I know the hemi design is not the most “green” or fuel efficient–that’s the reason for the second spark plug per cylinder–partially for performance, mostly for emissions. A lot of engines these days use a wedge or ‘semi-hemi’ configuration for improved power. I also agree that GM’s Northstar is kind of crappy–it was revolutionary in its day, but doesn’t make a lot of power for its size, and if you ever have to fix an internal problem, you might as well throw it away and get another engine. It wasn’t designed very well for tinkering or maintenance. While I’ve always liked GM more than Ford, GM doesn’t have anything that impresses me these days. I feel that if it weren’t for OnStar and the new Cruze perhaps, they really wouldn’t have anything going for them.

The Hemi engines, despite being somewhat dated now, still motivate a performance car, Grand Cherokee, or pickup pretty well. And they leave a lot of room for easy enhancement if that’s your thing. All the car reviewers scoff at the ancient pushrod engine designs, then someone does a good modern implementation of this technology and they marvel at how well it redeems itself for a few more years.

Every manufacturer continually one-ups the others. It’s the way the game is played. Whether it’s automakers, Intel vs. AMD or Apple vs. Microsoft, all come up with something new that leaves the others (briefly) in the dust. All the hype is with Ford’s new bi-turbo V6 right now. Will it prove to be a good engine? Maybe. Will it be another disappointing “Triton” V8 with all the issues that had? Also maybe. The first couple of model years for a new technology are a little scary.

I’m not knocking the Mustang, but I think the OP should drive all 3 vehicles and see what he thinks of each. Besides just the engine and styling, there’s the handling, ride, NVH, interior, etc. to consider.

“GM doesn’t have anything that impresses me these days. I feel that if it weren’t for OnStar and the new Cruze perhaps, they really wouldn’t have anything going for them.”

They have a lot going for them… The Sonic is, finally, a good subcompact for GM. The Corvette is still the best bargain supercar in existence, and has been for years. The Malibu is highly competitive in the mid-size market, and the Acadia/Enclave are also leading contenders in the large SUV market. Don’t forget the CTS-V, which has been called the best car ever built in the US. I could go on, but you get the point.

GM has always had technological potential and in reality, their motors were filled with “firsts”. ( not technically first but remember the ohc 6 cylinder Firebird for example) and even the aluminum block Vega was a high tech achievement. The problem has always been execution when the bean counters out for immediate profit prevent the follow up investments necessary for long term durability.
As an aside, I have always been impressed with the overall good looks of GM cars too. IMO, they are among the best looking auto/truck lines year after year. Purely subjective…
I have owned more Toyota products but have always wished their sheet metal designers came from GM or Chrysler. Based upon looks alone, the Vega and Corvair would have replace the Corolla as two of the most popular compacts of all time. But car buyers aren’t after just another pretty face.

You’re right about the CTS-V… I had forgotten about that one. And the Corvette. Though I don’t much care for the CTS-V’s looks I have to admit. My coworker has a Malibu, and I will admit it’s a decent effort. I guess I’m just burned out from having GM rentals and riding in GM cars and finding that most feel like unpleasant bits of ill-fitting plastic.

Rentals are often the least popular models. Their low popularity leads to excellent prices for the rental car companies. You can get lucky, though. My company rents through National, and I use the Emerald Aisle. I look for something that I never drove before. My last rental was a Ram 1500 with the V8. It was fun, if difficult to park. I’ve also had a New Beetle convertible, Mustang convertible, Crossfire roadster, Cadillac CTS, Cadillac STS, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, Suburban, and many others. But most of them were Impalas or Malibus (early 2000s style), and those were not a lot of fun.

I also look at having to rent a car as an opportunity to drive something different, and will seek out something interesting if possible.