Automakers spend a lot of time chasing young buyers, so it was a bit of a shock to see Dodge launch into its New York Auto Show news conference with a short film filled with seniors averaging close to the century mark. No worries, though, as they quickly proved to be as young-at-heart as the typical Dodge buyer.
And so, whatever the age, Chrysler’s muscle car brand quickly refocused the spotlight on a pair of updated performance models, the 2015 Dodge Charger and 2015 Dodge Challenger, both of which undergo some significant mid-cycle updates.
It’s clearly an appropriate move for the two-door Dodge Challenger, which is in its fifth year since its last full redesign – though, surprisingly, the classic muscle coupe set an all-time sales record last year.
For 2015, the Challenger picks up some retro cues, the grille, in particular, “a direct lift from the ’71 (model) but modernized,” said Dodge brand chief Tim Kuniskis. The distinctive split taillights also hail from the 1971 model, though they’re now lit by state-of-the-art LED bulbs.
Inside, the 2015 Challenger gets a distinctive Tic-Toc-Tach and a new 8.4-inch touchscreen to handle its infotainment duties – which includes the Uconnect system, as well as an updated 3D navigation system, new access to smartphone apps, and the ability to remotely lock and unlock, as well as remotely start, the coupe.
Technology has become a critical must, no matter what the market segment, and along with the infotainment system, the 2015 Dodge Challenger gets, according to Chrysler, a suite of 70 different safety features, some standard and some optional, including Active Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Of course, muscle cars wouldn’t be much without some serious power under the hood, and the updated Challenger comes to market with a variety of options. There’s a “base,” 305-horsepower V-6 paired with a new eight-speed automatic that can turn zero to 60 times in the “low six” second range.
Motorists can move up to the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, at 375 horsepower and 410 pound-feet of torque. That cuts launch times down to less than five seconds.
For serious performance fans, however, the legendary Dodge Scat Pack 392 Hemi Shaker makes its long-awaited return. There’s a version of the once-notorious shaker hood, of course, the Hemi engine is upgraded to make 485 horses and 475 lb-ft. It’ll hit 60 mph in the mid-four-second range, turn a quarter mile in the low 12-second range, and top out at 182 mph.
“The Bee is back,” declared Kuniskis, a reference to the once-feared Dodge Super Bee, the old emblem now set to adorn the 2015 Challenger Scat Pack’s instrument panel.
As for the four-door, the 2015 Dodge Charger gets some modest exterior changes meant to make it look thinner and better planted, a redesigned C-pillar yielding something of a fastback appearance.
“It looks smaller, lighter and tighter,” suggested Dodge brand boss Kuniskis.
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The 2015 Charger lands a new customizable digital display that allows a motorist to adjust a wide range of vehicle functions. There’s also a version of the 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment display, Uconnect and even more safety features than the Challenger, the Charger’s Forward Collision Warning System able to bring the vehicle to a full stop, if necessary.
The base-model Chargers is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, which delivers 292 hp at 6,350 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm and a best-in-class 31 miles per gallon on the highway.
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For those wanting the full Charger experience, there is a Charger R/T featuring the legendary 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine with 370 hp and 395 lb.-ft. of torque. The Charger R/T Road & Track model features a unique 3.07 rear axle ratio (versus the standard 2.62 rear axle ratio) and a high-speed engine controller with unique engine and transmission calibrations.
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To help build demand for the two updated muscle cars, Dodge recently announced the new Double-Up Guarantee. Motorists will be able to lease a 2014 Charger or Challenger and then switch to the 2015 updates a year later – while having their lease prices fixed in place no matter if Dodge later raises the numbers.
Oh, and as to those centenarians, the typical Dodge buyers actually is six years younger than the industry average, Kuniskis claiming the marque draws more Gen-X and Gen-Y buyers than any other. There are competitors who might dispute that claim but its clear Dodge is hoping that the 2015 Challenger and Charger models will only enhance its youthful appeal.
One response to “Dodge Muscles Up With New Charger, Challenger”
The Challenger is still a very attractive look. The 392 Hemi package should be a screamer.