Specifically we are talking about the 3rd generation Dodge Challengers which went into production in 2008 and are continuing to roll off the line. The third generation Challenger is base off the 1970 Challenger and gets pretty much all of its styling from there. Depending on the model year, it is based on the Chrysler LC (2008-2014) or Chrysler LA (2015-current) platforms, both which are decent. Regardless of model year, they are all produced in Canada at the Brampton, Ontario assembly plant. Enough about the basics, let’s dive into the whys!
1) HEMI. Regardless what model year you go with you’ll have the option of getting the 5.7 Hemi unless you find a 2008 model year Challenger, in which case your only option will be the 6.1 Hemi. The 5.7 Hemi engine comes packed with 372hp and 398lb-ft of torque. The Hemi is a reliable motor with great aftermarket support which means the ceiling for maxing out performance are almost endless. You can also get the 6 speed manual Tremec transmission which is of course the only choice for a sports car.
2) The styling of the Challenger is on point. Dodge has not changed many things on the third generation in 12 years and I’m actually happy for it. The designers took the best lines from the 1970s Challengers and adapted them nicely into the third generation. Some complain about the long hood, but behind the wheel I liked it and it made the vehicle feel more like the true muscle car it’s meant to be.
3) The ride is comfortable and the interior comes with great options. Most of the suspension components come from Mercedes-Benz thanks to the short marriage Chrysler had with the automaker. Even with RWD, the vehicle handled well in the corners and for a daily was very comfortable. Thanks to the long base, you have plenty of room for the 2 occupants up front, the rear seats are as tight as you’d expect to find in a coupe.
4) All the features you’d want and expect are available in a package that resembles and feels like a muscle car. Depending on the model year, you might find some features are optional. However standard across the board you’ll get air conditioning, power windows, locks, mirrors, 17 inch aluminum wheels, decent stereo and other basic driving enhancements such as traction control. Optional features include leather, sunroof, various wheel packages and premium audio systems with big touch screen displays.
Depending on where you live in America, you can find solid examples of a 2009-2011 Challenger with 60-80,000 miles for about $15,000 USD. If you’re in Canada, you can find examples with about 80,000km for about $22,000 Canadian. This price point makes it an incredible value for a V8 muscle car that handles like a modern sports car and is fairly reliable.