Dodge Challenger:

Dodge Challenger – Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award for 2012 Sporty Cars

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Challenger Edges VW Eos for IVA Win: The 2012 Dodge Challenger comes closest to the ideal of any Sporty Car.  The Challenger edges out the second place Volkswagen Eos (retractable hardtop convertible) to win in this class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Eighty-percent or more of Challenger owners find these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, cargo space, exterior styling, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, ease of getting in and out and safety features.

A Few Shortfalls – Most Solved by Selecting Available Options. Being a Sporty Car, Challenger is about style, power and handling.  About 40% of Challenger owners want more power and acceleration – guess they did not opt for the optional HEMI V8.  About 29% of Challenger owners want more distinctive wheels than they have now.  About 29% of Challenger owners want more infotainment technology.  Perhaps each of these shortfalls could have been solved by selecting available options.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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2009 Dodge Challenger: Motorist Choice Award Winner

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Dod_09_ChallengerRT_4 copy.jpg“Dodge Challenger’s win of the 2009 Motorist Choice Award was preceded by its win of the AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award. Owners in the Sporty Car Segment gave the Challenger the nod as it packs everything the 1970s muscle car had to offer into a modern reincarnation. From flair and bravado to horsepower and braking, the Challenger has what it takes to be a success in this segment.” — AutoPacific
“The Challenger has the lowest insurance costs and was ranked first in the AutoPacific survey.” –IntelliChoice
Owner Satisfaction Highlights
* Image
* Exterior Styling
* Fun to Drive
* Braking
* Power and Acceleration
* Vehicle’s Ride
Cost-of-Ownership Strengths
* Lowest Insurance Costs


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2009 Dodge Challenger Wins AutoPacific 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award

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DodgeChallenger.jpg“Dodge Challenger’s win of AutoPacific’s 2009 Ideal Vehicle Award demonstrates that Dodge has solid contender in the Sporty Car segment. A muscle car in the old style, Challenger has the presence that its owners appreciate,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, Inc. “In a product segment where buyers value styling, image and performance, Challenger delivers.” The Challenger earned class-leading scores in such critical categories as:
* Exterior styling
* Ride
* Safety features
* Interior storage
* Cargo space


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2009 Dodge Challenger: And the Gang's All Here

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Challenger Update
Seems only yesterday, really all the way back in May, that we brought you our first-drive impressions of the 2008 Challenger SRT8, the one with the 425HP HEMI and automatic transmission. That day, and my many, many laps on the track, is set to always stand out as a favorite.
And now we’ve had the chance to drive most of the full 2009 Dodge Challenger lineup, which began rolling into dealers in August. Among the highlights: six-speed manual transmission! What muscle car can proudly raise its head without one, no matter how few are actually ordered?

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Full Range: V6 SE, 372HP HEMI R/T, and 425HP HEMI SRT8
The 2008MY for Challenger was a short, limited run of 6500 or so SRT8 products. The 2009MY offers something for everyone looking for a cool, powerful-looking large coupe, whether looking for the entry V6 or the crushing SRT8.
Challenger is impressive in its own right. It is accessible, in image and cost. It is powerful and commanding, if not subtle or graceful. The range starts with the V6-powered SE for $21,995, moves to the well-balanced $29,995 R/T, and supplies total go-fast gearheads of all ages with the affordable $39,995 SRT8.


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2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8: Ready to Run

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After much hype and buildup, the Challenger SRT8 arrives in dealers this month. The wait for a broader lineup isn’t long, however, as a fleshed-out range arrives this fall (click for our coverage of the full-line reveal at New York, or the SRT8 reveal in Chicago). We were lucky enough not to have to wait until fall to get behind the wheel, though, as Dodge invited us to take a spin in Pasadena, California, on our way to Willow Springs Raceway. Not a chance we’d say no!

