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After owning a 2012 Dodge Challenger 392 for 13 months, here is a summary of my experience:

It is the most fun and satisfying car I've ever owned --right along with the Jeep Wrangler. It got me the most looks and thumbs-up from total strangers.

I never owned another car so many people freely praised, had import owners drooling over and even admit they desired to own one day.

Having gobs of torque at 2000 rpms is simply awesome and addicting; no other vehicle put a smile on my face like the Challenger did.

The quality of the interior materials, the fit and finish was at the top of its class; the sound of the doors closing, the feel of the clutch, the shifter linkage, steering and the suppleness of the suspension were all excellent; the exhaust note was music.

As awesome as my Challenger was it was not perfect:
  • The body panels felt flimsy: the roof tended to cave in under my hand each time I washed it, the front fenders made a creaking sound when I leaned on them, the rear bumper fascia bent easily with your hand, the side panels dinged easily.
  • The interior needs updating: although Dodge has done its best to upgrade the interior materials, the interior can easily be traced back to the mid-2000 LXs. That navigation is looking dated; the sound quality of the $2,000 premium audio system does not measure up to that of the same price you now get in the new Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger; the gauges and switchgear do not have the premium look and feel of those found in the 300/Charger, either.
  • The car is HUGE for a 2-door. While size gives the car road presence and comfort, rear visibility is non-existent. A backup camera is a must in a car like this.
All in all: it is a wonderful car and already miss it dearly.

Thoughts on the future of Dodge Challenger:

There is a TON EQUITY in the Dodge Challenger design and name. The iconic design is instantly recognizable, which keeps giving it momentum in the market --judging by the growing monthly sales numbers despite its age.

We hear that the Challenger will go away; that it will remain; that it will be replaced by the Cuda; that it won't, etc.

Dodge has an incredible opportunity to turn Challenger into the equivalent of a Viper or a Porsche 911 by retaining the styling, interior comfort and that engine sound, but continue refining it: making it lighter, nimbler, upgrading the interior; sharpening the driving dynamics, updating the bells and whistles, improving the fuel economy, etc.

Dropping the Challenger name for the Barracuda and tossing out the current styling in favor of something totally "fresh" would be an absolute waste --and an opportunity Dodge may never get back.
 

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I wish Challenger to stay and continue from a generation to another, hard and strong. But, I also pray not to see it coming out to repeat the Mitsu Challenger or Mustang II.
 

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Now you need to write about your 300 SRT8 experience and the difference between the two cars :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I will once the pain from not having that wonderful 6-speed eases a little...
 

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In browsing the used car listings locally, I'm astounded at how well the Challenger has retained it's resale value! I don't think I've ever seen another Dodge ward off depreciation as well as this one. If you compare Challenger to the Charger and Magnum of the same years, it's surprising at how much the Challengers still command on the used market.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, a year old Challenger 392 is still in the low 40k
 

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The Wranglers do pretty good too I think?
 

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Yes the Wrangler does pretty good. And at least here in metro Atlanta the on line price sites (like Edmunds) are thousands less than what used Wranglers actually sell for. I went 1.5 hours out of Atlanta to save about $1500 on my Wrangler and could probably sell it for more in town than I paid for it.

I was at the same point shopping for a Wrangler as when I bought the Challenger. If I wanted a 3.6 powered Wrangler I could have a new one for very little more than what used ones were going for. But the budget made me shop for a 3.8 powered older Wrangler.
 

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UN4GTBL said:
The Wranglers do pretty good too I think?
After I rolled my Wrangler, it was totaled by the insurance company. At three years old, they gave me nearly $6,000 more than I paid for it... that is something that has never happened to me before!
 

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MoparNorm said:
After I rolled my Wrangler, it was totaled by the insurance company. At three years old, they gave me nearly $6,000 more than I paid for it... that is something that has never happened to me before!
Nice!


Powdered Toast Man said:
Note that I said, "Dodge".
True lol
 

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I think it would be a bad deal if the Challenger went back into the history books. The 2 modern cars that need to stay in Dodges line up is the Charger and Challenger.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I finally had a chance today to enjoy my new 300 SRT: took it to Angeles Crest Hwy., the mountain road where I blew a tire in the Challenger --now carry a spare.

I was having second thoughts about having traded my Challenger after 13 months, especially because of how that 6-speed transmission transforms the SRT --and because of the stares and thumbs up from strangers.

But I am happy to report that this 300 SRT is a worthy replacement. While no automatic can compare to the feel of an excellent manual transmission, SRT did a fine job with the 300: the automatic downshifts quickly and holds the gears reasonably well up the power band. Once I engaged the Sport/Track suspension modes, the 300 did a very fine job in the twisties. It was a LOAD of fun!

The 300 is a bit of a sleeper compared to the Challenger, But I love how well put together this 300 feels: from the sound the doors and trunk make closing, to the excellent materials inside, to the feel of the switchgear, to the solidity of the body panels.

BTW, I had read that the 2013s added one additional mode to the suspension settings (from two modes in 2012 to three in 2013). However, I just found out that my 2012 came with three settings: Normal, Sport and Track. It was a nice surprise.. :)

Sunrise over the San Bernardino Mountains


Happy owner


On the way back


The route: 110 miles both ways
 

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Thanks for shareing, nice shots!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks, guys. We are very lucky to have such scenic roads here in California.


I've been driving the 300 in "Track" mode --which my 2012 was not supposed to have: it makes the auto shift more aggresively...and gives a fair approximation to shifting the manual transmission in the Challenger.
 

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Aldo said:
Thanks, guys. We are very lucky to have such scenic roads here in California.
Yes the many raods around here are just breath taking! I love driving through the Sequoia National Park, just amazing. Hy 1 is very scenic as well. I try once a year to get together with the Fiero club, we meet up in San Simeon and cruise North on the Hy 1, just some amazing drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hwy 1 through Big Sur is my favorite drive!

I took the Challenger up that way on Memorial Day weekend [sigh]
 

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...and just to the east of there, on a road less traveled... ;)

 
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