By on July 29, 2009

Smart consumers know there are plenty of ways to save money on one’s chosen hobby while preserving enjoyment and/or utility. A Gibson Les Paul Studio is very nearly as good a guitar as a Les Paul Standard, and it costs half as much. The Allen-Edmonds MacNeil uses the same Horween shell cordovan as the Alden Long Wing and can often be had for up to a hundred dollars less. The Omega Speedmaster does everything a Rolex Daytona does except create the false impression that one has won an iconic American race. With that said, here’s eight thousand dollars that you would be a fool to “save”: the price gap between the Dodge Challenger R/T Classic and the Challenger SRT-8.

It’s a chalk-and-cheese situation. The SRT-8 is a take-no-prisoners street superstar that acquits itself reasonably well on a road course. The R/T Classic has even more street appeal, at a lower price. But it completely sacrifices even a smidgen of fast-road or racetrack ability. It doesn’t go, not like it should. It doesn’t turn. And it sure as hell doesn’t stop. If you don’t care about any of that stuff, feel free to buy one. If you do, read on.

I took the Challenger to Summit Point’s “Main” road course for a two-day teaching engagement. It’s common for me to use my street car to demonstrate certain aspects of racetrack driving to my students, often with three passengers in the vehicle. I’ve used many different cars for this purpose, from my brace of Volkswagen Phaetons to a borrowed Mitsubishi Evolution. But the Challenger was the first one I’ve tried where the basic dynamic package simply is not up to the task of taking people around a racetrack.

Start with the brakes—because you won’t stop with them. Two laps is one too many for the feeble binders. Blame the fantastic-looking twenty-inch Torq-Thrust-style wheels. They’re simply too big and heavy to be effectively dealt with by cheap sliding-caliper stoppers. The supplied Eagle RS-A tires are simply the worst modern tires I’ve ever driven on a racetrack. That’s astounding, given the fact that Goodyear makes some of the best max-performance street rubber money can buy.

The Dodge Challenger’s R/T Track Pack Classic’s suspension appears to combine stiff swaybars and soft springs in the classic Herb Adams style. Th result: persistent, unshakable understeer in all situations. The Challenger’s 376-horsepower HEMI quickly heat-soaks during fast laps. It’s very hard to get this car sideways; I was unable to break the rear tires loose, even when I applied considerable lateral load to the old girl’s chassis. I say this having long ago mastered the art of putting the old Mercedes W140 S-Klasse doorhandle-to-oncoming-traffic. [Ed: metaphorically speaking.]

I was so disappointed in the R/T’s track ability that I borrowed a 19911.6-liter Miata on Falken Azenis tires and staged a two-car race with a fellow NASA instructor and Time Trial competitor. Could the Challenger pass the Miata in a series of six single-lap “battles”? The Internet’s conventional wisdom: the little Mazda would handily hold off the fat, slouchy Dodge. In the real world, I murdered the Miata. I blasted by the Elan-like roadster every time in the straight between Turns Three and Four, before trail-braking and grinding the sidewalls all the way down the entrance to Four.

So don’t get it twisted. The Dodge Challenger’s R/T Track Pack Classic is still pretty quick in absolute terms. But it requires the patience of Job to steer around a road course without burning the brakes or overheating the tires. It’s work. This kind of thing is supposed to be fun. Off the track, however, the fun returns in spades.

The R/T “gets mad house on the boulevard” according to more than one spectator; it’s probably one of the easiest ways to become a local celebrity in any small town. Seated behind that long hood, with your friends lounging in the spacious interior, listening to the more-than-decent sound system, pistol-gripping the six-speed transmission through solid-sounding shifts . . . it’s a wonderful, thoroughly vintage, thoroughly American experience. On the track, the R/T is easy prey for a BMW 335i, but on Main Street the Bimmer might as well be invisible in the Challenger’s presence.

The new 2010 Ford Mustang is a better product than this big Mopar in every possible way. The new Chevrolet Camaro isn’t bad either. But neither of those smaller ponycars can match the Challenger as a boulevard cruiser. In this application, the big barge’s ungainliness isn’t a problem, the motor is responsive enough, and the wicked four-headlight face looks like a million bucks. My long trip back from Summit Point to Ohio was thoroughly relaxing. When I arrived in the early morning, the pretty girl at Tim Horton’s wanted to know all about the car. “I love it!” she squealed. “Trust me,” I replied, “you’d love the SRT-8 more.” So would you.

