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Enhancing Creature Comforts & Style: Challenger Seats & Seat Covers

Written By: Connor MC

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With a stunning exterior you'll want to match your Challenger's insides as well. Upgrading to a proper set of racing seats (or just one and removing the passenger one) will top off your Challenger's track-ready look. If you prefer the stock seats but you're looking to preserve them, a set of seat covers will do the job and add a flash of style.

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Not only is 2018 the year the German national soccer team crashed out of the World Cup; it is also the 10th anniversary of the retro-inspired re-launch of the Dodge Challenger. Though it has undergone a number of redesigns and refreshes over the past decade, the Challenger has maintained its reputation as a titan in the world of sports cars by consistently providing power, performance, and relative comfort.

Challenger’s Stock Interior Setup

While seating space may normally be an issue with sports cars, the Dodge Challenger bests its competitors by accommodating five passengers in relative comfort; its rivals at Ford and Chevrolet can squeeze in only four. Fresh from the factory, most would agree that the Challenger’s stock seats (regardless of model) are a solid mixture of support and comfort, and make for a fairly enjoyable road-trip experience. But, if you are looking to improve on that already pretty comfy seating situation in your Third Gen Challenger (or you might have a pre-2015 model with what can only be described as a rather bland interior) you may now be delving into the sphere of seat covers and aftermarket seat options.

If It Ain’t Broke – Cover It

Having come a long way since the days when ‘automotive seat cover’ meant ill-fitting covers that would either slide off or ride up, seat covers are now custom-made – courtesy of CAD (computer aid design) systems – to perfectly fit and contour an OEM Dodge Challenger seat.

Draping a cover over the seats of your Challenger can serve multiple purposes. First, the Challenger was reintroduced in 2008, which is now 10 years ago. 10 years of driving is sure to leave some evidence of wear and tear on the stock seat upholstery. Thus, seat covers provide a simple way to hide any upholstery flaws without detracting from the form and fit of the original seats. 

Secondly, seat covers also make it easy to change up the look of the interior. Available in a multitude of colors and contrasting stitching, aftermarket seat covers do give Challenger owners an inexpensive way to change the interior color scheme and atmosphere.

Seat covers are also now come in a wide range of materials, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. 100% terrycloth, polycotton, and canvas covers are machine-washable, while water and stain-proof neoprene and neosupreme will need a wetsuit shampoo for a good clean. Suede and leather may be considered high-end and luxurious, but can easily stain and will require a specialist-cleaning product to keep them looking pristine. For something a little more unusual, there’s also the options of velour, faux-fur, and sheepskin covers – cozy, but maybe not so practical as they will also require specialist cleaning materials. 

When compared to re-upholstering or purchasing aftermarket seats, covers can be more cost-effective, but prices can vary from material to material and manufacturer to manufacturer.  

Stock Vs. Aftermarket Vs. Racing Seats

Seat covers are a convenient way of hiding any wear-and-tear, and preventing any future damage but they will still follow the lines of the stock seats. So if you’re looking to completely change the design of your Challenger’s seating setup and not just the material, that’s where aftermarket seats factor in. 

All base 2008 and newer Challenger models roll off the truck standard with adjustable cloth bucket seats. On higher trim models like the SRT 392, R/T Scat Pack and SRT Hell Cat, leather upholstery is standard. Higher trims also feature the option of sports seats, which are solid middle ground between the comfort of the standard OEM seats and full-on fixed racing seats.

Replacing the original factory-installed seats with a set of aftermarket seats can dramatically change the look, feel, and resale value of your Challenger. Aftermarket seats can also provide a new level of customization. For example, you can upgrade a base model with a set of aftermarket street style sport seats or go all out with fixed-style, track-certified, body-hugging racing pods.

For more a performance rather than appearance-based seating modifications, a set of racing seats will boost the performance of a track, drag, or otherwise competition Challenger by significantly dropping weight and providing unparalleled support and safety during hard cornering. A non-reclining “full bucket” racing seat can weigh less than half as much as a bulky OEM seat; a huge weight-saver that can really make a difference on the track. 

However, most racing seats are side mounted and bolt directly to the floor, eliminating their ability to slide back and forth. Not exactly ideal for the daily driver, but with the purchase of additional brackets and sliders, some models will be a bit more practical for a street car that sees occasional track use. For true racing enthusiasts though, there is nothing safer than a racing seat due to their increased structural integrity and hugging nature when performing high-g maneuvers. Racing, however, does not come cheap, and that’s true for the seats as well. Even at the bottom of the affordability scale, racing seats can cost a pretty penny but they will pay it back in spades in the unfortunate possibility of a collision.

What’s Needed to Install Aftermarket Seats?

It is important to note that installing a set of aftermarket seats may require some slight modifications. Third Generation Challenger seats come in two different functional variations, with 2008-2010 models equipped with airbags, and 2011 and newer models, which are airbag-free. The newer models are only compatible with airbag-equipped seats, while older models are compatible with either but will require some wiring, as the connectors are different. 2011 seats will need a secondary mounting bracket on the passenger side. As previously mentioned a set of racing seats may also require racing seat brackets, which are generally sold separately from the seats themselves – something else to factor into their overall cost. But, the faster you go the more protection you need.

Fitment includes: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, SRT-8, RT, SE, SXT, RallyeRedline, ScatPack, Hellcat, GT, TA, Demon