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For decades, the classic American muscle car was a relic of the past. That is, until Dodge revived the whole genre in 2008 with their modern Challenger and Charger designs. The 2021 Dodge Challenger is more powerful than ever with a stunning amount of available horsepower. It is also a stylish vehicle with a sleek retro design.
What's New for 2021?
The Dodge Challenger will receive a few modest updates for 2021. The SRT Super Stock model will now produce a whopping 807 horsepower. There are now wide-body models of the R/T Scat Pack Shaker and T/A 392 trims. There's a new memory feature for settings on the steering column, exterior mirrors and driver's seat this year.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Dodge Challenger – The Pros
1. Massive Amounts of Horsepower
The Dodge Challenger has ushered in a new age of high-powered muscle cars. The incredible amount of horsepower and torque is one of the main reasons this car is so loved. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 303 horsepower with 268 pound-feet of torque. The real power comes from a selection of V8 HEMI engines.
There's a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that makes 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. A 392 HEMI is available with 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. A 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI cranks out a massive 717 horsepower with 656 pound-feet of torque. A higher-output version of this engine is capable of 797 horses and 707 pound-feet of torque for the Hellcat Redeye model.
Performance-part upgrades for specific trim levels increase the horsepower output of these engines even further. The aforementioned SRT Super Stock model cranks out a monstrous 807 horsepower.
2. The Steering and Handling
The 2021 Dodge Challenger offers the kind of tight, accurate steering one would expect from a high-powered sports car. The Challenger does a fantastic job of gripping the road while cornering. This is even better when the Challenger is equipped with the available all-wheel drive. Braking power is strong and smooth, which is necessary in a car with this much power and torque. The Challenger is simply a blast to drive whether you're on winding roads or a racetrack.
3. A Muscle Car With All-Wheel Drive
The 2021 Dodge Challenger is one of the only muscle cars around to offer all-wheel drive. This means improved steering and handling. It also means excellent acceleration from a dead stop. All-wheel drive even improves the overall safety of a vehicle. Better traction over slick or wet pavement makes for a safer driving experience.
4. The Retro Exterior Design
The exterior design of the 2021 Dodge Challenger is based on the iconic Challengers and Chargers of the 60s and 70s. The new Challenger immediately evokes images and thoughts of classic muscle cars from yesteryear. The design of the modern Challenger since its return to form in 2008 helped to reignite the interest in muscle cars. Many competitors are trying to do the same thing with the exterior design of their sports cars, but the Dodge Challenger started the trend. This is a sleek and aggressive car that is sure to turn heads.
5. The Ride Quality
The ride quality is far above average inside of the latest Dodge Challenger. This is especially true when the Challenger is compared with other high-powered sports cars in its class. The suspension system is fantastic, providing a smooth, bump-free ride. Being a performance car, the Challenger handles sharp turns quite well with very little body roll. The smooth ride is more akin to a luxury sedan than a sports coupe.
6. A Spacious and Comfortable Interior
The Dodge Challenger is far more spacious on the inside than its rivals from Ford and Chevrolet. Muscle cars have a reputation for small backseats, but the Challenger's is more than just adequate. Backseat passengers will have plenty of leg and elbow room. The seats up front have plenty of cushioning and support. Heating and ventilation for the seats up front is available too.
7. Infotainment and Connectivity
The latest Dodge Challenger has a fantastic infotainment system. It comes equipped with the Dodge Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen. There's an integrated infotainment system. Bluetooth technology is available for easy streaming of your favorite music. Hands-free calling and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot are available as well.
There are two premium audio setups to choose from. Dodge offers an Alpine system with nine speakers. This system also has a subwoofer and an amplifier with 506-watts of power. There's also a premium system from Harman Kardon. This setup gives you 900-watts of power, two subwoofers and 18 speakers for amazing sound quality.
8. The Huge Trunk
Sports coupes and muscle cars are seldom known to have much cargo space. The 2021 Dodge Challenger, however, has one of the largest trunks in its class. It gives you a full 16 cubic-feet of storage space. While it's hard to argue that a muscle car is practical, the large trunk certainly adds to the utility of this vehicle.
