2023 Dodge Challenger, All you want to know & watch about a Great Car
2023 Dodge Challenger Buyers Can Get a Vinyl Wrap With All 14 Challenger Paint Colors On It
That’s a ton of paint colors… and they look surprisingly good smashed together on a single Challenger.
The 2023 Dodge Challenger will mark the end of the line, at least for Challengers powered by gas engines. Yep, Dodge is going electric, and while that transition is happening in a big and splashy—and, shockingly, loud—way in the form of the new Challenger Daytona SRT EV, in the nearer term Dodge fans are being treated to a parade of Last Call special-edition models.
Even though those all come in unique paint colors and with snazzy extras, Dodge has one more trick up its sleeve: A wild 3M wrap for 2023 Challengers that manages to incorporate all 14 of the muscle coupe’s available paint colors on a single car.
No, this isn’t some weirdo one-off art car Dodge is shopping for attention with at the upcoming SEMA show in Las Vegas—it’s an actual wrap that actual customers can purchase for $3,700. Per Dodge Garage, that doesn’t include installation, which it is recommended takes place at a professional 3M specialist local to you. It isn’t entirely clear how the wrap gets to you and/or the installer of your choice, but we figure Dodge ultimately will ship the necessary design to your installer post-sale.
No matter how the wrap finds itself wrapped on your new ’23 Challenger, it’ll look sweet as all get-out. Starting from the nose and working backwards, there are stripes of Plum Crazy, Frostbite, B5 Blue, Sublime, F8 Green, Go Mango, Sinamon Stick, Octane Red, Torred, Triple Nickel, Destroyer Grey, Granite, and White Knuckle stretching cross-ways atop the Challenger’s big body.
If your Challenger fails to terrorize your neighbors with future late-night burnouts and loud, full-throttle rips up the street—c’mon, you just know that anytime you hear a V-8 roar and someone flagrantly violating the peace, it’s probably a Dodge—this wrap will ensure you can assault their visual senses, too. Dodge should find ways to shove the Challenger in front of your other senses—gasoline smell, anyone? A perfect add-on for the Octane Red section! What if every stripe of color on this wrap also tasted like something?
We’d enjoy Go Mango, Sublime, Plum Crazy, and Sinamon Stick, though we’re less certain about Triple Nickel (does it taste like an old coin?) or Frostbite (does your tongue just stick to it like a frozen pole?). Hey, we’re just idea people spittin’ ideas here, Dodge—so next time you need a hand marketing your dying muscle car, give us a call after CG Detroit, the graphics outfit behind this wrap.
- The 2023 Dodge Challenger Black Ghost is the latest “Last Call” special edition, using the widebody Hellcat Redeye as its foundation.
- The Black Ghost gains an extra 10 horsepower for a grand total of 807 hp and is painted Pitch Black with a gator-skin vinyl roof pattern.
- This look mirrors that of the original Black Ghost, a 1970 Challenger R/T that gained a mythical aura in the Detroit street racing scene. Only 300 2023 models will be built.
Dodge is nearly finished unveiling its Last Call special edition Challengers and Chargers, with the latest, the 2023 Challenger Black Ghost, representing the sixth out of seven sendoff variants for the V-8–powered muscle cars. The Black Ghost is based on the widebody SRT Hellcat Redeye model, but it boosts the supercharged 6.2-liter V-8’s output by 10 ponies to a total of 807 horsepower.
The Black Ghost name comes from a 1970 Challenger R/T SE that prowled the streets of Detroit five decades ago. Owned by a man named Godfrey Qualls, who was a Detroit motorcycle police officer at the time, the black ’70 Challenger earned legendary status for showing up to stoplight drag races on Woodward Avenue and other local strips, winning, and then disappearing into the night like a 426 Hemi–powered apparition.
The original Black Ghost was inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register in 2020 after Qualls’s son, Gregory, helped return it to road-worthy status when his father bestowed the car upon him before his death in 2015. The car is still owned by the Qualls family.
For the 2023 homage, Dodge will paint 300 Challenger Hellcat Redeyes in Pitch Black with a black faux-gator-skin roof vinyl that mimics the look of the original. The Black Ghost edition also features a chrome “Dodge” front badge, a white stripe on the rear fender, and chrome script “Challenger” badges on the grille, front fender, and rear spoiler. The Black Ghost rides on 20-inch Satin Carbon wheels, and stopping power comes via black six-piston Brembo brakes.
The interior is also black, with seats and doors wrapped in Alcantara and Laguna leather and a red SRT logo adorning the Alcantara steering wheel. The instrument panel receives a special Black Ghost badge that includes the iconic Dodge Fratzog logo and a gator-scale pattern, as well as carbon-fiber bezels. Orders open this fall, and you can expect the Black Ghost to cost significantly more than the standard $87,340 Challenger Hellcat Redeye.
- HIGHS: Gutsy Hemi V-8s, available all-wheel drive, surprisingly comfortable ride.
- LOWS: Handling’s a little too old-school, déclassé cabin materials.
- VERDICT: The Challenger’s vintage appearance perfectly matches its throwback, muscle-car road manners.
