When it comes to the current crop of pony cars, the Dodge Challenger is the largest of the three.
In fact, the current Challenger is so big that it’s an uncommon sight at high performance track days, unlike both the current Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro.
While the Challenger was always the biggest of the three, the current car’s size may prove to be its undoing.
Automakers will soon need to pay careful attention to fleet fuel economy, and offering both the plus-size Dodge Charger and the XXL Dodge Challenger may have too much of a negative impact on the brand’s CAFE average.
Motor Trendis reporting that the Challenger may be on its way out, to be replaced by a new car called the Barracuda. The new Barracuda (again re-using a legendary Chrysler nameplate, previously from Plymouth) is said to be significantly smaller and lighter than the current Challenger, and won’t be built on the Charger’s LY platform.
As speculative as the report is, it makes sense that Chrysler would look to downsize the current Challenger and turn it from a grand-touring coupe into a legitimate sports car. Such a move would benefit Alfa Romeo, too, giving it a mid-size, rear-drive platform to work with.
If the rumors are correct, the new Barracuda would hit dealer showrooms for the 2014 model year. That’s also about when the next (50th anniversary) Mustang is due, and about when the next Camaro should makes its debut as well.
We like the Challenger well enough (especially in SRT8 trim), but would also welcome a legitimate, affordable sports coupe, slotted into Dodge's lineup below the new Viper. We’ll be sure to keep you posted if we get any updates on this particular rumor.