2015 Dodge Challenger
2015 Dodge Challenger
2015 Dodge Challenger
2015 Dodge Challenger. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Paul Williams

It’s interesting how many people like muscle cars. You would think – well, I would think – that cars looking and performing like vehicles from almost a half-century ago would have little relevance for today’s consumers. But I’d be wrong. Apparently the Dodge brand, and its very targeted branding, presses all the right buttons for a growing segment of car buyers. They identify with the bad boy/bad girl image, the attitude, the presence, of large, powerful vehicles.

So it is that the 2015 Dodge Challenger arrives this year with an all-new Scat Pack Model. Powered with a 6.4L Hemi V8 making 470 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, this Challenger also gets an eight-speed automatic transmission, Brembo brakes and 20×9-inch aluminum wheels.

There’s also a Scat Pack Shaker model that combines heritage cues with a functional Shaker hood.

Yes, this truly is a modern muscle car. With design based on and very similar to the 1971 Challenger, Dodge hasn’t given a thought to moving away from the signature look, and why would they? There are six trim levels, starting with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 in the SXT that makes 305 hp. The ladder continues with the SXT Plus, R/T Plus Shaker, Scat Pack and Scat Pack Shaker (late availability for the latter model). They all have the look; it’s just that some make more noise and go faster.

Under the skin there are some significant changes, however, including the eight-speed gearbox with electronic shifting, new electric power steering, new customizable in-cluster display, rearview camera, and selectable drive modes to adjust steering effort, engine and transmission response and electronic stability control settings.

Adaptive cruise control is now available, along with blind spot monitoring and cross path detection. Forward collision warning is also available and suspension is uprated throughout the range. All-new cast aluminum axles reduce weight.

The exterior features a new split grille surround, new projector headlights with halo LED surrounds, new fog lamps, heritage-inspired split LED tail lamps, new colours and nine wheel options.

Inside, the 2015 model’s “performance cockpit” features trapezoidal themes that are inspired by the 1971 Challenger. The instrument panel is all-new and incorporates an aluminum stamped driver’s bezel. Likewise, the steering wheel is new, as are the available paddle shifters. Seats are redesigned with improved cushioning and more comfortable side bolsters. The 2015 model offers 14 interior colour and trim selections from retro Houndstooth cloth to leather performance seats with accent stitching.

2015 Dodge Challenger2015 Dodge Challenger
2015 Dodge Challenger. Click image to enlarge

Now available on all Challengers is the Super Track Pak, which includes a lowered and specially tuned suspension, Bilstein shock absorbers, high-performance brakes and a near 50/50 front-to-rear weight balance. The Super Track Pak provides a shortcut button to the new Dodge Performance Pages embedded in the 8.5-inch touchscreen display. It supplies a G-force indicator, lap times, reaction time, acceleration time and a programmable shift light indicator.

2015 Dodge Charger
2015 Dodge Charger. Click image to enlarge

Challengers are built in Canada at the Brampton, Ontario assembly plant, with production of the 2015 models expected to begin in the third quarter of 2014.

Complementing the Challenger, the Charger – the “world’s only four-door muscle car” – is more heavily modified compared to the outgoing model, but retains the Dodge identity. [Um – the world’s only? *cough*HSV Commodore, *cough* HSV Falcon *cough* – Ed.]

Nearly every body panel is resculpted and refined on the new model, with LED lighting used for both front and rear. It is, according to Dodge, “a full body makeover,” and specifically includes new hood, fenders, front and rear fascias, front doors, three piece spoiler, new wheels (for all trim levels) and new colours.

Like the Challenger, the eight-speed automatic transmission is now standard on all models and engines run the gamut from 292 hp 3.6L V6 Pentastar to 370 hp 5.7L Hemi V8. Available models range from SE, SXT, R/T and R/T Road and Track, with production beginning in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The V8 engine features a four-cylinder mode to conserve fuel, and the 2015 model combines this with three extra gears for additional efficiency.

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