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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Anyone own a V6 Dodge Challenger?

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Itchy
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Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Sep 17th, 2017 11:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I'm really considering a used Challenger as my next car now that the kids are a bit older. The V8 models even from a few years ago are all more than I would like to spend but at least on paper the V6 looks to have plenty of pep for what I would need. Not looking to race it or anything like that, I just like the retro styling and a little "get up and go" now and then. Sure it's a big heavy car but that is actually a plus for me, and it has a good safety rating. Mostly I'm looking for comments on build quality, reliability, durability etc. My last few cars have been a Ford, a Kia and a Ford respectively. Wife has a Ford. My current car is a Fusion and I've just not been that impressed.

Taildragger
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USA

"toxic masculinity personified"
Sep 17th, 2017 11:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Doesn't Peegoo have a Charger or Challenger? But knowing him, it's the maxxed-out V8...

No half-steppin' for Mr. 'Goo!

Mikeyguitar
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PA - USA

THAT...IS...RIGHT!
Sep 17th, 2017 11:24 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When shopping for my current care (Honda Accord) I spotted a used Challenger on a lot.
For years I've liked the look of the Challenger (both the old 70's style and the new ones).

As I approached the car to get a good look at it, I thought to myself, "This car is totally impractical for me!".
Then later I found out that it actually gets pretty good gas mileage. Oh well. I guess muscle cars have come a long way from the early 1970's.
:^)

Leftee
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VA

One foot on the brake, one on the GAS
Sep 17th, 2017 01:24 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Yes, the Goo has one.

I've rented a few. They are decent for sure. They will get out of their own way. Not muscle car fast, but fast enough.

Peegoo
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Creed

Clearwaterrrrr Revival
Sep 17th, 2017 02:11 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Itchy, I have a 2017 Challenger SXT Plus model with the Track Pack II suspension and drive train.

I wanted a car for all the same reasons you do--plus something I comfortably fit into (I'm six and a half feets tall). The only reservation I had about the Challenger was having to get down into it and up out of it because it's a fairly low ride and my knees are shot.

I had rented a few but having a car for three days is no real indication of whether the love affair will last more than a few days...so in early 2016 I bought a base-model 2015 with 21K miles on it from Enterprise. Got a great deal on it and drove it for almost a year to evaluate it. Turned out it was a great car for me. It had no problems at all and was totally reliable.

When I unloaded the 2015 at Car Max I got almost what I paid for it, so it was a worth-while experiment.

I ordered one with exactly the stuff I wanted: leather seats, selectable/tuneable suspension and drive train, maxed-out sound system, the premium nav system, etc. It is a sweetie of a car.

The 305-HP Pentastar V-6 and eight-speed automatic provide way more power than I need, and it will spin the tires when I feel like spinning the tires. Which occasionally happens :o)

The auto-stick transmission is switchable to manual control (through the stick or via paddle shifters on the steering wheel), but that is more of a novelty than something that's truly useful or practical. I leave it in auto mode.

The V6 is pretty tame compared to the RT (normally aspirated 500 HP v8 hemi) and the SRT (supercharged 700 HP V8 hemi), but consider this: the V6 does better in the quarter mile than a factory 1968 Olds Cutlass 442 does, and that car was quite the muscle car when I was a youngster.

It's a big, wide, long, heavy car...not really a pony car. But that weight translates to a very smooth and quiet ride. The suspension is based on the Mercedes five-link rolling chassis. Dodge has also incorporated double rubber weatherstripping on the hood, doors, and trunk lid, as well as other sound-dampening measures under the body. This just might be the most comfy two-door highway cruiser there is today.

I test drove all the models and power factors because when I was shopping, they were all on the table and I ruled out things as I went along, based on what I wanted. The V8s were a *blast* to drive. I'll say that again: they were a BLAST to drive :o) but they also are not really economical, and I wanted a daily driver.

The SRT requires a lot of maintenance to maintain the warranty because that massive power creates massive heat and heat takes its toll on engine parts. The design of the engine compartment on the SRT is focused on heat management. The supercharger really heats things up, and it eats up 95 HP all by itself just to spin the thing.

The saleswoman is the one who made the V6 decision for me while I was testing the SRT Hellcat: "You can drive it at full power on the weekends, and dial back the horsepower to drive it like a V6 during the week." I was not buying a car to take to the track on weekends. I wanted a daily driver.

The V8 models also suffer from massive amounts of understeer due to the weight over the front axle. The V6 is 400+ lbs lighter in the front, and quite nimble when cranking on the tunable electrically-assisted steering. On a road course, the V6 keeps up in the turns with the V8s because of this lighter front end. It's in the straights where the V8s have the advantage.

The higher-performance suspension I got offers a slightly rougher ride than the base-model chassis because of the high aspect ratio tires.

