2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD: The Challenger’s Last Hurrah?
The Dodge Challenger has remained virtually unchanged since it first appeared in late 2007. While it is the most nostalgic of the 2-door American muscle cars, there aren’t many brands bold enough to keep the same overall style for nearly a decade. Although the Challenger is expected to be replaced or significantly upgraded by 2018 Dodge is constantly tweaking the aging auto with minor upgrades and updates. The latest will be the 2017 Dodge Challenger GT AWD; the only two-door AWD American muscle car.
Adding an all-wheel-drive version of the nostalgic Challenger seems like it would be music to enthusiast’s ears. After all, Dodge still offers the mighty Hellcat which would be awesome with AWD. Unfortunately for us, the 2017 Challenger GT AWD will only be available with the 305 horsepower 3.6-liter V-6. That being said, the GT AWD will still add a performance and traction boost to the lower end of the Challenger lineup.
The star of the Challenger GT AWD is, of course, the all-wheel-drive system itself. Pulled directly from the Dodge Charger, it has an active transfer case and a front-axle disconnect allowing the car to switch from AWD to rear-wheel-drive without the driver even knowing. This means the excitement felt in the traditional rear-wheel-drive Challenger will be available for all normal driving conditions. However, when the vehicle senses loss of traction, the front wheels will kick in to assist and make sure traction is regained and maintained.
To avoid the GT AWD from being a one-trick pony, the GT Super Trak pack provides launch control and performance data within the center touchscreen. Of course, lap times, g-force indicators and other information is also displayed in the 7-inch gauge display in front of the driver. Additional fun is available with three stability control modes, including a full “off” which is sure to bring some spirited driving in various weather conditions. This fun is taken even further with the addition of steering wheel paddle shifters.
Regarding the unique looks of the GT AWD, it begins with black painted 19-inch aluminum wheels sporting P235/55 BSW all-season tires. Additional external upgrades include the deck-lid rear spoiler, projector fog lamps, and rear camera with park assist sensors. On the inside is an 8.4-inch touchscreen display which is attached to six alpine speakers and a 276-watt amplifier. This system can be further upgraded with the GT Interior package which supplies nine speakers and 506-watts. Additionally, the interior package gains performance leather and alcantara seats (above the standard Nappa leather) and a sport steering wheel.
All in all, this seems like the last hurrah for the Challenger. I don’t think I would be surprised if they offered AWD on the rest of the lineup next year before its departure (but that is pure speculation on my part). While the all-wheel-drive is great, having it only available for the V-6 model is rather disappointing. The again, if a customer wants decent gas mileage, throwback looks and traction in any weather, I guess the 2017 Challenger GT AWD isn’t a bad option. And let’s not forget, if Dodge adds a similar AWD system to the 2018 replacement based on the much lighter Alfa Romeo Giulia platform it could be a game changer for the American pony car wars.
Categories: Production Cars