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2013 Dodge Challenger SE Review

I’ve always been a fan of muscle cars, and their essentially-illogical value proposition. They don’t particularly make any sense to buy in any context except for if you (a) want something that goes fast, (b) like the way it looks, and (c) like the way it sounds. And (a+b+c) above need to be enough to outweigh any practical shortcomings the car has.

Well, the car I got from Enterprise was a 2013 Challenger SE V6. It’s the base model, available only with a 5-speed automatic and not a whole lot in the way of equipment. Some folks really like the way the Challenger looks. I’m personally more of a Camaro guy, but I can at least understand the allure. But, unfortunately, the “A+B+C” noted above wasn’t, in this vehicle’s case, enough to win me over.

My summary of the car:


  • Engine: For a base V6, the 3.6L Pentastar is a honey of an engine, pulling nicely, and making arguably my favorite sounds of any mainstream 6-cylinder.
  • Highway ride: The highway cruising demeanor was easy-going, and gas mileage wasn’t terrible – especially given the fact that the car has the bulk and aerodynamic properties of a cow barn.


  • Seating Position:  I’m 6’3″ and found it impossible to find a comfortable seating position in the car.   The cowl was too high, seats too low, and no matter how I adjusted things I couldn’t be comfortable, have a good view of the gauges, and a good view of the road at the same time.
  • Interior:  Good thing the 2015 Challenger has an all-new interior, as I’m pretty sure the 2008-2014 Challenger has the most low-buck-looking interior of any vehicle sold in the US market.   Though functional, it’s plasticky, unsightly and definitely not keeping with the car’s sporty motif.     Also, seats are mooshy and unsupportive, steering wheel uncomfortable…just…I’m really glad they scrapped this interior.
  • Visibility:  Among the worst rear-quarter visibility of any car I’ve driven.

All told, this car pretty much sits at the bottom of every car I’ve taken on my road trip from DC to Tennessee.    I’m sure, had I had the R/T or SRT model, the big Hemi V8 would have changed my perceptions a bit.

2 thoughts on “2013 Dodge Challenger SE Review”

  1. This is a fair assessment of the base model Challenger. I’ve had a couple as rentals and was always surprised with the mediocrity of the base compared to an RT like I own. Once you move to the RT/SRT, not only does the engine help the perception, but you also get better tuned suspension/steering/brakes, improved seats, and a few interior niceties. I bought one specifically for long trips and have crossed the country a couple times so far. It’s not a track-day car by any stretch but it’s very comfy out on highways and byways. As a bonus, you can actually take the family with you on long trips because it has tons of space compared to other coupes.

    1. Yep – though I won’t veil the fact that I didn’t like the base Challenger at all, it wasn’t difficult to visualize what a real engine, a pistol-grip 6-speed, pair of nice seats, and a satan’s-own-flatulence exhaust note would do to my perception of the car.

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