2019 Dodge Challenger vs. 2019 Lexus RC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Challenger has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The RC doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Challenger and the RC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, collision warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

There are almost 10 times as many Dodge dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Challenger’s warranty.

Reliability

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Challenger’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the RC 300 RWD’s camshafts. If the RC’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Challenger has a standard 730-amp battery. The RC’s 580-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the Challenger is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Challenger’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The RC’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

The Challenger has more powerful engines than the RC:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Challenger 3.6 DOHC V6

305 HP

268 lbs.-ft.

Challenger R/T automatic 5.7 V8

372 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

Challenger R/T manual 5.7 V8

375 HP

410 lbs.-ft.

Challenger R/T Scat Pack 6.4 V8

485 HP

475 lbs.-ft.

Challenger SRT Hellcat 6.2 supercharged V8

717 HP

656 lbs.-ft.

Challenger Hellcat Redeye 6.2 supercharged V8

797 HP

707 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

RC 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

RC 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Challenger SRT Hellcat is faster than the RC 350 (automatics tested):

 

Challenger

RC

Zero to 30 MPH

1.7 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

3.6 sec

6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

7.6 sec

14.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

4 sec

6.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

1.8 sec

3.1 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

2.4 sec

4.1 sec

Quarter Mile

11.7 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

126 MPH

100 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Challenger gets better fuel mileage than the RC:

 

 

 

MPG

Challenger

RWD

Auto

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/30 hwy

AWD

Auto

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/27 hwy

RC

RWD

Auto

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

AWD

Auto

300 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

 

 

350 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Challenger 5.7/6.4 V8 Auto’s fuel efficiency. The RC doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Challenger has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the RC (18.5 vs. 17.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Challenger offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The RC doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Challenger’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The RC doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Challenger Hellcat’s brake rotors are larger than those on the RC:

 

Challenger R/T/AWD

Challenger Scat Pack

Challenger Hellcat

RC

RC F Sport

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.2 inches

15.4 inches

13.2 inches

14 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.8 inches

13.8 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The Challenger stops much shorter than the RC:

 

Challenger

RC

 

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Challenger Widebody’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RC (305/35R20 vs. 235/40R19).

The Challenger Widebody’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RC’s optional 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Challenger offers optional 20-inch wheels. The RC’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Challenger’s wheelbase is 8.7 inches longer than on the RC (116.2 inches vs. 107.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Challenger is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the RC.

The Challenger Hellcat Redeye handles at .95 G’s, while the RC 350 pulls only .85 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Challenger a Compact car, while the RC is rated a Subcompact.

The Challenger offers optional seating for 5 passengers; the RC can only carry 4.

The Challenger has 9.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the RC (93.7 vs. 83.8).

The Challenger has .3 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front hip room, 3.8 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear headroom, 5.8 inches more rear legroom, 2.9 inches more rear hip room and 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the RC.

Cargo Capacity

The Challenger has a much larger trunk than the RC (16.2 vs. 10.4 cubic feet).

Towing

The Challenger has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The RC has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The Challenger has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The RC doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The Challenger’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The RC’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Challenger has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The RC doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Challenger owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Challenger with a number “1” insurance rate while the RC is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The Challenger will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Challenger will retain 50.85% to 56.29% of its original price after five years, while the RC only retains 48.32% to 49.27%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Challenger is less expensive to operate than the RC because it costs $171 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Challenger than the RC, including $367 less for a water pump, $500 less for a starter, $365 less for fuel injection, $34 less for front struts, $679 less for a timing belt/chain and $245 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Challenger first among midsize sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The RC isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Dodge Challenger outsold the Lexus RC by almost 20 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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