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71 Comments on “Review: 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Track Pack “Classic”...”


  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    Let me be the first to say this car is way too heavy.

    I did that on another Discussion Board and some fan-boy actually wished that I would be denied re-entry into the US.

  • avatar
    Viceroy_Fizzlebottom

    The supplied Eagle RS-A tires are simply the worst modern tires I’ve ever driven on a racetrack. That’s astounding, given the fact that Goodyear makes some of the best max-performance street rubber money can buy

    They put RS-As on a car that is supposed to be a for a racetrack? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Those are shitty OE tires that they usually throw on econoboxes

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    Well, paris-dakar, you’re obviously an anti-American hater if you think there is something, ANYTHING, wrong with an American car. Get the hell out of my country!

    It’s funny that the SRT8 has the Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires. They should put those tires on this model, too.

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    Well, paris-dakar, you’re obviously an anti-American hater if you think there is something, ANYTHING, wrong with an American car. Get the hell out of my country!

    This is probably the best 4200lb $40K Coupe on the market to take to a Track Day.

    I’m just not sure who’s asking for that.

    And I hate all of these retro-styled, 4-Door based niche vehicles with a passion. The VW Beetle, the Toyota FJ Cruiser, this – in every case the Sedan they’re based off of are better vehicles and capable of similar performance.

  • avatar

    Can’t say the looks of this car do much for me, but it’s clearly a hit for many people. Too bad it’s not nearly as good at the track, since the price difference is considerable. And it would be nice to avoid the SRT’s GG tax.

    But how does the RT avoid the GGT? The automatic RT uses cylinder deactivation to bump the MPG, but usually cylinder deactivation can’t be paired with the manual. Have the managed this with the RT? The EPA numbers suggest they have.

    As I understand it, the Challenger is on the LY platform, which is the next generation of the LX. Anyone aware of the differences between the two?

    The LXs have required an average number of repairs, based on TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey. I’d expect the Challenger to do about the same, unless the differences between the LX and LY are larger than I realize.

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

  • avatar
    AKM

    Paris-daker: funny!

    I;m with Michael on the looks. Too heavy and bloated. As pony cars go, the mustang and Camaro look much better, in my opinion.
    The challenger has lots of presence, but it’s bad presence, like the obese sweaty guy sitting next to you on the plane.

  • avatar
    Morea

    I blasted by the Elan-like roadster every time in the straight between Turns Three and Four, before trail-braking and grinding the sidewalls all the way down the entrance to Four.

    Are these corner numbers correct? Trail braking into 4 at Summit Point is usually not required, full throttle and a small prayer is more typical. Perhaps you mean turn 5, but that will be sure to toast the Dodge’s brakes!

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    @ Michael Karesh:

    The Challenger is on the LC platform.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    But it requires the patience of Job to steer around a road course without burning the brakes or overheating the tires. It’s work. This kind of thing is supposed to be fun. Off the track, however, the fun returns in spades.

    So, kind of like the original Challenger, huh?

    I got a bit of time in the “normal” R/T recently. It’s a pretty comfortable car, but I’m kind of at a loss as to the appeal. It’s not that nice inside, and it looks pretty goofy from the outside.** I’d be hard-pressed to recommend it over the (better looking, more comfortable, just as capable) 300C.

    ** I don’t mind retro, but it’s tricky to combine modern sensibilities with a retro look. BMW/Mini and Ford manage this very well; GM (Camaro) and VW (Beetle) do it less well. Chrysler has managed to take the worst of a modern design (high beltline, smoothed flanks) and combine it with the cheesy details and fat-guy-on-tippy-toes stance of a retro car. It’s striking, but damn is it ever badly proportioned.

  • avatar

    It seems to me that this car shows the dysfunction in Chrysler best. Even when they get it right (in person, it is easily the best looking of the three mucle cars), they still get it wrong (the v-6 and, apparently, the R/T are not up to snuff). The result? What should be a home run, instead gets murdered in sales by the Mustang. Admittedly, the economy and the bankruptcy play a part, but those affect GM and the Camaro is selling well. If there ever was a company that needed their entrenched management blown up, it is Chrysler. I hope Fiat does just that, but am not optimistic.

