Overview

Overview

The 2013 Dodge Challenger sporty car is a competitor to the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro muscle cars. The Challenger is larger than its competitors and is the only one of the three that can seat five (the others only seat four). With its aggressive and retro exterior design, the Challenger is all about attitude, and, especially in SRT8 trim, it is a thrill to drive. The Challenger in any trim makes a great daily driver and has a huge trunk to boot.

What Experts Think

Most automotive reviewers look favorably on the 2013 Dodge Challenger as a competitor to long-time muscle car champions, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro. In short, while the Mustang may be regarded as the best bang for the buck and the Camaro the best-looking, the overall livability aspect of the Challenger muscle car makes a compelling case.

"It may be a competitor to the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang, but strip away its body panels and the Challenger is basically a shortened version of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. That pays dividends in ride and refinement, but it makes for a massive and heavy sports coupe." (Car and Driver)

"The 2013 Dodge Challenger is sure to delight muscle car fanatics with its power and attitude, while winning over more fans with its civilized road manners and higher levels of comfort." (Edmunds)

"With a muscular body, powerful engine choices and a whole lot of attitude, the 2013 Dodge Challenger easily plays the role of modern-day muscle car. Like its main rivals, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, the Challenger has the aggressive looks and performance that made these cars famous decades ago, yet boasts today's technology and a modicum of creature comforts." (Kelley Blue Book)

"Challenger is an interesting player in this segment. It's too big and heavy to be truly agile, but this is still a more than capable performance machine. That size does pay dividends in the form of a surprisingly smooth ride and excellent passenger and cargo room." (Consumer Guide)

"The Challenger is based on the Chrysler 300 but is a large and heavy car that comes up short on sporty credentials. It is very quick in a straight line and is a fairly comfortable and effortless cruiser. Handling lacks agility but it is ultimately secure. Good controls, decent interior quality and the ability to seat five are pluses." (Consumer Reports)

What Owners Say

Owners of the 2013 Dodge Challenger, like owners of other performance and muscle cars such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, are quite vocal in their impressions posted online at sites such as Yahoo Autos, Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book, and others.

Of course, the model or trim of the Challenger, along with the type of engine selected, makes a big difference in how much or how little owners like their sports car. For Hemi aficionados, an R/T with the Hemi engine is considered by some owners to be a "rocket." Add the ‘Cuda stripe and T/A hood scoop and one owner enthuses that this is a "great car," and "Yep, [it has] blind spots."

An owner commenting on another website purchased a V6-equipped Challenger SXT with all the bells and whistles to replace his Ford Mustang that had developed a problem after warranty expiration. Pluses included very comfortable ride, good pickup in a straight line, and much better handling than the Mustang in inclement weather.

Multiple owner comments on the 2013 Dodge Challenger on the Kelley Blue Book website result in an overall 9.3 rating (out of 10). The consensus is that the Challenger has great retro styling "that is not as common as Camaro or Mustang," is easy and fun to drive, gauges that are easy to read, is a real head-turner, price and the fact that the car is an overall good value.

Negatives include some owner disappointment over the fuel economy of the V6, complexity of the touchscreen radio, minor electrical problems, plastic interior, no option for fog lights, and emblems not standard. Of course, one of the most frequently mentioned complaints involves the huge C-pillar blind spots.

Model/Trim Lineup

The 2013 Dodge Challenger is offered in three trim levels: base SXT, mid-level R/T and the top-of-the-line SRT8. Trims correspond to the engine in each.

The base Challenger SXT includes a V6 engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, automatic climate control, keyless entry/ignition, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, leather-wrapped steering wheel, a six-way power driver's seat with power lumbar adjustment, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, rear air conditioning outlets, and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.

An optional SXT Plus package adds such features as automatic headlights, fog lights, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, illuminated visor mirrors, an upgraded sound system with satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface, and Bluetooth connectivity/streaming audio.

