Speaking volumes about the most basic version of Dodge’s new muscle car, the Challenger, the web page describing the four distinct models in the lineup won’t load the picture of the Challenger SE… as we speak. The $22,545 SE is not only the worst-performing model in the Challenger range, it’s also the most humble in appearance. Three factors contribute to what The Good Car Guy hopes will become the Challenger SE’s demise.
Firstly, that which was already declared. The Challenger SE has small wheels, huge wheelwells, and bodywork that is less aggressive than that of Honda’s Accord Coupe.
More importantly, the Challenger’s V6 is enough to move the car along as 250-horsepower is prone to do. But with 3,719 pounds, each horse must carry almost 15 pounds. In an Accord coupe, each of its V6-derived horses must bear just 12.7 pounds. Sure, the Accord is more expensive. That doesn’t remove the embarrassment from Challenger SE owners when, at a set of traffic lights, a trio of Japanese sedan-based midsize coupes (Altima, Solara, Accord) are significantly quicker than an American nomuscle car.
Finally, the exterior dimensions cause the Dodge Challenger SE to more naturally belong in a class with mid-90s Cadillac Coupe DeVilles and Chevrolet Monte Carlos than with a current Ford Mustang. This isn’t sporty, it’s touring. And the only way that’s allowable in Challenger form is with substantially more than 300 horsepower and a much more aggressive design. R/T and SRT8, thankin’ you.
Necessary Incentivizing To Switch To The Good 12 v2.0: Free 6.1L Hemi in a crate, overnighted via FedEx. Secondary crate full of 20″ wheels.
Anything Else? Don’t get the idea that the lack of other V6 ponycars in v2.0 of The Bad 8 is to their credit. The Good Car Guy is no fan of V6 Mustangs and hated older V6 Camaros. The Challenger SE is simply the worst of the lot.