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Driving away from the hotel, easing out of Pasadena local traffic, it was a few miles before the opportunity to explore the depths of the throttle arrived. When it did, the payoff was instant acceleration and an exhaust and engine symphony. The 425HP Challenger SRT8 tune is visceral, powerful, and begs that right foot ask for more. When you get, say, up into the Angeles Crest highway and away from stop signs and bicyclists, Challenger proves an entertaining companion. In town, the car is comfortable and it only takes a well-placed blip to bring out that wonderful burble. Mustang’s V8s sound terrific; Challenger SRT8 sounds even better. Issues of fuel economy and pollution aside, the Challenger SRT8 and smoky burnouts are an obvious pair. Though none executed by this author, an SRT engineer left serious rubber on request just outside of pit lane. It was truly a sight to behold, watching the car just get swallowed up in tire smoke.
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That SRT8 is estimated for 13/18 mpg on the EPA cycle, improved with MDS and other tweaks over the known Charger SRT8, isn’t important here. If you’re considering an SRT8, you’ve already accepted living life below 50 mpg. And if you haven’t, there are plenty of options out there. The limited-run 2008MY starts at just under $38,000, with only three sub-$1000 options.


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New York Auto Show 2008 – 2010 Hyundai Genesis Coupe

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A New Coupe, A Year Away
Hyundai spent their New York auto show time introducing their new rear-drive sporty coupe, the Genesis Coupe. Related to the Genesis sedan on sale this summer, the coupe arrives in spring 2009.

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Genesis sits on Hyundai’s first in-house rear-drive car platform. The stylish coupe tames down its looks from the concept introduced in Los Angeles in November 2007, but mostly in losing hood scoops and refining lights, front grille, and spoiler shapes. What Hyundai held back for introduction was that the powertrain lineup includes a turbocharged and intercooled 212HP 2.0L I4 as the base engine. The 3.8L V6 arrives as expected, but most figured the second powertrain would be the sedan’s V8.
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Dodge Challenger Blows into Windy City

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Limited Edition SRT8 Arrives First
Ford launched the latest Mustang to a resounding critical and sales success, and its retro theme got GM and Chrysler thinking fast about a new-century take on the pony car wars. At the 2006 Detroit auto show, the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro concepts tested the waters for a full pony-car revival. Both companies were inspired by both pride and the success of the latest Mustang, and both the Challenger and Camaro will arrive on market. Eventually. Really. Both companies hope that the initial enthusiasm for these projects survives the gestation period. In Chicago, Dodge launched the Challenger, jumping the generation gap between by enlisting the help of the father-son Orange County Choppers team. And while the HEMI Orange paint scheme was front and center, the SRT8 Challenger looks mean and sinister in black, a look that matches the 425HP engine’s burble better.

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Dodge‘s Challenger arrives this spring as a late 2008MY product, while the Camaro doesn’t arrive for another year or so. The catch is that the first Challengers are in limited edition $37,995 SRT8 form, introduced at the 2008 Chicago auto show, assisted by the father-son team at Orange County Choppers and Jim Press. The first units are specially numbers and available in Hemi Orange, black, or silver. By fall, for the typical 2009MY start, a more substantial range including V6 and 5.7L HEMI options will be available. Contributing to the hype and (hopefully) fueling demand, the first Challenger SRT8 was auctioned at the 2008 Barrett-Jackson auction. The winning $400,000 bid, of which all proceeds go to a charity called notMYkid, was posted by Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company.
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For an image car, launching with the hottest version first can contribute to the hype. Following that strategy, the news from Chicago is the first production reveal of the Challenger SRT8. As promised, the Challenger looks pretty much like the historic pony car, updated for a modern context. The SRT8 sports the same 425HP 6.1L HEMI that helps make Charger, Magnum, and Chrysler 300 SRT8s so much fun to drive. Because of the SRT team, the power is backed up by refinements to the brakes, chassis, and looks, compared with the standard Challenger, as well as some specific interior and exterior cues.
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SEMA 2006 – Twisted Steel and Sex Appeal

