This practical hardtop coupé was enlivened by electric acceleration to rival the hottest Mustangs. A 7.2-liter engine option boosted its bhp from 300 to 385. The big "news" from Dodge this year was its own version of a pony car-finally more than five years after the first Mustang was introduced. One would have thought the White Hat boys would have put together a pony car for the performance division of Chrysler much sooner.
Apparently Chrysler had thought that with the Plymouth Barracuda already in that market, they could leave the mid-size Charger to fill the sports car role for Dodge. Unfortunately, the smaller pony car market had already peaked by 1970, but the Dodge boys did put together one very nice automobile. The Challenger was a slightly larger companion to the Barracuda. Based on a stretched Valiant/Dart platform, the new Challenger was an immediate hit, and a contender for one of the all-time best muscle cars. Using a formula similar to that developed for the Mustang and Camaro, the Challenger came in a wide array of model choices from plain jane to wild performance. What really attracted people to the Challenger over other pony cars, though, was obviously its performance capabilities. Nearly every engine that Chrysler built could be ordered for the Challenger.
A luxury Special Edition model was also offered in base or R/T varieties, if you needed more luxury with your sport. The idea of a little luxury in a sporty car was just beginning to take hold, as other manufacturers offered such models as the Mustang Grande and Firebird Esprit. Other Dodge models, excluding the Charger, received fairly extensive facelifts. The full-size Dodge models, which were new for 1969, were given a version of the new Chrysler "loop-style" grille which fully encompassed the grille and headlights. Out back, new taillights and bumpers were used. The full-size model line was also reorganized to further differentiate the Polara and Monaco lines. For the Polara, a Special trim level was added as a base car, primarily for fleet use, but available to anyone. A Polara Custom was added to the top end as an intermediate step between the Polara and Monaco. Variations in grilles and trim distinguished the Polara from the Monaco.
The mid-sized Coronet line was due to be redesigned for 1971, so it is surprising that it received such a major restyle. The front end was given the "loop-style" grille treatment also, but it was split into two halves with the hood panel coming down between the two halves approximately six inches. The rear styling of the Coronets was also updated with new taillights and rear bumper. Dart models still were using the same body introduced in 1967, but they were also given a major facelift. At the front was a full-width grille, split in the middle with vertical bars, and underscored by a narrow, full-width bumper. At the rear end, the decklid sloped downward to a thin bumper which housed the taillights. The Dart line lost the GT and GTS models, as the Challenger filled that market position. As previously mentioned, the Charger changed very little for 1970. A loop-style grille with hidden headlights inset at each end, was the most noticeable difference. The Charger SE was not offered this year, but would return in 1971.