  • avatar
    wulfgar

    Well, as I own one of these (not a Classic but a Hemi Orange 6-speed), this review is about spot-on. Haven’t had her on the track yet but….it is heavy. And handling could be considerably better (as well as braking). My biggest disappointment after 8 months of ownership is not the horsepower – I am fine with that. I wish that Dodge packaged an upgraded “track pack” with the SRT’s suspension and Brembo brakes.

  • avatar

    I did that on another Discussion Board and some fan-boy actually wished that I would be denied re-entry into the US.

    Damn you, you Senegalese Parisian! How dare you criticise our fine automobiles!

    I would like to see this car try to run the Paris-Dakar rally. It would be entertaining. Right up until it got stuck somewhere.

    Well, OK, maybe not.

    That price is incredible. $39,000 is a lot to pay for a car. At least it looks pretty though.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Funny reviews of the RS-A at Tirerack.com

  • avatar
    CommanderFish

    Karesh:

    The Challenger’s platform is LC, not LY. The LC is simply a shortened version of the LX, that’s all (and that’s why this car is so heavy!). Really, outside of exterior design Chrysler spent very, very little time and money on bringing out the Challenger. They could have spent a lot more time on weight reduction, but I think they made the right choice not to in the end.

    The LC would also be the platform for any hypothetical Chrysler 200.

    As for the upcoming LY, the only things Chrysler has said are better aerodynamics and lighter weight.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    As I understand it, the Challenger is on the LY platform, which is the next generation of the LX. Anyone aware of the differences between the two?

    This is sort of old information, but I think LY is a stretched and mildly decontented LX, while LC (the Challenger) is a shortened and decontented LX.

    Did they ever make a stretched 300?

  • avatar
    spyspeed

    Performance aside, the Challenger styling goes far beyond retro; it slavishly copies the original.

    Nit: The 2010 Ford Mustang may be a better product, but it isn’t new.

  • avatar
    carguy

    +1 on the Eagle RS-As – one of the worst tires on the market and depressingly common as OEMs even from car makers that should know better.

    As for the Challenger – beyond the retro 70s good looks I fail to see the attraction. It’s too soft, too heavy and has a cheap interior that seems to have been made from recycled Chinese toys.

  • avatar

    Thanks for the corrections on LY vs. LC. I’m probably recalling speculation from before the car was launched.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    They put RS-As on a car that is supposed to be a for a racetrack? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    V_S: Agreed. A set of Cooper’s would’ve been better. And why do we have to have 20″ dubs on all our cars now? 18s would’ve been plenty for this beast.

    Nit: The 2010 Ford Mustang may be a better product, but it isn’t new.

    RE: spyspeed. What’s not new about the ’10 Mustang? It rides on the ’05 platform and utilizes the same engine lineup, but that’s pretty standard for the Stang. Ex; The 1994 SN-95 carried over the 5.0L until the Modular 4.6L was installed in 1996; but was substantially different from the ’87-93 Fox bodies.

  • avatar
    John R

    This thing doesn’t do anything for me. It looks cartoonish. But I’m in the demo so why don’t I like this?

    If I were to choose from one of the three I’d pick the Mustang GT. In person it seems more right sized. Out of anything and everything available I’d get a previous generation M3 with the lowest possible miles I can or a Genesis Coupe 3.8 and pocket the $10k left over.

    $40k is way to much for the kind of car that it is.

  • avatar
    midelectric

    In these times, I don’t think there’s much overlap between the set of people who love this car and those that can afford it

  • avatar
    BEAT

    The person who doesn’t like this car is the problem not the car.

    yes 40 grand is too much but not for those who can afford.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Mr. Karesh:

    According to Allpar, the LX will be the revised the 300/Charge due next year. Currently it’s:

    LX Body – 2004-2010 (?): Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum (through 2007), Chrysler 300/300C all shared a 120” wheelbase. Look for the second-generation to be code-named LY, and don’t laugh.

    LC body – 2008-?: Dodge Challenger: short-wheelbase version of the Dodge Charger.

