Sporty/performance car; Built in Canada
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $12,100 – $39,700*


2009 Dodge Challenger Front


2008 Dodge Challenger Rear


2008 Dodge Challenger Interior


2008 Dodge Challenger Exterior

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V8)
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Steering/handling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy (V8)
  • Instruments readability
  • Rear-seat entry/exit

Challenger may not be an ideal choice for those looking to save on gas, at least in V8 form. That said, Dodge’s fun-to-drive, retro-themed muscle machine comes off as more practical and markedly less expensive than Chevrolet’s Corvette.

Overview

Dodge launched the 2008 Challenger as a revival of a classic Chrysler Corporation name. Retro-styled to mimic the original model, which was marketed in 1970-74, the Challenger aimed to compete with Ford’s Mustang and the soon-to-be-reborn Chevrolet Camaro. Fans of the Chevrolet Corvette and Nissan 370Z also might take an interest, but Mustang and Camaro were the prime targets for Dodge.

Initially, this rear-wheel-drive sporty/performance midsize coupe was available only in SRT8 trim, which featured a 425-horsepower 6.1-liter Hemi V8 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift gate. Seating five, the midsize coupe had safety features that included antilock braking, traction control, an antiskid system, curtain side airbags, and front side airbags.

Each 2008 Challenger contained a limited-edition, numbered dashboard plaque, as well as faux carbon-fiber hood stripes. Only three body colors were offered, including Hemi Orange. Available features included a navigation system, “Keyless Go” entry, “MyGig” infotainment, and uconnect hands-free communication. It was announced that additional models and powertrains were planned for the 2009 model year.

Yearly Updates

2009 Challenger
New Challenger models joined the original SRT8. The new entry-level SE coupe held a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. A 372-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8, working with a five-speed automatic, went into the new mid-level R/T model. A six-speed manual gearbox was available with the 5.7 V8, in which case the engine produced 376 horsepower. In automatic-transmission R/Ts, the engine featured Chrysler’s Multi-Displacement System, which deactivated cylinders under light-load conditions. Antilock braking, traction control, and an antiskid system were standard on the R/T and SRT8 models. A new six-speed manual gearbox became available for the super-performance SRT8 coupe, which retained the 425-horsepower 6.1-liter Hemi V8. Offered as an extra-cost option, the manual gearbox included a hill-holder clutch that held the brake for three seconds, to assist the driver when starting off on an incline. Keyless engine start was available. So was Chrysler’s uconnect multimedia suite, which could include a wireless cell-phone link, 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital music and picture files, and a navigation system.
2010 Challenger
The 2010 Dodge Challenger was available as a new, limited edition “Plum Crazy” model. The rest of this retro-styled sporty-car lineup saw no major changes otherwise.
2011 Challenger
The 2011 Dodge Challenger received a pair of new engines. SE models got a new 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, which replaced a 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. This engine can run on gasoline or E85 ethanol-blended fuel. SRT8 392 versions got a new 470-horsepower 6.4-liter V8, which replaced a 425-horsepower 6.1-liter V8.
2012 Challenger
The only change of note to the 2012 Dodge Challenger was that steering-wheel paddle shifters were now available.
2013 Challenger
For 2013, Challenger carried on with a few minor changes. Top-line versions got a launch-control system, which was designed to provide faster times when doing performance runs from a dead stop.
2014 Challenger
For 2014, Challenger offered some new option packages, but was otherwise unchanged.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Early versions of the Challenger SE had a 3.5-liter V6 engine mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. For 2011, SEs got a 3.6-liter V6 with five-speed automatic. All R/T coupes hold a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. With manual shift, the R/T engine developed 376 horsepower; with automatic, 372 horsepower. Topping the performance lineup is the SRT8. Early versions had a 6.1-liter V8 delivering 425 hp. For 2011, that engine grew to 6.4 liters and 470 hp. SRT8s came with a five-speed automatic transmission or (introduced for 2009) a six-speed manual gearbox.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.5/215
Engine HP 250
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 250
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/25

19.4

dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/220
Engine HP 305
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 268
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

18/27

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/345
Engine HP 372
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 401
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

16/23

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.7/345
Engine HP 376
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 410
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual

15/23

16.5

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.1/370
Engine HP 425
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 420
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
14/22
13/19
16.8
15.8
ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.4/392
Engine HP 470
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 470
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
14/23
14/22

Road Test

We had no opportunity to test an SE with the new-for-2011 3.6-liter V6, or the equally new SRT8 392. Otherwise, acceleration potential grows, as expected, with engine size. An SE with the 3.5 V6 moves well from a stop, though it quickly runs out of steam as engine speed rises. Though smooth, its four-speed automatic transmission is reluctant to downshift for more power when needed. An R/T with the manual transmission is quite potent, though it doesn’t feel quite as fast as its 376-horsepower rating would suggest. The manual gearbox has positive, mechanical shift action and a smooth clutch. Enormous thrust is available from any speed, at any time, with the SRT8. Dodge claimed that a Challenger SRT8 could accelerate to 60 mph in around 5 seconds, which feels reasonable to us. Though not subtle, its responsive automatic transmission shifts without harshness.

