MPG-o-Matic Dodge Challenger SE Review Summary: The 2009 Dodge Challenger SE is a remarkable remake of a classic American pony car that holds a secret beneath its stunning retro body … a modern V6 engine that delivers respectable gas mileage. The Challenger SE is a hot ticket for full-size fuel-efficient cruising.
The 2009 Dodge Challenger SE riffs on the design of the iconic 1970 Challenger, with a remake that mates a modern suspension and drivetrain with a body even more beautiful than the original. While the lure of the Big V8 Hemi R/T and SRT8 Challengers might be irresistible for the go fast crowd, the V6-powered Challenger SE is a thrifty cruiser.
The Challenger SE’s 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 250 horsepower (HP) and 250 foot pounds of torque. The V6 is mated to a four-speed automatic transmission in the early production vehicles and a five-speed transmission in vehicles produced from April 2009 onward. Unfortunately, a manual transmission is not available with the V6.
While some might scoff at the thought of a V6 Challenger, it’s worth noting that the original base 1970s Challenger was offered with a slant six. And the smallest V8 back in the day, the 318, produced just 230 HP …. 20 less than the current day V6.
The official mileage estimates for the 2009 Dodge Challenger SE are 17 city / 25 highway miles per gallon (MPG).
We rolled up well over 600 miles on our four-speed automatic-equipped TorRed Challenger SE review unit. By driving conscientiously, we were able to easily glide past the official estimates, with an average of 30.2 MPG on the Interstate highway and 23.6 MPG combined.
With the Challenger SE, a light-footed driving approach is well-rewarded.
Test period temperatures ranged from the fifties through the seventies, with freeway speeds between 60 and 72 miles per hour (MPH).
2009 Dodge Challenger SE Highway MPG Testing
Cruise control on @ 68 MPH – 31.1 MPG
Cruise control off, target speed between 60-72 MPH – 29.3
(Highway testing completed with the windows up, A/C off.)
The Challenger SE lacks both an instant and an average fuel economy gauge. We popped a brand new AutoMeter EcoMeter into the OBD port to gain a better feel for the Challenger’s drive train. We achieved significant gains in fuel economy by keeping the EcoMeter in the green as much as possible.
This isn’t the Challenger you’ll want to bring the drag strip. Off the line, the original four-speed automatic lacks punch. The new five-speed seeks to address that issue with different gearing.
Whether you’re a baby boomer or a good bit younger, the Challenger’s design hits the bullseye. Chrysler has breathed new life into an American icon.
Driving the Challenger was a cinematic experience. No matter where we drove, the Challenger evoked waves, honks, and thumbs up, drawing admirers nearly every time we pulled into a parking lot.
We’ve never had that experience with any other test vehicle. This car is a star.
All-in-all, the Dodge Challenger SE V6 is one sweet retro ride.
US/Canadia Parts Content: 56%
Mexican Parts Content: 16%
Country of Origin:
Engine: United States
Transmission: United States
Final Assembly Point:
Brampton, Ontario, Canada
– by Daniel Gray
April 27th, 2009
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