2020 Dodge Challenger GT AWD Muscle Car Chicagoland Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO
America’s First All-Wheel Drive Muscle Car
By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel
A lot of folks pray for snow. Skiers, snowboarders, the landscaper who plows snow in winter, snow removal equipment makers, and so on all like snow. I don’t usually pray for snow. I have in the past…no school, go ski, and now I found myself again wanting snow.
Why? I was going to be driving the Dodge Challenger GT All-Wheel Drive (AWD). Introduced in 2017, it’s the segment’s first two-door American muscle car with all-wheel drive. And today it’s still the only one. There is no Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro with AWD.
As it went, there was no snow around my Chicagoland home to fling the Challenger into a drift around a corner. But, you don’t need snow to use the benefit of AWD. Wet pavement, a hard push through a turn or interstate off-ramp cloverleaf will bring out the benefits of AWD.
My drive was in a 2019 Challenger GT, but the 2020 is technically identical. For 2020 there are new standard 19-inch Satin Carbon wheels and available Black Noise wheels that come in the Blacktop Package. Three new exterior paint options are available: Frostbite, Hellraisin and Sinamon Stick. In the cabin, all-new premium-stitched dash and upper door panels come on all GTs equipped with leather.
The GT is powered by Dodge’s 305-horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 which develops. 268 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,800 rpm. The engine is mated to an 8-speed Torqueflite automatic. Shift paddles provide for easy, manual shifting control when you want more fun.
Challenger GT features Dodge’s high-performance AWD system, the same system as used in the Charger AWD. The wonderfulness of this system is that the system is rear drive under normal driving conditions. The front axle is disengaged and 100 percent of the engine’s torque is sent to the rear wheels. So this Challenger still has a high fun-to- drive quotient and handling behavior like the rear-drive Challenger.
Sensors detect traction at each wheel and when needed shift power to the front wheels through the active transfer case. It’s automatic. The driver doesn’t need to do anything. Just steer and go.
Another benefit is less fuel economy penalty in normal driving by also needing to drive the front wheels.
A standard Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) system aids handling on all surfaces, especially snow and ice providing improved traction on slippery surfaces and helping the driver maintain the desired vehicle path. Tires are all important in snow and wet, even with AWD. Not only do you want to accelerate, but you also need to steer and stop. The GT is fitted with 19-inch aluminum wheels and Pirelli P Zero P235/55R19 all-season performance tires.
I think this is a good tire setup for Northeastern and Midwestern winters. However, if you live in the Rockies I might suggest mounting winter tires for those days of continuous snow and extreme cold, especially with the added challenge of climbing hills.
Dodge still provides lots of fun toys in the Challenger GT AWD. The Super Track Pak button activates Dodge Performance Pages and launch control features embedded in the 8.4-inch touchscreen radio. Performance information display shows reaction times, 0-60 times, G-force indicator and lap times. Three-mode ESC with “full-off” mode is a fun feature for drifting through snowy open spaces.
The 5-seat Challenger GT has a base price of $33,995 plus the $1,495 delivery charge. A number of option packages and the choice from eleven colors, stripe and decal packages as well as interior seat trim allows for lots of personalization.
I previously mentioned fuel economy. EPA test-cycle ratings for the GT AWD are 18 city mpg and 27 highway mpg. For comparison, the RWD GT is rated at 19 city mpg and 30 highway mpg. Not bad for a car that’s about 200 lbs. heavier.
Driving around Chicago it became clear that the V6 has plenty for the Challenger delivering decent acceleration as well as highway merging and passing power. Dodge’s Torqueflite is a delight and the development team has done a great job of programming the software to deliver upshifts and downshifts at all the right times.
More information and details on the entire Dodge Challenger lineup can be found at www.dodge.com. Eight distinct models make up the vehicle lineup for 2020: SXT, SXT AWD, GT, GT AWD, R/T, R/T Scat Pack, SRT Hellcat and SRT Hellcat Redeye.
Overall the Challenger GT AWD is pleasant around town as well as being a comfortable highway cruiser. I’ve had the privilege, thanks to Dodge, of driving Challenger SRT Hellcats on the street and on race circuits.
I’ve also piloted the famed SRT Demon down the quarter mile in mid-ten second runs. Each of these Challengers deliver something special in the driving experience. The GT AWD provides muscle car enthusiasts all- weather driving confidence with plenty of performance.
© 2020 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car