5.04.2015

How Do You Spell "Bwahahahaha"?: The 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T

Front view of 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T
The 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T.
One second before starting the engine of the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T, I thought what I'd always thought about the Challenger: Namely that it was a big, dumb, brutish appliance for men in their 60s who missed out on having a muscle car back in the day. An over-the-counter supplement that could be bundled with Centrum Silver, Viagra, Minoxidil, Super Beta Prostate and Osteo Bi-Flex.

Then I started the engine.




Rear 3/4 view of 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T
2015 Dodge Challenger R/T. 

Hmm....I like the sound from the engine rumbling through those exhaust pipes back there. Impressive.

Then I put it in drive.

Surprisingly civilized.  Not threatening to deprive me of my license simply driving down the street from my house.

Then I turned onto the major boulevard nearest home.  Posted for 45, cars routinely come flying by at 55, 60 or more.  Turning onto it requires determination and a firm right foot.

So I stepped down on the accelerator.

I haven't stopped smiling since.

The 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T we tested is one step up from but significantly stronger than the Challenger SXT Plus our Publisher and Executive Editor tested in California the same week.  A lot of the creature comforts in the SXT Plus Michael drove are absent from the R/T: Heated and ventilated leather front seats, a heated steering wheel and the ability to upgrade to an optional 9-speaker, 506-watt audio system all vanish.

The objective?  To keep the cost down so that for only $1,500 more than the $29,995 base price of the SXT Plus, the R/T is able to replace the 3.6-liter, 300 horsepower V6 with a 5.7-liter, 372 horsepower Hemi V8. Zero to 60 falls to 5 seconds from 6.  Fuel economy drops as well, from an EPA estimated 19 city/30 highway to 16 city/25 highway.  That's not much of a penalty, considering the significant leap in power.

Interior view of 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T
2015 Dodge Challenger R/T interior.
The base price of $31,495 also includes 20-inch polished satin carbon aluminum wheels, Firestone Firehawk GTV all-season performance tires, a sport brake package with single-piston front and rear calipers, an independent SLA front suspension with a high upper "A" arm, monotube shock absorbers and a stabilizer bar, as well as lateral and diagonal lower links with dual ball joint knuckles.  At the rear, a five-link independent suspension with coil springs, gas-charged monotube shock absorbers, stabilizer bar and isolated suspension cradle. There are also projector fog lamps, a rear decklid spoiler and dual exhaust with bright tips.

Our test vehicle had only two options:  An eight-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission (which no doubt minimized the fuel economy difference) for $1,400 and SiriusXM Satellite Radio for $195.  With $995 destination charges, the as-tested price came to $34,085...which was $90 less than the as-tested price for the SXT Plus Michael reviewed.  Rank may have its privileges, but I absolutely got the better deal. The 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T is a serious performance vehicle that anyone who loves driving can enjoy. Despite my prejudices going in, I love it as much as any teenage boy would.


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