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2013 Dodge Challenger: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions July 2016

Offering a choice of V6 and HEMI V8 power, the 2013 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 and unitized body construction. Unlike the Camaro and Mustang, the Challenger has a roomy back seat and trunk, which are great for muscle-car fans who also want to haul around their friends and family.

For 2013, the V6-powered SXT model gets an optional Rallye Redline package that includes the R/T's 20-inch wheels and performance tires, performance suspension, steering and brakes, plus sport seats and distinctive redline stripes. Launch control and driver-selectable adaptive damping also join the SRT8 392 model's standard equipment list.

With its crowd-pleasing rear-wheel drive and a variety of available power plants, the 2013 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 2013 Challenger engine lineup offers three choices.

The entry-level SXT model comes with a Pentastar double-overhead-camshaft 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 305 horsepower and 268 lb-ft of torque. It's mated to a 5-speed automatic with AutoStick sequential control and runs on unleaded regular 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 375 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 cu 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 the 6-speed manual gearbox.

Standard Features & Options

The 2013 Challenger is available in SXT, R/T and SRT8 392 trims.

The 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 trim can be outfitted with the SXT Plus package, which 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. New for 2013 is an SXT Rallye Redline package featuring 20-in black chrome wheels, 245/45R20 performance tires, red body stripes, a deck-lid spoiler, Nappa leather seating, heated front sport seats, firmer performance-tuned suspension, metal paddle shifters, quicker steering and larger brakes.

Moving up to the R/T trim adds the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, larger brakes, performance suspension and 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. New for 2013 is standard launch control and 3-mode selectable adaptive damping.

Pricing

From the relatively inexpensive SXT V6 models and the ever-popular R/T 5.7-liter HEMI V8s to the investment-grade 6.4-liter SRT8 392s, used 2013 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 2013 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 2013 Dodge Challenger:

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

Also on some 3.6-liter V6 models, the battery positive cable may short out at the starter motor, creating a fire risk.

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, they'll fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

The NHTSA gave the 2013 Challenger a 5-star overall safety rating, with five stars for frontal and side impacts and four stars for rollover resistance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not test the crash performance of the 2013 Challenger.

Chrysler covered the 2013 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

2013 Ford Mustang -- America's first pony car is more nimble and engaging to drive than the Challenger. The engine lineup includes a 305-hp 3.7-liter V6 and a 412-hp 5.0-liter V8, plus the exciting 444-hp 5.0-liter in the Boss 302. But 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.

2013 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 a 426-hp 6.2-liter V8 are joined by an awesome 580-hp supercharged 6.2-liter in the new ZL1 model. A navigation system is finally available, but the claustrophobic cabin and small trunk remain.

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 an SRT8 392 to salt away in the garage, 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 model or an example with low miles and a Carfax or equivalent car-history report. And check with the dealer to make sure the 2013 Challenger you're considering has had any applicable safety-recall items resolved.

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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.
2013 Dodge Challenger: Used Car Review - Autotrader