The Dodge Challenger SXT models bring all the muscle-car intimidation factor of their pricier peers, plus a heavy dose of American full-size, rear-wheel-drive coupe swagger.
The Challenger SXT is actually nimble and quick, despite its V-6 powerplant. The Pentastar engine is good for 305 horsepower and a 6.8-second sprint to 60 mph. With a base price of under $26,000, this lovable retro coupe is a desirable option for many shoppers.
The Challenger SXT lineup comes in three flavors: SXT, SXT Plus and SXT Rallye Redline. All three come standard with a respectable feature list that includes 18- or 20-inch black chrome wheels, a five-speed autobox and thumping audio options.
The future is bright for this big-boned rear-drive muscle car, with plans for a hardcore 2015 SRT Barracuda spin-off and even a possible Chrysler luxury soft-top cabrio for the next generation of downsized models spun off this platform.
The big girl herself looks set to keep the current package until 2015, with possible light tweak to the headlights and eight-speed auto likely the only changes to keep it competitive until well into 2017.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2014 Dodge Challenger V-6 SXT and SXT Plus, with info on the optional SXT Rallye Redline package’s amazing polished and painted inner wheels and the available Mopar T-handle gear level.
Arriving late to the retro styling party, the Dodge Challenger revives perhaps the least-known pony car nameplate and one from left field since the Hemi ‘Cuda occupies most people’s memory of the third late-1960s contender.
While the New Beetle had clear modern priorities and updates to its retro style folly, the Dodge team was much more accurate in creating a faithful recreation of the old beast, right down to the rolling shoulder and glass of the rear fenders. Itself a chopped sedan shell, the original Challenger’s proportions were possible with only a 4-inch cut to the larger Charger ’s wheelbase.
The retro styling is still delightful and a rare sight: the V-6 cars are just as good looking as the V-8-powered R/T and SRT8 trims when next to boring mainstream sedans of all types. The only thing missing is the V-8’s exhaust burble, but the SXT at least looks the part with a pair of squared chrome tips out back.
The Challenger badge also faithfully recreates the original, as does the riveted grille and sunken quad lamps. This Can-Am Supercars look is one shared by the Camaro and Mustang , but none to as menacing an effect as the Dodge. The lights are extremely dated at this point without the HID lamps from the pricier trims.
Out back, the conventional bulb taillights are a solid-bar design running the full width of the trunk, just as on the originals. This looks cool with the central Dodge script written over the clear reverse lights section. The unique lights will be tough to update with LEDs, but this core shape forms the template for the ‘racetrack’ ring of LED lights that look incredible on the Charger and the new Dodge Durango.
The wild retro looks include hood scoops and bulges visible from the cockpit over the long, long hood. The whole car is almost a perfect style throwback, right down to its aerodynamic performance, unfortunately.
The tasty SXT Rallye Redline package brings a cD of 0.37, far too high versus the 0.25 of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. A bad drag coefficient score hurts a car’s top speed, mpg and interior refinement.
2014 Dodge Challenger SXT – Exterior Dimensions:
|Track - Front (in.)||63|
|Track - Rear (in.)||63.1|
2014 Dodge Challenger SXT – Standard Exterior Features:
- 18-Inch x 7.5-Inch Aluminum Wheels
- Halogen Headlamps
- Power Mirrors with Manual Fold-Away
- Dual Bright Exhaust Tips
- Body-Color Door Handles
- Satin Chrome Grille
- Body-Color Fascias
- Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers
- Front and Rear Solar Control Glass
- Bright Fuel Filler Door
- 20-Inch x 8.0-Inch Black Chrome Clad Alum Wheels (SXT Rallye Redline only)
The interior of the Challenger is quite the unique and sinister place to be, with a high cowl and gun-slit side glass that rolls down just in the front. The car is quite wide with a restricted view from many angles, but such is the price of style.
The Camaro is perhaps worse on the stoplight visibility scale. (Leaning your head down to see if a light has turned green, to get a view that is otherwise blocked by the low windshield header.)
The big options for the Challenger’s cabin are four levels of stereo upgrades and at least $600 to get the cheapest touchscreen, HDD-based navigation unit. The second upgrade is a six-speaker, 276-watt stereo from Boston Acoustics that comes standard with the Rallye Redline package.
One click above that is the Uconnect 730 HDD navigation with 400-plus watts through the BA speakers and a subwoofer. The top option is $2,000, which includes an 18-speaker, multi-subwoofer system from Harman Kardon. The top radios lose the trunk’s mini spare, replacing it with the dreaded tire repair kit.
