Lately it seems like the upcoming Barracuda is taking all of Dodge’s limelight, but we have been missing the fact that the Challenger is coming up on its fifth year in its current body design and is due for a redesign. There have been rumors swirling that the next-gen Challenger could hit showrooms as early as 2014, as either an early-2015 or late-2014 model. What we are still uncertain of is what exactly will change with this redesign.
Rumors began in the Challenger enthusiast world that Dodge would move its full-size coupe to a more compact chassis to help it better handle the likes of the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro. According to a report from Automobile Magazine, the Challenger will continue to share its “DNA” with its 300 and Charger brethren. This leads to either the Challenger remaining a hefty vehicle – much to the chagrin of enthusiasts – or Chrysler completely revamping the chassis that the 300, Challenger, and Charger sit atop. The latter is very unlikely.
What we’ll likely see is a slight revision to the body and lighting, just to give it a new look, and some weight-loss measures. Things like aluminum panels, thinner metals, lighter rims, and so on, will help get the Challenger’s heft in check and maybe make it a more manageable car.
Under the hood, you can expect little change, with the exception of the elimination of the 6.4-liter SRT8 model, as the Pentastar V-6 engine is a serviceable engine relative to the Camaro and Mustang V-6 engines, and the Hemi V-8 lineup is as stout as ever, though it could use some tweaking in the efficiency area with the new CAFÉ standards being passed.
The row-your-own-gears option is a no go on the 2012 model, but with all of the outcry from V-6 buyers wanting a manual option, Dodge will likely comply in the next generation. As for the V-8 models’ transmission, look out for an 8-speed variant with paddle shifters. A dual-clutch system would be nice, but it’s highly unlikely.
For now, we simply have to wait and see. We will update this review as more information becomes available on the next-gen Challenger.