With loud music and a cool video, Dodge reminded the world that they are a muscle car company with a long heritage. In the “old” days, Dodge was known for building tire-melting muscle cars with style. A late 60′s or very early 70′s Charger (or Challenger) is unmistakable, and many would argue that these cars rank among the best muscle cars of all time.
Wisely, Dodge has tapped into the legacy of the old Charger and Challenger to launch the 2015 editions of each model. Debuting at the 2014 New York Auto Show, Dodge revived some of the style elements from the 60′s and 70′s, brought back the oh-so-70′s “Scat Pack” package, and of course found a few ways to improve performance.
2015 Dodge Challenger – New Tranny, Improved Horsepower
The new 2015 Dodge Challenger, expected out later this year, has a lot of great improvements. Chief among them is the inclusion of a 6.4L HEMI from the SRT group, a massive engine that will produce a whopping 485hp. This engine will be available in the new Scat Pack package, and it will produce nearly as much power as the Z/28 Camaro (and almost certainly more than any engine Ford offers in their new Mustang). Make no mistake, the new 2015 Scat Pack Challenger is a “statement” vehicle: Mustang and Camaro fans had better take notice.
A new Torqueflight 8-speed automatic will be available in every Challenger model, which should make a sizable difference in terms of fuel economy. The current 2014 Challenger gets anywhere from 17 to 21 miles per gallon (combined), and the new transmission ought to single-handedly improve those figures by more than 10%. Combine this new transmission with cylinder deactivation technology and improved aerodynamics, and fuel economy should jump on the 2015 model.
Exterior changes to the Challenger include:
- A new throw-back front end and taillights, modeled after the 71′ Challenger
- Windshield washer outlets have moved under the hood to give the vehicle a more streamlined look
- Quad halo projector headlamps, a wider trapezoidal front air dam, and slimmer grille give the new 2015 a meaner look
On the inside, a new 7” display between the gauges displays copious amounts of information. Improved seats, a new steering wheel, and a new e-shifter seek to improve driver comfort.
2015 Dodge Charger – Subtle Improvements
Like the Challenger, the new Charger features a variety of fuel economy and performance improvements. A new Torqueflight 8-speed automatic, improved aerodynamics, and weight reduction efforts will all improve both fuel economy ratings and performance. A new “Super Track Pack” option will give Charger R/T models more of a track-ready feel, as well as some unique wheels and a different axle ratio.
However, most of the changes to the Charger are subtle adjustments to the exterior.All of these components have been changed and aerodynamics improved:
- Front and rear fascias
- Tail lamps
- Front doors
- Roof (which is now laser welded)
On the inside, an improved interior has nicer materials with better fit and feel, a “real-feel” shifter, and the same 7” inch driver-information screen found in the new Challenger. Dodge has also improved the dash with aluminum bezels finished in a dark brushed or Hectic Mesh pattern. This dash paired with the interior trims of Black and Tungsten cloth, Black and Pearl leather, or Black and Ruby Red leather looks simply amazing, at least in the vehicles seen at the NY Auto Show.
Certain Charger models will also come with paddle shifters to allow for more driver input…and fun.
What Dodge Got Wrong
As with any new car unveiling, there are items manufactures seem to miss, exclude or screw up on for whatever reason. These new cars don’t have many screw ups, rather just things that seem to be missing.
For the Challenger:
- Where is the supercharger? With a new Scat Pack and lots of performance improvements, it seems like a supercharger would be a safe bet? Yet, it is nowhere to be found.
- Why doesn’t Dodge offer a convertible Challenger? The Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang both come with convertible offerings, and a convertible Challenger would arguably be one of the prettiest cars on the road.
- The Challenger needs a stronger, lighter frame to compete in today’s marketplace. The new Mustang is getting lighter and riding on a stiffer, more sophisticated chassis, and rumors of a similar improvement on the Camaro abound.
For the Charger:
- Why was the AWD dropped on the V8 Charger? As of today, only the V6 is available on AWD Chargers.
- Where’s the SRT V8? While the market for a fire-breathing Charger is likely small, there’s a lot to be said for being one of the only companies to offer a 485hp sedan.
Still, there’s no denying that the new Charger and Challenger are great-looking vehicles that are true to Dodge’s heritage. With Ford going “global” and offering a 2015 Mustang with a 2.3L EcoBoost 4-cylinder – and Chevy rumored to be considering a similar offering in the 2016 Camaro - Dodge is sticking with big V8s and long wheelbases. If you’re a muscle car fan, you’ve got to respect what Dodge is trying to do.