While rival muscle cars have pivoted recently toward sharp handling, the 2023 Dodge Challenger keeps things retro with a package that’s designed more for old-school pony-car jollies and straight-line speed. A V-6 engine is standard in these non-SRT Challengers but the real fun comes with the optional naturally aspirated Hemi V-8 engines, which are offered in a variety of displacements and outputs spanning a 375-hp, 5.7-liter to a 485-hp, 6.4-liter.
If you want even more power, Dodge will be happy to oblige with the big-stomper Challenger SRT Hellcat, which we review separately. The regular Challenger isn’t as intense as the outrageous Hellcat, but for some its V-8 burble and relatively comfortable ride will be enough to trigger nostalgic feelings for the vintage Dodge pony cars with which it shares a name. Enthusiast drivers will find modern versions of the Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford Mustang more capable on twisty roads and racetracks, but the Challenger’s old-school charm is undeniable.
What’s New for 2023?
This year marks the end of an era for the Challenger coupe as Dodge prepares a next-generation model, likely with an electric powertrain. The 2023 Challenger wears special commemorative plaques under the hood to indicate the final model year of the current generation, and Dodge will offer popular colors from the car’s past, including Plum Crazy, B5 Blue, and Sublime Green.
All R/T models gain a new “345” badge on the front fender to pay tribute to the Hemi V-8 engine that resides under the car’s long, vented hood. The first of these seven special editions Dodge is calling the Shakedown. Only 1000 will be built. The Shakedown edition will be split between the 485-hp R/T Scat Pack and its Widebody twin and likely cost between $55k–$65k.
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 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-suede 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, but in the heavy Challenger, it lacks the acceleration and excitement of rivals. 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 admired the exhaust’s cannon-blast startup sound and baritone roar when prodded. While we’re suckers for a manual transmission, the automatic is incredibly responsive to throttle inputs, with quick power-on downshifts. 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. Since the lineup’s redesign in 2015, the models we’ve driven have offered a compliant ride that’s comfortable but a bit unrefined. 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.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The rear-drive, V-6-powered Challenger is estimated to earn 19 mpg city and 30 highway. Adding all-wheel drive into the mix lowers those ratings by 1 and 3 mpg, respectively. Challengers with the 5.7-liter V-8 are expected to earn up to 16 mpg city and 25 highway.
Versions with the 6.4-liter V-8 are rated up to 15 mpg city and 24 highway. We’ve tested the all-wheel-drive V-6 Challenger and one with the 485-hp V-8 and automatic transmission on our 75-mph real-world route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen. Surprisingly, they both earned 26 mpg on the highway. For more information about the Challenger’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Challenger has a classic muscle-car interior, with a simple design inspired by its 1970s-era predecessors and comfortable accommodations. Compared with its pony-car rivals, the Dodge is far roomier inside, and adults can actually use the back seat. Unfortunately, its rubberized materials resemble old vinyl rather than premium plastic, and rear visibility is lousy. The Challenger’s broad front seats are comfortable for cruising, but even the optional seats, which have added bolstering, don’t hug their occupants the way those in the Camaro or Mustang do.
Dodge’s pony car has an extra seven cubic feet of cargo space in its trunk versus the Camaro. This allows the Challenger to swallow two more bags of luggage than the Camaro. Fold the back seats down and that advantage grows to six. The Challenger has a big center-console bin and a useful spot for a smartphone. Still, none of the cars we tested in this class was particularly adept at storing small items.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every Challenger has a version of Dodge’s easy-to-use Uconnect infotainment system. The feature-filled unit includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration as standard equipment. Looking to get the Led out? Listen to Jimmy Page’s spine-tingling guitar riffs with one of two optional Alpine audio systems or the crème-de-la-crème 900-watt, 18-speaker Harman/Kardon setup.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
This old-school coupe is available with some driver-assistance technology, but buyers wanting more advanced tech will need to look elsewhere. For more information about the Challenger’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
- Available adaptive cruise control
- Available automatic high-beams
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Challenger has average limited and powertrain warranties. Unlike BMW and Chevrolet, Dodge doesn’t provide any complimentary scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
PRICE AS TESTED: $53,995 (base price: $46,590)
ENGINE TYPE: pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection
Displacement: 391 cu in, 6410 cc
Power: 485 hp @ 6100 rpm
Torque: 475 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Wheelbase: 116.2 in
Length: 198.0 in
Width: 75.7 in Height: 55.9 in
Passenger volume: 94 cu ft
Trunk volume: 16 cu ft
Curb weight: 4274 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 4.2 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 9.3 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 16.0 sec
Zero to 150 mph: 24.2 sec
Rolling start, 5-60 mph: 4.3 sec
Top gear, 30-50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50-70 mph: 2.6 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.5 sec @ 116 mph
Top speed (drag limited, mfr’s claim): 176 mph
Braking, 70-0 mph: 151 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.93 g
EPA combined/city/highway: 18/15/25 mpg
C/D observed: 17 mpg
C/D observed 75-mph highway driving: 26 mpg
C/D observed highway range: 480 mi
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