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2017 Dodge Challenger T/A and Dodge Charger Daytona:
Performance beyond the skin

by Patrick Rall

Last week, Dodge showed off the 2017 Charger Daytona and the 2017 Challenger T/A in front of a small group of media in Metro Detroit. Seeing these cars in person, I expect these cars to be smash hits with buyers when they hit the market. The Charger Daytona has proven its popularity in the past, but along with the new Challenger T/A, these cars are far more than just buzz models with unique paint and a sticker package.

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Allpar tests out a Charger Daytona

When I first began posting pictures of the 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona and the 2017 Dodge Challenger T/A, while checking out posts from other members of the media who were on hand, I saw some people accusing Dodge of rolling out a few new buzz models which were nothing more than stickers and wheels. Going beyond just looking at pictures of these cars, both the Charger Daytona and the Challenger T/A are far more serious than they seem at first glance.

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First off, let's look at the "base" versions of the new Charger Daytona and Challenger T/A. Each of these cars feature the 5.7L Hemi V8 with an active exhaust system, a cold air intake, and fairly elaborate exterior upgrades. With the Charger, the Daytona package adds the front fascia, the hood, the side skirts, the rear fascia, and a low profile spoiler from the SRT lineup; it also has unique wheels, Daytona badging, and unique black trim on the hood, roof, and across the rear end.

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For the Challenger T/A, the exterior gets the functional air-intake hood with a unique cold air intake, the active exhaust, the striping, and the awesome new dual air intake headlights - both of which have a lighted T/A logo on the inside. Finally, both of these basic packages include the Super Track Pak, optional on other cars, with better brakes, a half-inch ride height drop, and improved handling.

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Comparing the cars to the normal R/T versions, with the 5.7L Hemi, you get a unique body design, unique wheels, the sticker/badging package, the cold air intake, the active exhaust system, and the features of the Super Track Pak. It is hard to call a package that elaborate a sticker pack, and it will almost certainly appeal to those folks who want a more aggressive looking and better performing Charger R/T or Challenger R/T.

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When you step up to the more powerful versions of these new models - the Charger Daytona 392 and the Challenger T/A 392 - calling them sticker or stripe packages is just plain wrong.

The exterior design of each of the cars powered by the 6.4L Hemi is similar to the less powerful models, but they are the best performing vehicles in the market for such a low price point.

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The 2017 Challenger T/A 392 and Charger Daytona 392 both use the 485 hp Hemi, but unlike the Scat Pack cars, they include the massive Brembo brakes from the Hellcat models, with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers out back, lightweight 20 x 9.5 inch wheels in similar Pirelli tires to those found on the Hellcat models, and a standard Super Track Pak, with Bilstein sport suspension and a 3-mode stability system with a "full off" setting. They also have the active 2.75" exhaust system and sport tuned suspension.

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The Challenger T/A 392 pricing starts at $45,100 with destination and the Charger Daytona 392 starts at $46,100, so for well under $50,000, you get all of those features - making them both remarkable value cars.

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What Dodge has done here is take the popular R/T and Scat Pack models for the Challenger and Charger, and add a list of features that owners and prospective buyers have demanded. For example, Charger and Challenger R/T owners often want the more aggressive look of the Hellcat models, but they also want a little better performance.

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Rather than leaving it up to the buyer to get a cold air intake, a louder exhaust, and parts from the pricier models, Dodge has done the work, making the Challenger and Charger R/T slightly better in terms of performance, but far better in terms of look and feel.

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In the same way, Scat Pack Challenger owners often want a more aggressive exterior design, so Dodge has taken a handful of key features from the SRT models and added them to the Scat Pack, but they didn't stop at the appearance. The brakes, intake, exhaust, and sport suspension will make the Challenger T/A stronger than the Scat Pack.

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These models come as a result of Dodge listening to what buyers want from their muscle cars and having seen all of these cars in person, I love them. The Daytona will sell like hotcakes, and with the Challenger T/A, buyers can get one mean looking muscle car with the greatest level of performance shy of the Hellcat models. Best of all, these packages are all much less expensive than the SRT 392 models of each car.

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These aren't just flash, sticker packs, or stripe kits; they are the newest high performance packages for the Dodge Challenger and Charger. Unlike so many companies which focus strictly on one model, Dodge designed a Daytona and T/A package for the R/T and Scat Pack trimlines. This will allow them to appeal to a much broader audience, likely leading to continued sales growth for these wicked Mopar muscle cars.