9. Surprisingly Good Fuel Economy for Its Class
In spite of the massive V8 engines, the Challenger offers surprisingly good fuel economy. The best fuel-efficiency numbers come from the base-level V6 engine. This power plant should see around 19 miles-per-gallon while in the city and 30 miles-per-gallon during highway driving. Even the 6.4-liter V8 HEMI models have good fuel economy when compared to other vehicles in this class.
10. Safety Features and Driver-Assist Technology
Dodge has made sure that the Challenger will be a safe vehicle with plenty of safety features and driver-assist technology. There's a Forward-Collision Warning that works at full speed. A Rear-View Backup Camera allows the driver a better view of what's behind them. Blind-Spot Monitoring further enhances the driver's awareness.
The Challenger was designed to be safe from the frame up. The frame is made of strong steel, engineered to stand up to collisions. There are crumple zones to divert crash energy away from the driver and passengers. Dodge also uses advanced multi-stage airbags throughout the interior. These add yet another level of protection for the driver and all passengers.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Dodge Challenger – The Cons
1. The Manual Shifter Needs Improvement
The 2021 Dodge Challenger is available with an automatic transmission and a manual transmission system. Unfortunately, the manual shifter isn't quite as precise as it could be. It's far from bad, but it does lag behind the performance of other muscle cars in this class.
2. The Rear Visibility
The rear visibility is downright terrible in the 2021 Dodge Challenger. The interior shape and small rear window combine for a very poor view. There's no way to sugar coat it, the rear visibility is a problem. This is only somewhat mitigated while backing up slowly due to the Rear-View Backup Camera.
3. It's Still Too Heavy
One of the biggest complaints for the new Dodge Challengers has been the heavy weight of the vehicle. It's been this way since the newer models debuted in 2008. The Challenger is much heavier than the Chevrolet Camaro or the Ford Mustang. The weight negates some of the horsepower, though at 700 horses and higher, it starts to matter a lot less.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Dodge Challenger vs 2021 Ford Mustang
The rivalry between these two iconic pony cars has been ongoing for decades. The Mustang is one of the few cars still produced by Ford as the automaker giant is now focusing mostly on its trucks and SUVs. Both vehicles have tons of power and torque, but the Dodge Challenger offers more, and it's not even close. The Mustang, however, has slightly better steering dynamics.
The Challenger offers a much larger rear-seat area. There's more space for cargo in the Challenger's trunk too. The Challenger has available all-wheel drive while the Ford Mustang does not. The Mustang does offer a convertible model, though, while the Challenger is only available as a two-door coupe.
Both vehicles have comparable comfort and convenience features. They both have sleek, well-designed interiors. The safety features are very comparable as well. Which exterior design is better will be entirely subjective depending on the buyer's personal tastes. The Dodge Challenger wins out here with the more thrilling driving experience, which is really the whole point of owning one of these cars.
2021 Dodge Challenger vs 2021 Chevrolet Camaro
Another strong competitor to the Dodge Challenger is Chevrolet's 2021 Camaro. Like the Challenger and Mustang, the Camaro has an exterior style that takes cues from muscle cars of the past. It comes in at a lower base price than the Challenger, but not by too much. The Camaro base engine is weaker than the Challenger's V6. The most powerful model of the Challenger has way more horsepower than what any version of the Camaro offers.
The Camaro has better handling, but the Challenger offers better traction with the available all-wheel drive. The convenience features are similar for both cars. The interior for the Dodge is a little nicer. The ride quality is smoother in the Dodge as well. Both vehicles have very similar safety features and driver-assist technology.
Once again, the Dodge Challenger has a bigger trunk for more cargo space. There's more room for the passengers in the Challenger too. Fuel efficiency is so close as to be negligible when comparing these two cars. Dodge wins again here with more horsepower, more thrills and a more comfortable ride.
The 2021 Dodge Challenger is a wonderful blend of classic and modern. It offers the best of what made classic muscle cars so appealing in the first place. You get more horsepower and torque than anyone would ever really need, unless you plan on taking the Challenger to the track. And this is one car that can certainly excel on a racetrack. It's a thrill to drive, but it also provides plenty of comfort and modern amenities.
• Why buy a 2020 Dodge Challenger? w/ pros vs cons