Sedans & Coupes

How Reliable Is the Dodge Challenger?

Until somewhat recently, Dodge wasn’t a brand known for its reliability. The 2014 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey listed Dodge toward the bottom of the 28 brands. Dodge worked to improve its reliability in the years since then, appearing in the top 10 on the 2019 Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Survey, which considered vehicles between model years 2010 and 2019. The Dodge Challenger, which received above-average reliability ratings, helped Dodge climb up to eighth on the list. But, how reliable is the new 2021 Dodge Challenger? J.D. Power and Consumer Reports came up with slightly different answers.

2021 Dodge Challenger reliability ratings from U.S. News and J.D. Power

U.S. News rated the 2021 Dodge Challenger a three out of five for reliability. The 2020 Challenger also received the same reliability rating. The organization says three out of five is about average for reliability.

The reliability score comes from the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) rating or, if that isn’t available, from the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability rating. J.D. Power bases its reliability ratings on the experiences of owners with three-year-old vehicles. To come up with all of its ratings, U.S. News looked at 72 different reviews of the Dodge Challenger. That included reviews going back to the 2008 model year when the new generation of the car was introduced.

2021 Dodge Challenger predicted reliability rating from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports hasn’t rated the Dodge Challenger’s reliability very often since the car was updated for the 2011 model year. It really liked the model years it did rate, though, giving five out of five in 2018 as well as for the new 2021 model year. The 2021 rating is for predicted reliability.

To come up with this rating, Consumer Reports sends out a survey to its members to ask about 17 categories of vehicle issues that members might have had in the past 12 months. More serious issues are weighted more heavily in the rating. Since the Challenger wasn’t redesigned for 2021, its predicted reliability score was calculated by averaging the overall reliability score from the past three model years. The Dodge Challenger platform has been around for many years, according to Jalopnik, so Dodge has had a long time to improve the Challenger’s reliability during that time.

How to judge these reliability ratings

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Clearly, J.D. Power and Consumer Reports came to somewhat different conclusions about the 2021 Challenger’s predicted reliability. The two groups do use slightly different methods for their scoring, which explains some of the differences in the results.

Consumer Reports’ 2020 survey was administered online to members of Consumer Reports magazine and to CR.org members and collected information about 329,000 vehicles from model years 2000 to 2020. Consumer Reports says that when there is insufficient data, predicted reliability could be based on the “manufacturer’s track record, history of the previous generation, or similar models that shared the same components.”

J.D. Power and also U.S. News looked at the 2017 vehicles that people have owned for three years rather than some of the older vehicles that Consumer Reports includes. J.D. Power’s survey is taken by fewer people and examines fewer problem categories.

Since the two organizations come up with their reliability ratings in different ways and also try to predict the reliability of brand-new cars, it can be tricky to determine which is more accurate. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s difficult to judge the reliability of a car’s new model year.

For the 2021 Dodge Challenger, both organizations do agree that it is likely to be a car with average to above-average reliability. So, buyers who are considering this sports car can be reassured that the Challenger’s reliability is pretty solid.