June 22, 2020

The 2020 Dodge Challenger Breaks Through the Limits of Power and Performance

The 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T is a pure American muscle car, in every sense of the word. In these times where everyone is switching to more eco-friendly options, the Dodge Challenger R/T still runs on dead dinosaurs.

It still retains its bold ‘old school’ styling and the boisterous V8 sound reminiscent of the oldies of the 60s and 70s but packs serious artillery of performance and modern tech. All the Challenger R/Ts are straight-line monsters and burnout machines with a comfortable interior and very lazy steering.

A hoot to drive a car, the Challenger R/T power slides on demand! Just pin the throttle and feel the rear-end loose traction and disappear into a cloud of tire smoke. You get RWD and 6-speed manual as standard (the perfect recipe!). You can spec up to the 8-speed auto for some extra $.

What’s new for 2020?

20-inch wheels are now standard across the R/T range with the width varying from 8-inches to 11-inches, depending on which variant you choose. There’s a new 50th Anniversary Edition on the block which will be a limited run and will also be available as a package.

Also, there are new paint schemes available to make the Challenger R/T stand apart on the road. Dodge also adds new exterior badging for the 2020 model year. The interior gains new ‘Caramel Alcantara’ as an option and the leather interiors get premium stitching on the upper door panels and on the dashboard.

How does it perform?

You don’t say? Want some stats? 0-60 in 4.9 seconds. It completes a quarter-mile run in 11.7 seconds at 115 miles per hour. You get a 5.7L HEMI V8 belting out 375 ponies and 410 lb-ft and a more powerful 6.4L HEMI with 485 ponies and 475 lb-ft. Then there’s the V8 growl that comes outta the exhaust.

You have a Tremec TR-6060 6-speed manual as standard. If you spend a little more $, you can spec up your R/T with a TorqueFlite ZF 8HP70 8-speed auto. While shifting the manual has a human factor in the equation, the auto doesn’t. The shifts are smooth and overtaking isn’t a problem because of the auto’s quick response.

Now let’s see how much of the dead dinosaur juice will the R/T drink. EPA estimates that the 5.7L HEMI gives you an mpg of 15 in the city, 23 on the freeways, and 18 combined. Whereas, the 6.4L HEMI gives an mpg of 14 in the city 23 on the highway and a combined of 17 mpg. Remember folks, these figures are when you drive the Challenger R/T sensibly. Let’s be honest to ourselves, we aren’t getting that sensible in a Challenger, are we?

You get a lot of metal to carry around in the twisty roads. Owing to all the weight and the lazy steering it has, the Challenger R/T is not the ideal vehicle if you want to maintain a perfect line around corners. The huge dimensions are always in the back of your mind when you got to the track or are navigating through the traffic in the city.

The setup, though, is exceptionally comfortable for a HEMI powered car. The Bilstein adaptive damping system soaks up imperfections with aplomb. The really big bumps are the ones that might unsettle the Challenger R/T. There is no pony out there that can compete with the 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T in daily comfort.

What are the trims on offer?

Dodge offers the Challenger R/T in two flavours

  • R/T – $36,090
  • R/T Scat Pack – $41,490

The R/T gets the 5.7 HEMI V8 under its bonnet and a lot of features from Dodge like Houndstooth cloth upholstery, power driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, 20-inch wheels, 7.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. There are paddle shifters available too (for the 8-speed auto) along with a performance suspension with adaptive damping and a functional hood scoop.

The R/T Scat Pack adds the 6.4L HEMI V8 Brembo brakes, launch control (yep), heated front seats, heated steering wheel, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, and an upgraded engine cooling. Now, that’s a lot for the price difference of $5,400!

How safe is this pony?

Dodge has equipped the Challenger R/T with a lot of safety tech on board. It has the following active safety tech available:

  • Automatic high-beam headlamps
  • Blind-spot monitoring system
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Full speed forward collision warning
  • Rear backup camera

Some of the passive safety techs include:

  • Crumple zones
  • High strength steel frame
  • 6 airbags

Now, that’s a lot of safety that Dodge is providing. The Dodge Challenger R/T scores 4 stars on the NHTSA crash ratings in frontal crash and rollover tests. It has not yet been tested for side crash ratings. But, to give you better peace of mind, the 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T has a 5-star rating for the side crash. The ratings are expected to be similar because structurally, the 2020 model year is the same as 2019. The scores from the IIHS are….average.

Should you go for the Dodge Challenger R/T?

With a stick shifter, a powerful V8, and RWD as standard, the Challenger R/T offers power slides on demand. It is a hoot to drive and car enthusiasts wet dream (albeit with the more powerful 6.4L HEMI)! The HEMIs are thirsty, though. You get a very luxurious interior and a lot of tech features inside.

There are a lot of active and passive safety features on board. It is not as good as sports cars in the corners or twisty roads and might feel like a boat in handling, but do you care if you can leave a cloud of smoke behind if you pin the throttle? If you don’t you should definitely go ahead with the 2020 Dodge Challenger R/T without a spec of doubt!

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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