Dodge Challenger SE for the Young, Convertible for None


Youth will be served — with a V-6 engine.

Mike Accavitti, director of Dodge brand marketing, says the new-for-2009 Challenger SE, which has a 250-hp, 3.5-liter V-6, is aimed at younger buyers who have less cash for a new car than their Boomer counterparts.

"We showed the Challenger to some youth in focus groups when we were creating it, and they said, 'What the hell is that?' They didn't know what it was,” Accavitti said. “But when we told them it would offer a V-6, it changed their perception. The SE, at $21,195, will be for younger folks with limited incomes who can't afford a V-8."

Image-conscious 20-somethings might want the sports car looks along with the 18/25 mpg city/highway they can't get with a Hemi V-8. That engine is found in the $29,995 R/T, which makes 372 hp and has a 16/23 mpg city/highway rating, which really isn't that bad compared with the V-6.

And while you can get a 2009 Challenger with either an automatic or a manual transmission, a V-6 or a V-8 engine, you can't get one with a droptop — and there are no plans to add one in the future, Accavitti said, even though the two-door lends itself to a droptop derivative.

"We considered a convertible when we were developing Challenger, but the extra weight needed to beef up the car when the top was removed was too much of a penalty,” he said. “And that was with a manual soft-top. A power-retractable hardtop would add even more weight."

There's an even better reason not to add the weight — and cost.

"We didn't see a huge market for a convertible that would justify the vehicle," he said.

More Dodge Challenger News

By Jim Mateja | October 7, 2008 | Comments (19)
Tags: Car Buying, Dodge



4 speed automatic !??!
I wouldn't consider a new car without a 6 speed automatic, or a used car without a 5 speed auto.

It's actually not that bad. I drove one on friday. It was a stripped model at $22K and was extremely comfortable. And it still got looks from everyone. The radio played "Back in Black" during my test drive. Very fitting.


George, people that really want performance are going to opt for the 6 speed manual. Only image seekers are going to get the automatic.


Does the V6 come with the TR-6060 manual (yet)?


"Image-conscious 20-somethings might want the sports car looks along with the 18/25 mpg city/highway they can't get with a Hemi V-8."

The same image conscious 20-somethings will want a WRX over this anyday.


George you made a very excellent point. Any car not just the challenger need to have at least a 5 speed automatic, but I really think 6 speed automatics should be standard, since the car industry needs to minimize fuel usage/increase MPG. 6 speed automatic should be the new industry standard.


"The same image conscious 20-somethings will want a WRX over this anyday."

J, you can't necessarily make generalizations on what image-conscious 20-somethings will want. As a college student, I have plenty of friends who prefer the muscle car image, but just as many who prefer the import street racer look. And in any case, there's already a Challenger (with the Hemi) sitting in one of our student lots, and it gets plenty of attention from our classmates.


Not to mention the price difference of the WRX.



Even in motown, I see much more classmates prefer the WRX, even Si over the Challenger. What else can I say?


I thought that the reason for the seat belts being the way they are was for the 2010 convertible. Also I am a 23 yr old that was waiting for the convertible to come out to contrast my '70 hardtop, and I bought my fiance a Magnum when it first came out. There is no chance that I would ever take a WRX or a Civic Si.


And get smoked by the WRX at every single stop light unless the WRX is not racing.

Price difference will be offset soon enough by maintenance, repair, and depreciation.


The LX platform fairs well in terms of resale value, the maintenance in next to nothing, and I have not had to repair anything in over 65,000 miles of my fiancé’s driving.



We are talking about the 3.5L V6 mated to a 4AT Challenger here.


I was waiting for the convertible. Now I guess I have to rethink my next car. By the way I currently drive a stock Plymouth with a 3.5L V6 with a 4AT and get 0-60mph in 5.7seconds and have had no engine or trans issues.


I am fully aware as to what we are talking about.I am also aware that you can get that same combination on the Charger, which may not be a WRX, but still handles it own. My comment before was stating that since the 300, Charger, Magnum, and Challenger are on the same platform and have the same underpinnings on just different wheelbases. So the comment did pertain to the afore mentioned Dodge Challenger.


Again Chrysler has screwed up!!!! I as one have a 70 Challenger drop top that was made in 9/69. Was looking forward to getting one of the 1st new drop tops. Think Dodge has yet again made a BIG mistake, looking at the number of Mustang drop tops on the road, and the fact that GM is still gonna come out with the Camaro drop top. I feel that Dodge will loose a pile of $'s in the market if they don't make the drop top Challenger. Looks like I keep my 03 Sebring which is probably the last well thought out drop top that Chrysler came out with. Oh well Chryslers loss is my gain in $'s (unless I get a Stang or Camaro) LOL



How much does that Challenger weight though?


3819 pounds for a Challenger SE and 3800 pounds for a Charger equiped with that same powertrain. 19 pounds isnt that much of a difference. Oh and the Impreza WRX with an auto gets 20/25 on premium. Yes it weighs 3,241 lbs. But the way I see it is that the claim of spending more on the daily drive is not really applicable in this instance since nearly identical mileage, but the Dodge runs on 87 octane.


Chrysler calls for mid-grade (V6 and hemi automatic) or premium (hemi manual transmission, and SRT8)

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