Is the Dodge Challenger GT a Good Road Trip Car?
The soon-to-be-discontinued Dodge Challenger gets (mostly) warranted guff for its refusal to change after its 2015 update. However, the Mopar mainstay does tick many boxes for fans, including offering a pseudo-luxe GT variant with optional all-wheel drive (AWD) to crush challenging commutes. Still, is the Dodge Challenger GT one of the best road trip cars? Or is it more of a boulevard cruiser? I drove one from Las Vegas to San Diego to sort it out.
What does GT mean on the Challenger?
The “GT” in the Dodge Challenger GT’s namesake references “grand touring.” That’s good news for road trip-loving adventurers; GT cars focus on crushing miles in comfort. Regarding the Challenger’s trim lineup, the GT fits right between the entry-level SXT and HEMI-powered R/T.
Is the Challenger GT a V6 or a V8?
The Dodge Challenger GT I picked up in Las Vegas packed a 3.6L Pentastar V6, the sole engine option for the GT and SXT trims. However, the lack of two cylinders doesn’t mean I was exiled to the rightmost lane for my travels; the 303-horsepower six-cylinder barks and complies with some right-foot prompt.
The GT is spacious, comfortable, and easy to live with
When it came to hitting the desert highway aboard the Challenger GT, the brute’s weight was the first thing I noticed. I’ve driven nearly every trim and engine option in the model’s lineup, and the Pentastar, while compliant, is simply underwhelming relative to the Mopar’s significant weight. However, there is a shimmering silver lining to the Challenger’s heft: it’s spacious.
My spouse and I loaded up in the GT with two large rolling suitcases and other small articles, short work for the Challenger’s 16.2 cubic feet of storage space. However, TrueCar says the GT starts at around $37,360, and the GT’s standard cloth seating seems a bit economical for such an ask. Still, the oh-so-retro houndstooth pattern saves the day, along with the seats’ generous bolstering.
Further, the GT’s 7.0-inch UConnect infotainment system was easy to navigate and seamlessly integrated CarPlay for the long desert highway. Of course, the center console is one of the pain points among modern Mopar fans, who quickly point out that it hasn’t changed much since President Barack Obama’s second term.
Deceptively small mirrors, limited interior storage, and a temperamental throttle pedal are tolerable frustrations
Of course, even with the larger-than-life Dodge Challenger GT’s generous cabin and grippy AWD, the Mopar coupe isn’t quite the magical road tripper that its name suggests. Immediately upon heading out onto a long stretch of highway, my GT had two moods: “lethargic” and “let’s go.” Coaxing power out of the Pentastar V6 was jerky and abrupt.
The lack of finesse is surprising, given the smooth power delivery of the 5.7L HEMI V8 at the next trim level. Still, the 303-horsepower Pentastar and its eight-speed automatic accompaniment were quick enough to overtake traffic with ease, if also just thirsty enough to sell potential buyers on the Ford Mustang EcoBoost.
Moreover, the seatbelt requires a bit of contortionism to access, and there never seemed to be enough interior storage. Given the model’s considerable dimensions, shallow door-mounted cup holders and a usable center console are sufficient but borderline silly.
What kind of car is best for a road trip?
Road trip cars should include enough space for luggage and be reliable enough to cover some serious mileage. Also, depending on the size of your road trip team, your ideal car should seat four or five people comfortably.
However, the “best road trip car” is subjective; if you pack light and it’s just you, a Mazda MX-5 could perform just as well as a big, brutish Dodge Challenger GT. It’s all about your road trip requirements.
Is the Dodge Challenger GT a good choice for a road tripper?
The Dodge Challenger GT is big, comfortable, and an eager cruiser. As such, it’s a great road trip car for small groups. Better yet, its back seat and trunk space dwarf its closest competitors, the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.
However, the GT is big– really big. Even with parking sensors and a backup camera, some drivers might find the Challenger’s husky dimensions frustrating in tight parking situations.
What do you think of the GT? Great road trip car or a better boulevard basher? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!