Our regression into childhood fantasy started the moment we laid eyes on our test 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 in all of its resplendent, eye-searing, orange-colored glory. The hue is known as Header Orange Clear, and while it isn’t ordinarily what we would prefer in an exterior color choice, it just so happened to suit this Dodge perfectly. Why, you may ask?
To put it bluntly, the hot and sexy coupe looked like it was taken straight from the set of the 1980s TV hit The Dukes of Hazzard. We didn’t get too carried away on our test drive, and we never tried to emulate Bo and Luke Duke by entering the 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 through its rather narrow windows — that would have cracked our old bones. But on more than one occasion as we lit up the rear tires, we did imagine that we were making our escape from Boss Hogg’s evil clutches.
Now, if you remember them good ol’ Duke boys, you may have had a crush on one or both of them. We won’t let you know if it was Bo or Luke Duke that we thought was handsomest, but it’s hard not to imagine others watching you with similarly adoring eyes when you’re behind the wheel of the 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8. On the outside, this coupe doesn’t have a bad angle. The interior may be a tad bit simple, but it boasts clear gauges, three solid knobs to control the interior climate, and an in-dash navigation/USB/40 GB hard drive/Bluetooth phone controller on the center stack.
Features, Pricing and Fuel Economy
Our test 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT8 had a base price of $44,995 and came standard with power, heated front SRT-8 sport seats, a 6.4-liter, 470 horsepower/470 ft-lbs of torque V8 engine mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, automatic temperature control, a heated steering wheel, power everything, and bright accelerator and brake pedals. Adding to our tally was a $1,995 premium sound option (18 speakers, 990-watt amp), a $995 power sunroof, $1,000 for the gas guzzler tax, and $995 for an auto stick automatic with paddle shifters, remote start, and a 3.06 rear axle ratio.
Thankfully, the Challenger SRT-8 comes with a 19.1 gallon fuel tank, because we averaged just 16.4 miles per gallon over a week, but during a long freeway slog, that average did rise to over 20 miles per gallon, which isn’t bad for a motor this size. Our test model stickered out the door at $50,910, with destination and delivery included.
The 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 is a blunt-force instrument of awesome acceleration. No, we haven’t been watching CSI re-runs, this coupe seems to put 470 horsepower and ft-lbs of torque through the rear wheels right from idle. There’s no waiting for the power to come in this pit bull of all muscle cars.
And much like a real pit bull, a Dodge Challenger SRT-8 will behave just as well as it’s treated, so give it sufficient respect when the rear end breaks out as you power around a winding mountain road. Drive like a hooligan, and the SRT-8 may just and show you what it really means to drift, but you’d really have to push it. So, if you buy a Challenger SRT-8, be careful as you explore the depth and breadth of its performance capabilities.
Compared to any vintage muscle car, the steering, ride, and handling of a 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 will seem like a true revelation. It even has fade-free brakes and a solid, quick feel to the pedal’s reactions. But compared to modern-day sport coupes, the steering is a bit light and doesn’t make the Challenger feel all that maneuverable, even in parking lots. Cornering at high speeds is more of a guessing game, but we’ll admit that for being so light, the steering did offer more feel than expected.
You would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to not notice a 2013 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 driving down the street. It’s loud, full-on sensory overload, but in a very good way. This kind of car and this kind of 6.4 liter V8 motor isn’t meant to survive in a world obsessed with the Toyota Prius. Think of the Challenger SRT-8 as the anti-Prius, and you can easily see where this car fits in the automotive universe. And the Prius can’t pull off orange anyway.