Car that looks like a Charger

Dodge Challenger vs. Dodge ChargerFiat Chrysler Automobiles

We've all been there. You're at the dealer and you've got two cars in front of you. One is a sports coupe – sexy, powerful, not particularly practical. The other is a sedan with room for five, doors for each row of seats, and a golf-bag-friendly trunk. Which should you choose: practical and spacious or cool and quick?

Well, that choice isn't so cut-and-dry in this head-to-head comparison. The Dodge Challenger isn't a tiny, hard-edged sports coupe like the Subaru BRZ. It's actually pretty roomy and comfortable on the road. The Dodge Charger isn't a sedate family hauler like the Toyota Avalon. It's a four-door muscle car with athletic handling and big available power – up to 707 horsepower.

We've evaluated the Challenger and the Charger based on nine categories, ranging from practical, like trunk space, to performance-oriented, like the acceleration. Whoever wins the most categories takes the prize.

How will these class outliers stack up when they go head-to-head? More importantly, which one should you buy when you're on the lot at your local Dodge dealer? Read on to find out.

Dodge Challenger vs. Dodge ChargerPricing and Features: Challenger

With a base price of , 995, the 2016 Dodge Challenger takes the crown in the pricing category. It will cost you , 995 to get into a base Charger.

Both models give you almost identical standard features, including USB and Bluetooth connectivity, a power driver's seat, a 5-inch touch-screen, and a six-speaker stereo. The list of available features are similar as well: a larger touch screen, a Harman Kardon audio system, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitoring.

The Challenger is consistently cheaper as you step up into higher trims. The cheapest V8 Challenger costs $31, 995, while the lowest-priced V8 Charger is $33, 895. The Challenger's price advantage continues all the way up to the top-of-the-line Hellcat models. A Charger Hellcat costs , 945, while the Challenger is a relative bargain at , 495.

Dodge Challenger vs. Dodge ChargerFiat Chrysler Automobiles

Acceleration and Power: Tie

The Charger and the Challenger have very similar engine lineups, from the base 3.6-liter V6, to the 5.7-liter V8 in the R/T models, all the way up to the massive 707-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in the Hellcat models.

Performance from each trim is mixed. Car and Driver tested each model from 0 to 60 mph and found that the base Challenger beats the base Charger (6.2 seconds vs. 6.5), the V8 R/T models are tied at 5.1 seconds, and the Charger Hellcat beats the Challenger Hellcat (3.4 seconds vs. 3.9). So let's just say the results are inconclusive.

One big (unofficial) bonus point to the Challenger for offering a stick shift in most of its trims, including the Hellcat. The Charger is only available with an automatic. However, that probably won't be a deal breaker for you if you're not a fan of three-pedal driving.

Ride and Handling: Charger

Both the Challenger and the Charger offer smooth rides, which makes them great companions on long highway cruises.

Dodge Challenger vs. Dodge ChargerWhen it comes to handling, it's all relative. The big, heavy Challenger gets low marks for handling in most reviews because its main competitors are sports cars like the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro that are lighter, smaller, and more nimble. The Dodge Charger earns praise for its handling because its main rivals are practical full-size sedans like the Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala. If you drove the Challenger and Charger back-to-back, you'd probably find that they offer similar levels of cornering grip.

So, what gives the Charger the edge over the Challenger? Two things: visibility and all-wheel drive. The Challenger's muscular, retro styling may look cool, but in reality it means a long hood, huge roof pillars, and tiny windows, all of which reduce visibility. It's hard to tackle a twisty mountain road when you're having trouble seeing it. Additionally, the Challenger is not available with all-wheel drive, and the Charger is. If you've ever had to drive in the snow with a rear-wheel drive car, you know what a blessing all-wheel drive can be.

Passenger Comfort: Charger

You'd expect the sedan to beat the sports coupe in a passenger comfort contest, and it did, but the results are closer than you'd think.

The Challenger has one of the largest back seats of any sports coupe on the market, and it actually offers more headroom than the Charger. It is also one of the only cars in its class that can accommodate three people in the back seats. Most rivals can only accommodate two.

Still, when it comes to rear-seat comfort, you can't beat an extra set of doors. The Charger's four-door layout not only makes it easier for rear-seat passengers to get into and out of the car, it also makes for vastly improved legroom, hip room, and shoulder room compared with the Challenger. Total passenger volume is much better in the Charger than in the Challenger (104.7 cubic feet vs. 93.9). Because the Charger is more family-oriented, it also has more available creature comforts, like heated rear seats.

In terms of passenger comfort, the Challenger can certainly hold its own when compared to rivals like the Ford Mustang. It just can't beat the space and convenience of the four-door Charger.


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