    —-
    As for the upcoming LY:

    “While the LX were heavily influenced by Mercedes’ E-Class design, Chrysler should have more latitude in building the LY. That means:

    Far better interiors (journalists praised early drafts)
    Lighter weights, perhaps
    Lower build costs
    Higher gas mileage

    New versions of the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger will appear in calendar-year 2010, and will be made exclusively in Brampton, including models for sale in Europe. The revised Challenger may or may not lag the others. There has been no hint of a luxury version yet, but (speculation) it is possible that the 300 will be on a longer wheelbase than the Charger.”

    When Chrysler was still Dumbler’s bitch; “The LY was to be used as the basis for three Mercedes classes: E, CLS, and R (starting in 2010-2012).”

  • avatar
    windswords

    Mr. Baruth,

    With the $8,000 saved, I would think that an enterprising pistonhead would be able to secure for himself proper brakes and tires, as well as any other suspension refinements necessary and STILL come out ahead on the purchase of an SRT8. Besides, with a car like that who wants to settle for factory equipment?

  • avatar
    SupaMan

    psarhjinian :

    So, kind of like the original Challenger, huh?

    Same conclusion I came to.

    But the $8000 saved would be enough to buy better brakes and rubber right?

    Wonder how the SRT-8 stacks up against the Mustang (the Track Pack GT not the Shelby 500).

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    Since I have no interest in going to a track, I might consider this. It can be had with a sunroof, unlike the mustang, and the camaro has a weird looking face, like its had too many face and eye lifts. The Dodge is a large car, but I suppose thats not bad, its still alot smaller than alot of other cars. And usable back seats could come in handy.

    It sure is beautiful, tho, one of the few cars that actually stops me in my tracks. Love the orange with black highlights.

  • avatar
    konaforever

    I can afford this car, and I DO NOT WANT IT.

    There are a million better cars in the 40k range.

  • avatar
    konaforever

    BEAT :
    July 29th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    The person who doesn’t like this car is the problem not the car.

    yes 40 grand is too much but not for those who can afford.

    I’m surprised you like this car. It’s heavy and it’s a tank(A reason you’ve mentioned hating Nissans in the past). Also for the same price you could get an EVO which would kill this car around a track.

  • avatar

    @Morea:

    Using this map:

    http://www.stangler.com/motorsports/maps/summitpointmain.gif

    I had to tap the brakes in the area marked “Chute” after 4.

    The other cars I drove that day – the 1.6 Miata, a 300whp Evo 9, and a Cayman S – were, in fact, flat from the exit of 3 to the entrance of 5.

    As for whether the $8K would get you back on track, the SRT-8 has at least the following advantages over the R/T classic:

    * Bilstein monotubes and revised springs, let’s call that a $1500 package

    * Front Brembo brakes, let’s call that $1600 or so

    * Different sways, $400 from Hotchkis

    * Lightweight wheels and F1 Supercar tires, that would be a $3500 upgrade or thereabouts

    That’s $7K right there and we haven’t even considered the fact that the SRT-8 has a 6.1-liter HEMI instead of the 5.7, with 425hp playing 376. Plus it’s all under warranty, plus you will get some of that price difference back when you sell the car.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Well, if the brakes can’t make it past lap one with RS-A’s, it’s probably a good thing they didn’t put stickier rubber on there. But then again, I always thought mega sized rims existed to allow for mega sized discs…

    And this things costs are (at least pre discounts) in the vicinity of a 135, right?

  • avatar
    dolo54

    This is one of the very few cars that looks better in pictures than in person. In person it is a massive, over-bloated beast to behold.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    Yes I know but this car is a Muscle car with bigger body and engine. It is acceptable to be heavier.

    Yes the Evo’s are faster on turns not on quarter mile race. This car will sack an Evo on drag race. I bought my Lancer because it was built and design to be tuned. It is catered to kids and adults who love tuning cars.

    I think this car was built for American car tuners who loved to twik Americana.

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    BEAT: “Yes the Evo’s are faster on turns not on quarter mile race. This car will sack an Evo on drag race.”

    You’ve got it backwards.

    R/T 0-60: 5.9 seconds
    R/T 1/4 Mile: 14.1 @ 100.8 mph

    Evo X GSR 0-60: 4.9 seconds
    Evo X 1/4 Mile: 13.6 @ 101.3 mph

    EDIT: Numbers are from Edmunds Inside Line.

