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Click above for a hi-res gallery of the 2009 Dodge Challenger SE
Chrysler has formally unveiled the full 2009 Dodge Challenger range here at the New York Auto Show. Jim Press gamely handled a few technical snafus that plagued one of the skits going on behind him as he re-introduced the the Challenger SRT8, pulled the wraps off the Challenger R/T and showed us the budget-minded Challenger SE for the first time. Enthusiasts get their wish in 2009, with Chrysler offering a Tremec 6-speed manual transmission in both the SRT and R/T cars. R/T buyers who opt for the stick get an extra five horsepower -- for a total of 375 -- over the R/T auto's 370. Aside from its wheels and badging, the R/T is the spitting image of its fire-breathing SRT brother and should be just as adept at sending tires to the afterlife.

We were also interested to see the entry-level Challenger SE in person, and from the looks of things, it's a nice value package. Pricing in the low-20s puts it in the range of a a wide variety of buyers, and its 245-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 is paired with a 4-speed auto to deliver around 25 mpg highway. It may be the base car, but it's good-looking, with spoiler-free decklid, polished alloys and the same hot retro profile as the V8 cars. Inside, the big difference is the SE's fabric upholstery, otherwise, the layout is what you'll find in other Challengers. The SRT is killer, the SE's better than we expected it to be, and the R/T is the one a lot of us could see ourselves rolling in. Take your pick. The Challenger's just cool.

Introducing the All-New 2009 Dodge Challenger
35 Years Later, Dodge Redefines Modern American Muscle

  • Re-creation of vintage American muscle car blends nostalgic flair with modern engineering and technology
  • First five-passenger, two-door coupe produced from proven Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger platform
  • First modern-day, HEMI®-powered car offered with precision-shift six-speed manual transmission
  • New-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 delivers increased fuel economy (an estimated 5 percent) with more horsepower (30 hp) and improved torque (8 lb.-ft.)
  • 5.7-liter HEMI goes from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds
  • SRT-exclusive 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine goes from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds
  • Best-in-class rear head (37.4 inches) and leg (32.6 inches) room provides spacious back seat for up to three adults
  • Best-in-class trunk space (16.2 cu. ft.) equal to the Dodge Charger
  • New "EZ" entry with high-mounted seat-back lever for easy, one-handed operation; enables second-row passengers to enter and exit with ease
  • More than 25 safety and security features including supplemental side-curtain air bags, advanced multi-stage air bags, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and anti-lock brakes
  • Equipped with cutting-edge technology including MyGIG™ radio/navigation, UConnect® Hands-free Communication System, Keyless Go push-button start and Remote Start
  • To ensure quality, Dodge Challenger engineers logged nearly 3.2 million customer-equivalent miles in the development process
  • All-new 2009 Dodge Challenger to arrive this fall
The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger merges the best American muscle-car characteristics - unmistakable design, world-class handling, powerful engines, and technology - designed to delight driving enthusiasts across several generations.

"Our all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger is a modern-day muscle machine representing the best from the past and present," said Mike Accavitti, Director, Dodge Brand and SRT Global Marketing, Chrysler LLC. "Thirty-five years following the debut of the original, we are bringing Dodge Challenger back and loading it with essential hardware, styling and technology desired by today's buyer."

The Dodge Challenger is the first five-passenger, two-door coupe produced from Chrysler's proven rear-wheel-drive platform that delivers the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. Developed with Dodge's credo of "bold, powerful and capable," the Challenger delivers a modern two-door muscle car.

Three models will be offered in North America: Dodge Challenger SRT8®, Dodge Challenger R/T and Dodge Challenger SE.

Essential Hardware

The Dodge Challenger R/T features the new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with a five-speed automatic transmission that produces an estimated 370 horsepower (276 kW) and 398 lb.-ft. of torque (540 N•m). For 2009, the HEMI engine is upgraded to get an estimated five percent improvement in fuel economy as well as an increase of 30 horsepower (9 percent) and 8 lb.-ft. improved torque (2 percent) over a greater range of engine speeds. The Dodge Challenger R/T also offers a precision-shift six-speed manual transmission - the first for a new-generation HEMI-powered car - that produces 375 horsepower (280 kW) and 404 lb.-ft. of torque (548 N•m) when running on premium fuel. The Dodge Challenger R/T can go from zero to 60 mph in less than six seconds.

