By Patrick Rall
The next gen Dodge Challenger is expected to arrive in the next two years – should Chrysler continue on with the Challenger being a big, brawny muscle car or should the company try to scale it down to more closely compete with the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang? We look at the pros and cons of both below.
The Dodge Challenger has posted a few records sales months in 2013 but those numbers still fall far short of the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang. Since being introduced, many Mopar diehards have complained that the Challenger is simply too big and too heavy to compete with the cross town rivals from Ford and GM. Chrysler has compensated for this difference and size and weight by packing the Challenger with a massive, high-powered engine but with the Camaro and Mustang both getting big power jumps over the past few years, Ma Mopar might have a tough time simply out-muscling those smaller pony cars with the Challenger as it exists today. Due to this, many believe that the Challenger should scale down its proportions significantly so that it will be as light and as nimble as the Camaro and Mustang but at what cost?
Pros of a smaller, lighter next generation Dodge Challenger:
-A lighter car naturally makes better use of the available power so Chrysler wouldn’t need to increase the output of the available engines very much to even the playing field with Ford and GM.
-A lighter car would also offer better fuel economy with a similar drivetrain. Even though performance is key, fuel economy is an ever-growing issue in the performance car world.
-A smaller and lighter car would handle and brake better.
Cons of a smaller, lighter next generation Dodge Challenger:
-The size difference will almost certainly diminish the back seat. Unlike the Camaro and Mustang, the current Challenger offers actual rear seating space for adults. Making the car smaller will probably give the Challenger the same diminutive rear seats as the other two American muscle cars.
-A smaller Challenger will inherently be less badass. There is no question that when the big, strapping Challenger rumbles up next to the smaller Camaro or Mustang – the Challenger is the biggest and meanest looking of the three. While the Challenger might be bigger and heavier, this is a vehicle that just screams “MUSCLE CAR!”