The 2018 Dodge Challenger is the muscle-car that can do it all. From the entry-level model with its 305-horsepower V6 and available all-wheel drive, to increasingly hairy chested V8 models ranging all the way to the supercharged SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon, this 5-passenger 2-door blends classic muscle car cues and performance with all the modern technology you could want. Its interior offers comfortable seating, high-tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a surprisingly quiet and refined ride. It even boasts 5-star crash-test ratings from the Department of Transportation. But lest you think this car is too practical, make no mistake: There’s no Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro that can match the Hellcat’s 707 horsepower, much less the drag-race-ready Demon’s 840 horses. This is as serious as muscle gets.
The big news is the 2018 Dodge SRT Demon, a Challenger-based drag-race special with a supercharged V8 engine putting out a whopping 840 horsepower on 100-octane fuel. Other news includes the Hellcat Widebody, which includes wider tires for better handling, and various changes to trim and color, including the return of Plum Crazy.
From the base Challenger SXT to the ridiculous SRT Demon, all Challengers are satisfying to drive, albeit in different ways. The base car’s 305-horsepower V6 provides plenty of day-to-day power, and you can even get the all-weather security of all-wheel drive — unique to the class — in the GT. Models powered by either the 5.7-liter or 6.4-liter V8 lean more toward performance. That latter engine used to be the top line, and its 485 horsepower moves the Challenger with extreme gusto. These days, the SRT Hellcat and SRT Demon occupy the top spot, with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8. The Hellcat is now available in a Widebody model that adds bigger wheels and tires for better handling, while the Demon is designed for trips to the drag strip. Yet the Challenger — even the Hellcat — is no challenge as a daily driver thanks to its comfortable suspension and relatively quiet interior.
Muscle cars are all about burnouts and youthful exuberance, but the 2018 Dodge Challenger GT adds the responsibility of all-wheel drive (AWD) to the mix. The Challenger is the only muscle car to offer AWD, meaning it’ll be the first choice for skiers and buyers in snowy climates.
The 2018 Dodge SRT Demon is sold out, unfortunately, but we admire the car for its sheer ridiculousness, and its power. Able to put out 840 horsepower on race gasoline, the Demon is a pure drag-racer, complete with drag radials, a deleted rear and passenger seat, and race-ready driver assists built in.
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 backup camera make the Challenger easy to drive. The rear seat can actually fit three across, unusual for this class, and the trunk is actually 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 Hellcat Widebody and SRT Demon 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 and Plum Crazy.