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2021 Dodge Challenger: Power in Spades

Niel Stender

Massive power and loud looks define the 2021 Dodge Challenger. Optional AWD or a manual transmission are just icing on the cake.

What’s New for the 2021 Dodge Challenger

Thirteen years after reintroduction, the 2021 Dodge Challenger continues to offer retro-tastic fun for muscle car enthusiasts. While the venerable Pentastar six-cylinder engine is available, virtually all Challenger marketing features Dodge’s lineup of fire-breathing V8s and for good reason. Big wheels, in-your-face color schemes, and smoky burnouts are Challenger hallmarks.

For 2021, buyers can now opt for the Widebody (WB) package on R/T Scat Pack and T/A 392 models. As well, SRT badging can now be found on the instrument panel and brake calipers for certain models. Convenience-wise, a new memory feature captures the driver’s seat position, steering column setting, exterior mirrors adjustments, and more.

2021 Dodge Challenger - dodge.com

2021 Dodge Challenger – dodge.com |  Shop 2021 Dodge Challenger on Carsforsale.com

Body Style

Starting Price

MSRP $28,545

Drivetrain

Drivetrain

RWD or AWD

Drivetrain

Fuel Economy

19 City / 30 Hwy (MPG)

Number of Seats

Seating

Seats 5

The Breakdown

Who doesn’t want an 807-horse Challenger?

Manual transmission option is appreciated

19-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system

The only muscle car with an AWD option

Standard safety features are thin

Can Dodge continue to push high horsepower?

2021 Dodge Challenger Specs

Trims & Pricing

SXT - $28,545
GT - $31,545
R/T - $35,245
SRT Hellcat - $59,245
SRT Super Stock - $79,845

2021 Dodge Challenger Powertrain

2021 Dodge Challenger Hemi V8 - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 Dodge Challenger Hemi V8 - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

The 2021 Dodge Challenger makes no bones about its reputation for straight-line performance, which is a good thing considering V8 models weigh in at 5,450 pounds making them ill-suited to canyon carving. While the low end Pentastar V6 won’t set your hair on fire the way 700+ horses would, it does offer AWD and so represents a reasonably practical choice. On the eight-cylinder front, power ranges from 375 all the way up to 807 ponies. Enthusiasts will appreciate the manual option, though the 8-speed auto does include paddle shifters.

Dodge has clearly spent time on the engineering needed to harness all that power and make it more fun to drive. For starters (or stoppers in this case), the most potent Brembo brake package features mammoth 15.4-inch front rotors clamped by six pistons. The adaptive suspension system, developed by Bilstein, allows for a wide range of customization. On the fun front, a line lock feature will clamp the front brakes while the rear wheels are free to spin. Dodge notes the objective is to “heat up and clean the tires”, otherwise known as a billowing, smoky burnout.

2021 Dodge Challenger Fuel Economy & MPG

Buying a 2021 Dodge Challenger doesn’t seem like the kind of decision that factors in fuel economy, but if it is a priority, the V6-powered SXT or GT is the best bet at 19 mpg in the city and 30 on the highway. Subtract one mpg from both figures for AWD models. The “regular” HEMI-powered R/T trims achieve between 14 and 15 mpg around town and up to 23 mpg during highway driving. Comically, mpg figures for the Hellcat and Super Stock models are buried in the specs. However, the city/highway EPA estimates of 13/22 aren’t as bad as one might think considering the insane power on tap and heavy curb weight.

Interior, Comfort, & Cargo Space

When compared to a Mustang or Camaro, the Dodge Challenger has a relatively cavernous interior with true seating for up to 5 people and 16 cubes of trunk storage. Though cloth is standard on base models, Nappa leather can be optioned and don’t miss the Ruby Red variety. Aside from the SXT, all 2021 Dodge Challengers feature performance seats with available Alcantara inserts. Heated seats can be added, as can ambient lighting, a suede headliner, and real carbon fiber accents. Automatic, dual-zone climate control is standard along with a customizable digital gauge cluster.

Entertainment & Technology

2021 Dodge Challenger - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com
2021 Dodge Challenger - media.stellantisnorthamerica.com

Dodge’s Challenger is the rare car whose best entertainment feature is the engine itself. In fact, owners can measure how much entertainment it provides thanks to SRT Performance Pages. Part of the UConnect infotainment system, this software shows real-time dyno figures, reaction time, g-forces, and more.

Apple and Android automotive integrations are also in there along with an available navigation system. 7 inches is the standard interface size, though an 8.4-inch version is optional. Also optional are two different audio systems. Alpine’s setup features 9 speakers and 506 watts of output. Otherwise, you can match the engine roar with Harman Kardon’s stereo that stuffs 19 speakers into the Challenger with two subwoofers and 900 watts of power.