  • avatar
    BEAT

    really? the show that I watched on Speed channel was a between Tuned Evo 9 and a tuned Challenger.

    The Evo got 14.0 flat compared to the Challenger on 10.0 flat with a choker.

    The show was about betting on tuned cars on quarter mile. I forgot the name of the show

  • avatar

    I have gotten to spend some time with all three muscle cars (including the 2010 Mustang) and I think there is plenty to recommend the Challenger over the other two.

    Many things stand out that you rarely ever see in print but can appreciate if you had to have one day-to-day.

    None of the cars really has a “nice” interior but that’s not why people buy them. You can’t really split them over materials, all three are made out of the same hard plastic and shiny leather. What differentiates them most is the features and design.

    The Challenger is the most modern inside. The gauges are modern, clear and easy to see (Mustang and Camaro no). The controls on the steering wheel are the most simple and easiest to use without reading the manual. It’s wheel adjusts for reach and rake (the Mustang does not). The seats are big and firm with nice bolsters (the Mustangs seats squishy with no bolsters, the Camaro is somewhere inbetween). It’s also easy to see out of the Challenger (visibility in all directions is a real issue in the Camaro, it has the shortest windshield I’ve ever seen aside from a tank).

    The Challenger is also the most practical for daily use. It has the best ride and the most room inside. Two real adults will fit in the backseat in reasonable comfort. The trunk is huge and has a normal opening (the Camaro has a weird opening that limits it’s use). The Challenger’s trunk will swallow plenty of cargo.

    It may also be the easiest of the three to drive. It’s big, but it’s not much bigger than the Camaro. The Camaro’s greenhouse makes it difficult to get a sense of where the corners of the car are. The Mustang feels nervous and twitchy on even the smoothest pavement (I had a non-track pack too). The Challenger in comparison glides across the pavement and performs very well. Jack is right, it is a very American car and it’s a very good one.

    Build quality also seems to be very good on each Challenger I’ve seen in person. Tight seams inside and out. The only detail off is the trunk lid is slightly misaligned on the sides of a few I’ve seen. Still not as bad as the huge gap 2010 Mustangs have on their hatch that makes it look like they’re cracked open when shut.

    The Challenger also isn’t the biggest seller of the three, but nothing is more popular with people when you roll up in it. It makes the Mustang (and virtually everything else) invisible in comparison. It will also be the most unique of the three when it (and Chrysler) disappear.

    Make mine a black SRT8, six-speed.

  • avatar
    Monty

    “My long trip back from Summit Point to Ohio was thoroughly relaxing. When I arrived in the early morning, the pretty girl at Tim Horton’s wanted to know all about the car.”

    Okay, so you get to drive some wicked cars around a racetrack as part of a dream teaching job; that’s cool.

    You own a “stable of Phaetons”; that’s cool.

    You’ve managed to avoid death on the freeway at 140MPH; that’s cool.

    You partake of Tim Horton’s; that’s the coolest, ’cause you’re part-Canadian now. All I need to hear next is that you know what the Charlestown Chiefs are!

  • avatar
    Morea

    @Morea:

    Using this map:

    http://www.stangler.com/motorsports/maps/summitpointmain.gif

    I had to tap the brakes in the area marked “Chute” after 4.

    The other cars I drove that day – the 1.6 Miata, a 300whp Evo 9, and a Cayman S – were, in fact, flat from the exit of 3 to the entrance of 5.

    Thanks Jack. This tells me all I need to know about the chassis and the handling!

  • avatar
    Aloysius Vampa

    BEAT, there’s no way a properly tuned Evo 9 is going to go through the quarter mile SLOWER than a stock Evo 9. Again according to Edmunds, a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX runs through the quarter mile in 13.3 seconds at 103 mph.

    It doesn’t make sense to compare tuned cars. If you do, you need to also take into account how much money was spent tuning said cars — for example, I could show you a 7 second Evo. It’s irrelevant, though, just like your 10 second Challenger.

  • avatar

    @Monty: I can recite most of that movie verbatim. I saw it for the first time on network TV back in the late Seventies. Couldn’t figure out why my father was laughing so hard.

    But one thing stands out:

    “I’M LISTENING TO THE F***IN SONG!”