The overall steering wheel, gauges and dashboard design is almost cookie-cutter generic in its shapes and materials, having missed the latest NVH clinic for the bulk of the Chrysler and Dodge lineup over the last few years. The optional Mopar T-bar handle in a polished finish is one bright spot in the dull cockpit, and this comes with the very-affordable Mopar Interior Group for just $945.
The Mopar kit also brings custom sills, floor mats, bright pedals and a custom car cover.
In back, despite the Challengers imposing overall length and width, room is very, very tight on legs and heads. Sitting sideways across the width of the seat is the most likely position, but not a safe or comfortable one for any length of time.
Lastly, the Rallye Redline package brings a tasty choice of leather seat colors, with the lipstick red shown in these photos a no-cost addition. A matching Mopar wheel accessory completes the interior drama camp, but still feels less special than the Mustang and Camaro .
2014 Dodge Challenger SXT – Interior Dimensions:
|Front Seating Capacity||2|
|Rear Seating Capacity||3|
|Headroom - Front (in.)||39.2|
|Headroom - Rear (in.)||37.4|
|Legroom - Front (in.)||42|
|Legroom - Rear (in.)||32.6|
|Shoulder Room - Front (in.)||58.2|
|Shoulder Room - Rear (in.)||53.9|
|Hip Room - Front (in.)||54.6|
|Hip Room - Rear (in.)||48.6|
|EPA Cargo Volume (cubic-feet)||16.2|
2014 Dodge Challenger SXT – Standard Interior Features:
- Multimedia Uconnect 130 CD/MP3, 6 Speakers, Steering Wheel Mounted Audio Controls, Audio Jack Input for Mobile Devices
- Power Trunk Lid Release
- Power Windows with Front One-Touch-Down Feature
- Speed Sensitive Power Locks
- Cloth Low-Back Bucket Seats, Power 6-Way Driver Seat, Power 4-Way Driver Lumbar Adjust
- Active Front Head Restraints
- Rear 60 / 40 Folding Seat; Rear Armrest with Cup Holder Seat
- Keyless Entry; Keyless Go - Remote Proximity Keyless Entry, Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System
- Air Conditioning with Automatic Temperature Control
- Leather-Wrapped Wheel and Shift Knob
- Illuminated Cup Holders, LED Illuminated Interior Door Handles
- Electronic Vehicle Information Center, Traveler / Mini Trip Computer
- Tilt / Telescoping Steering Column
2014 Dodge Challenger SXT – Optional Interior Features:
- Uconnect 130 CD/MP3: 6 Boston Acoustics Speakers with 276-Watt Amplifier, Voice Command with Bluetooth Voice Calls, Bluetooth Streaming Audio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio w/ 1-Yr Radio Subscription
- Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror w/ Microphone
- Audio Jack Input for Mobile Devices, Remote USB Port, and Steering Wheel Mounted Audio Controls
- Leather-Trimmed Bucket Seats
- Heated Front Seats
- Uconnect 430 CD/DVD/MP3/HDD With Sound Group II: 40 GB Hard Drive with 28 GB Available, 368-Watt Amplifier, 6.5-Inch Touch Screen Display, 7 Boston Acoustics Speakers with Subwoofer ($1,295)
- Uconnect 430 SAT/CD/DVD/MP3/HDD/NAV ($595)
- Uconnect 730 SAT/CD/DVD/MP3/HDD/NAV ($790)
- Harman Kardon Premium Audio System ($1,995): 18 Premium Speakers including Subwoofers, Harman Kardon Logic7 GreenEdge Amplifier, Delete Spare Tire
- MOPAR Interior Appearance Group ($945): Bright Door Sill Guards, Bright Pedal Kit, Car Cover, Premium Floor Mats with Logo, T-Grip Shifter by Mopar
- Electronics Convenience Group ($750): Power Heated Mirrors with Manual Fold-Away, Remote Start System, Security Alarm, Temperature and Compass Gauge, Tire Pressure Monitoring Display, Universal Garage Door Opener
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The Challenger is huge. This we all know. Even with a V-8, it lags behind the top performance trims from Ford and Chevrolet . Does that make its cheaper and much-lighter V-6 sibling the runt of the pack? In terms of missing Hemi rumbles and burbles at all revs, yes, the cheapest Challengers seem incomplete as a red-blooded American coupe without those audible clues.
For all other purposes, the V-6 Challenger is actually the pick of the group with a light helm and suspension settings that are a far softer than the performance variants require. Paired with the standard wheel sizes, the pillowy ride is comforting and relaxed.