1970 vs 2017 Challenger T/A

by David Zatz

Some have responded to the 2017 Dodge Challenger T/A by calling it a sticker package - but how close is it, in spirit, to the original cars?

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Created for racing homologation, the 1970 T/A used a 290-horsepower (gross) 340 cubic inch engine, with both performance and durability upgrades, along with a lift-off fiberglass hood and new spoilers. Dodge also increased the rear camber, and put in better tires; they also swapped in the Hemi suspension, putting a skid plate onto the K-frames, used thicker torsion and sway bars, and welded torque boxes ahead of the rear leaf springs. The T/A cars had a fast ratio steering box and differently sized front and rear tires, all designed to make it handle far better than a stock "E-body."

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Just as the current model lacks the Hellcat, the 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A did not have the most powerful engine you could get (not by a long shot).

The 2017 Dodge Challenger T/A comes with larger, lightweight wheels, high-performance summer tires, a free-flowing cat-back exhaust, cold air intake, and higher performance brakes and wheels (taken from SRT cars) along with their graphics packages. (See our prior coverage for pricing by model.)

The satin black hood includes a functional cold air intake that feeds the airbox, and is lit by LEDs at night. It has the traditional T/A hood hold-downs.

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In essence, the 392 version, which has Hellcat wheels, tires, and brakes, with SRT seats, is the Scat Pack with more upgrades.

The Challenger T/A comes standard with the normally-optional Super Track Pak, which includes a half-inch-lowered suspension, Bilstein shocks, better brakes, a special stability-control setup, and high performance tires.

T/A Plus and T/A 392 buyers get the Dodge Performance Pages, which provide performance information (e.g. 0-60 and G-force).

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The Challenger T/A 392 starts with the T/A Plus and adds the 392 engine, Hellcat-type "headlamp style" cold-air intakes, six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes, unique front suspension geometry, P275/40ZR20 Pirellis, 180 mph speedometer, and 220 amp alternator, among other things.

In the end, while all the new parts are "off the shelf" in one way or another - from Mopar or from Hellcats and other SRT cars, with the Track Pak option included - the new cars are indeed higher performance than the standard models, as the original Challenger T/A was. These are not "sticker packages" or cosmetic upgrades; they are mainly performance upgrades with appearance updates included.

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Overall, the new Challenger T/A is built in the same spirit as the original. The upgrades are not as extensive in terms of labor, but the work was already done for the Hellcat. Just as in 1970, you can get a car with a body and suspension created to handle far, far more horsepower, resulting in superior handling, and decorated to look the part.

1969 vs 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona

by David Zatz

There have been four Dodge Charger Daytonas, not including the front-wheel-drive Dodge Daytonas. How do they compare?

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The 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona was an aero package on top of the ordinary Dodge Charger, with a radical nose-cone to the front, a giant spoiler, flush rear glass, and other touches. A prepped car passed 200 mph, and they dominated some NASCAR tracks.

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The second was a style-seats-and-tires package (adding radials) for the Dodge Charger SE, with standard economy engines. Finally, in 2006, it was mainly a stripe-and-spoiler package for the Dodge Charger Hemi, with exhaust and suspension tuning that added 10 hp [review]; a 2013 edition was limited to appearance.

The 2017 has the 375-horse 5.7 and the 485-horse 6.4 Hemi. The latter easily outpowers any 1969-70 Dodge engine's official numbers, not to mention the competition.

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The Charger Daytona package adds $3,000 to the R/T Plus, using the same 5.7 engine but with an SRT front and rear, a 20x9 inch wheel, and 245 wide F1 tires. Straight line performance upgrades are limited to a cold air intake and a large-diameter cat-back exhaust.

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The Charger Daytona 6.4 adds the brake, tire, and wheel package from the Hellcat, with a leather SRT seat, plus a functional cold air intake, for under $45,000 ($46,100 with destination). This is the one that Dodge would probably prefer for you to compare to the original Charger Daytona. It won't hit the original's 0.28 drag coefficient, nor will it hit 200 mph unless you swap in a Hellcat engine.

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The Dodge Challenger T/A was a match for the 1970 car; the Charger Daytona is, though, nothing like the 1969-1970 cars. Still, it's right on the mark of every "Charger Daytona" made since then - indeed, it raises the bar.

Allpar tests out a Charger Daytona

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