  • avatar
    paris-dakar

    As for whether the $8K would get you back on track, the SRT-8 has at least the following advantages over the R/T classic:

    * Bilstein monotubes and revised springs, let’s call that a $1500 package

    * Front Brembo brakes, let’s call that $1600 or so

    * Different sways, $400 from Hotchkis

    * Lightweight wheels and F1 Supercar tires, that would be a $3500 upgrade or thereabouts

    First thing I thought when I read this is ‘How much to retrofit it to a 2yo Charger SRT8?’

    Although I wouldn’t be surprised if there are still 2009 Charger SRT8s still sitting on the lots…

    The warranty is nice, but tracking a car I’m making payments on sounds even worse than off-roading a truck I’m making payments on.

  • avatar
    Scott

    Well, of course you beat the Miata. Someone fitted the poor thing with a cruise ship engine.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    This puppy has presence, big time. It is hobbled by excess weight and a marginal interior. The suspension and tires are overworked for serious duty. As a cruiser, this is da bomb, if you like this type of car. If an Evo is in your mind, or track times, this is not your ride, at least as delivered.

    So, what is a retro enthusiast to do? Well, if you have some extra money, the aftermarket is ready to help you. First step, get some real rubber. Goodyear and Michelin max performance summer tires should do nicely. Next, the brakes. I did not research what is available, but if I could find oversized brakes for my PGT, they must be available for the Challenger. Dump the stock springs and dampers, upgrade the sway bars, replace the bushings with performance items…You will dramatically improve the handling of the beast. I think the HEMI is fine out of the box, but that too, can be worked for a lot more power.

    That Chrysler (Daimler) interior will take a lot more effort to fix. And upholstery shop can help enormously, but what to do with the dash…

  • avatar
    jmhm2003

    Why do we even care about this trailer park queen? Isn’t it bad enough that there are a few thousand mullet wearing retards driving these things on the road. Oops, I forgot, most of the owners mullets fell out a couple of decades ago. Do we have to read about what pieces of crap they are to boot? Ugh. Again, ugh.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Re: Charlestown Chiefs.

    I’m originally from Johnstown, PA; and my sister was dating the team’s equipment manager when the movie was being shot. The bartender in all those scenes was my landlord.

    I still watch it over and over, just to remember the town before the ’77 flood hit and suddenly it was “All the Right Moves” time.

    Then there’s the first time I watched it with my current wife – she lived in Montreal for 25 years with her first husband. From her, I found out a whole ‘nother movie, in Quebecois French, that I had no idea was there.

    Oh yeah, except for the finale, all those stories and subplots are true. Nancy Dowd didn’t write a script, she just put together all of hubby Ned’s war stories.

    And the Johnstown Dodge dealer, just before they yanked his franchise, grabbed himself a Challenger R/T – said he wanted something to remember the old days by.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Another great entertaining and informative review Jack!

    Thanx

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    psarhjinian :
    July 29th, 2009 at 11:15 am
    Did they ever make a stretched 300?

    Yep, they did. It was called the executive edition or something like that.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Jack –

    I think you’re spot on with this review…I drove a SRT-8, and while I wasn’t able to really open it up (the dealer practically needed a note from Pope before he let me drive the thing), you notice right away that handling isn’t this car’s forte, to put it mildly.

    To put it not mildly: my Focus handles better.

    It’s definitely a “boulevardier,” but damned if I have found a much better one that doesn’t cost six figures.

    What this car desperately needs is the same thing its 300/Daytona cousins need – a first class interior.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Monty :
    July 29th, 2009 at 3:44 pm
    You partake of Tim Horton’s; that’s the coolest, ’cause you’re part-Canadian now. All I need to hear next is that you know what the Charlestown Chiefs are!

    Ogelthorpe?

    I grew up watching the St. Louis Blues (unfortunately), so I learned “O, Canada” after my 1,000th game or so. This came in handy here in Denver in ’95, the first year the Nords / Avalanche played here – a local radio station gave away a six-game package of tickets for the person who displayed the most hockey knowledge on air. I sang “O, Canada” and they were blown away.

