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The latter half of the oughts have seen the Detroit automakers come out swinging with their muscle cars. General Motors has gone crazy with the Camaro, while Ford keeps amping up the Mustang. Dodge has been quietly working on improving the Challenger for the most part - and of course introducing the Hellcat V8. But while the Hellcat has taken the spotlight for the Challenger, it has put other Challenger models in the shadow. That’s kind of a shame since Dodge has worked on bettering the Challenger with major improvements and new trims. To find out whether or not other Challenger models deserve a spot in the light, I spent some time in a 2015 Challenger SRT.

Looking at the Challenger SRT, you can’t help but think that Dodge issued an edict to its designers saying to keep the basic shape of the original Challenger, but bring it into the 21st century. It seems the edict worked as the current Challenger holds true to the original name-bearer. From the gun-barrel headlights and split grille lines; to the short rear deck and distinctive rear light setup: There is very much a clear lineage to the original Challenger. The SRT tester was draped in a Billet Silver paint color with black strips, and a set of 20-inch forged wheels wearing a coat of black which adds bit of aggression.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392 2

One of the biggest problems for the pre-refreshed Challenger was its interior. A somewhat plain looking dashboard was mixed with cheap plastics mostly common in compacts from the eighties and a steering wheel that felt more at home in a tractor than a muscle car. But with the refreshed Challenger, Dodge fixed many problems. To start, the dashboard has been completely re-worked with a new design that angles the center stack towards the driver and boasts better materials such as brushed plastic trim, aluminum, and soft-touch materials. Paired with a smaller steering wheel and a set of supportive bucket seats with extra side bolstering to keep you in place, help make the Challenger SRT a very special place indeed.

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT 392 14

My test Challenger featured the excellent Uconnect infotainment system with the 8.4-inch touchscreen. I have praised the system for being very easy to use and quick to respond. But on the Challenger SRT, Uconnect gets an extra component. Under the screen is a SRT button which brings up a special SRT section. This section allows you to customize settings for the power and adjustable suspension, provide extra gauges such as oil pressure and temperature; and give performance data such 0-60 and quarter-mile times. It's a nice touch for those who go for the SRT model.

For Powertrain and Handling Thoughts, See the Next Page

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I can only imagine walking out of my apartment and seeing this in my parking space. I absolutely admire this car!! It has so many awesome features and the looks turn heads everywhere the thing goes. It's like driving a Lamborghini for the price of a Porsche and having improved gas mileage.

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Awesome car, any performance motor head should love

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This a fantastic car, but the grill irks me for some reason.

Looking back at it, I think what irks you is what bothers me about it. Looks a bit cheap as an after thought generic plastic grill. They could have done something a bit better I think.

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Guest bender

I just traded in my 13 r/t classic for a 15 392 srt and I cannot be happier, it is as fun to drive as it sounds and looks, the only thing I do not like is the nervous feelings I get when my wife is behind the wheel.

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This review captures the essence of the new Challenger really well. It's an old school bruiser and the refresh tweaked the design in JUST the right ways. I'm also a huge fan of the 392 Hemi. I think that's the sweet spot for this car.

 

I'd go as far as to say that if Chrysler had released this design and interior when they shuffled the powertrains and introduced the Pentastar V6, it very well could have shaken up the pony/muscle car wars.

