Why Are Dodge Challengers Boats?

You’ve probably heard it online or at a car event. “It is cool and all, but it’s such a boat.” In addition to being a silly thing to say at a car show, the guilty party is likely talking about a Dodge Challenger. So why do people think that Dodge Challengers are boats? 

Why is the Dodge Challenger a boat? 

In short, the Dodge Challenger is a boat because of its size, weight, and handling characteristics. The Dodge muscle car is wide, long, and heavy for a coupe; it is undoubtedly an imposing vehicle by just about every metric. Still, car enthusiasts dubbed Dodge Challengers “boats” when comparing it to smaller vehicles like the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang. 

Also, the overall mass of the Dodge Challenger makes the vehicle prone to a bit of lean when cornering, also known as body roll. The body roll in corners is loosely comparable to the swaying of ships on the seas; hence the boat moniker is strengthened. 

Even iterations with firmer and more advanced adjustable suspensions like the SRT Hellcat cannot escape the physics. To make the Challenger (and Charger) more formidable performers, Dodge released widebody versions, which added to the size and the narrative that the Dodge Challenger is a boat. 

How big is the Dodge Challenger?

The redesigned Challenger from 2015 and up is 197.5 inches long, making it nearly 10 inches longer than a comparable S550 Mustang. The Dodge Challenger is wide, too. According to Edmunds, at 85.8 inches, the Dodge is around 4 inches wider than the Mustang with mirrors extended. 

| Michael Brochstein, LightRocket via Getty Images)

It gets even wilder with the widebody variants. The widebodies feature girthier tires and fender flares that further push the dimensions. Certainly understandable how the boat thing got its beginnings.

How heavy is the Dodge Challenger?

The lightest Dodge Challenger is the Pentastar V6-powered SXT, weighing around 3,858 lbs. From there, the weight increases with the powerplants and trims. For example, a 5.7L V8-powered Challenger R/T tips the scales at 4,182 lbs. Furthermore, things get heavier with the addition of a supercharger and a widebody kit. 

Specifically, a 2022 Dodge Hellcat Redeye Widebody has a bridge-buckling curb weight of 4,494 lbs. That’s enough to get people calling Dodge Challengers boats.  

Can you do anything to make your muscle car less boat-like?

If you have a Dodge Challenger, there are a few things you can do to improve your car’s handling. You can start by lowering and stiffening your vehicle with suspension components. Some variations, like the Hellcat, already pack Bilstein adaptive suspension, but it can always be improved. Tweaks like that can make Dodge Challengers less boat-like.

The Dodge Challengers Boats narrative is a strong one, regarding cars like this red Challenger R/T.
Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody | Stellantis

Next, you can lighten the car like Dodge’s engineers did with the Demon. Removing components like rear seats, sound deadening, and speakers can shed pounds from your vehicle. Keep in mind that shedding weight this way may alter your car’s weight distribution. 

Is it such a bad thing to have a boat?

While Dodge Challengers might be boats, it does some things much better than a comparable Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro. For example, the Dodge Challenger has the largest rear seats of all three cars. Furthermore, the Challenger has the largest trunk in the segment. According to Edmunds, the Challenger has nearly three extra cubic feet of cargo volume over a comparable Mustang.  

Scroll down to the following article to read more about the Dodge Challenger!


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