- The Dodge Challenger is a shockingly reliable car
- Consumer Reports says owners are often very satisfied
- The best model year Challenger is always the newest one you can buy
The Dodge Challenger is, in many ways, the quintessential bargain muscle car for the modern age. Most models with a powerful V8 can be had for under $50,000, and if you look hard enough, there’s some deal to be found even in today’s market. However, as with many manufacturers, Dodge lets some lemons off the assembly line from time to time. Let’s root them out.
Should you buy a used Dodge Challenger?
Buying a used car like this can often be an argument about use cases. How do you intend to use the vehicle? Is your Dodge Challenger going to be a weekend cruiser? A Ford Mustang-killing drag monster? Or will you daily drive your sports car? Above all, reliability is key. With that in mind, let’s take a look at which models you should leave on the dealership lot.
Unfortunately, Consumer Reports doesn’t have reliability data available for just about every used Dodge Challenger, so we had root out our own data for this aspect. Far and away the largest reported issue with these cars is transmission issues. Some automatic models will downshift harshly, causing damage to the transmission. Other stick-shift models may have trouble getting out of gear, or back into one, necessitating repairs to the shifter.
Which Challenger years to avoid
So, if you’d like a Dodge Challenger with reliability baked in, be sure to avoid models from 2009 and 2012-2016. Unfortunately, that severely limits one’s used buying options. As a remedy for this, we suggest ensuring your prospective Dodge Challenger drives smoothly and getting a pre-purchase inspection done. Obviously, you should ask the tech to take a look at the transmission just to be sure. Thankfully, there’s only a few other minor hiccups to avoid.
Dodge Challengers made from 2008-2012 can suffer from power steering issues. It’s a well-known problem reported widely on forums. Thankfully, it’s often a cheap fix. Sometimes, it’s as easy as swapping out a few power steering hoses, and at the worst, a pump. Evidently, this job can be a pain, but it’s something that should be DIY-friendly. However, all that aside, Consumer Reports states that the Challenger is otherwise a very pain-free car to own. Really, the largest factor is your budget.
What is the best year for the Challenger?
Obviously, pricing can vary wildly depending on the model year. We’d aim for a 2013+ Dodge Challenger with the V8 and a stick shift. Generally, those hover anywhere from $15,000 to $80,000 for a 2020 Dodge Challenger Hellcat. No matter your choice or budget, there’s a Dodge Challenger for you, and odds are, it’ll be a very fun and reliable car.