2009 Dodge Challenger Guide: Specs, Performance & More
Everything 2009 Challenger: Specifications, Production Numbers, Color Codes, Model History, & More
For 2009, the Challenger would step into the “family-car” line-up while still producing the same fearsome muscle car of 2008. The SRT8 was an immediate success, but Dodge knew that they would have to expand on the vehicle options like the Ford Mustang or be left in the proverbial dust.
It isn’t that the Challenger just being a sports coupe was bad, but there was a larger niche that the car could fill – family. No, this isn’t the Volare Station Wagon that you remember from whence back, but this is a rather large vehicle with an arm’s length of safety features, and that spelled an opportunity for the carmaker to expand the car’s sales market. V6 Mustangs and Camaros were in for a fight!
The new starting platform for the Challenger was deemed the SE. Like that of the original 1970 Challenger SE model, the 2009 SE was at the very beginning of what you could purchase. Unlike the 1970 model, however, this Challenger SE is filled with standard features that make it a fantastic car in its own right. Cruise control, air conditioning, rear defroster, power windows, and dual airbags are just a few of the list of features you get for a paltry cost.
Beyond that, you’d also get a car with 17″ aluminum rims, 140mph speedometer, painted side mirrors and could even option a stripe for the side. Under the hood, you would find a 250hp, V6 and even though you’d not be the schoolyard drag king, you would get places in reasonable speed and comfort. You’d also be getting the highest gas mileage of any Challenger to date – 25mpg highway. Not bad for a 4000lb car with A/C.
The next step in the ladder brings another named favorite – the R/T. Again, like the cars of old, the R/T (Road and Track) gives the much-needed performance bump for those who want more “go” in their everyday goings. A 5.7 Liter Hemi is standard and gives a hearty 122hp bump over the SE. That makes for 0-60 times in the mid-5-second range – some 2 seconds faster than the base model. “Track” for sure.
More than that, however, the Challenger gains a plethora of options that make for comfort and style. Xenon lights, 18-20″ rims, rear spoiler, 160mph speedometer, and MP3 playing sound system with 6-disc changer. You could also opt for the R/T classic group or the Track Pack. Either way, the R/T was more than just the “trip-to-the-store” vehicle and was still a relative deal compared to euro coupes.
The granddaddy is back with very few changes. The overall car is as hot and bothered as last years’ model save for a new 6-speed manual transmission. You could also get the 5-speed autostick, but the best fuel economy and performance comes from the manual. Tied to it are the same 6.1Liter Hemi and thunderous 425 horsepower. You’ll not need any help against the competition – this car flies.
Match the above to the Track Pak and this car is anything but subtle. Best of all, you also could get any and all the goodies that the Challenger line has to offer. Plus, the biggest performance brakes, heavy-duty cooling system, performance-tuned steering and suspension, dual high-performance exhaust, and much more were standard on the SRT8. The price has ballooned into BMW M3 and C6 Corvette ranges now, but this is no cheap sports car knock-off.
2009 Challenger Quick Specifications
15.6 @ 90 mph
13.6 @ 104 mph
13.1 @ 108 mph
As you can see, the SE to R/T jump is quite drastic and even though I find Motor Trend’s performance figures to be slightly on the optimistic side, an almost 2-second jump in quarter-mile time is an eternity. For most, it would’ve been easily worth the extra eight thousand or so dollars. With that, you’d have a much more appointed and performance-orientated car.
The tougher pill to swallow would be for the top-level SRT8. Where you would slightly notice the difference in a half of a second, unless you were actually going to the track, the TEN extra thousand dollars above the R/T’s price would be a real game-day decision. At that price, you’d also be messing with other notable sports coupes with potentially more to offer in speed and notoriety.
2009 Challenger Interior
Highly unchanged from 2008, the interior of the Challenger is roomy, stylish, and based on the performance-minded individual. The biggest change would be in the form of a manual transmission that was absent from the previous model and would also be available on a lesser version – namely the R/T. For 2009, you also 4 different cloth combos to choose from that included cloth, vinyl, leather, and suede.
2009 Challenger Wheels
Rim choices were also expanded. The base Challenger would receive the smaller 17″ rims to start with and could option up to the 18″. The further up the food chain you drove, the lighter and bigger rims you would acquire. SRT8 models would get the forged aluminum rims for the lightest weight. Wasn’t a coincidence that they looked pretty large and ominous as well.
2009 Challenger Colors
2008’s shortlist of colors showed the higher-ups that there was a need for personalization and Dodge responded with a reasonable list. From the timid Dark Titanium, to the Torred, you could spice the car up to your liking. It was helpful too when making a statement with stripes and decals. No, it wasn’t the extreme palate of the early ’70s, but it gave customers their first glimpse into Challenger customization.
2009 Challenger Packages
Included was the B5 Blue paint option at $225 and could include a hood decal.
SRT Option Group II:
Upped your sound to a 6-disc DVD player w/MP3 capability, 13-speaker KICKER SRT high-performance speakers, 322-Watt KICKER SRT amplifier, and 200-watt KICKER SRT subwoofer.
Electronics Convenience Group:
Includes illuminated cup holders, auto-dimming rear view mirror with microphone, instrument cluster with display, temperature and compass with mini-trip computer, illuminated door pulls, security alarm, uconnect phone, steering wheel mounted audio controls, Universal Consumer Interface (UCI), and remote start.
R/T Classic Group:
Included functional hood scoop, Challenger script badge, wide side stripe, and 20″ polished heritage wheels.
The Challenger made an almost 50% gain on the previous year’s sales, but it is still a third of what sales would eventually become. That said, the Challenger name was spreading like wildfire and it was making a name for itself in most of the automobile magazines.