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Every year automotive industry guru’s and product specialists converge on the Las Vegas Convention Center to promote their products, meet the competition, and network. This year an estimated 145,000 people gathered to celebrate American Muscle and flaunt their piece of the automotive puzzle. From guys named Joe who craft cosmetic interior bolts to the major auto manufacturers like Ford, GM, and Toyota the Specialty Equipment Market Association has created a forum for almost anything in the automotive aftermarket. Bring your walking shoes, but leave your wallets at home because it’s time to visit the 40th annual SEMA show.
As died-in-the-wool car guys, AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents covered the show. Ah, the aching feet!
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The irony behind SEMA is that there are miles of exhibits, thousands of vehicles, and millions of amazing products, but you can’t purchase anything but a t-shirt or hat. What makes SEMA so special is the passion. Everyone at the show is passionate about his or her part in the automotive aftermarket and that excitement can be seen in their sculptures. The experience could be likened to that of an art aficionado visiting the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, only you’re actually able to meet the artisans along with their work. There were superchargers, suspension kits, pistons, drivelines, radiators, batteries, wheels, tires, and of course vehicles with parts that fused form and function while screaming capability.


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It's Official: Chevrolet Camaro Returns

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As had been widely anticipated, today at a series of annual management briefings in Traverse City, Michigan, GM head Rick Wagoner announced that the Camaro returns to Chevrolet dealerships in late 2008. He also promised that it will look nearly identical to the concept, which wowed Camaro enthusiasts at its reveal at the 2006 Detroit auto show this past January. Of course the Camaro enthusiasts were strategically planted by Chevrolet at the auto show stand… but that’s alright. It was a hoot!

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Camaro sales will start the first quarter of 2009, with production in late 2008. That should give plenty of time for all you Camaro enthusiasts to start saving and preparing for your next car.
The Camaro will retain its rear-wheel-drive traditional configuration and be offered with V6 and V8 engines, with both manual and automatic transmissions on hand. The “fuel economy” engine will be the V6 – with 275-horsepower no less.
Dodge Challenger – Low Investment Coupe from Chrysler’s RWD Platform
The other pony car concept from this year’s Detroit show, the Dodge Challenger, was confirmed forproduction in June. (Click here for our story.) Dodge will beat Chevy to market by a few months, having promised sales in late 2008.
Market May Be Thinner Than Expected if Mustang Can Keep on the Pressure
Timing of Challenger and Camaro give the latest version of the Mustang four to five years’ head start. Given the freshening of the Mustang at about the same time as the Challenger and Camaro introductions, plus the plethora of Mustang special models over the years, Ford may have done a pretty good job siphoning off prospective buyers for the General Motors and Chrysler pony cars.


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Dodge Approves Challenger

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As if There Would Have Been Any Other Answer…
In the biggest non-surprise of the year, Dodge made it official: The Challenger concept will spawn a Challenger production coupe. The Challenger will go on sale in 2008, within two years of the concept’s introduction, as a 2008 model-year vehicle. The announcement was made in conjunction with the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race in Daytona, where the Dodge Charger is a competitor.

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Though the name was used a few times on non-muscle cars, the Challenger that is being revived had a five-year run (1970-1974) and saw sales about 188,600 units, coupe and convertible. Which begs the question: When is the convertible coming?
Chevrolet is expected to also follow its 2006 North American International Auto Show concept Camaro with a production version as well. But Dodge looks to be in position to get Challenger to market before Camaro, which could be huge in the image game. No one wants to be last.
All in all, Challenger has a solid platform to launch from and a nice set of powertrains to choose from, being based on Dodge Charger/Magnum and Chrysler 300, though a 500HP SRT Challenger would be helpful. Response to the concept car has been strong enough to get the green light. In 2008, we’ll find out if the enthusiasm translates to real-world purchases.
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(VehicleVoice and AutoPacific brought you news of the Challenger and Camaro back at auto show time; click here and here to revisit those stories.)


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