Imagine taking a classic pony car’s style and stance, then mix it with modern engine and performance technology. That’s what the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T is. A lot of diehard Challenger fans have been upset with Dodge for the past few years because they reintroduced the car as a four-door model, neglecting the classic coupe styling. Well, fear not, because this year’s R/T more than makes up for the wait.
The 2009 R/T is a fair bit longer than its classic counterpart, and that is due to the chassis platform it shares with the Chrysler 300 sedan. That frame has a tall firewall, so in order to recreate the classic Challenger stance, the car was forced to grow about 6.5 inches in length. This extra size, as well as the weight of the vehicle, hinders the Challenger’s handling. Compare the new Challenger with its main competitors, the Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang, and you’ll notice that the handling isn’t quite up to par, but it still exceeds the classic’s abilities.
The R/T is powered by a 5.7-liter V8 engine that cranks out 375 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque when mated to the six-speed manual transmission and slightly less power with an automatic. The cabin is also impressive. The Dodge Challenger is the only modern pony car that can comfortably seat four adults for extended periods of time.
Is the Challenger worth your time when compared to its pony car brethren, the new Mustang and new Camaro? Price-wise, the Challenger R/T is just a hair under $30,000, so that’s about on par with its Ford and Chevrolet counterparts. Power is similar, but, as mentioned before, the handling is a little weak. What it comes down to is style. The Challenger, more than the Mustang and Camaro, channels the classic 1970 aesthetic of the original. For those who look back on those glory days of the pony cars and want one with some modern engineering, you can’t get much better than the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T.