2009 Dodge Challenger Review
When the Dodge
Challenger returned in 2008, it was certainly a welcome surprise for all
For its second production year, the 2009 Challenger’s model lineup is expanded
to three models, including the SE, R/T and SRT8 trim levels. The big news for
enthusiasts who like the looks of the new Challenger but don’t need all the
power is the Challenger SE. With its 3.5-liter V6, the SE gets you 250
horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque. While that’s not exactly V8 territory, it’s
enough to move you around town with a smile on your face.
The Challenger R/T is the real performance bargain of the
bunch. With a 5.7-liter HEMI V8, the R/T boasts some serious numbers for power
and torque. The five-speed automatic gets you 370 horsepower and 398 lb-ft of
torque, while the six-speed manual delivers a little bit more at 375 horsepower
and 404 lb-ft of torque. If fuel economy is one of your top concerns, then the
R/T has you covered with its Multiple Displacement System (MDS) which shuts off
half of its cylinders when under light load. One of the R/T’s most interesting
option packages is the Track Pak, adding a stiffer suspension, twin-disc
clutch, limited slip differential, hill-start assist and a pistol grip shifter.
All of this equipment makes the Challenger R/T a fine project candidate for the
modern hot rodder.
For those of you of the “go big or go home” mindset,
the SRT8 is your Challenger of choice. With 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of
torque from its 6.1-liter HEMI V8, the SRT8 is a brute. Most of the optional
equipment for the R/T comes standard on the SRT8, with the enormous Brembo
brakes getting added into the mix at no extra charge. The chrome, 20-inch,
forged aluminum five-spoke wheels, which recall the look of the Magnum 500 from
the ’70s, and flat black-painted rear spoiler lend to the SRT8’s classic
styling. The engine, suspension and brakes, however, let you know that this is
a modern performance car that’s easily capable of hanging with other top
performers in its class. The acceleration of the SRT8 is remarkable for a
$40,000 production car, achieving 0-60 in the high four-second range. Traction
control does its job well, launching the car with minimal wheel spin. The huge Brembo
brakes allow the 4,000 lb. beast to stop in a hurry, with ABS standing by in
case things should get hairy. The SRT8 moves rapidly through the slalom, with
considerable body roll of course, but not as much as you’d expect from a car
may not be the car you dreamt of in high school, the 2009 Challenger is a
serious rear wheel-drive coupe that’s got all the bark of the 1970s Mopar smash
hit, but with a whole lot more bite.
Click here to tell us if you think the 2009 Dodge Challenger stacks up with the 1970s icon!
Click here to price your 2009 Dodge Challenger!