2020 Dodge Challenger Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
In 1969, Dodge came out with its version of a pony car known as the Challenger. A styled vehicle with a performance-based edge, it was a late competitor to the Ford Mustang and a direct one for the Pontiac Firebird.
During the late 1970s and early 80s, the Challenger became a sporty sedan. Then, it disappeared for several years. It came back in 2005 in its pony car form as direct competition to the newly designed Ford Mustang.
Since then, it has remained on the market with continued tweaks to its styling and performance. With the release of the 2020 Dodge Challenger, does this half-century old performance vehicle still have the chops?
What's New for 2020?
Plenty of tweaks have been made to the design that came out in the 2008 model year, but this newest version of the Challenger hasn't had a next-generation build. And that's find for many consumers who are familiar with the design of the pony car.
What Dodge has done is added new interior and exterior accents to the existing design. This includes a set of limited-edition features that celebrate the Challenger's 50th anniversary from the first year it was released.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2020 Dodge Challenger – The Pros
1. Driving a Piece of Vehicle History
Car models come and go over the years. What was popular decades ago has been forgotten. The Challenger has been hidden at some points, but it's never been forgotten. So, when consumers choose to purchase a 2020 Dodge Challenger, they help continue the vehicles legacy. Plus, it's fun to drive a pony car
2. Comfortable Ride for a Muscle Car
Call it a pony or a muscle car, the 2020 Dodge Challenger has interior space and offers a smoother ride. Many of its competitors, like the Chevy Camaro or the Ford Mustang, normally substitute comfort for power. Then again, Starsky & Hutch never complained about the hardness of their seats.
But things are different today. Hence, the reason the Challenger's driver and front passenger have 40 inches of head room and 42 inches of leg room. For a performance car, this leg room is important. Furthermore, there's 55 inches of hip room in the front and back of the Challenger. This provides plenty of space to maneuver.
3. Multiple Trims and Sub-Trims
There are bound to be different types of drivers for the 2020 Dodge Challenger. So, the manufacturer made sure they had enough trims for all of them. Well, not really. However, it seems like it from their offerings.
The trims are the standard SXT and GT, The performance trims are the R/T -- short for Road/Track -- and the SRT, short for Street & Racing Technology. The R/T and SRT have two and four sub-trims, respectively.
4. Power Under the Hood
Muscle cars do not come with piddly 1.8-liter engines. They come with something that roars under the hood. For the 2020 Dodge Challenger, this is in the form of a few powertrain options. Actually, seven of them. Which one the consumer gets depends on the trim they choose.
The standard engine is a 3.6-liter, six-cylinder variable valve timer (VVT). It's connected to a heavy-duty engine cooler and high-speed controller. Both pieces of equipment are standard across all trims. If the customer selects the base R/T, they get a 5.7-liter V8 HEMI engine.
The most engaging, the 6.2-liter supercharged HO, produces 700 horsepower and is only available on the high-end SRT Hellcat Redeye trims. This would probably not be for someone who wanted to drive the Challenger to and from the supermarket.
5. Five-Star Crash Rating
The fact the 2020 Dodge Challenger received an overall five-star rating from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) doesn't mean drivers can go crazy. It simply means the vehicle is rated well when it comes to safety. Of particular impressiveness for the NHTSA were the results for the Challenger's resilience in front impacts and rollovers.
6. Cavernous Trunk Space
Yes, consumers who purchase a 2020 Dodge Challenger need storage space. They travel, shop, and play golf like other people. Fortunately, thanks to its design, the trunk area is quite vast as compared to its competitors. It may not seem like it due to the short back-end, but at 14.2 cubic feet it can store four full-sized golf bags.
7. Pleasant Interior Design
For a muscle car, the 2020 Dodge Challenger has a nicer interior than its competitors. Power lumbar and seat adjustments for the driver's portion of the cabin come standard even with the basic SXT trim. Those lower trims get premium cloth seats while the upper ones like the SRT Redeye have leather or houndstooth sport seats.
8. Fantastic Infotainment System
Pony cars are made for great technology. The 2020 Dodge Challenger has this across all its trims. The basic level starts at a 6-speaker sound system and goes up to 18 with a subwoofer as it reaches the R/T and SRT range. The dash features an UConnect infotainment touchscreen with Bluetooth integration and voice command. This is between a 7-inch and 8.4-inch model. For connectivity, the Challenger is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Once connected, the driver can use their favorite smartphone apps on the touchscreen display.
9. Good Value for Basic and Well-Equipped Trims
With so much performance and technology power, consumers might think the 2020 Dodge Challenger starts with a high MSRP. Truth is, it's not a bad base price, at least for the low end trims.
The starting MSRP for a "no-frills" SXT is $28,000 while the GT is only $3,000 more. Even a well-equipped R/T Scat Pack runs around $39,000. These prices give consumers an opportunity to upgrade engines and infotainment technology without overreaching in their budgets.
10. High Reliability Rating
A main concern of consumers who purchase expensive vehicles is performance. Will the car spend more time in the shop than on the road? Fortunately, the 2020 Dodge Challenger doesn't have that problem. According to J.D. Power, the vehicle has a good predictability rating. In other words, there are few surprises when it comes to regular maintenance.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2020 Dodge Challenger – The Cons
1. Unremarkable Fuel Efficiency
Face it, the 2020 Challenger is not going to be a fuel-efficient vehicle. Not when it has V6 and V8 engines that range between 350 and 700 horsepower. On average, the powertrains get a combined 16 mpg on city and highway surfaces. It probably gets less on the track as the engine is run to its maximum capacity.
2. Lack of Driver Assist Aids
Besides a HD rear-view camera, there aren't any other driver assist aids that come standard. The few that are available are optional on everything from the SXT to the SRT Redeye Widebody. A disappointing figure for a vehicle that needs these types of tools.
3. Too Many Choices
There are so many trims, sub-trims, and options available for the 2020 Challenger that it can be both hard and confusing to decide. While one trim offers something as standard, the sub-trim over may not. It can get to the point that customers move to another pony car that's more reasonable in its standards and upgrades.
4. Not Available as a Convertible
Mustang has a convertible version, so does Camaro. The Challenger? Unless consumers stumble upon custom ones at various dealers, there isn't an official convertible version of this Dodge muscle car. This can be a turnoff for customers who want to spend some time in the summer with the top down.
5. Hasn't Changed Much Since 2008
The Challenger has gone through some redesigns over the years since it was introduced. However, it hasn't had a true rebuild since then. Meanwhile, the Mustang got a revamp in 2015. The Challenger's sporty cousin, the Dodge Charger, got a generational makeover in 2011. Though consumers like the design, they may want something more modern.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition
To avoid mincing words, the 2020 Dodge Challenger is larger and heavier than its competition. Thus, it has a disadvantage at the start in finesse and handling. Nevertheless, it's still a major contender in the muscle car market.
In a match-up with its arch-nemesis, the Mustang, the Challenger wins the contest with a comfortable interior and more trunk space. On the other hand, the Mustang gets the trophy for better fuel efficiency and a more powerful engine that maxes out at 760 horsepower.
Against the Camaro, the Challenger ties for technology and the variety of powertrains offered. While consumers should go with the Chevrolet model for its handling, they might want to look at the Challenger if they want more room and comfort.
For customers who want power, the 2020 Dodge Challenger is a smart choice. The variety of trims available can be daunting. However, once they get through the choices, they'll have a vehicle with a considerable powertrain and lots of space. In addition, the ride will be more comfortable than its competitors.
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