The Dodge Challenger is regularly lumped together with the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang into an American muscle/pony car classification that, when the vehicles are pitted against one another in comparison, shows the Challenger coming up short. Such comparisons are often performed on drag strips and racetracks, where the big, heavy, and less powerful Challenger tends to look like the doughy, pasty guy sweating breathlessly at the gym.
Lemme ask you a question: When was the last time you drove a car on a drag strip? Or on a closed racetrack?
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
The Challenger’s natural competitors might be the Camaro and Mustang, but these are three distinctly different automobiles appealing to different kinds of people. Once the Chevy fan boys, Dodge fan boys, and Ford fan boys have been weeded out of the buying pool, the one you choose is entirely dependent on who you are, how you want to be seen, how you plan to use the car, and whether you want a convertible top or not.
In my experience, the Camaro looks terrific and is an accomplished athlete, but it lacks polish and is ridiculously hard to see out of. The Mustang offers tidy dimensions that afford it a nimbleness on canyon roads and it sounds terrific when revved, but it is looking old, lately forced to rely on design gimmicks to tide it over until a new ‘Stang arrives for 2015. And neither is particularly practical.
Of this trio, the Challenger is my favorite. Part of the reason might reflect empathy. I am, after all, the doughy, pasty guy sweating breathlessly at the gym. Part of the reason is that I don’t like to drive the same car everyone else has, and everyone else has a Camaro or a Mustang. Part of the reason is that the Challenger is unapologetic about its mission, which is to look and feel like an old car, to tug at the heartstrings with nostalgia. And part of the reason is that I can carry my family inside of it without folding everyone up like origami, while simultaneously stuffing its giant trunk with our stuff.
For more of my reasons for recommending the Dodge Challenger, read on.