Safety Features

All 2021 Challengers are fitted with a robust system of airbags. Driver and front passenger seats are protected with frontal and seat mounted side bags. For all occupants, side curtain airbags are standard as well. The $1295 Driver Convenience package has blind spot and rear cross-path detection and the Technology Group offers forward collision warning plus automatic high beams. Rain Brake Support is a useful safety enhancement that removes water from brake pads by applying light pressure to the caliper pistons. It engages when the windshield wipers are activated.

2021 Dodge Challenger Trims & Pricing

2021 Dodge Challenger SXT - carsforsale.com
2021 Dodge Challenger SXT - carsforsale.com

SXT – $28,545

Available in rear or all-wheel drive configuration, Challenger SXT is fitted with the 303 horsepower Pentastar V6 and 8-speed automatic. While it is the base model, features like dual-zone automatic climate control and a backup camera view are nice touches. Dodge’s UConnect 4 infotainment software runs via a 7-inch touchscreen interface and includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment. The “keyless” Enter ‘n Go system means you need only have the key fob on your person to enter, exit, or fire up the engine. For those that step up to AWD, 19-inch wheels replace already amply sized 18s.

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2021 Dodge Challenger GT - carsforsale.com
2021 Dodge Challenger GT - carsforsale.com

GT – $31,545

The only other model with six cylinders and available AWD, GT Challengers bolster the features list. 20-inch wheels fill out the fenders, while an SRT front splitter and functional hood scoop dress up the exterior. Backing up the looks is sport-tuned suspension and steering on RWD versions plus bolstered, performance front seats. A helpful standard GT feature is ParkSense which assists with parking maneuvers by identifying the space while providing audible and visual notifications as a guide.

2021 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack - dodge.com
2021 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack - dodge.com

R/T – $35,245

2021 Dodge Challenger R/T models come in three flavors: R/T, R/T Scat Pack, and R/T Scat Pack WB. The standard R/T sports a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 375 horsepower. Scat Pack editions bump it up to a heady 485 horsepower and in all three cases, comes paired with a 6-speed manual. Checking the Scat Pack box also nets Brembo high performance brakes, an 8.4-inch infotainment screen, SRT performance pages, and heated seats. The WB version gets even bigger brakes, Bilstein adaptive suspension, and unique widebody exterior styling.

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat - Ben Hardy on YouTube.com
2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat - Ben Hardy on YouTube.com

SRT Hellcat – $59,245

Spanning four styles – “base” Hellcat, WB Hellcat, Hellcat Redeye, and Hellcat Redeye WB – this model is more than just extra-long model names. The entry level comes with a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI and makes 717 horsepower. The biggest brake package, dual hood cutouts, and line lock ratchet up the fun. Redeye models pile on another 80 horsepower and the SRT Power Chiller to ice down intake charges. Don’t miss the 203 mph top speed of Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebodys.

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock - dodge.com
2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock - dodge.com

SRT Super Stock – $79,845

Effectively stepping in for the discontinued Demon, SRT Super Stock models are street-legal dragsters. In fact, they are fitted with Nitto drag radials with a 315 mm section width. Cracking 800 horsepower, this Challenger is said to hit 60 mph in 3.25 seconds and do the quarter mile in under 11 seconds. Super Stocks come standard with widebody styling, which includes a larger front splitter and fender flares. The 8-speed automatic is your sole transmission option though.

Warranties

For the basic Challenger vehicle warranty, coverage runs for 3 years or 36,000 miles from purchase date. Powertrains have a 5 year or up to 60,000-mile warranty term, whichever comes first. Rust perforation and corrosion is covered for unlimited miles or up to 5 years. There is also a lengthy, 24/7 roadside assistance warranty that is good for 5 years/60,000 miles.

What we think

2021 Dodge Challenger - dodge.com

2021 Dodge Challenger – dodge.com |  Shop 2021 Dodge Challenger on Carsforsale.com

When it comes to loud, retro-style American muscle car fun, it’s hard to beat a 2021 Dodge Challenger. Especially the 717 horse Hellcat painted with Sinamon Stick and sporting a Tremec 6-speed manual. Plenty of powertrain options and a host of serious performance creds make the Challenger a great ride.

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Niel Stender
Niel Stender

Niel got his start in the car world as a vehicle dynamics engineer with SVT at Ford. He still has dreams of running figure eights on the wet pad in an S197 GT500. These days, when not fending off karate kicks from the 3 tiny humans that run his household, he can be found on St. Louis backroads pretending to be Ken Block in his 6-speed Mazda 6.

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