2018 Dodge Challenger GT Drivers' Notes Review | The right car for the season

Autoblog Staff

Associate Editor Joel Stocksdale: Dodge uses the GT trim on the Challenger to denote its V6 all-wheel-drive model, but it seems apt for reasons besides that. The Challenger, even with a V6, is an excellent, affordable American grand tourer. It's still extremely stylish, despite barely changing looks since its introduction for the 2008 model year. The solid gray on this one was particularly attractive.

It also seemed appropriate considering the Challenger's battleship size. This thing is truly massive. That's beneficial in the sense that it has an enormous trunk (perfect for touring), but not so much for maneuvering. But thankfully, it's easy to spot the corners, which helps a lot. The Challenger is a pretty able handler, too. It feels composed in corners, not too heavy, only mild body roll, and steering that weights up very naturally. The ride is relatively comfortable. It takes the edge off of most pavement imperfections, but you feel more than you might expect.

So the Challenger has the style, space, and a decent balance of sportiness and comfort — which just leaves one thing left to address, the powertrain. And as it turns out, the V6 actually works quite nicely in the big Dodge. Under full throttle, you get an angry, throaty honk from the intake that, while not as smooth and classic as a V8, is still fairly satisfying. It also has more than adequate acceleration, if not exhilarating. It's a combo that makes not only a fun affordable GT car, but just a solid commuter with an extra dose of style. The only caveat is that if you need something more truly sporty, you may still want to look at a Camaro or Mustang.

Associate Editor Reese Counts: I spent the latter half of last week in Idaho and Wyoming driving a pretty sweet Nissan 370Z in the snow. That car was equipped with tracks and skis and allowed me to do some pretty dumb things with few repercussions, though it was one of the loudest and most uncomfortable cars I've ever driven. Coming home to Detroit and a Destroyer Grey Challenger GT was a very nice change of pace.

The thing is, this car is still plenty capable in the snow. I like the Challenger quite a bit, especially in the bonkers Hellcat and Demon guise. But not everyone needs a 700-plus horsepower brute that guzzles gas with a nearly unequalled thirst. The Challenger GT checks a lot of boxes. It looks good, it's comfortable, roomy and thanks to all-wheel drive, genuinely usable year round.

I do wish it had more grunt, but the V6 is fine and far easier on gas than any of the V8 options. There's likely a packaging issue that prevents the all-wheel drive system from fitting with a V8, and I don't expect Dodge to chop up the car to fix it.

In the snow, the all-wheel drive is a huge help. Rear-wheel drive and all-season tires are not a great winter combination, but the Challenger pulls and claws its way through the powder. I'm sure it's good in the rain, too, though I didn't have an opportunity to try. I think I still prefer the Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro, but if you only want a big, comfy coupe, you could do a hell of a lot worse than this Dodge.

Senior Producer Christopher McGraw: When I woke up this morning to snap photos of the Challenger GT and looked outside, I was dreading the thought of getting in the car and driving even a mile down the road. More than six inches of snow had fallen since last night, and the county has been less than stellar this year about plowing the roads near my house.

Thirty minutes later, though, I was having a blast in the Challenger GT, getting it sideways around corners, yet in complete control. It is incredible to me how different the AWD version of the car feels compared to the RWD. In weather like this, you couldn't pay me enough to take a Challenger anywhere; I value my life too much. But a few minutes behind the wheel of the GT, and you know you're going to have a good time.

This is the third time I've driven this car, and even though it is fitted with the V6 and not the V8, it still has plenty of power. I was merging onto an empty freeway yesterday on my way into work and floored it. While this is in no way a Demon or Hellcat, it still has plenty of power.

AWD in the winter in Michigan in a muscle car? Now that's what I call fun.

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2018 Dodge Challenger GT Drivers' Notes Review | The right car for the season originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 09 Feb 2018 13:00:00 EST.