The non-Hellcat 2015 Challengers are pretty good, too…

2015 Challengers

…In case anyone was wondering about the ones WITHOUT 707 hp.

Yes, though it’s difficult to see through clouds of supercharged tire smoke, there are certainly 2015 Challengers beside the SRT Hellcat.

Believe me, I drove them.

These Challengers come in all varieties of colors, with various stripe packages…

…featuring three different engine options, and now vaguely resembling the ’71 version of the original.

You even have the opportunity to spec a houndstooth interior!

Although it really is true that they don’t have 707 hp, but the V6 models make do with less than half that figure, so the non-Hellcatted Challengers are still worth a look.

2015 Challengers

To be honest:

For the last five years Challenger has leaned heavily on its looks.

And, it leaned heavily on its sidewalls.

Dodge’s 2015 launch presentation began with an admission that the Challengers selling since ’08 wasn’t perfect, and as we all know these are not exactly news to us, but it was nice to hear all the same.

As Dodge sees it, there were 3 areas that needed improvement:

Transmissions, interiors, and size.

The hard-black-plastic cave became a soft-black-plastic cave that includes modern technology and conveniences, and the look can be brightened by a selection of seat materials.

The old five-speed autos were replaced by modern eight-speeds that seem better sorted than those on the Chrysler 300 and the Dodge Charger.

And still, the Challenger stays big.

Dodge decided to own that part (Still, lacking a new platform, there was not much choice).

However, it is possible to make a big car feel smaller.

Lighter axles that are stronger at the same time mean less unsprung weight to manage.

So, now we have Challenger that no longer rides quite as big and, uh, retro as it looks.

And those new transmissions, with the flexibility and increased ratio spread that comes from three more gears, make it easier to stay in the power.

Power doesn’t hurt, either.

Along with the base R/T’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and the Pentastar V6, Dodge has added Scat Pack models that borrow the 6.4-liter Apache V8 from the non-Hellcat SRT car.

And that means you have 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque to move a couple tons of nostalgia around.

By the way, they do not feel slow for sure.

2015 Challengers

It also appears some of the big feeling was tuned out by using the new electric power steering system, which is standard-across-the-board.

Through the center screen you can select the steering weight, and there are three modes available.

So, we have an acceptable feedback, and, if my memory serves well, a bit better than the hydraulic unit it replaces.

These cars still favor a straight line, mind you.

The most agile and at the same time the lightest of the group, without a doubt, is the V6-powered SXT.

Because of the eight-speed, it moves along good enough in traffic and is really fun to cane around a track, hugeness and 305-hp rating notwithstanding.

The V6’s only real fault:

It is still automatic-only.

I am not going to complain about the six-cylinder’s audio signature, simply because no V6 will sound as good as a V8 with this shape wrapped around it.

Period.

The slushbox is quick-acting and includes a Sport mode that also tightens up throttle response (The Hellcat’s is beefier and built by ZF, while the others get one made by Chrysler using ZF’s design).

Most models get paddle shifters, and there’s a manual gate on the console shifter…

…which keeps the car in the selected gear, just like it has to.

Another note regarding the automatics:

The shifter is electronic but moves like it has a mechanical linkage, unlike the confusing rocker-switch shifters found in other eight-speed Chryslers as well as many Audis.

And, the T-handle-esque piece is nicer to look at.

2015 Challengers

Regarding the manual transmissions, there is nothing new…

…it comes standard with either the 5.7- or 6.4-liter V8.

The Tremec TR6060 is such as the one found in the Viper and other muscle coupes.

The clutch and shifter feel appropriately weighty for a big V8 coupe, and, more significantly, facilitate easier stoplight revving sessions.

If you ever want to take these cars to a road course, Dodge is here to offer the Super Track Pak on V6 and 5.7-liter models (the Scat Pack includes similar upgrades out of the box).

So, you get a shorter rear diff, different steering calibration, a tighter suspension setup, and bigger brakes make track work a little more doable.

From my experience:

You’ll want the bigger brakes.

Also, there is a naturally aspirated SRT 392 model that will most likely get to be the most forgotten of the bunch.

It splits the difference between the Scat Pack and the Hellcat, receiving the latter’s three-mode suspension, 9.5-inch-wide rear wheels, and badder-ass look.

It really is a fine package, but it has too much similarity to last year’s SRT and without the crazy engine that everyone’s going to suspect when they see the SRT logo in the grille.

Maybe, it’s 14 grand cheaper than the Hellcat but, come on…

…HELLCAT.

2015 Challengers

Next there are the colors, each more eye-searing than the last.

You just want to stare at these things.

The brighter they paint them, the bigger they seem.

But it’s hard not to love TorRed, Sublime, or B5 Blue.

Go with black, and you trick the eye into downsizing…

…the Challenger looks merely “big” instead of “huge.”

There are more options on the 10-model Challengers lineup, but maybe is simpler to explore them on the configurator.

Our goal was to let you know that, despite the crazy Hellcat barrage you’re likely facing on social media at the moment…

…there are other amazing 2015 Challengers, ones without glorious-sounding 707-hp supercharged V8s.


Insipred by: Road and Track

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