2011 Dodge Challanger


The Dodge Challenger SRT8 was first introduced in 2008. It is a modern interpretation of the classic American muscle car. Unlike the unrefined pony cars of yesteryear, the Challenger features the fuel efficiency, safety, handling, technology and build quality expected. The 2011 Dodge Challenger is an American two-door coupe that seats five and is based on Chrysler’s underpinnings to the Charger and 300 sedans. For 2009, the Challenger got two more trim levels: SE and R/T.

Full Review 2011

Competition includes the Ford Mustang and upcoming Chevrolet Camaro.

2011 Cabin Features

The Challenger’s theme of retro design is continued in the cabin with its gauge cluster, black headliner and a slanted shifter console. Interior volume comes in at 93.9 cubic feet, with 16.2 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. Major gauges are deeply recessed into the dashboard and are dimly backlit, making them hard to read at times. The view to the rear is fairly good, too, because the side glass goes well back and the rear window’s as big as the mirror view. The Chrysler-standard control layout places most systems within easy reach. The navigation system absorbs most audio functions, but mostly with good results. Challenger’s rear-seat accommodations are quite good for a sporty car. Smaller adults may tolerate short trips, while kids will fit fine. Entry and exit are expectedly awkward. In manual versions, the shifter features a unique “pistol-grip” design. Front-seat occupants sit in prominently bolstered seats. The SRT8 has exclusive leather sport seats with accent stitching and embroidered SRT8 logos.

Dodge Challenger Design

2011 Dodge Challenger The Challenger was designed after the 1970 model, and is without a doubt a Challenger no matter how you look at it. However, the current Challenger avoids coming across as a retro car or a new car; it’s the sort of middle ground that may better stand the test of time. It has a broad grille and rear-end treatments. The Challenger is 197.7 inches long and 75.7 inches wide, longer and wider than the Mustang’s 187.6-inch length and 73.9-inch width. It includes standard body-colored handles, front and rear bumpers, and mirrors, stainless-steel performance dual exhaust with rectangular tips (R/T, SRT8), and black hood racing stripes (SRT8). The Challenger rides on 17-inch aluminum wheels for the SE, and 20 inch aluminum or chrome-clad wheels (standard on SRT8, optional on R/T).

Safety Features

Available safety features should include ABS, traction control, antiskid system, and curtain side airbags. Keyless engine start should remain available, along with Chrysler’s uconnect multimedia suite, which can include a wireless cell phone link, 30-gigabyte hard drive for storing digital music and picture files, and a navigation system.

Driving the ’11 Challenger

Accurate steering is marred by excessive power assist. Though not as agile as a Mustang, Challenger handles well given its sheer size and heft. When cruising, the Challenger is civilized. There is authority in the exhaust note but it doesn’t sound like authority grabbed the bullhorn until you get into the gas and are rewarded with a satisfying rumble that becomes more howl as it winds up; manual gearbox cars use different mufflers and have a deeper tone. Body lean in fast turns is well controlled, and the brakes provide sure-footed stopping control. The SE is surprisingly refined; its engine produces a slightly throaty growl under hard acceleration. R/T and SRT8 models produce sound levels in keeping with their high-performance character. Engine, exhaust, and road noise are omnipresent in those models, even in relaxed highway cruising. Challenger’s ride is surprisingly supple, especially given this car’s performance mission. SRT8 has more side-to-side motions than the SE or R/T.

Challenger Power

The Challenger offers a V-6 and manual transmission option and a V-8 5.7-liter Hemi with variable valve timing and an expanded multi-displacement system that allows the car to operate on four cylinders when less power is needed. Unlike its archrival, the Mustang, the Challenger has an independent rear suspension. In testing, a manual-transmission R/T averaged 16.5 mpg with slightly more city driving than highway use. Test automatic-transmission SRT8s averaged 15.8-16.8 mpg. Chrysler recommends mid-grade 89-octane gas for the SE and automatic-transmission R/T. Premium-grade gas is recommended for the manual-transmission R/T and required for the SRT8.

2011 Dodge ChallengerConclusions

The 2011 Dodge Challenger offers consumers a vehicle that reminds them of a nostalgic past, yet in many ways is modern. The V6-powered Challenger SE comes with a moderate price, while the V8-powered R/T is a good performance value. The SRT8 is the ultimate Challenger. “Comfortable, stylish and impressively capable in terms of performance, the 2009 Dodge Challenger is exactly what a modern version of an old muscle-car icon should be.” says Edmunds “Bottom line: The SE delivers time-travel design at a deep discount, but utterly lacks the visceral and audible thrill of the original,” writes Motor Trend. Compared to its competitors, the Challenger actually offers a decent rear seat area and cargo capacity in its trunk. For fans of the Challenger, driving doesn’t get better than cruising in a retro, but modern day muscle car.


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