The interior is plush, and most surfaces are padded/soft. The seats are firm but comfortable buckets with adjustable lumbar support for the driver, and have a lot of travel. The tilt/extend steering wheel is very cool because you can put it where you like. All controls are easy to see and reach.

The trunk is huge; you can fit several hard cases and a Princeton Reverb in there. You can even put a bass case in there. The rear seats flip forward and that greatly increases cargo space.

Lots of positives here. What are the negatives? I have only two, based on my experience with these two cars:

1. Visibility out the sides and rear is pretty poor.

If this is a problem for you, get the vehicle-sensing radar option. I also installed a 2" wide-view mirror on each side-view mirror. That is a huge help when backing into a parking spot because it allows you to see the painted stripes on the pavement. Another option is the back-up camera. It is a big help in parking lots.

I wanted the camera...but there was no way to get the camera without the wing, because the camera is mounted inside the wing. So yeah--I have a stupid wing on the trunk lid, which greatly improves handling at highway speeds [riiiiight].

2. The doors are long...and thick. This means you need lots of room to open them to get in and out. The thick doors help make the car quiet inside, but they are a pain in the arse if you have to park in a tight spot in a parking lot. If you're used to driving a four-door, this will be a real wake-up call for you. But once you get used to it, you plan around needing the extra space to swing them barn doors.

Final notes: another necessity (not an option IMO, but it is optional) is a spare tire. Many auto makers don't include a spare in order to save space/weight and therefore increase fuel economy. So they give you a "repair kit" consisting of a little 12v pump that has Tire Slime in the hose. Get a flat tire, pump it up, right? Wrong. The repair kit will work only for a small nail or a screw in your tread. Any other damage, and you are stranded. A spare tire (even if it's a donut) will get you going again and off the road safely, so you can replace the damaged tire. My car has a donut in the bottom of the trunk.

I get 35 MPG on the highway when I keep my foot out of it. Around town and commuting to and from work, I'm getting 27 MPG (when I keep my foot out of it). I drove the 2015 Challenger from DC to Atlanta to attend Zenland's FDP jam, and on the way down I used the cruise control the entire way. I got *37* MPG, which is ridiculously good for a car like this. On the way back from the jam, very early in the morning on I-75 with no other cars on the road, I got the car up to 147 MPH--and still accelerating--before my Grownup kicked in ("Do I have Z-rated tires?" etc.), and I got my foot out of it.

Verdict: It's a great car for me, and for what it is--it was cheap to buy too. Zero problems with the 2017 thus far (I took delivery in Dec 2016). I'm happy with it.


--edited because MPG and MPH are really two different things!

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 04:36 PM, Sep 17th, 2017)

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

One foot on the brake, one on the GAS
Sep 17th, 2017 03:07 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I really like the 8-speed transmission in my truck. Two thumbs up for it!

We're actually contemplating a Durango with the 5.7L Hemi for the grocery getter.

Itchy
Contributing Member
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Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Sep 17th, 2017 03:25 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

That was going to be another question of mine since I'm looking at a used car - there are actually a good number of base model SXT's with very low mileage - people seem to have garage-kept them a lot, and they're a popular rental vehicle in Orlando too with folks going from the airport to the attractions and virtually nowhere else...anyway, point being the 8-speed automatic didn't come around until 2014 or 2015; prior to that it was a 5 speed auto. Is it worth waiting for a perfect deal on the later model with the newer transmission?

Geno - thanks for the very detailed and thoughtful response. The SXT Plus is right in my wheelhouse, I like the extra features over the base model and the affordability. Only problem is man, folks must really like them because the used market here has very few of them! Mostly SXT's or Hemis.

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

One foot on the brake, one on the GAS
Sep 17th, 2017 03:39 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I would get one with the 8 speed.

Leftee
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VA

One foot on the brake, one on the GAS
Sep 17th, 2017 03:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Last weekend I did my first oil change on the truck. The engine had loosened up nicely and I wanted to get Amsoil into it.

I drove from Lynchburg down to Greensboro last week. 55-70 mph with stops, etc.

23 mpg.

Peegoo
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Creed

Clearwaterrrrr Revival
Sep 17th, 2017 03:50 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Other stuff:

There's a voice response system that allows you to do a bunch of different things like tune the radio, dial the phone, find a gas station/operate the nav/GPS, etc. There's an overhead mic that picks up your voice. All you do is press the VR thumb button on the wheel and say what you want. And the nice lady performs the function.

There are a whole bunch of apps available via the radio/nav screen, but I don't use 'em.

Just about every function in the car is tweakable to your preferences via the radio/nav screen.

If you get a Track Pak option there are performance pages that allow you to configure and manage/monitor race car stuff via the radio/nav system. I don't use it beyond having set my preferences and leaving it alone.

The heated & cooled seats (and heated steering wheel) are worth the $$ if you can swing it. Getting into a car with cold hands and having an instantly toasty wheel is a lovely thing.

