By Peter Perrotta
Dodge introduced its first generation Challenger model 52 years ago.
Hair was long. The miniskirt was in and The Beatles came out with an album titled “Let It Be”.
On the precipice of the influx of Japanese and German import cars, the American “Muscle Car” was high in the car landscape at the time.
There was Chevy’s Camaro, Ford’s Mustang and Dodge’s Challenger.
The bold and spirited Challenger caused a stir in the first generation from 1970 to 1974. The second generation Challenger was produced from 1978 to 1983.
At that point, Dodge gave the Challenger 25 years of rest. They reintroduced it in 2008 in its current third generation form.
I recently hopped behind the wheel of the 2022 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody for a week to give my readers a fresh look at what this re-introduced “Muscle Car” is all about.
My 2022 Challenger R/T Scat Pack model was powered by a muscular 485 horsepower 6.4 liter V-8 Hemi engine labeled ‘392’.
Simply put, this car has a warm, throaty roar when you accelerate off the line that can be quite intimidating to anyone who might get in your way.
If you’re looking for a fast and exciting ride, this is it folks.
Moreover, if you want to impress someone with an attractive appearance, this is more than the car for you.
Every now and then in this job as a car reviewer you get a car to test that attracts attention everywhere. This model is one of the most striking cars I have ever driven.
I got the thumbs up sign or the “Hey, nice car” comment from everyone from toll booths to 7-11 clerks and just random motorists driving next to me on the highway.
Plus, if you’re driving a powerful-looking car, like the Challenger R/T with the Hemi Orange race stripe, you’re also attracting the wrong attention.
It seems that any biker with a hot car, be it a BMW, Mercedes or a souped-up pickup truck, “likes” challenging the Challenger to a race when they bump into you on the road.
For the most part, I ignore these types. But I’m listing it here for anyone considering buying or leasing this car so they know what to expect.
The 2022 Challenger is available in five different trim levels, starting with the base model SXT (base price of $32,025) and all the way up to the R/T Scat Pack Widebody (which I’m reviewing here) with a base price of $53,645.
The actual sticker price of my test model came in at $63,500 with additional options and destination and delivery charges.
Some of the extra options that were added to my test car were: $5,995 for the R/T Scat Pack Widebody package; $2,095 for a plus package; $1,595 for a carbon/suede interior package; $1,795 for a premium Harmon Kardon sound system; $1,500 for the Hemi Orange appearance pack and $995 for an enhanced touchscreen navigation system.
If you’re looking for a fuel-efficient ride that’s easy on the wallet when it comes to paying the fuel bill at the pump, this isn’t the car for you.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel economy for this car comes in at a paltry 18 miles per gallon (mpg) overall — 24 mpg on the highway and 15 in the city.
But to be fair, if you like to drive this car “with your foot in it,” meaning you want to accelerate off the line quickly, your gas mileage won’t even meet EPA ratings.
The EPA estimates that you will spend about $2,450 a year on fuel to run this muscular vehicle, as it uses about 5.6 gallons of gas for every 100 miles you drive it.
As for the US government’s five-star crash test ratings for this model, it’s doing quite well.
This Challenger model achieved the highest five-star rating in the overall vehicle crash test score.
For my overall overall impression of this vehicle after a week of driving, I have to say I was quite impressed. It’s a fun and exciting coupe that’s comfortable and roomy inside and even has plenty of trunk space for a two-door model.
Of course, this isn’t your typical family vehicle you’d sit in if you had to lug a few kids around. If so, then this car is not for you.
The people at Car and driver gave the Challenger high marks for its “powerful and melodious V-8 engine” that was “comfortable” inside.
“The Challenger is big, brash and surprisingly livable, but it drives very differently from its nimble rivals,” said the editors of Car and driver said.
This particular type of car isn’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for a muscular, sporty sports coupe, I’d say it’s well worth considering.
Peter Perrotta’s On The Road column appears every other week. He can be reached at email@example.com
This column is sponsored by Capital Motor Cars of Springfield, NJ, one of the leading new car leasing brokers in the Tri-State area.