The 2023 Dodge Challenger Goes Out with a Roar

| October 15, 2023 | 3 Minute Read
A red 2023 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck parked on some grass with large boulders in the background. Tom Crosby

Dodge Challengers were the most popular Big Three gas-powered muscle cars sold last year, besting Chevrolet’s Camaro and Ford’s Mustang, but after 2023 they will be no more.

Sadly, Dodge discontinues the Challenger coupe to make way for electrified replacements and their quietly decent speed and inferior handling prowess, but a plus for being more environmentally friendly. Only 300 of this Challenger model will be built, making it an instant classic.

Our test vehicle

Considered the fastest mass-produced muscle car in the world, we tested the gas-powered, heavily loaded 2023 Challenger Black Ghost (appropriately named), loving the power, the growl, the speed, the adrenaline rushes and the nostalgia.

For $99,315, our black-themed (inside and out) Ghost was an SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody special edition with upgraded interior, driver safety features, 8.4-inch touchscreen, Harman Kardon audio, voice recognition, navigation, Uconnect to apps and 8-speed automatic transmission (manual is also available).

This vehicle sits at the top of 10 Challenger trims ranging in base cost from roughly $33,400 for the SXT to $92,895 (excluding destination and other fees).

Meeting the expectations of top muscle cars with 807 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque, the rear-wheel drive 6.2-liter V-8 Hemi engine inspired fear, respect and love all at the same time.

Tires smoke and squeal, the engine whines and roars, and the backend bounces, reaching 60 mph in 3.8 seconds wearing 20-inch Pirelli 12-inch-wide all-season performance tires.

Eyes drawn towards the growl find a sleek, pitch-black car with dual hood scoops, a chrome fuel door, Dodge lettering on the grille, with one wide and one thin white stripe wrapped around the rear trunk lid. Eight-spoke “Warp-Speed” wheels are satin carbon, and the inside headlight on each side in front is just a daytime running light rimming an air intake to aid engine breathing.

When parked, onlookers may notice the black vinyl roof is covered with alligator markings.

The test drive

It felt unnatural driving 25 mph in the city in a car equipped with timing dedicated to showing drag racing stats and engine intake monitoring on the digital gauge screen. EPA rates MPG as 13 city and 22 highway.

On the highway, brief acceleration spurts—despite fear of flashing blue lights suddenly appearing in the rearview mirror—were swiftly quelled by an excellent Brembo brake system.

This Challenger is not a commuter vehicle. It’s a highway speedster looking for a track where it can demonstrate its full potential.

It did have cruise control, but no distance (adaptive) control, lane keeping warning or forward collision warning with emergency braking assist, so we kept our hands on the wheel, our eyes on the traffic ahead, and we were careful not to run the low front fascia over high concrete parking blocks.

The Insurance Industry for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) crash testing resulted in the Challenger Hellcat receiving a top overall five-star safety rating.

Challenger Black Ghost interior

The all-black, driver-centric design showcases a suede headliner, heated/cooled Alcantra leather front seats, and small trays in the doors above a lower small tray and cup holder.  

Beneath the touchscreen, the center spine aligns climate controls, gear shift and slot for the cellphone, two cupholders and a deep storage tray with electric power outlets. The good-size glove compartment is tiered.

Rear seating is tight but folds down to increase the already generous cargo space to 16.2 cubic feet.

Warranty coverage is average: Limited for three years or 36,000 miles, and Powertrain for five years or 60,000 miles.

Visors fully extend and there is a tire repair kit in the trunk.

Overall review

LIKES: Outstanding performance, attractive looks, not too pricey compared to exotic gas-powered competitors, excellent interior, addictive to drive

DISLIKES: No complimentary maintenance, some driver safety aids not available, no spare tire

BOTTOM LINE: Instant classic with high residual value, going dark at top of its game, for performance-seeking owners and investors.

Car fact file


        2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Black Ghost          

    Base Price                     $99,315 as tested
    Curb Weight       4,473 lbs. 
    Wheelbase       116.2 inches
    Length       197.9 inches
    Width       85.8 inches 
    Engine Specs       6.2 liter, V8, Hemi w/sup. charger                                     
    Horsepower       807 hp @ 6,400 rpm
    Torque       707 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm
    Transmission       8-speed automatic
    EPA Rating       13 mpg city | 22 mpg hwy
    Range       18.5-gallon tank, premium
    Performance       0-60 in 3.8 seconds

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