Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
In the world of muscle cars, the 2019 Dodge Challenger is an exceptional, competent machine. Built on the same platform as the Dodge Charger, the Challenger is larger than the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro, meaning it has a usable rear seat and trunk. It also offers superior power, with the top-line Redeye trim producing 797 horsepower.
You'll Like The 2019 Dodge Challenger If...
In the 2019 Dodge Challenger, you can have all the performance, power and good looks of a traditional muscle car with the interior room and comfort of a large sedan. Unlike the Mustang and Camaro, the Challenger offers the option of all-wheel drive, while the new Redeye handily takes first place in the horsepower wars.
You May Not Like The 2019 Dodge Challenger If...
If you’re looking for a small, light and nimble coupe, the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro and even the Nissan 370Z make better choices. All three offer the option of a convertible, something missing from the Challenger lineup.
For 2019, the Dodge Challenger gets a new trim, the 797-horsepower Hellcat Redeye. The standard Hellcat’s horsepower rises to 717, and numerous trim and option upgrades are shuffled throughout the Challenger’s simplified lineup. All R/T Scat Pack models gain the power-bulge aluminum hood from the Hellcat, while the R/T version now comes in Widebody form.
You’d never know that the Challenger was capable of shenanigans from its pleasant and comfortable interior. The touch screen in the center is an old friend, enhanced this year with Uconnect 8.4, which brings Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s a retro feel that still looks modern, and we like the big driver-info center between the main gauges. No doubt, the thick rear pillars take some getting used to, but blind-spot warning and a rearview camera make the Challenger easy to drive. The rear seat can actually fit three across, unusual for this class, and the trunk is enormous, albeit with a high liftover.
The Challenger’s classic long-hood/short-deck proportions and wide stance grumble “performance” in every single model, and with their flared fenders and other details, the Widebody Hellcat and R/T models shout it outright. Details like hood scoops, badging and optional stripes throw in a retro feel. It just looks cool, successfully fighting the urge to be overly old-fashioned, and remains sleek and modern with a timeless appeal and the masculine swagger of an MMA champion. And if that swagger isn’t enough you can also get some of the bright colors with the fun names from back in the day, like IndiGO Blue, White Knuckle and Plum Crazy.
Given the wide range of Challenger models and equipment, the driving experience for each is unlike the other. The SXT’s 305-horsepower V6 has plenty of power for the novice, and even offers the option of all-wheel drive. The same setup can be found in the GT, only with more features and suspension upgrades. The R/T offers the legendary 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine with 372 horsepower, while the R/T Scat Pack’s 392 V8 delivers an impressive 485 horses. The SRT Hellcat’s 717-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 is trumped only by the new-for-2019 Hellcat Redeye that delivers up an astounding 797 horsepower for a zero-to-60-mph run of just 3.4 seconds, a 10.8-second quarter-mile time and a top speed of 203 mph. The Widebody models come with wider wheels and tires for better grip, and Dodge offers a dizzying array of colors, add-ons and features to make the 2019 Challenger one of the most customizable performance cars money can buy.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price on a base-model, RWD Dodge Challenger SXT starts at about the $28,690, including the $1,395 destination charge, a lot of car for the money. Add $3,000 for all-wheel drive. The GT starts just under $31,400. The nicely equipped R/T with the 5.7-liter V8 starts at about $35,500, while the R/T Scat Pack and its 6.4-liter V8 starts at about $41,400 including the $1,000 gas-guzzler tax. Looked at one way, the $61,745 price of the 717-horsepower SRT Hellcat (down $5,000 over last year’s model) isn’t cheap, but on the other hand, it’s a heck of a bargain for that much power. The SRT Hellcat Redeye lists for about $73,000, but dealers aren’t exactly beholden to that. Check the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to see what others in your area paid, and note that the Challenger bucks the trend of low resale value on Dodges, holding its own against the Mustang and Camaro.OK, so what’s next?I’m interested in the newest version of this car. What’s for sale near me?I’m interested in this car, and I’d like to trade in my current car while I’m at it.Then again, maybe I should be thinking about a used car.
The 2019 Dodge Challenger SXT comes with the V6 engine, a Uconnect infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touch screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary inputs, 2-zone automatic climate control, remote start and a host of additional convenience features. There are eight different Challenger models, each with its own list of "standard" equipment, but generally the higher up you go, the more stuff you get. Hound’s-tooth cloth seats are standard on all models, while an 8-speed automatic transmission is standard on V6 models and optional on V8 models.
The Challenger SXT and GT add all-wheel drive to V6 models, while the Challenger R/T gets the 5.7-liter V8. We recommend the Performance Handling Package for 5.7-liter models to upgrade the suspension and brakes. Challenger R/T Scat Pack 392 comes with the bigger V8 and generally nicer interior and equipment levels. The supercharged SRT Hellcat and Hellcat Widebody are basically loaded from the factory. Unlike the previous Demon, the SRT Hellcat Redeye comes with a back seat and can be upgraded with the same features as the Hellcat. We recommend the Uconnect 8.4 system, which enhances the infotainment with a bigger screen and navigation.
ALL-WHEEL DRIVEWe all know muscle cars are all about blistering straight-line performance, but the Challenger SXT and GT models with all-wheel drive take a different tack. This feature not only improves the Challenger’s cornering and handling, but also winter-weather driving ability, something no other muscle car offers.SRT HELLCAT REDEYEBorrowing much of last year’s Demon components, the SRT Hellcat Redeye delivers an impressive performance-to-dollar ratio, with an eye-popping 797-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 yet with a starting price under $75,000.
Under the Hood
In the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) SXT and GT, a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 is the standard engine, with all-wheel drive (AWD) offered as an option on both trims. Moving to the R/T brings the first in a series of Hemi V8s, in this case a 375-horsepower 5.7-liter unit and a 6-speed manual transmission (the 8-speed automatic reduces horsepower to 372). The R/T Scat Pack is powered by a 6.4-liter Hemi V8, also known as the 392, rated at 485 horsepower with either the manual or 8-speed automatic. The SRT Hellcat adds a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 717 horsepower, which would make it the king of the hill if it weren’t for the 797-horsepower SRT Hellcat Redeye. All V8-powered Challengers except the Redeye can be ordered with a 6-speed manual transmission, but the 8-speed automatic doesn’t shortchange performance. Obviously, none of these cars are fuel-economy kings, although the V6 models aren’t bad. 3.6-liter V6 (SXT, GT)305 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm268 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/30 mpg (RWD), 18/27 mpg (AWD) 5.7-liter Hemi V8372 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: 16/25 mpg (automatic), 15/23 mpg (manual) 6.4-liter Hemi V8485 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm475 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/24 mpg (automatic), 14/23 mpg (manual)6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 (SRT Hellcat)717 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm656 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/22 mpg (automatic), 13/21 mpg (manual) 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 (SRT Hellcat Redeye)797 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm (91 octane)707 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm (91 octane)EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/22 mpg
In the world of muscle cars, the 2019 Dodge Challenger is an exceptional, competent machine. Built on the same platform as the Dodge Charger, the Challenger is larger than the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro, meaning it has a usable rear seat and trunk. In the areas of performance, the Challenger runs the gamut, starting with the 305-horsepower SXT and GT, all the way up to the fire-breathing 797-horsepower SRT Hellcat Redeye. Of course, most buyers will be more than happy with the R/T trims that offer impressive power, a surprisingly comfortable ride and a level of technology, features and 5-star crash rating the original Challenger could only dream of offering.