The least expensive way to join the Challenger’s brotherhood of muscle is through the entry-level V-6 model—the only two-door muscle car to offer all-wheel drive. Get behind the wheel of any R/T model to experience the sound and fury of a Hemi V-8, either a 375-hp 5.7-liter or a 485-hp 6.4-liter. We review the supercharged SRT Hellcat separately. Compared with the Chevy Camaro or Ford Mustang, the Challenger is larger and less athletic. However, it rides smoother and offers more comfortable passenger accommodations. And while the 2022 Challenger is marred by mediocre interior materials and an unsatisfying manual transmission, it’s still a cool coupe that regularly reminds its driver of a bygone era.
What’s New for 2022?
For 2022, Dodge does what Dodge does by not making any significant changes to the Challenger lineup. The only difference between last year’s models is that the R/T Scat Pack now includes a deluxe security alarm. This feature is also now included with the Convenience Group package.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We’d select the R/T Scat Pack model for its 485-hp 6.4-liter V-8. Believe it or not, we’d opt for the $1595 eight-speed automatic over the standard manual transmission because it’s much more responsive than the slushy-feeling stick shift. We’d also add the adaptive dampers for adjustable ride quality, and the Dynamics package for its wide 20-inch wheels, six-piston Brembo front brakes, and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The Plus package improves the interior with ambient lighting, faux-sued seat inserts, and much nicer materials on the dashboard and doors. It requires the Driver Convenience Group, too, which brings blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross-traffic alert, power mirrors, and high-intensity-discharge headlights.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Challenger’s base 305-hp V-6 won’t satisfy thrill-seekers. The modest engine mates exclusively to the eight-speed automatic. The Dodge’s Hemi V-8 engines are another story. The 375-hp 5.7-liter we tested had plenty of juice to powerslide on demand, and its guttural growl was gratifying. Those looking to maximize the Challenger’s potential will want the 6.4-liter V-8, which produces 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. We also drove the T/A 392 with the automatic and baritone roar when prodded. The Challenger hustles through corners like a raging bull seeing red, snorting aggressively, and swaying threateningly. The burly Dodge is a muscle car in the truest sense: It’s better on the street and the drag strip than on two lanes and road courses. Compared with the sharper and stickier handling of the Camaro and Mustang, however, the Challenger is too soft in tight turns and its steering is too numb. The slow-to-react helm is well suited to leisurely drives and easily controlled power-induced tail slides.