There are a few other packages available with the SXT trim. These include the Super Sport, Interior Appearance, Electronics Convenience, and Sound Group II. Super Sport includes 20-inch chrome wheels with performance tires, a 3.06 rear axle ratio, a rear spoiler, performance-tuned suspension, steering and brakes and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Opting for the Interior Appearance group adds upgraded floor mats, metal-accented pedals, a T-handle shifter and a car cover. In the Electronics Convenience group, features include remote start, heated mirrors, and displays for tire pressure and outside temperature. The Sound Group II comes with Boston Acoustics speakers, digital music storage and a 6.5-inch display screen.

The mid-level Challenger R/T has a V8 engine, all of the features in the SXT's Super Sport group (minus the 20-inchers, as 18-inchers are on the R/T), automatic headlamps, fog lamps, heated mirrors, satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity/streaming audio, and a USB/iPod interface. Other packages for the R/T include the R/T Plus package, the R/T Classic, the Super Track Pak and the Interior Appearance group.

The top-of-the line Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 begins with the basic R/T equipment, adding a larger V8 engine, unique 20-inch wheels, sport seats, xenon headlamps, hydraulic power steering, an upgraded trip computer with performance data in real-time, upgraded suspension and brakes, and a one-day driver training course at the SRT Track Experience. An 18-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system and navigation system are additional SRT8 options.

Performance

According to auto critics, performance is the real reason most consumers buy a Dodge Challenger, although some are looking for the extra fuel economy in the V6 SXT.

The Challenger SXT is powered by a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that delivers 268 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic is the standard transmission. For this combination, EPA fuel economy estimates are at 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway/21 mpg combined.

A 376-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 producing 410 pound-feet of torque comes in the Challenger R/T, mated with the standard six-speed manual transmission (a five-speed automatic is available). With the five-speed automatic, the horsepower and torque dips slightly to 372 hp and 400 pound-feet, respectively. Fuel economy is EPA rated at 16/25/19 mpg for the automatic and 15/23/18 mpg for the manual.

Maximum performance is the hallmark of the Challenger SRT8 392, with its 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque from its 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine mated with either the standard six-speed manual or optional five-speed automatic. Fuel economy estimates for both transmissions are 14/23/17 mpg.

Interior

In contrast to the aggressively menacing exterior design of the 2013 Dodge Challenger, most test drivers think that the interior is somewhat bland, except for a few styling cues reminiscent of the car's past. Most critics comment that the rearward visibility is poor, due to the car's chunky rear roof pillars.

The Challenger does have wide and flat front seats, say many reviewers, which unfortunately don't provide much lateral support. They are, however, "exceptionally comfy" for long-distance commutes. Those looking for more bolstering and leather and faux suede covering should consider the SRT8.

Rear seats, say the critics, are quite roomy for two adults, featuring good headroom and decent legroom.

A big plus is the Challenger's trunk, considered enormous for this segment. Some reviewers note the trunk in the Challenger is bigger than most midsize sedans.

Safety & Reliability

In government testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2013 Dodge Challenger earned an overall five star safety rating for crash protection. Frontal and side crash tests resulted in a five-star rating, although there is a safety concern for the driver in the side barrier rating test. The NHTSA testing notes that during the side impact test, the driver door unlatched and opened. In rollover testing, the Challenger received a four-star rating.

The Challenger has not been rated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Most automotive reviews note that the car has a good list of safety equipment. Safety features include front side airbags and side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, active front head restraints, antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, and options for a rearview camera, blind-spot monitors and Bluetooth.

As far as reliability goes, the 2013 Dodge Challenger has a three Power circle score from the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability rating. That ranks about average.

 

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Coupe - RWD
SXT 2dr Coupe SXT V6 RWD 26295
SXT Plus 2dr Coupe SXT Plus V6 RWD 26295
Rallye Redline 2dr Coupe Rallye Redline V6 RWD 26295
R/T 2dr Coupe R/T 8 Cylinder RWD 29995
R/T Plus 2dr Coupe R/T Plus 8 Cylinder RWD 29995
R/T Classic 2dr Coupe R/T Classic 8 Cylinder RWD 29995
SRT8 Core 2dr Coupe SRT8 Core 8 Cylinder RWD 38995
SRT8 2dr Coupe SRT8 8 Cylinder RWD 44195

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2013 Dodge Challenger ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2013 Dodge Challenger rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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