The Dodge Challenger was as good as Elvis Presley yet it remains as fresh as Justin Bieber ! It has produced models like the 707 hp Hellcat and it goes as far back as the old-school E-body Challengers. Just like the good old sun, the Dodge Challenger has seen it all, the good days and the bad days. This American muscle car has endured years of poor sales and periods of hibernation. It has weathered the storm and it is now enjoying incredible success. It is perhaps the car with the best blend of modern and retro styling.
What did the first generation offer?
The first generation of the Dodge Challenger came between 1970 and 1974. It was meant to be the answer to the Ford Mustang, but this plan was a bigger miss than Hillary’s presidential bid. Why? Well, because it came into the pony show six years late. Instead, it became a competitor of the Pontiac Firebird and Mercury Cougar while its close relative, the Plymouth Barracuda, faced off with the Chevrolet Camaro and Mustang.
Dodge maintained its relevance by using body-paint colors such as HEMI Orange and Plum Crazy. This car had nine different engine options. The vehicle received minor styling upgrades like two different rear tail lamps to replace the original one. During its first generation, the Challenger was refreshed severally, it kept its size and shape, but it came with lighting treatments and a different grille. Despite all these upgrades, the automaker decided to cease manufacturing it in 1974. By this time the Challenger had sold 189,000 units.
How did the second generation perform?
The second generation lasted between 1978 and 1984. A 2-door coupe Challenger came back in 1978. It looked nothing like its predecessor; it had different design cues and styling. It was basically a Mitsubishi Galant Lambda with a different badge. The exterior design had a boxy sculpting, less-muscular road presence and 4 square headlamps. This car was not very popular because the design was two years old. Many people did not think it had maintained its Pony car status.
The second-gen Challenger came with a standard a 77 hp, 1.6L 4-cylinder engine and an optional 105 hp 2.6L 4-cylinder engine. The sales of this generation were dismal, selling approximately 12,000 to 14,000 cars annually. This generation had performed worse than the German national team did in this year’s world cup, despite being defending world champions. In 1978, the automaker decided to retire the Challenger nameplate.
How good was the third generation?
In 2006, Chrysler left everyone asking for a Dodge Challenger production model after they launched the concept at the North American International Auto Show. It was in 2008 that we were first introduced to the production model. This generation became an instant hit with consumers because it looked similar to the first Challenger thanks to its retro styling. It looked like the first generation model; the hood was indented with a rectangular grille, and it had double headlights. Apart from this, its fog lights and the lower grille were placed on the same spot. However, it was taller and longer.
In 2012, the manufacturers refreshed this vehicle to give it a ‘sad’ look; they did this by flipping the lower grille upside down. Another exterior change was made in 2015. This was perhaps the smartest redesign we have ever seen. This time, the new tweaks were borrowed from the upgraded 1971 pony car. It came with a ‘smile’ after they inverted back the lower grille; however, the Challenger still maintained its aggressive stance. The 2015 model also had a split grille and two distinct tail lights.
What does the 2018 model year offer?
In 2018, the Challenger comes with a new trim called Demon which offers a whopping 840 hp! It can accommodate four adults in its roomy cabin. Compared to other muscle cars, the Challenger offers a very comfortable ride. It now boats of standard Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and a rearview camera.
What do we think about the Challenger?
Dodge has managed to maintain its heritage by borrowing from its past while still remaining fresh with its modern features and upgrades. The Challenger can be “pimped” with tech and comfort features although it mainly focuses on performance.