Armed with a menacing body, powerful engine choices and macho attitude, the Dodge Challenger is another modern-day interpretation of a classic muscle car. The 2013 Challenger still trails the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro in the horsepower wars, but this large coupe offers more passenger room and everyday practicality.
You'll Like The 2013 Dodge Challenger If...
If you're a Mopar man who's all about the attitude, the 2013 Challenger will pull you in like a tractor beam. And for those who need their modern-day muscle car to have a rear seat that accommodates three passengers, this is it.
You May Not Like The 2013 Dodge Challenger If...
You won't be king of the hill with this car. Even with a 6.4-liter V8 engine packing 470 horsepower, the Challenger's power output is more than 100 less than a Camaro ZL1 and nearly 200 behind the Mustang Shelby GT500. And unlike those cars, the 2013 Challenger still isn't available as a convertible.
Available in a variety of trims including the newer Rallye Redline, the Challenger coupe carries over mostly unchanged for 2013. New exterior colors are available, and improvements have been made to the optional Garmin navigation system. SRT8 392 models have selectable suspension settings and standard launch control for maximizing acceleration.
The Dodge Challenger's cabin is functional and has some cool styling features, but overall this coupe's interior doesn't live up to the promises made by its flashy, retro-esque exterior. Still a product of the previous-generation Dodge Charger sedan, the Challenger's interior has not received the update of its 4-door sibling. Thus the hard plastics, dull colors and relatively loud interior remain for 2013. The front bucket seats are wide and firm, and help cradle bodies with their side bolstering and adjustable lumbar support. In the rear, two adults can actually fit, and three people can squeeze in a pinch. At over 16 cubic feet, the Challenger's trunk is bigger than those of some large sedans.
Today's Challenger certainly echoes traits from the car of the same name that was born in the 1970s, but park a 2013 model next to one from 40 years ago and the differences become very clear. First is the size. Longer and taller than the first-gen car, the 2013 Challenger coupe is the length of a full-size sedan. From every side, the Challenger presents its challenge to other cars on the road, though its aggressiveness is a bit more reserved than the more angular Camaro. Four menacing headlights appear as angry eyes up front, and the sides are defined by massive haunches above the rear wheels. In back are multiple tailpipes and trunk-spanning taillights.
The 2013 Challenger is no paper tiger. Even a base SXT comes with a 305-horsepower V6 that gives this rear-wheel-drive coupe plenty of gusto. Those wanting serious oomph will gravitate toward R/T versions, which feature a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine and performance upgrades to the steering and suspension. At the top of the lineup is the Challenger SRT8, which features an even bigger, 6.4-liter V8 engine that's good for 470 ponies. V8 versions will also be the only choice for buyers wanting to shift manually, as they come with a 6-speed gearbox. V6 models are available only with a 5-speed automatic, also offered as an option on V8 models for drivers who just want to floor it and go. The Challenger is great in a straight line, but lighter, more agile cars can beat it in corners. In everyday driving, the Challenger is pleasant, with a firm but not jarring ride.
The 2013 Dodge Challenger SXT has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $26,500. At that price, it's roughly $3,500 more than a base Ford Mustang and over $2,200 more than a base Chevrolet Camaro. At the top of the Challenger pack, an SRT8 392 version tops $45,000, a price that can also be reached with higher-end versions of the Mustang and Camaro. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see what others in your area are paying. As for resale, we expect the Challenger's residual value to hold up well, comparable to the Camaro and above the Ford Mustang.
The 2013 Dodge Challenger returns with several trim choices, from the base SXT to the loaded SRT8 392. Even a base SXT model comes standard with keyless entry, 18-inch all-season performance tires, automatic climate control, remote start, and 6-speaker AM/FM/CD player with auxiliary input and Chrysler's Uconnect hands-free communication system. Stepping up to a base R/T model brings the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine, upgraded sound system with Boston speakers, fog lights and rear spoiler. With the SRT model, you'll get the biggest engine available and a 1-day "Track Experience" where you can learn how to better control your car's performance.
Numerous upgrades are available for the 2013 Challenger individually or as part of a package, depending on trim level. Among the highlights are high-intensity headlights, sunroof, 18-speaker harman/kardon sound system, track suspension, navigation system, 20-inch wheels, and various appearance packages to make your car appear even bolder.
18-SPEAKER HARMAN/KARDON AUDIO SYSTEM
With 900 watts of audio blasting through 18 – yes, eighteen – speakers, this upgrade makes the Challenger sound better than many home-theater systems.
PASSENGER AND CARGO SPACE
The 2013 Challenger won't win the power wars, but when it comes to passenger space in front and back, it has the Camaro and Mustang beat. Here, two adults can fit in back without feeling like they're in purgatory. Also a bonus: a bigger trunk than its rivals.
Under the Hood
The 2013 Dodge Challenger offers a choice of three gasoline engines. Even the base powerplant, Chrysler's modern 3.6-liter V6, makes 305 horsepower and delivers plenty of performance for any reasonable use on the highway or a twisty mountain road. The value leader is the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. For the real power mongers, there is the 6.4-liter SRT8 V8. The base engine earns an EPA fuel economy rating of 27 mpg on the highway, but those mpg's wane as the cubic inches rise. The V6 and 5.7-liter V8 can run on regular unleaded; premium-grade fuel is recommended for the 6.4-liter V8.
305 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
268 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg
5.7-liter HEMI V8
372 horsepower @ 5,200 rpm (automatic)
375 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm (manual)
400 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm (automatic)
410 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm (manual)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/23 mpg (manual), 16/25 mpg (automatic)
6.4-liter HEMI V8
470 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
470 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/23 mpg
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. The Challenger's V6 and V8 engines can't match the power and fuel economy of those in the Camaro and Mustang, but what little track performance the car loses it makes up for in daily driving. Unlike those competitors, the larger Challenger can seat up to five people and has a less claustrophobic – albeit still plastic-clad – interior.