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    • By William Maley
      It feels a bit odd to be spending some time in the 2017 Cadillac ATS coupe after driving the CT6 earlier this year. In a way, it felt like I was stepping back into the past where Cadillac was making some dumb decisions that ultimately would hurt their vehicles. The ATS coupe is a prime example of this where Cadillac had a legitimate challenger to likes of the BMW 3/4-Series and Audi A5 in terms of performance and handling. But some bone-headed decisions would regulate it to the mid-pack.
      The ATS Coupe is still quite the looker. It features the classic rear-wheel drive proportions of a long front end and a short rear deck.The low roofline and raised belt line give off an impression of aggressive elegance. Our test car came with a set of machined-finished, 18-inch wheels that help the design pop. Move inside and it is clear that the interior hasn’t aged so well. For example, the sheet of piano black trim with the silver capacitive touch buttons really look out of place. The trim is also a magnet for fingerprints. Cadillac’s designers deserve a bit of credit for providing a nice mix of materials such as the Bordello Red leather upholstery, suede microfiber covering parts of the dash and door panels, and carbon fiber trim. The front seats are very comfortable for long trips and do an excellent job of holding you in during an enthusiastic drive. The rear seats are best left to be used for additional storage as leg and headroom are minuscule. Trunk space is quite small for the class at 10.4 cubic feet. CUE is still a bit of a mixed bag. While the overall usability is better with quicker response times and the ability to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the touch capacitive buttons are still hit and miss in terms of responding. Power comes from a 2.0L turbo-four producing 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet. We had the eight-speed automatic that was introduced last year, but a six-speed manual is available as an option. The 2.0L turbo is a punchy performer. Power comes at a smooth and steady rate. The engine does lose some points under hard acceleration as it is not refined as some competitors. The eight-speed automatic is the weak point for the ATS. It is slow to downshift when you need the thrust to pass a slower vehicle. We have to assume this comes down to the programming which is tuned more for fuel economy than performance. Gear changes, for the most part, are seamless. One area that Cadillac hasn’t messed with is the ATS’ handling. The coupe is a willing accomplice down a twisty road with sharp reflexes, little body roll, and steering that provides the right balance of steering feel and weight. We had the optional V-Sport Suspension package which adds a performance suspension and a set of summer-only, run-flat tires which only improves the handling. The downside to this handling goodness is a very stiff ride. Compared to the last ATS we drove (not the ATS-V), this coupe transmitted more bumps and imperfections, making for a very uncomfortable ride. Some of this can be laid at the V-Sport Suspension package. The ATS coupe seen here is the Luxury model - one step above the base model. It carries a base price of $41,395. Our test car was loaded with $12,055 in options, bringing the as-tested price to $54,445. You might be wondering why not jump into the Premium Luxury or Premium Performance if you’re planning to spend that much cash. That is because those two trims only come with the 3.6L V6. If you want the 2.0L turbo, you have to go either the base ATS or Luxury. If I was to buy this car, I would skip the V-Sport suspension package, performance exhaust kit, slotted rotor and brake pad upgrade, and the 18-inch wheels. That would drop the price to a somewhat reasonable $48,490. Disclaimer: Cadillac Provided the ATS Coupe, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      (Author's Note: And that is the final review for 2017. (Hooray!) I'll be revealing my favorite vehicles before the end of the year, so stay tuned. As for 2018, there will be a mix of some leftover 2017 models mixed in with the first batch of 2018 models. Expect to see reviews start back up around the Detroit Auto Show. In the meantime, have a safe and joyous holiday. -WM)
      Year: 2017
      Make: Cadillac
      Model: ATS Coupe
      Trim: 2.0T Luxury
      Engine: Turbocharged 2.0L DI VVT Four-Cylinder
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 272 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 295 @ 3,000 - 4,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 
      Curb Weight: 3,571 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, Michigan
      Base Price: $41,395
      As Tested Price: $54,445 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      V-Sport Suspension Package - $2,265.00
      Performance Exhaust Kit - $1,650.00
      Safety & Security Package - $1,500.00
      Morello Red Semi-Aniline Leather - $1,295.00
      Slotted Rotor and Brake Pad Upgrade Package - $1,190.00
      Power Sunroof - $1,050.00
      18" Bright Machined-Finish Alloy Wheels - $850.00
      Black Chrome Accented Grille - $820.00
      V-Series Rear Spoiler - $665.00
      Phantom Gray Metallic - $595.00
      Black Chrome Rear Trim - $175.00
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