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2009 Dodge Challenger

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On the heels of last year’s high performance SRT8, Chrysler has expanded the 2009 Dodge Challenger lineup to include two more trim levels. For this model year, they are offering this large, two-door coupe in SE and R/T trim, and putting the car in competition with Chevrolet’s upcoming new Camaro, and Ford's Mustang, in price, performance.

While last year’s Dodge Challenger had only one engine option — a 6.1 liter V-8, this year the car is a bit more “mainstream,” with an option for either a manual transmission mated to a 250 hp, 3.5 liter V-6 engine providing 250 pounds-feet of torque, or a re-designed 5.7 liter Hemi (375 hp, 404 pounds-feet of torque w/ manual transmission) that has both variable valve timing, and an expanded multi-displacement system. This allows the vehicle to operate on only four cylinders at times when less power is required. A third engine option is the original V-8, which provides 435 horsepower and 420 pounds-feet of torque. As well, the 2009 Challenger has an independent rear suspension — something you won’t find on the Mustang.

For those not wanting a manual transmission, there's a choice of a four-speed automatic on the SE trim level, or a five- or six-speed automatic on the R/T and SRT8 trims. All trims come with disc brakes (the SRT8 has Brembos), while the SRT8 also has a specially tuned suspension and steering system, and limited slip differential.
Safety features include a standard array of airbags, including side-curtain airbags for both the front and back seats, and an electronic stability system (standard on R/T and SRT8, available as an option on the SE).

The interior of the 2009 Dodge Challenger offers the driver a retro-theme with a slanted shifter console, black headliner, and cluster of gauges. In cars with manual transmissions the shifter has a special "pistol-grip" design, and in the SRT8 the leather sport seats have accent stitching and the SRT8 logo.

The car's interior volume is just shy of 94 cubic feet, and there's an additional 16.2 cubic feet of trunk space, making the Challenger almost 10 cubic feet larger, inside, than the rival Ford Mustang. Standard features include air conditioning, , power locks, mirrors and windows, a 60/40-split folding back seat, with an armrest and cupholders, while optional upgrades include a push-button starter, a voice-activated navigation system or an audio system with a 30GB onboard hard drive for storing mp3s, and a reconfigurable display on the SRT8 that offers information about speed, quarter-mile times, and lateral force. Of course, there are available upholstery upgrades, as well.

The exterior of the 2009 Dodge Challenger is clearly modeled after the original 1970 model, and features the trademark rear-end and broad grille. In size, it's roughly the same as the Charger, which platform it's based upon, coming in at 197.7 inches long and 75.7 inches wide.

Notable features include aluminum wheels (17 inch standard on the SE, 20-inch standard on the SRT8), a stainless-steel exhaust that is single-tip in the SE and dual, rectangular-tipped in the R/T and SRT8, and on the SRT8 only, black racing stripes on the hood.

Estimated fuel economy for the 2009 Dodge Challenger is 13 – 17 mpg in the city (depending on trim level and engine options) and 19-25 mpg on the open highway. The base model has a starting MSRP of $21,820.


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