Fuel economy suffers with V8 models. A manual-transmission R/T coupe averaged 16.5 mpg with slightly more city driving than highway use. Test automatic-transmission SRT8s averaged 15.8 to 16.8 mpg. Chrysler recommends mid-grade 89-octane gasoline for the SE and automatic-transmission R/T. Premium-grade fuel is recommended for the manual-transmission R/T and required for the SRT8.

Challenger’s ride is surprisingly supple, especially given this car’s performance mission. Bump absorption is quite good across the lineup, with the SE being the most composed. An SRT8 suffers more side-to-side motions than the SE or R/T, but only major impacts can be described as harsh.

Though not as agile as a Mustang, Challenger handles well given its sheer size and heft. Accurate steering is marred by excessive power assist. Body lean in fast turns is well controlled. Brakes provide sure-footed stopping control.

Quietness is a virtue, except for engine sounds. The SE is surprisingly refined, its engine developing a slightly throaty growl under hard acceleration, becoming nearly silent when cruising. R/T and SRT8 models produce sound levels in keeping with their high-performance character. Engine, exhaust, and road noise are omnipresent in those models, even in relaxed highway cruising.

Major gauges are deeply recessed into the dashboard and dimly backlit, making them hard to read at times. The Chrysler-standard control layout places most systems within easy reach.

The navigation system absorbs most audio functions, but with generally good results.

Challenger’s cabin houses plenty of plastic, but everything is nicely assembled. R/T and SRT8 models are available with chrome, faux carbon fiber, and other accents that help dress up the interior a bit. Overall ambiance scores well ahead of the Mustang.

Front seats offer ample space, even for larger and taller drivers. The aggressively bolstered seats provide long-trip comfort. Large doors are a pain in close parking situations, but offer easy entry and exit. Challenger’s roof design severely limits visibility to the rear corners.

Rear-seat accommodations are quite good for a sporty car. Smaller adults may tolerate short trips, while kids will fit fine. Entry and exit are as awkward as expected.

For a sports coupe, Challenger has impressive trunk space. Compromised by high liftover, the usefully deep trunk offers more room than many midsize sedans.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Challenger SE

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 6
60%

Total: 52

Specifications

2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
116.0 197.7 75.7 57.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
16.2 19.0 5.0
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 37.4 42.0 32.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2009 Challenger 2-door coupe

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Odometer
Description: The “B” trip odometer may not reset when pushed requiring reflashing the software. (2009)
Oil leak
Description: The oil filter housing could leak oil. (2008)
Audio system
Description: Disconnecting or reconnecting the battery without first removing the radio fuse can damage the MyGig radio due to voltage spikes. (2008-09)
Suspension problems
Description: The ESP (electronic suspension program) light my blink on possibly accompanied by a howling noise requiring reflashing the ESP program software. (2009)
Timing belt
Description: Timing chain could break resulting in severe engine damage. (2009-12)
Check-engine light
Description: Intermittent check engine light due to problem with crankshaft position sensor on 3.5L engine which must be shimmed. (2009)

Recall History

2008-09 Challenger with automatic transmission and Keyless Go
Description: If stop/start button is pressed and held, and engine turns off, electronic key code is removed from vehicle; if transmission is not in “Park,” this could result in accidental rollaway or increased likelihood of theft.
2008-10 Challenger
Description: The driver-side airbag’s inflator could rupture during deployment and metal fragments could strike the driver or passengers.
2009 Challenger
Description: The tire pressure monitor sensors may not transmit the actual tire pressure. This could result in the driver not being aware of low tire pressure. Dealers will replace the TPM sensors.
2009-10 Challenger
Description: Some cars were built without a front-wheel spindle nut. The wheel could separate from the car.
2010 Challenger
Description: These vehicles may have been built with a wireless ignition node (WIN) module exhibiting a binding condition of the solenoid latch. The result of the defect could lead to a condition where the key may be removed from the ignition switch (WIN module) prior to placing the shifter in park. This could result in the potential for unintended vehicle movement and could increase the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect and replace the WIN module free of charge.
2010 Challenger (LC)
Description: Some of these vehicles may experience a separation at the crimped end of the power steering pressure hose assembly. Leaked power steering fluid onto hot engine components could cause a fire. Dealers will inspect and replace as necessary the power steering pressure hoses free of charge.
2011-14 Challenger with 3.6-liter engine
Description: Alternator may fail causing the engine to stall.
2011-2012 Challenger
Description: Improperly sized terminal crimps on the seat side-airbag wiring harness may cause a malfunction and illuminate the airbag warning light. Airbag may not operate as intended during a crash.
2013 Challenger with 3.6-liter engine
Description: Wiring to the starter motor could short circuit and cause a fire.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.