THE PROS & CONS
- What’s Best: The Challenger blends the best of muscle car nostalgia with today’s tech and amenities. And Mopar accessories allow for a varied palette for personalization.
- What’s Worst: The Challenger is a little big, a little porky for true sporty performance.
- What’s Interesting: Considering the above, rumour has it that a future version slated for 2019 might be based on the smaller, lighter Alfa Romeo Giulia rear-wheel-drive platform with a potential high-performance version reaching a 750 hp plateau.
The novelty might have worn off a little since the Dodge Challenger name was resurrected from the dead a decade ago.
But the glow of attraction still lingers on for anyone who appreciates sheer automotive power and muscle car era nostalgia.
And, in this particular case, the optional Redline Tri-Coat Pearl paint job wasn’t hurting the overall effect either.
I was standing beside the test car, alternatively admiring the Challenger’s lines and then glancing back through its Mopar add-on list.
Okay, a Suspension Upgrade Kit, check.
Yup, the lowered ride height was obvious and complemented the aggressive stance on big, optional 20-inch Matte Black lightweight forged aluminum wheels.
And the spec sheet also listed a few under-the-hood accessories to help nudge the power numbers skyward. But I was having a little trouble getting past one line item.
“Hmmm,” I muttered aloud to myself, “the Mopar Gas Cap . . ”
Yup, there it was on the car. Nice, round and shiny, technically a chrome fuel filler door, and wearing the big blue “M” for Mopar.
“But $263? For a gas cap?”
My Dutch bargain-hunting heritage might have been peeking through here but, let’s face it, if you want a Challenger you are going to be spending more money than you would buying some econobox grocery-getter.
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And there are, of course, plenty of ways to spend money on a Challenger, with models ranging from entry-level SXT V6 poseurs to the top-of-the-line Hemi V8 Hellcat halo car.
Prices stretch from around a $30K starting point to over $75K at the upper end.
And the selection also includes four powertrains – a 305 hp 3.6-litre V6, a 375 hp 5.7-litre Hemi V8, a 485 hp 6.4-litre Hemi V8 and the astounding 707 hp 6.2-litre supercharged Hemi Hellcat V8, with all of those engines matched to varying versions of standard eight-speed automatics or optional six-speed manual transmissions. Not to mention Scat Packs, premium groups and numerous options.
If this all sounds familiar, well, I’d just recently tested an SRT 392 model. Which almost made me baulk at doing another Challenger review, especially a 2016 model when so many 2017 versions were already on sale.
Also Read: Facing the Challenger SRT 2016
But this 2016 Challenger, based on an R/T trim level, takes a kind of do-it-yourself approach to customization outside of factory packages and options, with a list of dealer-installed or self-installed performance parts and accessories made available from FCA Canada’s Mopar catalogues. And that DIY way of bolstering your ride with OEM extras is relevant to any model-year Challenger, whether you’re considering a new purchase or just hoping to jazz up your existing ride.
Our tester was a Challenger R/T trim level ($39,895), harnessing already hefty power from an included 5.7-litre Hemi V8 to the tune of 375 hp and 410 lb/ft of torque, that muscle matched to an optional six-speed TREMEC manual transmission ($1,000).
A well-padded and inclusive list of standard equipment at the R/T level includes leather appointments, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment and a whole lot more, bolstered even further by a factory-installed packages and options.
And then the list of Mopar accessories totalling $4,360.00 comes into play adding:
- Cat-back Exhaust P51160040AB $2,020.00
- Suspension Upgrade Kit (shocks, springs, isolators, rear strut mounts) P155435AD $861.00
- Front Strut Tower Brace Kit P5155950 $408.00
- Cold Air Intake 77070044C $615.00
- Short Throw Shifter P5155284AB $193.00
- Mopar Gas Cap 82212406 $263.00
The cat-back exhaust and cold air intake systems improve engine breathing, add a little extra snort to the exhaust sound and should put a few extra ponies to work under the hood.
The tower brace kit and suspension upgrades are designed to tighten up the handling. And the other extras just add a little boy-racer bling to the overall effect.
This is just a typical mix of performance and handling tweaks blended with a couple of feel-good cosmetic upgrades. And it takes a bit of research to decide whether your particular purchase should be bumped up to higher, more inclusive trim levels or whether your needs will be met with these kind of individual option packages and accessories.
But with Mopar’s long list of available parts and performance edges, customers have almost limitless customization choices when it comes to playing to the tune of their own personal preferences.
Yup, choices galore.
Still not sure about that $263.00 gas cap though . . .
Dodge Challenger R/T 2016 with Mopar add-ons
BODY STYLE: intermediate performance coupe.
DRIVE METHOD: front-engine, rear-wheel drive.
ENGINE: 5.7-litre Hemi V8 (375 hp, 410 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: 15.6/10L/100km (city/hwy); As tested 14.2L/100km (comb) (91)
CARGO CAPACITY: 459 litres
PRICE: MSRP $39,895. As tested $45,435 incl Redline Tri-Coat Pearl ($300), 6MT ($1,000), 20-inch Matte Black forged aluminum wheels ($900), Tech Group ($250), Destination Charge ($1,795).
MOPAR ACCESSORY PRICE: $4,360