The 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT8 features an SRT-exclusive 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine mated with a new-for-2009 six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic transmission with Auto Stick that generates a blistering 425 horsepower (317 kW) and 420 lb.-ft. of torque (569 N•m). The vehicle can go from zero to 60 mph in less than five seconds.

The Dodge Challenger SE powered by the 3.5-liter High Output V-6 with a four-speed automatic transmission produces 250 horsepower (186 kW) and 250 lb.-ft. of torque (339 N•m).

Patterned off the Dodge Charger architecture, the front suspension and five-link independent rear suspension system on all Dodge Challenger models provide excellent ride and handling characteristics.

Essential Styling

The Dodge Challenger design team stayed true to the concept revealed at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, while drawing upon elements from the original Challenger. The result: a bold, aggressive muscle machine that blends nostalgia with modern Dodge style.

"Our designers wanted to capture the mind's-eye view of what people today remember about the Dodge Challenger from 35 years ago," said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design, Chrysler LLC. "Their challenge was to excite today's customer by capturing the emotion of the original Challenger, while offering today's comfort and performance."

On the exterior, the long, raised performance hood with scoops and recessed grille with round dual headlamps are reminiscent of the original Dodge Challenger. The bold A-line, or character line, that runs from stem to stern gives the all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger an instantly recognizable muscle car profile. Retro dual rectangular exhaust outlets complete the look from the rear.

On the interior, the trapezoidal theme of the door-panel cove and gauge cluster, dark headliner and slanted shifter console are inspired by the original Dodge Challenger. The modern interpretation of the Dodge Challenger offers exceptional rear seating for a two-door coupe, achieving best-in-class rear head (37.4 inches) and leg (32.6 inches) room compared to the competition. Coupled with best-in-class cargo space (16.2 cu. ft.) - equal to the Dodge Charger - the all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger offers added comfort and functionality.

Essential Technology

The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger offers customers a full range of innovative technologies including:

  • MyGIG™ provides a cutting-edge multimedia audio and entertainment system, with built-in navigation
  • UConnect® Hands-free Communication System provides convenient, voice-activated communication with Bluetooth® cellular phones
  • SIRIUS® Digital Satellite Radio offers a variety of commercial-free radio programs and music for enhanced listening enjoyment
  • Keyless Go allows the driver to start the vehicle with the simple push of a button
  • Remote Start starts a secured vehicle with the key fob
  • More than 25 Safety and Security Features

Dodge Challenger offers more than 25 safety and security features including:

  • Supplemental Side-curtain Air Bags extend protection to all outboard front- and rear-seat passengers
  • Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) modulate the brakes for the driver to provide steering control while braking
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP) applies selective braking or throttle reduction to control oversteer and understeer
  • Brake Assist ensures maximum braking action during panic stops
  • Traction Control reduces the throttle and/or applies selective braking to optimize traction during acceleration
  • Hill Start Assist (HSA) for Manual Transmission application assists the driver in launching the vehicle on an incline
  • Automatic Headlamps turn headlamps on at dusk and off in the daylight without driver intervention
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM) alerts driver about low tire pressure(s) in order to facilitate safe handling

2009 Dodge Challenger Production

The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger will be built at the Brampton Assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. It will be built on the same assembly line as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.

Dodge Brand

With a U.S. market share of 6.4 percent, Dodge is Chrysler LLC's best-selling brand and the fifth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2007, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market.

The Dodge brand's first crossover vehicle - the all-new 2009 Dodge Journey - is available in the first quarter of 2008 and will be available outside North America in both left- and right-hand drive in mid-2008. Arriving this spring is the limited-edition 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 with a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine that boasts 425 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque. The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram with game-changing exterior and interior design, innovations, best-in-class features and craftsmanship will arrive this fall. Also arriving this fall is the 2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid. Recently, the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan arrived in dealerships with 35 new or improved features including the newest innovation, the Swivel 'n Go™ seating system. In 2007, Dodge Avenger and Nitro entered key volume segments outside North America, joining the Dodge Caliber, which launched in those markets in 2006.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I was just at the auto show here, and was appauled at the low 20s hwy mileage of the STi and Evo Lance...Hell I get that with my V8 Dakota.

