Used Car Review

2012 Dodge Challenger: Used Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger
$28,313
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger
$14,667
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger
$19,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger
$14,311
RELATED READING
See all Dodge Challenger articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions May 2016

Offering a choice of V6 and HEMI V8 power, the 2012 Dodge Challenger is a modern interpretation of a unique American phenomenon, the muscle car. Instead of chasing down hard-to-find vintage parts, Challenger buyers get a stylish, up-to-date coupe based on the Charger 4-door sedan, complete with a warranty and that new-car smell. The Challenger shares the Charger's basic steering, brakes, all-independent suspension, rear-wheel-drive setup and unitized body construction. Unlike the Camaro and Mustang, the Challenger has a roomy back seat and trunk, which is great for muscle-car fans with friends and family.

For 2012, the base Challenger model is renamed the SXT, a solid value with standard 18-inch alloy wheels, a peppy 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6, automatic air conditioning, side-impact airbags and keyless entry/starting. Also new in 2012 are optional paddle shifters for the SXT Plus and R/T with the 5-speed automatic, as well as a ground-pounding 900-watt, 18-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound premium audio system.

With its crowd-pleasing rear-wheel drive and a variety of available powerplants, the 2012 Challenger is a good used-car choice for the performance-minded driver who wants a handsome, retro-inspired coupe with a roomy back seat and trunk.

What We Like

Ride quality of the multilink independent rear suspension; performance of HEMI V8; crisp-shifting manual gearbox; retro muscle-car looks; roomy back seat and trunk; well-bolstered front seats

What We Don't

Interior is plain and dated-looking; rear quarter blind spots; V6 not available with a manual transmission

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2012 Challenger engine lineup offers three choices.

The new entry-level SXT model comes with a Pentastar double-overhead-camshaft 3.6-liter V6 with 305 hp and 268 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a 5-speed automatic with AutoStick sequential control. Optional steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters are now available. It's a flex-fuel engine that can run on unleaded regular or E85 fuel. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates it at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway.

The R/T model sports Dodge's signature 5.7-liter overhead-valve (OHV) HEMI V8. Paired with the standard 5-speed automatic with AutoStick sequential shifting, this version generates 372 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque on midgrade fuel. It also features multidisplacement technology that idles four cylinders to save fuel when cruising under light throttle. A Track Pak version of the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 comes with a 6-speed manual transmission and produces 376 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque on premium unleaded fuel. Both 5.7-liter HEMIs are EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

The SRT8 392 features an upsized 6.4-liter (392 cubic-in) OHV HEMI V8. Output rises to 470 hp at 6,000 revolutions per minute and 470 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. It also requires 91-octane premium unleaded fuel. The Challenger SRT8 392 has an EPA rating of 14 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with either the AutoStick 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual-gearbox.

Standard Features & Options

The 2012 Challenger is available in SXT R/T and SRT8 392 trims.

The new entry-level SXT trim includes standard automatic air conditioning, a leather-wrapped shifter and tilt-telescopic steering wheel with remote audio controls, cruise control, stability and traction control, remote keyless entry, cloth upholstery, a black headliner, a power driver's seat with manually adjustable lumbar support, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with MP3 capability, a split fold-down rear seat, 235/55R18 all-season tires on alloy wheels, variable intermittent wipers, a sport-tuned suspension and touring brakes. It also includes power windows, door locks and mirrors. The SXT Plus package adds leather seats, heated front buckets, SiriusXM radio, Uconnect voice command with Bluetooth, auto headlamps, auto-dimming mirrors, fog lamps and illuminated vanity mirrors. Other options include a sunroof, a 6.4-in touchscreen infotainment system, navigation and a new 18-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.

