Drive Type: RWD
Columbia Station, Ohio, United States
The reborn Dodge Challenger might be getting a bit long in the tooth, having been on the market in its current form since 2008, but Chrysler isn't going to give up on its brutish, full-size two-door just yet. For this year's SEMA Show, the Challenger will be getting a new Mopar edition, as well as a retro-cool shaker hood on the 5.7-liter, Hemi-equipped R/T models.
As we mentioned last night, the Shaker Package will cost $2,500, but includes the Super Track Pak (new steering rack, brake linings, upgraded shocks and 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 Super Car tires), a $595 option on its own. The shaker hood result in a performance bump of any kind, but the blacked-out, pop-up scoop is a nifty feature that hasn't been seen on a production car since the Ford Mustang Mach 1 in the early 2000s.
The Mopar '14 Challenger (pictured right) follows the cues of previous Mopar Editions, which have included the 2010 Challenger, 2011 Charger, 2012 300 and 2013 Dart. Only 100 Mopar '14 Challengers will be produced, and they'll include the new shaker hood, Mopar's distinctive blue graphics and wheels, and whatever is pilfered from the accessory catalog.
Not too long ago, Chevrolet got itself into some trouble by throwing the SS badge on just about everything it produced, so I've always been a little hesitant about the seemingly excessive use of the R/T nameplate on Dodge vehicles. For the 2013 model year, every model in Dodge's lineup has an R/T trim level from Dart all the way up to the Durango. Although the R/T name used to signified models made for road and track, I doubt anyone would be delusional enough to assume the Durango - and some of the other models wearing this badge - are suited for any sort of track duty.
Still, when this 2013 Dodge Durango R/T rolled up for me to drive for the week, I couldn't help but take in its big, mean and imposing stance. Sure, if I had my choice of buying any of the Dodge R/T products, the Charger and Challenger would be my top picks for sure, but it's easy to say that the Durango would be a close third - far above the R/T versions of the Avenger, Journey and Grand Caravan.
Watchers of the auto industry will notice a theme among the formerly bankrupted American automakers, General Motors and Chrysler. There are the post-bankruptcy vehicles, and the pre-bankruptcy vehicles. The former, in the case of Chrysler, include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as the 200 and 300. For GM, there's the Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Impala and Buick Encore, among others. These vehicles have the freshest styling, with sharp exteriors and well-crafted interiors, as well as advanced powertrains and well-sorted chassis.
As for the pre-bankruptcy vehicles, they tend to be easy to spot. Most suffer from inferior driving dynamics, cheaper interiors, poorer fuel economy and often homely looks (we know, there were some decent cars before the bankruptcy, but they were pretty heavily outweighed by the bad ones). Think late, last-generation Chevrolet Impala or Chrysler 200. Increasingly, though, we're seeing vehicles that split the balance between pre- and post-bankruptcy. Vehicles like the Dodge Journey.
The Journey debuted in 2007 as a 2008 model year vehicle, meaning it should fall into the latter category. But heavily breathed upon in 2011, it now enjoys a new, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, a big, critically acclaimed touchscreen display and in the case of today's tester, a new-for-2014 Crossroad spec.