Jesus Garcia/ The Paisano
I would like to thank Ancira Chrysler on 10807 IH-10 West for allowing me to use their car for this review.
First impression reviews are automotive reviews based on what a customer would experience if he or she personally went to a dealership. I am here to save you time while also giving you a real-world opinion,not a sales pitch.
Dodge has kept an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach when it comes to their Challenger. Since it first debuted in 2008 the Challenger has stayed relatively constant with the only improvements being done under the hood. I recently took a 2014 Challenger out for a spin to see what Dodge’s muscle car was all about.
The Challenger has been around for years now, so unless you have been living in a cave for almost a decade, you probably know what the car looks like. The menacing frontend is my favorite part about the car; just looking at it makes you feel like singing George Thorogood’s “Bad to the Bone.” The car I drove was a black base model.
I wanted to start at the very bottom of the Challenger line up before working my way up. The base models are powered by 3.6 liter 24 valve V6 with a 5-speed automatic transmission, which is the only option available for the V6 models. The 3.6 is no powder-puff as it cranks out a healthy 305 horsepower — more than enough grit to pull this car from point A to point B.
Even for a base model, it was well equipped with interior features such as audio controls on the steering wheel, keyless-go push button ignition, and loads of safety features such as side airbags, speed sensitive power locks, rain brake support and all speed traction control. It also came equipped with a trunk big enough to be a closet, and enough headroom in the cabin to allow an NBA player to wear a hat while driving.
Thanks to keyless go, a key is no longer needed to start the car. The key stays in your pocket as you walk up to the car, and the door will unlock when you pull on the handle. Once inside, just put your foot on the brake and push the start button.
Although it is marketed as a sports sedan, the car itself is one heavy machine. Driving out of the dealership, I felt the Challenger’s weight beneath my fingertips as I piloted it onto the open road. The steering is best described as firm, not heavy.
Out on the road, the 3.6 liter had no trouble getting up to speed, but being behind the wheel of a muscle car can make anyone’s foot feel just a little bit heavier. I had to stop myself from flooring it to see how fast it would let me go. Its brakes are excellent, a lot of cars have either really sensitive or really numb brakes (sensitive meaning that if you breathe on the pedal your face hits the wind shield, and numb meaning that you feel like you’re trying to stop a train as your foot sinks deeper into the floor board waiting for it to stop).
On the drive, I aimed for every pot hole I could see to test out the ride comfort of this car. Even with a sport suspension, the Challenger handled every bump like a Chrysler 300. It was a smooth ride for a performance car. The Challenger would be relaxing to drive during your daily commute but can quickly add excitement to your day if you push down on the loud pedal.
Overall the 2014 Challenger is a comfortable car to drive. Backed by a 5-year, 100,000 mile warranty, prices start at $26,000 and vary depending on optional add-ons. The Challenger also comes in a variety of performance packages such as the RT, RT Classic, SRT and ending with the granddaddy of them all, the 2015 Hellcat. If I had to sum up the 2014 Dodge Challenger, it would be with one phrase — “Tip of the iceberg,” because, as a base model, the car only gets better the higher you go on the option list.