Get the big girl moving, though, and things improve even more. Losing 300 pounds from the hood improves the weight distribution to an impressive 52:48 front to rear ratio, and makes the Challenger easier to hustle with less brake strain and almost zero tail-out potential.
The lack of a dangerous spin on your mind can actually make the big Dodge easier to hurl around confidently, but with any big changes of direction comes some lurching body roll and heave.
At the track, the Challenger V-6 can post a 6.8-second 0-to-60 mph run before topping out at a lackluster 114 mph top speed. Thank those late-60s curves and the poor wind tunnel score for part of that problem.
The Challenger V-6 only weighs 3,800 pounds, which is actually fairly trim compared with the Cadillac ATS V-6 and certainly lighter than anything else with an 85-inch width from mirror to mirror.
Fewer pounds and the EPA’s 60-mph testing help give the auto-only Challenger V-6 a 17 mpg city and 28 mpg highway rating, but expect much worse than that at 85 mph cruising speeds.
2014 Dodge Challenger SXT – Mechanical Details:
|Engine Size and Type||3.6-liter 24-valve V-6 With Chain-Driven DOHC And VVT|
|Peak power (Horsepower)||305 @ 6300|
|Peak torque (Pound-feet)||268 @ 4800|
|0-to-60 mph||6.8 seconds|
|Top Speed (mph)||114|
|EPA Fuel Economy MPG (City/Combined/Highway)||18/NA/27|
The Challenger is quite safe, a final gift from its Mercedes-designed platform and crash structures. Six standard airbags are paired with active anti-whiplash headrests and a number of unique braking enhancements.
The Challenger has ABS, EBD and Brake assist (like all new cars for sale in the U.S. since 2012), but also brings in hill start assist to prevent any creep or rollback, rain brake assist to pre-dry the discs and ready brake assist that primes the brakes for full potential stopping power if a driver suddenly takes his foot off the gas. Ready Alert Braking offers a split-second advantage to help the car to stop quicker and more securely.
2014 Dodge Challenger SXT – Standard Safety Features:
- Active Front Head Restraints
- Electronic Stability Control
- All Speed Traction Control
- Advanced Multistage Front Airbags, Supplemental Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags, Supplemental Side-Curtain Front and Rear Airbags
- Brake Assist
- Ready Alert Braking
- Hill Start Assist
- Anti-Lock 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
- Rain Brake Support
2014 Dodge Challenger V-6 – Prices:
|Dodge Challenger||2013 MSRP|
|Challenger SXT Plus||$27,995|
|Challenger SXT Rallye Redline||$29,895|
The BR-Z seems tiny compared with the Challenger, but its trim size and boxer four-cylinder deliver equal sprint times just below 7 seconds. While the Challenger’s back seat is wider, there is a similar barely-any amount of legroom. This drops to zero headroom for the Suby’s two back seats.
Gallery Subaru BRZ
Forget about putting adults in back of this bruiser either. The base Camaro shares the Challenger’s feature of not looking weak like some previous-gen base pony cars. The Chevy is much quicker and more eager to turn in, but also has barely any trunk. The Dodge has an enormous 16-plus cubic-feet back there.
The Challenger was perhaps the last Chrysler passion project before the financial crisis iced all jokes and unprofitable cars like a deep freeze. Born into a troubled world, the Challenger would make some buyers much happier if it were all V-8 engines and none of the affordable SXT trims shown here.
The SXT is a critical part of the image boost that justifies this car’s existence, even as the better-named and better-equipped Charger is already well into its second life cycle.
Pony-cars are always in flux and never sure if they will be around tomorrow. This can make them a lot like the ice-cold bullies who love the muscle coupes’ rude dude image.
Luckily, even the V-6 Challengers are quick enough to escape Boss Hog and the Sheriff - but this time as a 2014 SXT Rallye Redline with a Mopar T-handle chrome shifter.
|Driving||B||Smooth Ride And Relatively Light Weight Mean This Is One Comfy Cruiser|
|Performance||B||Respectable Sprint Performance And Good Handling Balance|
|Look||A-||The Best Kind Of Retro Styling: It Scares Kids And Old Folks|
|Value||B||Remarkably Affordable SXT Rallye Redline Looks Fast And Fun|
|Overall||B||Among Fans Of The American Coupe Genre, Current Challenger Is Heaven|
- Authentic retro looks turn heads and clear the fast lane effectively
- Not that slow and great 28 mpg highway rating
- Seriously cheap and plentiful - there are deals to be made for money off
- Dashboard and steering wheel still K-car nasty
- Dated trans and exterior lighting, but will LEDs look weird on a true retro recreation?
- Jumbo length and width mean this can be a tricky car in tight parking garages