What is it: The 2018 Dodge Challenger GT sports an all-wheel-drive system, making it more efficient in cold and snow-covered climes. Managed by an active transfer case, the Challenger GT can engage and disengage the front axle on the fly — giving you a mostly rear-drive vehicle with front-wheel grip on demand.
Key Competitors: Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Kia Stinger AWD, Dodge Charger AWD
Base Price: $34,590 As-Tested Price: $38,965
First Drive: 2017 Dodge Challenger GT
Highlights: What, you need more than the Challenger's throwback muscle car looks? The GT model is noteworthy for its AWD traction. As for major changes for 2018, there is a new set of optional wheels, but it looks like Dodge spent most of its Challenger engineering time developing the Demon.
Our Opinion: I thought the idea of an “all-season” muscle car, especially a V6-powered one, was kind of silly. Now, that’s neither a knock against V6-powered coupes, nor against driving your muscle machine in cold weather — it’s just that, with a set of snow tires you’ll have a good shot at ripping your rear-drive fun machine around a few inches of the white stuff without trouble anyway. Then, I drove the Challenger GT in a heavy Michigan snow on all-season rubber a few months back, and it didn’t miss a beat.
Cruising around Detroit, the Challenger drove right over any of the slick stuff without any unwanted sliding. That said, if you’re trying to slide it around, as one should when given a snowstorm, it’ll do that too, but under normal driving the GT lives up to its claim of an all-season muscle car even without the help of specialized rubber.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 doesn’t have the throaty exhaust note of its Hemi-powered siblings, but it does scoot. With 305 hp on tap, and extra available grip from the front axle, this is more than enough power to have fun. There’s also just enough muscle to justify the sculpted and nostalgic Challenger shape.
Inside, the cabin feels on the cramped side, especially for those in the rear seats. But that’s a problem across the ponycar board (Mustang and Camaro too). The seats are comfortable and hold you well enough for having fun in the snow, but might leave you longing for more on a track day. The UConnect infotainment system works better than ever, which might sound banal until you try to live with an old, wonky media system.
If you’re chasing the muscle car aesthetic and only have space for one car, and it snows where you live, the Challenger GT is essentially the only pony in town. You can make do with a rear-drive hot rod with snow rubber, but then you need to worry about storing tires or wheels, which makes the all-wheel-drive Challenger make that much more sense.
—Wes Wren, associate editor
Options: Technology Group — automatic high beams, rain sensitive windshield wipers, adaptive speed control, forward collision warning ($1,195), Driver Convenience Group — high intensity headlamps, blind spot and rear cross path detection, remote start ($1,095), GT Interior Package — leather steering wheel, 9 speakers with subwoofer, 506-watt amplifier, sound group II, nappa/Alcantara performance seats ($995), Uconnect 4C navigation with 8.4 inch display, SiriusXM, GPS navigation ($795)
On Sale: Now
Base Price: $34,590
As Tested Price: $38,965
Powertrain: 3.6-liter DOHC V6, AWD, 8-speed automatic
Output: 305 hp @ 6,350 rpm; 268 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Curb Weight: 4,106 lb
Fuel Economy: 18/27/21 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)
Pros: Muscle car looks, even in the snow
Cons: No Hemi growl