    And don’t they have Tim Hortons in Buffalo?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    OK, here’s my two-part Challenger track strategy:

    1) Install a trailer hitch
    2) Tow the real track day car behind it

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Challenger reminds me a lot of the ’69 Mercury Marauder X100. Both were big-engined and heavy cars with a cool look. Neither was really a best-of-breed vehicle, or gave the driver much dynamic satisfaction, but they still both offer(ed) a fun time on the street.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Jack Baruth:

    “That’s $7K right there and we haven’t even considered the fact that the SRT-8 has a 6.1-liter HEMI instead of the 5.7, with 425hp playing 376. Plus it’s all under warranty, plus you will get some of that price difference back when you sell the car.”

    Do you always overpay for stuff? I could find similar hardware to accomplish the same thing for a few grand less and use the leftover money to put into the engine.

    jmhm2003:

    “Why do we even care about this trailer park queen? Isn’t it bad enough that there are a few thousand mullet wearing retards driving these things on the road. Oops, I forgot, most of the owners mullets fell out a couple of decades ago. Do we have to read about what pieces of crap they are to boot? Ugh. Again, ugh.”

    I’m sorry you got lost looking for the Toyota Prius forum but apparently you were intrigued enough to read and comment, eh? And what’s with the “mullet wearing retards”? Did you lose your girlfriend in high school to a mullet wearing Camaro driver?

  • avatar
    Samir

    FreedMike: Superb.

  • avatar
    dolorean23

    Build quality also seems to be very good on each Challenger I’ve seen in person. Tight seams inside and out. The only detail off is the trunk lid is slightly misaligned on the sides of a few I’ve seen. Still not as bad as the huge gap 2010 Mustangs have on their hatch that makes it look like they’re cracked open when shut.

    Ok I have a Mustang bias, I fully admit. I will also admit that I really, really liked the look of the Challenger enuf to tool around in one. An R/T version no less. To me, the $8K advantage (actually a bit more due to dealer markup of the SRT8 version) means I can upgrade as I like. For me, the Challenger didn’t drive anywhere near as well as the ’10 Mustang. It felt low rent, almost rental car-esque, especially when I slammed shut the trunk lid. Still, I did like it enough to wish it could be had for $10Gs less.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    ajla: “The Challenger reminds me a lot of the ‘69 Mercury Marauder X100.”Or, to put it another way, the 2009 Challenger R/T is like a more comfortable, more reliable, but less attractive, 1970 Challenger R/T…

  • avatar
    Power6

    The Omega Speedmaster does everything a Rolex Daytona does except create the false impression that one has won an iconic American race.

    Is watch wearing a hobby? Does a watch even *do* anything when every modern device has a clock? Isn’t the “cheap” Omega one over $1000? My $12 Casio with $15 Leather strap does everything those fancy watches do…well not everything…

    Great review.

  • avatar
    WhatThe

    The Challenger R/T is a great car.Stops from 60 in 125 feet,goes to 60 mph in nearly 5 seconds flat.It is made as a comfortable street car,with its all season tires that not the best for high speed cornering ect.99% of the drivers love the way the Challenger drives and handles,thats why Dodge builds the Viper if you want to whip around a 25 mph corner at 85 mph!!!!

    As for people saying Challenger drivers have mullets hmmm.. even the original was an expensive car and the mullet was not in style then,I believe mullet drivers are Honda CRX,Toyota MR2 since the early-mid 80’s were mullet years,get your facts straight.I knew several mullet people older than me in high school (I went to a private school and they allowed mullets)and they drove new Honda’s and Toyota’s…even now long hairs can only afford beat up civics nowadays,not a $100,000 1970 Challenger..nor a $40,000 new Challenger!!!

    As for the original Challenger it was a well built,reliable car.My dad bought a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 off the lot as a demo in 1970 (has it today all restored)Raced it /drove it until the 1980’s in the 70’s ran mid-high 12 second 1/4’s with a stock 440 but replaced the skinny 14 inch wheels with 15 inch 245 rear tires and spun throught he first 60 feet to run high 12’s with 3.23 rear end gears!! The car even handles good,stops good has power disks.Rolled the odometer over 3 times before it needed a rebuild(99,999 then back to 0)Very reliable car only a few minor problems with high miles..Yes of coarse there are better handling cars out there,but on the street you will not be able to tell the difference.I live in a mountainess area and I can stick to the back bumper of so-called better handling cars and blow them away on the straights..Its good to be 30 and have a new hot looking car that the import people cant out run so they make up b.s to knock them..By the way at the beach the girls love it,and laugh at the noisey 4 cyl cars with stickers and wings as do I..as do I..