      For those who AREN'T Mopar people: The 5 spd auto is a Benz design, and in the other LX cars is behind the 3.5, 5.7 and 6.1L engines. The 2.7L V6 get's the 42RE 4spd auto. Basicly an electronic version of Dodges reliable, 40 year old 904, but with an overdrive. I suspect the release info will be updated to reflect the same availability in the Challenger. Or they could be doing it to keep the costs down, since the 42 is FAR cheaper than the 5 spd NAG, and has less parasitic loss.

      As for reliability? Dodge has extremely reliable engines and transmissions..Take it from someone who has owned many. The people who complain the most are those who have never owned one, or bought that one lemon, and assume all are like that.

      The interiors in the Journey and Challenger look much better than the Sebring. They just instituted the Project D in March, so it will probably be a few weeks before we see the new cars with improved interiors on the lots.

      I think the SE will do well, just as the SE Chargers do well. Many people want the looks, but still want the gas mileage. I put 1300 miles on a V6 rental Charger and got 29mpg with the cruise control.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Benz transmission has more 'parasitic loss' than the Chrysler?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Why do you say the 42RLE is based off a 40 year old design, it isn't.
        It is basically a modernized 42LE from the LH cars.
        Variable line pressure helps out immensely.

        The Wa580 only has 5% more ratio spread than the 42RLE.
        More parts=more drag is hillbilly illogic.
        The 3 planetary version came out in 1995. The 4 planetary version had more development, such as better control of the fluid inside the mechanism, via holes in clutch housings to reduce viscous drag, etc.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well yes, it does.

        Simple math...Larger transmission, and can take more power, but is heavier, has more rotating internals, blah blah blah. All effecting final output to the wheels. Also, the 42RE has a numerically lower final drive ration than the NAG (0.69 vs 0.83), albeit at the expense of all out performance (wider ratio).

        Example: The 2 speed Powerglide (GM) is a favorite among drag racers because of the minimal (usually about 25hp) loss. By contrast, C6 Ford and 727 Torqueflite can cost you 40hp. These days the 904 (basis of the 42RE) has become very popular on the track because it is much lighter than the 727 and puts down more power. Often gaining a 1/10 of a second or more at the strip...just from changing out the transmission.

      • 7 Years Ago
      The DSG transmission will be nice
      • 7 Years Ago
      The guys who think that 4-cyle, AWD and "Boost" equals good mileage have never owned a car with any of these.
      • 7 Years Ago
      @ Vince, gotcha! I dont know, too much Ferrari news for me, Pontiac has a pile on the front page, etc. I guess the Camaro does not get as much press, but it is 2 years in the making. Dodge has been fairly quiet about the Challenger since the reveal. I think the car is sold out for the most part at over sticker to guys like me who dig it. I have to assume they want to use the press to let people know that a cheap model is coming. Again, as a buyer I am a bit biased and like the coverage :)
      Frank Reyes
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hello MOPAR fans! I contacted Dodge.com about the 2008 HEMI Challenger being priced locally from $40,125 to $64,000. They stated that the Dodge Car Dealerships can price the car at any price after being sold from the factory to them. I am glad I waited since the 2009 models will have a real MANUAL transmission and you can also opt to buy a V6 version. As for pricing, who knows.
      Maybe the HEMI "Cuda" should make a come back with more horse power than the Saleen Mustang. Yes, I am an OLD Old schooled Moparhead.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I like it, but it is to heavy, cant wait for the new LY platform...
      • 7 Years Ago
      4 speed auto = rofl. Welcome to 1985, Dodge!
      • 7 Years Ago
      The 4speed is reliable (now), smooth and cheap to build. I'm not surprised by its inclusion. The 6speed will most likely show up with the phoenix motors.

      That blue is stunning. I love it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A reliable Dodge transmission? That's a good one.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ^^^And you call yourself a car enthusiast?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Delicious indeed.

      I do want to see a Daytona-like apparance package with stripes and more high-impact candy colors like the Chargers enjoy.
        • 7 Years Ago
        God you're ignorant.
      • 7 Years Ago
      When is the Honda Fit due to be shown?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Chrysler and GM: The first one of you to put a proper manual transmission in your base model "retros" will be the one to earn my money.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ditto. Or a boosted 4 cylinder that gets the power a v8 with the fuel economy of a 4 cylinder. Musclecars were always about shoving the latest tech into a small chassis, and unfortunately for the challenger, Chrysler shoved 1970s technology into a huge overweight chassis, and achieves about the same MPG and performance as the 1970 model.
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