This Powerful Midsize Muscle Car Has Many Of Latest Advancements In Connectivity and Safety

What changes will make it different?

Since this muscle car throwback only just received its first major re-engineering since taking on its current form in 2007, we shouldn’t really expect anything to change for ’16. To be fair, the latest updates are cool enough to keep us going for at least a year or two. Subtly enhanced styling, a much-needed interior upgrade, new engines, improved suspension and a new eight-speed transmission have all combined to make the 2015 Challenger even more desirable than it was already.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

There seems to be little reason to do so, as it is likely to be a carryover.

Should I buy a 2015 model instead?

It took almost eight years for Dodge to come up with the improvements we see in ’15, so if you’ve been holding back, now’s the time to buy one. There aren’t likely to be more radical changes for quite some time, which means the only reason you should overlook a ’15 model is if you’re not a fan of the car.

Will the styling be different?

The subtle styling changes for the ’15 can almost be considered radical for the Challenger, which means there won’t be much tinkering with its unabashed retro-1970s design. Even the most modest of styling tweaks are unlikely to appear as soon as the ’16 edition. And that’s fine because the new split grille in the slimmer front opening and the pronounced and fully functional “power bulge” hood are all that were needed to keep things fresh.

Any mechanical changes?

For the reasons we’ve already stated, mechanical tweaks aren’t likely to be part of the equation. In addition to an engine lineup that includes a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6, a 375-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and the new 6.4-liter Hemi V-8, the 2015 model features a new eight-speed automatic transmission and an uprated suspension.

Will fuel economy improve?

While improved fuel economy is a major priority with just about every model that’s launched these days, this brand makes no sacrifices in the pursuit of better gas mileage. If fuel frugality is high on your list of priorities, you really shouldn’t even be looking at this car. That said, the model-year ’15 economy figures actually aren’t too bad for this type of offering. The V-6 models get close to 30 mpg on the highway, while most of the others deliver near or above 25 mpg. Even the awesome 707-horsepower SRT Hemi Hellcat scores 22 mpg or better on the highway when paired with the automatic transmission.

Will it have new features?

This may look like a hardcore muscle car, but the interior is now awash in features that make it feel futuristic, especially on a long journey. The dash has a modern-looking instrument cluster that features a fully customizable seven-inch TFT center display screen (with an option for an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen system with navigation to really bring this retro beast into the 21st century). Since the car has just been overhauled, it’s not necessary for the manufacturer to unveil a bunch of new features. Some tweaks to goodies like the Uconnect software are always a possibility, but don’t expect much more for a while.

How will 2016 prices be different?

With the 2015 prices starting at a modest $27,990 for the V-8 R/T and the V-6 SXT, this brand delivers a lot of bang for your buck. Even the range-topping SRT, with its 707-horsepower Hemi Hellcat powerplant, has an MSRP of $60,990 (including the $1,700 gas-guzzler tax), which is a pretty good bargain. It’s unlikely that prices will rise for the 2016 model year, especially in the face of stiff competition from an all-new version of the Mustang, which has always had a reputation for being a great value.

What Is the Expected Release Date?

The ’15 arrived quite late in 2014, but since no great changes seem to be in store for the upcoming version, it could hit showrooms by late summer of ’15.

Best competitors

Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan 370Z, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Corvette Stingray

What changes would make it better?

Ironically, the few things that would make the Challenger better would probably ruin it. There’s a real lack of outward visibility, and despite the generous amount of room in the rear of the vehicle, getting into the back seats is very awkward. But addressing those issues would mean spoiling the car’s classic styling—and that simply isn’t an option. Fuel economy is another issue, but no one buys this vehicle for its gas mileage anyway.

Quick hit

As far as we’re concerned, this classic muscle car is now pretty well sorted. While it will always be seen as competing with the Camaro and Mustang, it is considerably bigger than both, and Dodge plans to introduce an entirely new model in the near future to compete on a more even playing field with those two. We’re not sure if the new addition to the family will be called the Barracuda, Avenger or something else, but we do know that the Challenger remains a true icon.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]