Wayne Fitzgerald loves to fix, drive, and talk about vehicles, especially heavy-duty pickup trucks.
The modern muscle car is the focus of fierce competition. Dodge continues to push the game by introducing more and more power via the V8 platform.
The Dodge Challenger TA 392 should be considered one of the best modern muscle cars available. The TA 392 is based off of the same 6.4L HEMI engine that the famous Hellcat uses. This gives it the grit it needs to supply a superb driving experience.
The most important thing to talk about when it comes to muscle cars is the engine. Car's not going to win any races without a good one.
The Challenger 392 is powered by a 6.4L HEMI. The eight cylinders of this engine pump out 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque.
All of that power is transferred to the rear axle through one of two transmission options: a six-speed manual and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The eight-speed gives you the opportunity to shift using paddle shifters, if so desired. I believe the six-speed is much more fun than the automatic, but if you want to be fast, you will choose the eight-speed every day. I have not had the opportunity to drive the six-speed, but the eight-speed that I drove shifted fast, especially when I compared it to the ten-speed offered in the Mustang GT.
Touching the road is a set of performance-inspired Pirrelli stock tires. They grip the road pretty well for normal driving but they don't have the best traction for racing; if you want to do any sort of racing you will need to upgrade. Giving structure to those tires are beautiful satin-black ten-spoke wheels. They give the car a modern look while maintaining the classic styling.
The theme of the Challenger TA was taken from the Dodge race cars of 1970. The TA made its debut in the same year and created quite a stir. The modern version of the car is making a similar impression with its modern technology coupled with classic styling. The version of the car that I drove had "go mango" paint with matte grey racing stripes and the satin black rims I mentioned, making for a great look. The Challenger TA 392 has great character. You can't help but take it to its limits and beyond.
As soon as I sat in the car, I knew I was going to love it. The interior was comfortable and soft. The seats were suede and ventilated. They keep you nice and secure as you take the on-ramp just a little too fast. When you put your foot down, it launches forward as those eight cylinders rocket to life. What makes it even better are the looks from people as you drive by them in your bright orange sports car. This car turns heads!
The car stays tight in the corners, for the most part. The steering wheel is just the right size and gives you confidence to challenge your comfort zone. I wish I would have had the opportunity to take this car on a track or on some windy back roads, I'm sure I would have a blast.
But I think the place this car excels the most is on the drag strip. The car blazes to 60 mph in a blistering 4.2 seconds. That's pretty fast for a car powered by a naturally aspirated engine. If you want performance without paying the extra dough for the Hellcat, then this is a good car for you.
I really loved this car, but there are a few things that I didn't like. This first of which is the curb weight. The car weighs a porking 4,232 lbs, which is heavier than the Challenger's nearest competitor by 415 pounds. This does slow it down a little bit and should be something that Dodge fixes.
The second thing I don't like about the Challenger is the center of gravity. It sits significantly higher that the other cars in its class. This wouldn't have been too big of a problem 40 years ago but the modern muscle car needs to have the lowest center of gravity possible. The Camaro and the Mustang both have embraced this fact but the Challenger is a little behind.
Even though there were a couple things I didn't like about the Challenger TA 392, my overall impression was good. The Challenger gets a very capable sports car into the hands of the enthusiast at a very affordable price. What more can you ask for? Not everyone can afford an exotic supercar. Some of us can even afford something like the Hellcat. The 2017 Challenger TA 392 allows you and me to drive an American icon.