The fuel fill took some getting used to: most cars and trucks allow you to 'round up' to the next dollar when filling the tank. Not this car. When the pump auto-stops, the tank is full. Try to add more and you'll have a small spill.

The rear seats are actually useable if front and rear occupants are normal-sized adults. There's foot room and plenty of headroom in the back, and the seats are actually comfortable. The only drawback is you have to flip the front seats forward and climb in to get back there, so unless grandma is a gymnast, she's not riding in the back.

This car is one of the best-balanced cars I've owned. Going fast around a curve or having to jink when reacting to stupid drivers in traffic, the wheels grip reliably. There are no surprises like the back end getting squirrely or the front wheels plowing. The rear wheels follow the front wheels extremely well on this car.

If you like to have a little fun, though, the automatic traction control is an unforgiving judge and clamps down really hard. So switch it off if you'll be doing donuts in your ex-girlfriend's front lawn. Otherwise, you'll just be driving in a circle like an old man.

Likewise, there's a Sport Mode that alters the automatic transmission's shift curves to increase acceleration when you ask for it. Having the car in Sport Mode with the traction control off is...exciting...when the roads are wet. But with the traction control on, it really does increase control and makes the car a lot more safe.



Peegoo
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Creed

Clearwaterrrrr Revival
Sep 17th, 2017 03:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Get the 8-speed.

If you like to drive in a sporty fashion, those eight gears keep the six-banger right in the power band. And if you drive in a tame manner, they'll get you increased fuel economy.

The 8-speed transmission is a thing of beauty. Most folks that buy the hemi cars go for the manual transmission because they want to increase their "driving experience."

But for simplicity and sheer performance, the 8-speed auto is unbeatable...literally: in a drag race between two Hellcats, one manual and one automatic, nobody can manually shift better/faster than the auto.

Itchy
Contributing Member
*

Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Sep 17th, 2017 04:00 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The extra size is great. The kids are 13 and 10 now which means Doofus number 1 can sit up front and Doofus 2 can swing a cat in the back by himself if he wants. In fact in terms of wheelbase and overall size it's a bit larger than my 2011 Fusion. This surprised me. The only other real candidate for me was the Mustang and comparatively speaking the back seat in the Mustang is almost comically small.

Itchy
Contributing Member
*

Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Sep 17th, 2017 04:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I would love to have a manual for the driving experience but the truth is Orlando is a festering cesspool of stop and go traffic and there is just no fun in that.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Creed

Clearwaterrrrr Revival
Sep 17th, 2017 04:09 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I drove all the Mustang and Camaro models too before settling on the Dodge.

The Challenger is a big car, and that is the reason I went with the Dodge. I have a Toyota Tacoma quad cab truck, and the Challenger is just as long, but wider.

Dodge has the Challenger GT out this year, and it's an all-wheel drive car. The weird thing is it's available only with the V6. Imagine launching off the line in a supercharged 700+ HP 4WD beast. You could take it to the hillbilly tractor pulls!

Itchy
Contributing Member
*

Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Sep 17th, 2017 04:46 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

One of our suppliers at work bought a Hellcat and 2 months later it's up for sale; he ordered a Demon. More money than sense perhaps?

Peegoo
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Creed

Clearwaterrrrr Revival
Sep 17th, 2017 04:58 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Some people have to have the latest/greatest.

Compensating, perhaps? haha

Leftee
Contributing Member
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VA

One foot on the brake, one on the GAS
Sep 17th, 2017 05:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Ditto the uConnect system. It is a very nice interface. Not hard to learn either.

Itchy
Contributing Member
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Orlando, FL

My brain hurts!
Sep 17th, 2017 06:34 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Compensating - oh yes most definitely - and I say that with not just a small twinge of jealousy!

These car multimedia/connect systems are going to be really hard for me to get used to. I had one on the loaner car the dealership gave me one of the many times the Fusion has been in the shop and the first thing I tried to do was figure out how to turn all that stuff off. I guess I'm one of the last curmudgeons who wants his phone to be smart and his car to stay dumb!

Peegoo
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Creed

Clearwaterrrrr Revival
Sep 17th, 2017 06:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The uConnect touch screen is easy to operate--it's like a smart phone with app icons. You tap the icon to access the function you want. There are back and forward arrows to take you to the previous and next pages too.

It's a lot less complicated than the older style--or the current BMW style with the large non-touch screen and terrible rotary selector knob.

rok-a-bill-e
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Nashville,USA

Clawhammer Rules!
Sep 17th, 2017 07:44 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I drive a sibling with the same 6, a Chrysler 300, and I've never felt that it needed more power for any situation. The hemi and the hot versions would be an expenditure for entertainment purposes and while I can enjoy that as much as anyone, I'm past that now. I'd enjoy a new Challenger with the 6. I know someone who bought one for the reason of legroom. He is very tall with long legs and simply won't fit in a lot of vehicles, and he fits in the Challenger.

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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Anyone own a V6 Dodge Challenger?




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