Moving up to the R/T trim adds the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, larger brakes, a performance suspension and performance steering, fog lamps, a rear spoiler, a pistol-grip shifter, auto headlamps, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated side mirrors, a 160-mile-per-hour speedometer, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth and voice-command connectivity, Boston Acoustics speakers with a subwoofer and USB device charging. The R/T Plus package brings remote starting, the HomeLink garage-door opener, a security alarm, leather seats, heated front seats and an overhead console and electronic information center. The R/T Classic package adds HID headlamps, classic R/T stripes and 20-in polished 5-spoke alloys. Also available is the Super Track Pak with 245/45ZR20 performance rubber tires, high-performance springs and shocks, and a track-mode stability control system.

The SRT8 392 adds a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 with a low-restriction exhaust and a cold-air induction hood, perforated Nappa leather upholstery, heated performance front bucket seats with adjustable lumbar, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a carbon-fiber-weave and leather-trimmed steering wheel and shifter, 245/45ZR20 performance tires, a 180-mph speedometer, a security system, Brembo brakes, a track-tuned suspension with quick-ratio steering, Bilstein monotube shocks, a limited-slip differential, xenon headlamps and a performance computer.

Pricing

From the relatively inexpensive SXT V6 models and ever-popular R/T 5.7-liter HEMI V8s to the investment-grade 6.4-liter SRT8 392s, used 2011 Challengers have a wide range of price tags. The SRT8 392 has collector-car status among a growing cadre of Mopar and muscle-car fans. As always, low odometer miles rule, and condition is king.

To get a good idea of the 2012 Challenger's price range, check out the used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2012 Dodge Challenger:

On some 3.6-liter V6 models, the alternator may fail without warning, which may stall the engine and, if the vehicle is in motion, increase the risk of a crash.

Faulty wiring may prevent the deployment of the front-seat side airbags in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA did not rate the 2012 Challenger for frontal or side impacts but gave it four stars for rollover performance. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not test the crash performance of the 2012 Challenger.

Chrysler covered the 2012 Challenger with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, including roadside assistance along with 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain and corrosion-perforation warranties.

Dodge certified pre-owned (CPO) cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or younger. Every CPO Challenger undergoes a 125-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 3-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from the car's original date of sale. A Carfax report, 24-hour roadside assistance, car-rental allowance and a 3-month trial of SiriusXM radio are also included.

Other Cars to Consider

2012 Ford Mustang -- America's first pony car is more nimble and engaging to drive than the Challenger. For 2012, the 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 and 412-hp 5.0-liter V8 engines are joined by the exciting 444-hp 5.0-liter Boss 302. The Mustang's live rear axle gives it a choppy ride, interior materials are subpar, and it lacks the Dodge's roomy back seat and trunk.

2012 Chevrolet Camaro -- The Camaro is a modern interpretation of the iconic 1969 model. With 4-wheel independent suspension, powerful 4-wheel discs and crisp steering, the Camaro is light on its feet. A 323-hp 3.6-liter V6 and 426-hp 6.2-liter V8 are joined by an awesome 580-hp supercharged 6.2-liter in the new ZL1 model. However, a claustrophobic cabin and small trunk crimp practicality, and the car lacks a navigation system.

Autotrader's Advice

Although the SXT V6 version offers a good mix of everyday performance and fuel economy and gives buyers a chance to tap into the Challenger legacy for less money and lower insurance rates, we think the stylish Dodge coupe looks and sounds best when powered by a HEMI V8. Unless you're looking for investment-grade rolling stock, we think the HEMI-powered R/T model is the smartest choice. Blowers sticking up through the hood may look cool at Cars and Coffee, but you'll be saving money by opting for a Challenger without modifications. Look for a CPO car or an example with low miles and a Carfax or equivalent car-history report. Check with the dealer to make sure the 2012 Challenger you're considering has had any applicable safety-recall items resolved.

Find a Dodge Challenger for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger
$28,313
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger
$14,667
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger R/T
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger
$19,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger SXT
Used 2012 Dodge Challenger
$14,311
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Dodge Challenger: Used Car Review - Autotrader