It’s a foregone conclusion: if you like going very fast while listening to a mighty engine growl and purr with each acceleration and turn, you will aspire to someday own a muscle car. With multiple trims that highlight the various goose-bump-raising attributes of driving a muscle car, the 2021 Dodge Challenger is an easy choice for any driver looking for a thrill. From the big smile associated with the SXT and GT trims to the requisite “Yeeeee-haw” that driving the R/T models will bring to the bone crushing G-force that comes from blasting the SRT models around a track, there’s a 2021 Challenger for every desired outcome.
For most drivers, however, the thrill has to be connected to a good car. No one expects a muscle car to get the gas mileage of a micro coupe, and they certainly aren’t expected to haul mighty loads. Still, even the most dedicated thrill-seeker wants a good sound system and the reassurance of thoughtfully designed comfort and convenience features. In this regard, Dodge makes it easy to choose the Charger over other brands. Not only are the thrills legendary, but the car itself has been designed with the driver in mind, with each trim featuring a little something extra.
Impressively Quick: The 2021 Dodge Challenger SXT and GT
The 2021 Dodge Challenger SXT and GT are quick. For those who have spent most of their driving career in mid-size trucks or compact sedans that haven’t hit the turbocharged phase yet, sitting behind the wheel of the SXT or GT is going to be an eye-opening experience. But for those who go 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds before breakfast, it might not be that Earth-shaking of an experience.
The SXT and GT are both powered by a 3.6L V6 engine, which is nothing to ignore with its 303 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. While Dodge remains somewhat coy about the speed rankings of the non-V8 Challenger engines, public online posts indicate this engine can make the trip from 0 to 60 miles per hour in around 5 seconds. The only V6 engine in the Challenger lineup is paired to a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission, which can be driven in manual mode for those who like that extra feel of control. The GT trim adds performance-tuned steering and suspension and includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters for that extra reminder that this is still a Challenger.
Another unique feature of the SXT and GT trims is the all-wheel drive. As unlikely as that deviation from the rear-wheel, burnout, screeching launch muscle cars that we have come to know and love, an all-wheel drive Challenger might be the best thing to hit the suburbs since sliced bread. A sporty road beast that doesn’t have to be put to bed every time the weather starts to get a little damp or cold makes a much easier compromise for those who are ready for more speed but not quite ready to buy a car for every season. In fact, Dodge has engineered a very intelligent all-wheel drive system for the Challenger. Rather than running full time, sensors will check the external temperature and driving environment, as well as the selected driving mode, to activate all-wheel drive automatically.
With standard features that include an infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen and smartphone integration, the SXT and GT make surprisingly logical choices for those who want a muscle car but still have a daily commute to consider. These two models also offer dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, and power adjustable seats for the driver. All in all, the SXT and GT offer a lot of power and fun.
Standing in Tradition: The 2021 Dodge Challenger R/T Team
The R/T version of the 2021 Dodge Challenger mixes the classics with the latest innovations. Looking at the R/T, R/T Scat Pack, and R/T Scat Pack Widebody trims, you’ll see more than a passing resemblance to the stocky, aggressive face of earlier generations of the Challenger.
Under the hood of the original R/T trim is the fan-favorite 5.7L V8 HEMI engine. Paired to this engine is a very exciting TREMEC six-speed manual transmission, which is also standard on all other V8 engines across the Challenger lineup. The manual transmission provides a little extra pep over the available eight-speed automatic, offering 375 horsepower to the automatic’s 372 and 410 lb-ft of torque, where the automatic has 400 lb-ft.
The R/T Scat Pack is the rebellious one. Trading the fast for the furious, the Scat Pack is powered by a 392 HEMI. This 6.4L V8 skips the middle ground, going straight for 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. This is where the game starts to change a little.
The R/T Scat Pack is the first trim offered in Widebody style. That means wider wheels and tires, specialized six-piston Brembo brakes, specially tuned suspension with adaptive dampers, and fender flares for a little recognition. This is also where the Challenger gets a little help with speed. Launch control, and configurable drive modes that provide programmed settings for the transmission, traction amongst the wheels, steering, and suspension notes appear at this level, transforming the Challenger into a track-ready monster that might not be appropriate for the carpool lane. The R/T Scat Pack also includes a larger infotainment system, premium audio components, and heated steering wheel and front seats, making it ideal for extended bouts of cruising.
How Much Is Too Much: The 2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Models
“SRT” stands for “Street and Racing Technology,” which means models with this designation are not appropriate for drivers who are meek, mild, or concerned about going over 45 miles per hour. All SRT models will have enough power to make the voyage from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 4 seconds, so drivers ought to be prepared for some serious Gs.
The SRT Hellcat is the entry-level SRT Challenger, and as the name implies, she is not a force to be trifled with. From there, drivers can step up to the Hellcat Redeye or journey all the way to the top with the Super Stock trim. The Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye can also be had in Widebody style for those who are extra daring.
All three SRT models are outfitted with a 6.2L supercharged V8, but the performance on each has been specifically tuned for the job at hand. The standard HEMI version that appears on the Hellcat model provides a whopping 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque. That much power comes with significant responsibility, and Dodge responded by providing the Hellcat with even larger six-piston Brembo brakes, a custom-tweaked suspension, performance tires, and a flat-bottom track style steering wheel to tie the whole package together.
The 2021 Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye and Super Stock models come with a High Output HEMI version of the 6.2L V8. The published figures for speed and power may defy logic but have been confirmed as accurate by multiple sources. Redeye drivers will experience 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft torque. It will take the average driver longer to read this sentence than it will to make the trip from 0-60 miles per hour as the Hellcat Redeye only needs 3.4 seconds.
But if you don’t have that kind of time to wait, there’s always the Super Stock with 807 horsepower, 707 lb-ft of torque, and 0 to 60 in 3.25 seconds. The primary speedometer climbs to 220 miles per hour. It comes with its own squad of technology, including a specialized Power Chiller that keeps the engine cool, Brembo four-piston fixed caliper brakes, line lock, launch control for a clear take-off, and a post-race cooldown mode to ensure the working engine cools down appropriately.
The performance pages on the SRT models help you keep track of lap times, G force, engine use, and even a dynamometer to demonstrate real-time power and torque levels. They also include leather performance seats, specialized red seat belts, and a premium sound system. Not only does this car perform amazingly, but it looks fantastic.
Experience Thrills Like No Other in the 2021 Dodge Challenger
Most thrill-seeking drivers know whether or not they need a muscle car in their garage. Narrowing down the options might be a harder task. Comparing the trims of the 2021 Dodge Challenger is a chore as there are so many options to choose from, but it is one I’m sure you will enjoy. After all, the sheer amount of power and exhilaration that lies in wait behind the wheel is plenty to keep you excited as you decide on your perfect model.
Several packages are available at each trim level to help drivers fine-tune their Challenger to their needs, especially if those needs are performance or appearance-related. Options such as high-performance brakes, specialized colors, and unique badging are available for that customized experience. At every trim level, however, and regardless of any optional package or upgraded feature, the 2021 Dodge Challenger remains a true experience. From 1970 to today, the Challenger has brought a certain something to the automobile world, from its very vocal approach to its bold, aggressive stance. A Dodge Challenger would look very good in your driveway.