2019 Dodge Challenger GT All-Wheel-Drive Blacktop
Class: Sporty/Performance Car
Miles Driven: 342
Fuel Used: 18.3 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||B|
|Fit and Finish||B-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||305-hp 3.6L|
|Drive Wheels||All-wheel drive|
Real-world fuel economy: 18.7 mpg
Driving mix: 50% city, 50% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 18/27/21 (city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Regular gasoline
Base price: $33,295 (not including $1395 destination charge)
Options on test car: Cold Weather Group ($495), Blacktop Package ($995), Driver Convenience Group ($1095), Harman Kardon Audio Group w/ subwoofer ($1595), Uconnect navigation package ($1095)
Price as tested: $39,965
The great: Nostalgic styling; all-wheel-drive traction; comfortable ride
The good: Spacious cabin and trunk for a sporty coupe
The not so good: Aged platform; handling isn’t as crisp as most class competitors; mediocre fuel economy in mixed driving; rear-seat entry/exit
If driving the Dodge Challenger GT has become like walking a well-trod path, at least this time Consumer Guide did it in a new pair of hiking boots.
Without substantial engineering change to the V6 all-wheel-drive version of Dodge’s seemingly unkillable sports coupe, the 2019 job springs no performance surprises. What was true of the 2017 and ’18 GTs that CG sampled is true of this one. At least the 2019 test car was optioned a little differently than the others. This time we got one without suede-and-leather seats. It also came with a Blacktop appearance package, which is a little different from the option group of the same name that’s available for rear-drive Challengers.
One potential point of interest for AWD devotees is that the GT no longer is the only Challenger with that driveline. The entry-level SXT now comes in a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive—and the GT has added a rear-wheel companion that effectively fills the slot that had been held down by the former SXT Plus. GTs run $2700 more than comparably motivated SXTs. (At either trim level all-wheel drive comes at a $3000 premium over rear drive.)
For quick visual distinction, the 2019 GT gets a hood of its own—sort of. It features the medium-width single-slot scoop found on R/T Scat Pack Challengers—and first used by Hellcats—but without those cars’ air-extractor vents.
Beneath that bonnet rests the 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 that’s been the base Challenger engine since 2011. Available only with a fine 8-speed automatic transmission, the V6 is a decent performer overall, but cars with the added weight of the AWD components stand to be the slowest Challengers. EPA fuel-economy estimates for this powerteam are 18 mpg in city driving, 27 on the highway, and 21 combined. With a clear majority of highway operation, CG’s 2017 test car notched 25.9 mpg. However, in the two years since then, runs that had equal or near-equal city/highway balance were right around 18.7.
A wide stance and a longer wheelbase than practically any other modern sporty coupe make for a pretty enjoyable ride, though the overall heft never lets you forget you’re handling a fairly large automobile. At least the all-wheel drive imparts a secure feel of grip on wet pavement or when hustling up exit ramps. An active transfer case decouples the front axle for more-efficient driving when demand for grip is low. All of the engine’s torque is directed to the rear wheels. Should sensors suss out the need for extra traction, the system discretely engages the front axle and channels up to 38 percent of the available torque to it. Selecting the “Sport” driving mode or shifting manually, via steering-wheel paddle shifters, holds the driveline in all-wheel drive.
The $995 Blacktop Package ought to appeal to drivers who like a “stealth” look. The 19-by-7.5-inch alloy wheels are painted in a “Black Noise” finish. There’s a satin-black decklid spoiler, black fuel-filler door, gloss-black grille, and black badging on the grille and body. Inside, the trim rings around the instrument dials are gloss black, too.
CG’s 2019 GT test car topped out at $39,965 with delivery and all options. Other extras from a trio of option groups included things like blind-spot and rear cross-traffic detection; 18-speaker Harman Kardon enhanced audio system; and the 4C version of the corporate Uconnect infotainment system with navigation, an easy-to-use 8.4-inch touchscreen, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, satellite and HD radio, and Dodge Performance Pages vehicle monitors and timers. Notable standard equipment includes rear parking assist, push-button starting, Apple Car Play/Android Auto smartphone connectivity, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob, 6-way power driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Accommodations for people and their stuff are as unchanged as the Challenger itself has been. In other words, there’s better rear-seat passenger room for two than in most sporty coupes, but with a big hit to over-the-shoulder driver vision. It will take a high lift to get cargo in the trunk, but there will be room for lots of whatever you’re carrying. See? We have been down this road before.
Challenger GT Blacktop