NEW YORK — Dodge is looking to expand the muscle car segment with updated versions of both of its muscle cars — the Charger and Challenger.
For 2015, the Charger boasts a nimbler yet still muscular look that is just as spacious as the one it replaces. The updated Challenger is inspired by the 1971 model.
Dodge unveils both cars today at the New York auto show. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Dodge seeks to prove that greater fuel efficiency doesn't mean there's no room for muscle cars.
Just the opposite, said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge CEO.
"I keep calling these muscle cars, because people know what I am talking about when I use the term," Kuniskis said. "But if you look at these two cars, we are expanding the muscle segment way beyond the traditional sense."
Kuniskis said 50% of Charger buyers are opting for the V6 engine, which gets about 31 miles per gallon on the highway.
The 2015 Charger will be offered with a new eight-speed transmission paired with either a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 on R/T models, or a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6.
The new Charger body has been trimmed and tucked to look sportier and more agile. It comes in four trim levels: SE, SXT, R/T and RT Road and Track. Production is scheduled to begin during the fourth quarter at Chrysler's plant in Brampton, Ontario.
For the 2015 Challenger, Dodge overhauled the interior with an 8.4-inch Uconnect media center and a 7-inch customizable heads-up display.
Challenger offers eight trim levels: SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, R/T plus, R/T Shaker, R/T Plus Shaker, 6.4-liter Scat Pack and 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker.
Dodge did not announce pricing or fuel economy figures for either model. There are three engines available: a 3.6-liter Pentastar, a 5.7-liter V8 Hemi or a 6.4-liter Hemi.
The 2015 Challenger has a new split-grille, projector headlamps, LED tail lamps, a reshaped hood and an updated suspension.
The Challenger is larger and heavier than both Mustang and Camaro. Dodge describes the Charger as the only four-door muscle car sold in America. Sales of the Charger rose 19% in 2013 to 98,336.
Kuniskis said the Charger and Challenger have advantages over such head-to-head competitors as Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro.
"These are everyday muscle cars," Kuniskis said. "People say they buy these cars because they don't want to have to buy a third car. They want a car that has plenty of seating. So, I call them muscle cars, but it spreads way beyond that."