In this guide, I’ll analyze the latest generation of the Dodge Challenger, pinpointing Challenger’s best years to buy and the worst Dodge Challenger years to avoid.
Backed by in-depth research from authoritative sources like NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and VehicleHistory, I’ve synthesized years of data, customer reviews, and expert insights to help you choose the most reliable Dodge Challenger years.
You’ll discover exactly which Dodge Challenger year had transmission problems, which had recalls concerning alternators, and which had the most reliable engines.
So, let’s dive right in.
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Dodge Challenger Generations
The Dodge Challenger, a classic American muscle car, debuted during its iconic first generation in 1970. This initial model quickly became a favorite among car enthusiasts due to its impressive power, iconic design, and performance-oriented features.
The table below represents the latest generation of the Dodge Challenger since its revival in 2008.
Recognizing the distinctions between each generation is essential, as significant changes in aesthetics and performance have occurred over the years.
Dodge Challenger Best, Neutral, and Worst Years
In our rankings of the best and worst Dodge Challenger years, we take numerous factors into account, including but not limited to:
- Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
- Annual maintenance costs
- Safety ratings
- Consumer Reports reliability scores
- Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
- NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
- Edmunds owner ratings
- JD Power owner ratings
- Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
- VehicleHistory owner ratings
- Cars.com owner ratings
This graph will combine ratings from all these sources, visually representing the Challenger’s performance over the years.
Following is a table that categorizes each Dodge Challenger model year into the ‘Best,’ ‘Neutral,’ and ‘Worst’ years based on our comprehensive research.
|Generation||Best Years||Neutral Years||Worst Years|
By “Neutral Years,” I refer to the model years that neither significantly outperformed nor underperformed when benchmarked against other years.
While several factors influence our rankings, some, like NHTSA recalls, tilt the scales negatively. A surge in complaints and recalls typically signals a dip in the car’s reliability.
Let’s dive into the specifications of Dodge Challenger’s best, neutral, and worst years.
Best & Worst Years for Dodge Challenger 3rd Generation (2008-Present)
The Dodge Challenger, a name that reverberates with muscle car enthusiasts, was revived in 2008 with its 3rd generation. Evoking its illustrious past, this version merged its iconic silhouette’s nostalgic appeal with the modern era’s technological advancements.
Pre-facelift models – 2009 to 2014 and the first facelifted 2015 model are the Dodge Challenger years you should avoid, while 2008 and post-facelift models are the best Dodge Challenger years for this generation.
The Best Years: 2008, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
Post-facelift – 2016 to 2023 are undeniably Dodge Challenger’s best and most reliable years to buy due to high owner ratings and a considerably low number of NHTSA owner complaints and recalls.
Drawing inspiration from its 1970s counterpart, the 2008 Dodge Challenger predominantly featured the potent HEMI V8 engine, an instant hit among enthusiasts.
It married classic design to modern engineering. Yet, as with all great legends, the Challenger did not stagnate.
For the power-hungry, the 6.4L V8 in the Scat Pack variant promised raw energy.
Inside the cabin, the UConnect infotainment system, boasting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, offered seamless smartphone integration.
Active safety features included adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and blind-spot monitoring.
The introduction of the SRT Hellcat, brandishing a supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 churning out a mammoth 707 hp, put the Challenger on a pedestal.
Subsequent years, up to 2023, saw the Dodge Challenger refining its breed.
The Neutral Years: 2018
2018 was an intriguing year for the Dodge Challenger.
The model continued its tradition of offering a buffet of engine and trim levels, catering to a broad spectrum of car enthusiasts.
This year saw advancements like an updated infotainment system, making the driving experience more intuitive.
However, it was also marred by some problems, particularly in the electrical domain. A glaring recall that stood out concerned the vehicle’s voltage regulator.
Failures in this component brought about scenarios where the engine could stall unpredictably.
The Worst Years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
2009 to 2014 and the first facelift year are the worst Dodge Challenger years to avoid because of the low owner satisfaction scores, numerous recalls, and reported owner complaints.
Owners of the 2009 Challenger lamented issues ranging from electrical anomalies to the engine stalling and disconcerting throttle lags.
The 2010 Dodge Challenger escalated these challenges, particularly in the powertrain domain. Hard gear shifts and premature timing chain failures vexed owners.
The problems continued into the 2011 Dodge Challenger. An alarming issue that surfaced was linked to the alternator.
Chrysler initiated a recall that spanned models from 2011 to 2014. These vehicles, equipped with 5.7L or 3.6L engines, witnessed abrupt alternator failures, sometimes resulting in sudden stalls.
From the erratic behavior of passenger-side windows in the 2012 model and the alarming loss of power steering in 2013 to the overheating issues in 2014, the Dodge Challenger received dented reliability scores, especially in J.D. Power.
The persistence of alternator concerns, with some owners reporting ominous smoke emanating from under the hood, further dented its reliability.
The 2015 model, though an improvement, had its Achilles heel in the form of electrical system peculiarities and leaking radiators.
Dodge Challenger Average Resale Values
The following graph shows the average Dodge Challenger resale value and reflects its market performance.
Now that we have gone through the Dodge Challenger’s lineage, it’s clear that 2016, 2017, and 2019-2023 models are the best Dodge Challenger years for those seeking reliability and performance.
So, which Dodge Challenger year do you personally favor and why?
Share your insights in the comments below!