Dodge’s design chief says that the Challenger will stick with its cool retro design no matter what might come next.
There’s no doubt that of all the muscle cars still on the road today, the Challenger is the one that most looks like its roots. The Mustang and Camaro have both evolved quite a bit over the years, but the only thing that’s really changed in the Challenger is it’s just gotten bigger.
Mark Trostle, Dodge’s Chief of Design, things that’s part of the magic of the Challenger and part of the reason why it’s been so successful. Speaking to Muscle Cars and Trucks at Dodge’s Roadkill Nights event in Pontiac, Michigan last weekend, Trostle talked about what it’s like to design these iconic muscle cars and what the future may hold.
First and foremost, Trostle admits that there's a certain challenge in keeping "the soul of these types of cars" in the face of stricter regulations, whether it be fuel economy, emissions, or crash safety. Maintaining Dodge's character is a tricky thing, but worth it.
“I think part of the success of the Challenger and Charger, which is phenomenal, is the magic of their designs. I wouldn’t want to ruin something that’s been so successful for us,” he told the publication.
So the Challenger won't change much, even as it adopts an electrified powertrain. Last month, Fiat Chrysler's head of passenger cars Tim Kuniskis told Automotive News that the Challenger and Charger will have to be electrified to some degree in order to meet stricter regulations.
"I think the absolute future is electrification of these cars," he said. "That's not necessarily bad."
The exact form of that electrification is still up in the air. The Charger and Challenger could go full electric, or they could go plug-in hybrid. More likely, Dodge will start with a mild hybrid system that can be found in the 2019 Ram 1500 and the upcoming 2020 Jeep Wrangler.
But no matter what happens, the Challenger should still look like a Challenger, even if it means eventually giving up that big V8 engine.