Fittingly, the look of the Challenger can be made even bolder through lots of flamboyant paint scheme offerings you won’t find elsewhere. These include Plum Crazy, Go Mango and Indigo Blue (a sharp color that was on my test vehicle). The Challenger is meant to stand out, not blend in, with these color choices.
Inside, my test vehicle was also pretty high-class, including: Nappa Alcantara performance seats, a leather performance steering wheel, steering wheel mounted audio controls plus paddle shifters, dual-zone auto temperature control, a leather-wrapped shift knob and other amenities to make you feel comfortable.
Some downsides on the design are that the seat belts were hard to reach and not ideally placed, and the exterior design provides limited rear visibility for the driver. Also, no convertible option is offered, though you can add a power sunroof.
On the plus side, there are many trim levels and options, making it a very customizable vehicle, including some versions with a nice-looking dual-snorkel hood.
The Challenger I was testing had a 3.6-liter, V6 engine, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Numbers were 305 horsepower and 268 lb.-ft. of torque.
A V8 engine is available and offers 375 horsepower; and the Hellcat varieties of the Challenger offer either 717 or 797 horsepower (for a steep price upgrade, of course).
2018’s limited-edition SRT Demon option (with its 840 hp) does not return for 2019. Only a few thousand were made of that beast. But for 2019, the new 797-hp SRT Hellcat RedEye comes on board and isn’t a limited edition. This is the closest to a true dragster you can buy in the wild.
The Challenger comes with either RWD or AWD, and both manual and automatic transmissions are offered, which will make the “save the manuals” crowd happy.
This all adds up to the car being crazy fast and fun to drive, especially in Sport mode. And with all the engine options, you can decide what works best for you in terms of how much power you need. Even at the bottom of the ladder, it’s still tons of fun. Max speed tops 200 mph on the Hellcat RedEye. Most Challengers top out at 160 mph.
You feel like you’re in the 1970s driving one of these cars, and the Challenger is still an awesome throwback 10 years after its reintroduction, yet it’s also modernized with solid tech and safety features. You can even customize the way the car drives via the touchscreen.
You do get a bit of a bumpy ride, especially if you are the passenger, though no worse than its rivals. Also it’s big and heavy, so the handling isn’t exactly smooth.
The Challenger mainly competes against Ford’s Mustang and Chevy’s Camaro, and while it beats them both in terms of space and technology, it may be a bit behind them in terms of handling, comfort and overall maneuverability.
My test vehicle featured an excellent UConnect infotainment system that responded well to voice and touch commands and was well-designed. The UConnect 4 with 7-inch display is standard, but you can upgrade to a 8.4-inch screen.
Government safety ratings are very high (almost all five-star ratings), and this is rare to find on a vehicle that’s so fun to drive. Navigation worked very well as usual with the impressive UConnect system, which is one of the best in the industry in terms of infotainment.
You get a full complement of airbags (front, front side-mounted, rear side-mounted), ParkSense rear backup camera, performance brakes, electronic stability control, all-speed traction control, hill start assist and tire pressure monitoring display.
The Challenger is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible, features two USB ports and an AUX connection, as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
Audio fanatics can add a Harman Kardon audio system with subwoofer for $1,595, featuring 18 speakers, trunk-mounted subwoofer and surround sound. The sound fits well with the look of the vehicle.
The Driver Convenience group is $1,095 and features blind-spot and rear cross-path detection, HiD headlamps and power/fold away mirrors.
Official fuel mileage numbers on the Challenger are 18 city/27 highway/21 combined. That’s not best in class, but that’s not the metric that fans of muscle cars will be focused on. I actually averaged 17 mpg, but I wasn’t exactly being easy on the vehicle.
My test vehicle was priced just over $43,000, and base price on the 2019 Challenger GT starts about $33,000. You can get to nearly double that $43K amount if you go into Hellcat territory. Base SXT Challenger is close to $29K.
If you’re looking for a badass-looking muscle car and want to beat everyone at the red lights in your future, you can’t go wrong with the uniquely shaped and styled Dodge Challenger GT. It stands out from its key competitors in many ways, and offers many varieties to fit different budgets. Between its colors and its blast-from-the-past design, you’ll never be short of attention in this vehicle either.
Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.