The 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker brings back one of the most iconic options to the Dodge line of vehicles. This $7000 package on top of the $30,495 Challenger R/T adds track-ready performance to one of the most retro modern muscle cars on sale.
At $42,075, the Challenger R/T Shaker provides V8 muscle with some everyday functionality. We had the opportunity to wring one out on the infield road course at Texas Motor Speedway and see if the Shaker option is more than just a throwback name.
The Shaker package adds a number of performance options. A Shaker hood with a fully-functional air intake are the most noticeable features. The Shaker package got its name from the fact that the intake actually shook as the engine ran. The air intake helps channel cool air into the engine, helping it perform better.
A track-tuned suspension helps the Challenger corner flat. For a car that weighs over two tons, that can be difficult. We expected the car to rock back and forth as we cornered. Some body roll existed, but the car cornered much better than we expected.
The brakes are standard Challenger units; we’d like to see an upgraded option for a performance package like this one. The package does include better tires, which help cornering and braking.
High performance leather seats with good side bolsters help hold the driver in place when cornering. They have the Shaker logo stitched into the back rests to remind you you have a special car. The performance, flat-bottomed steering wheel has good grip and a racy feel.
A Boston Acoustic stereo pumps out the tunes, though we didn’t have a chance to sample it. Parking sensors help when maneuvering the Challenger in tight spaces.
The one we drove came with a $1,195 power sunroof and $695 high intensity discharge (HID) headlamps. For car makers who don’t offer HIDs standard, we like seeing them offered as an a la carte option and not bundled with stuff we might not want.
One area of disappointment with the 2014 Challenger was the Uconnect infotainment system. The 730N system looks outdated compared to a modern implementation and doesn’t give us apps like the newer systems. It does have integrated navigation and Bluetooth support. At $1,095 we weren’t wowed by it.
Big V8 engines don’t always get the best fuel economy, but the 15 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined fall into the ballpark for a performance car like this. The 23 mpg on the highway means it doesn’t have too much of a gas guzzler tax.
If you are wondering about getting the Shaker R/T with an automatic transmission, it’s possible. For $1,200 extra Dodge will equip it with a 5-speed automatic. Compared to the 9-speed that they’re offering on the Jeep Cherokee or Chrysler 200, we’d like to see a few more gears for fuel economy. The antiquated 5-speed will work, but we’d save the money and spend it on fuel or tires.
The 2015 Challenger addresses our concerns over the automatic transmission and the Uconnect infotainment system. Both will be all new in the next car. Most of the Challenger will be new for the 2015 model year, so you might be thinking you want to pass on buying a 2014.
Dodge is addressing those concerns through a special leasing program. If you lease a 2014 Challenger today, in 12 months you can drop it off at your dealership and drive away with a 2015 Challenger with no change in your payment. The overall lease lasts for four years. That gets you an extra summer with a big Hemi V8 instead of waiting around for the 2015s.
Between the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger, we view the Challenger as the most muscle car of the group. Great in a straight line but scary in the corners, the Challenger wouldn’t be able to keep up with the others. Driving the sport tuned Challenger R/T Shaker made us reconsider our thoughts. For someone who wants to drive a tire scorching muscle car everyday, who might once in awhile take it to the track, the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Shaker will take care of you.
|Motor Review Fast Facts:|
|Trim Package:||R/T Shaker|
|Fuel Economy:||15mpg city / 23mpg highway / 18mpg combined|
|Engine:||5.7L VVT V8 Hemi|
|Horsepower and Torque:||375hp and 410lbs/ft|
|Price as Tested:||$42,075|
|Pros:||Classic muscle car looks. Shaker reputation.|
|Cons:||Antiquated infotainment and automatic transmission.|
|Final Thoughts:||A tire-smoking Hemi oozing with cool.|
|Vehicle provided by manufacturer for review.|