The Dodge Challenger is a good first car with an affordable price, high horsepower engine 6.2L HEMI V8 engine, updated safety features, and straightforward maintenance costs. Though it may seem like a bad purchase due to its poor visibility or poor MPG, its pros do outweigh the cons heavily.
Buying a first car, whether it be for yourself or a loved one, is a huge life milestone and can be a big dilemma. There are many things to consider when making this decision, such as pricing, reliability, safety, aesthetics, and more.
For many teens and young adults, a cool American muscle car like the Dodge Challenger would be a dream come true as a first vehicle. While getting a Challenger as a first vehicle is a common fantasy, many people think that it’s not the most practical for someone who is just starting out.
If you’ve been considering purchasing a Challenger as a first car for you or someone you know, stay tuned! In this article, we’ll be going over whether Challengers are a good choice for first cars, including pricing, maintenance, and how they compare to other models on the market.
Is The Dodge Challenger A Good First Car?
Before we get into whether or not Dodge Challengers are a good choice for a first car, let’s take a look at some of the features the vehicle has to offer. The Dodge Challenger is described as the vehicle as having—
- eye-watering power
- uncompromising control
- fearless design
And it’s not hard to see why. The Challenger comes with many impressive features across its models, including:
- A 3.6-liter V6 base engine with 303 horsepower and 268 lbs./feet of torque
- A timeless muscle car interior, which “combines strength with classic style”
- An option for all-wheel drive, the only muscle car currently on the market with this option
- New safety and security features covered later in this article
In terms of interior design, the Challenger has a timeless muscle car look, which appeals to many people of all ages. The Challenger seats up to five people and has much more room in the interior than similar cars on the market. The interior cabin has been described as both spacious and comfortable, and it seems like a much more versatile choice for a day-to-day vehicle than most muscle cars. The Challenger’s classic, roomy interior is a constant high point for the vehicle and is mentioned constantly.
With all of these features, it’s easy to see why the Dodge Challenger is such a popular car and a dream to own for many. While its base engine is a fairly standard V6, there are many other engine options available that pack more punch, including a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine with 375 horsepower and a supercharged 6.2-liter high-output HEMI V8 engine which ranges from 797 to 807 horsepower.
It’s clear that the Challenger is a great muscle car that would satisfy many auto enthusiasts, but it’s still up to question whether or not they are a good pick for a first car. Owning a car like a Challenger is a big responsibility, and there are many other things to consider.
Dodge Challenger Pricing
One of the biggest factors as to whether Dodge Challengers are an appropriate choice for a first car is the pricing. Everyone has different budgets for what they’re willing to spend on this milestone, so it’s important to take a look at the pricing options for the different Challenger models. Currently, there are five different Challenger models available for sale at different price points:
- Challenger SXT – starting at $30,560
- Challenger GT – starting at $33,560
- Challenger R/T – starting at $37,260
- Challenger R/T Scat Pack – starting at $43,335
- Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody – starting at $49,330
If these prices seem a little steep to you for what you were planning to spend on a first car, don’t fret! This doesn’t necessarily rule the option of getting a Challenger out. There are many used Dodge Challengers out there on the market; it is believed that their reliability and safety features make them a great choice for a used car purchase.
By the way, the Dodge Challenger is not the only car that’s good because it is cheap. Here are a ton of its competitors that make the industry competitive—
- Subaru BRZ
- Audi TT
- Cadillac CTS
- BMW Z4
- Mazda Miata
- Jaguar F-Type
- Genesis G80
- Kia Stinger
- Honda CRZ
- And of course, the Dodge Charger
Dodge Challenger vs Corvette Good First Car
Though the pricing of the Dodge Challenger might not have ruled out the possibility of buying one as a first car, it’s also important to take the other options on the market into consideration. It’s true that as far as these types of cars go, a Challenger might be a better choice than say, a Chevrolet Corvette.
Though both of these vehicles have incredible performance and style, Corvettes can sell for almost double the price on average that Challengers do.
Additionally, since Challengers don’t have as much of a reputation as a collector car as Corvettes and other comparable vehicles do, it is significantly easier to find a used Challenger at a reasonable price.
Overall, the Challenger is a fantastic ‘starter’ muscle car in terms of comparable models on the market, but it still might not necessarily be the right first car for everyone.
Dodge Challenger Safety Features
One of the major things most people consider when buying their first car are the safety features and ratings. The Dodge Challenger has many different safety technologies, both passive and active. In terms of passive safety technologies, the Challenger’s frame is built out of high-strength steel, which protects the passenger cabin in case of a collision. Additionally, the Challenger has a number of active safety technologies, especially in newer models. These technologies include:
- Parkview Rear Backup Camera
- Automatic High-Beam Headlamps
- Blind Spot Monitoring
- Adaptive Cruise Control
- Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning
As you can see, the Challenger comes with many features to keep you safe on the road. However, many safety test manufacturers think the vehicle is still middle-of-the-road safety-wise.
The Challenger has been rated as ‘acceptable’ in the IIHS safety testing, with the front crash prevention system being rated as ‘basic.’ It still is plagued with the issue of having a boxy shape that limits visibility but this has been a timeless issue for all American muscle cars. Of course, the Challenger is still a decently safe car with many features designed to prevent a crash.
If you were looking for a first car with a top-of-the-line safety rating, the Dodge Challenger might not be for you.
Dodge Challenger Maintenance Costs
Another thing to keep in mind about purchasing a Dodge Challenger is the maintenance costs. Muscle cars have a reputation for being more difficult to maintain than other cars, and Challengers are no exception.
When you have a car with a powerful engine that can reach high speeds, more complications can occur. Estimated yearly maintenance costs for a Dodge Challenger come out to around $650 per year, so it’s important to keep in mind whether you will be able to reliably pay that amount in maintenance costs.
These figures represent maintenance costs for Challengers that have been driven with caution, so if you’re looking to regularly test its limits the upkeep fees will certainly be higher.
As with any vehicle, there are a number of common issues associated with Dodge Challengers that you should keep in mind before purchase. One of the most common issues is the vehicle shuddering during gear shifting, which occurs with greater frequency in Challengers over 97,000 miles.
Additionally, Challenger owners have reported further issues with transmission quality and downshift after 100,000 miles. Another common issue that might come with a surprise repair cost is a failing power window regulator, which ranges from $221 to $242 per window to repair.
Don’t let these common issues deter you from thinking the Challenger is a great car, as the majority of cars have possible issues to look out for. However, if you feel that surprise repair costs or issues would throw you for a loop, it might be better to look into a slightly more practical option.
Should You Get a Challenger as a First Car?
So, for the big question: should you get a Dodge Challenger as a first car? The answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. Taking into consideration the pricing and maintenance costs of the vehicle, it might not be the most practical car if you’re buying it for a teenager or first-time driver.
If you’ve been learning about muscle cars and are passionate about owning one for a long time, the Dodge Challenger is a good first car.
The Challenger has some great engine options, including the ultra-powerful supercharged 6.2-liter high-output HEMI V8 engine, and it’s significantly cheaper than other cars on the market like the Chevrolet Corvette. It’s important to commit to vigilant maintenance and care when buying any muscle car, and if you feel that you or whoever you’re buying the vehicle for is up for the challenge, go for it!
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