Revamp may be on the Horizon Soon, but Challenger Design is Here to Stay
Aesthetics play a large part in a vehicle’s popularity and Dodge definitely hit a home run when the Challenger was reintroduced into the automotive market back in 2008. Very little has changed since then and people probably wonder if Dodge and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) abide by the rules of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but that’s not necessarily the case. Mark Trostle, head of passenger and utility design for FCA, recently sat down with some press at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show and discussed his pride and joy: the Challenger.
Trostle says he relies on the continued design cues of the Jeep Wrangler and the Porsche 911 for inspiration when handling the aesthetics of the Challenger. “I look at the design aesthetic of the Jeep Wrangler and how it has evolved over time. But it has always looked the same essentially. Porsche 911 has done a very good job of that as well,” Trostle said. He continued with “That’s what we’re really proud of with the Challenger. It has continued to evolve. We haven’t had to throw the kitchen sink at it to reinvent the way the car looks. We do things to modernize the car, such as a new interior in 2015, versus having to make wholesale changes to it. I think that says a lot about the package of the car.”
As we can see the brand’s inclination isn’t to avoid innovation, but to not veer too far away from what makes the design of the Challenger familiar and recognizable to enthusiasts. Numerous engine options are specifically offered by Dodge on the Challenger as a way to cater to different gearheads. For its 2019 lineup, Dodge is releasing a Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 Edition as it phases out the Challenger SRT Demon from production. The latest Scat Pack comes with the familiar 64.-liter HEMI V8 engine capable of generating 485 horsepower, with the impressive 0-60 time of 3.8 seconds, and an 11.7-second quarter mile time.
According to Dodge, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 Edition is the fastest naturally aspirated muscle car you can buy today. Like we mentioned prior, a key to the long-term success of the Challenger is the variety of engine options. Different tiers of engine options allow the brand to cater to a variety of budgets and performance desires. “We throw in different drivetrains that cater to a whole variety of people. That’s really the success of this car,” Trostle said. All of this is not to say that the Challenger isn’t an exceptional car that is subject to innovation, but the brand knows its clientele and it’s willing to work to keep them happy.
2018 was the best sales year ever for the Dodge Challenger with a whopping total of 70,000 units sold, so it’s safe to say that the strategy pays off. What’s next for the Challenger? There are only two things we can be sure about: many drivetrains will continue to be offered, and while its design will evolve to include more modern features, the Challenger will remain unmistakably itself so it’s never confused for anything else.