  • avatar
    WhatThe

    A 5.7 Hemi Challenger is a 5 second flat 0-60 with 3.92 rear gear or even better once broken in..

    Note the 4 door :2007 Dodge Charger R/T 5.7 Hemi runs 5.1-5.2 0-60..
    13.70-13.90’s in the 1/4 and SRT models run faster !!! Check out the Dodge Charger forums on members cars..and times..truly fine cars.smooth,fast and very good looking…

  • avatar

    @windswords: I never overpay for anything besides lap dances, but I’d sure be happy to see links to your alternatives.

    @Power6: My Omega Broad Arrow was four grand well spent, and it will outlast a Casio. I’ve hit the wall in a NASA race at about 90mph and the watch was undamaged.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    Jack, what is your definition of good brakes?

    This isn’t a criticism, but I’ve noticed that with that past four or five cars you’ve tested, you’ve dinged them heavily for having inadequate brakes. Are the brakes really that bad, or bad for your driving style?

  • avatar
    Power6

    My Omega Broad Arrow was four grand well spent, and it will outlast a Casio. I’ve hit the wall in a NASA race at about 90mph and the watch was undamaged.

    I’m sure that is true. If it were a Casio, you’d be out another $15. I still couldn’t justify the cost.

    What has the extra $3985 bought you? I ask seriously, does it open doors…get you into places you wouldn’t have otherwise been invited…talk to people who wouldn’t normally talk to you…I have a buddy with a Rolex, he seems pretty much the same he was before the Rolex, still shows up late ha.

    I admit I wear the Casio as an Anti-consumption move so I can understand those who wear watches for the opposite reason…

    Isn’t the Challenger kinda like an expensive watch? None of them are very good, even the SRT8. As long as you buy a V8 you get some street cred. The old codgers buying these things are only going to wind them out once in a while, they will never see a track. But some will have to have the SRT8 just to have the top model.

  • avatar

    Now, musclecars don’t stop, and don’t steer. We all know that.

    Don’t go putting some BMW/Viper/Vette ideas in your head. REtro means the whole package. I have seen these just HONK in a straight line, tho.

    The Eagle RS-A is just as much a piece of junk as the Michelin MXV. It is a quiet tire with 20-30k wear and is tough enough to take curb hits. Traction, etc are NOT part of the deal and it exists only for OE makers to buy cheap for those who really don’t care.

    What it is doing on a so-called performance car, is unknown. Please recall that for those who are not B & B that a sliding car is a total mystery and usually presages hitting something hard. How it happened ? “The car just slid…the car got away from me”; as if by the hand of a malevolent god.

    For the price, a 335i lightly optioned, please. I’m OK with the “so no one notices” part-actually prefer it that way.

    When the price shock wears off, a chip and some oil coolers :)

  • avatar

    @quasimondo: I cannot stand it when manufacturers make fast cars with not-so-fast brakes, so I like to carp on it. Nobody cares about the fade resistance of brakes on a Honda Accord, but the brakes on an S2000 should be up to par. It just so happens that the last few cars I’ve reviewed have had performance pretensions.

    Incidentally, one of the ways Chevrolet makes the Corvette a “performance bargain” compared to Porsche can be found behind the wheels. The sliding-caliper jobs on a base C6 are criminally inadequate.

    @Power6: I don’t believe there are any social benefits to wearing an expensive watch. For that, you need decent shoes. My philosophy on it is that if I’m going to strap something to my body for most of my life, it should be made with pride by craftsmen earning a living wage. I feel the same way about clothes.

  • avatar
    BigBlue

    jmhm2003, what do you drive?

    The R/T is a great car for musclecar lovers like myself, who want a modern musclecar as a daily driver, and not some generic cookie-cutter 4 door sedan. And musclecar enthusiasts are not limited to trailer parks and mullets. Has anybody noticed who’s paying the big bucks at the Barrett-Jackson auctions?

    My Challenger R/T is huge, I’m the first to admit. I wish it was 300lbs lighter with better rubber. But I think Dodge hit it out of the park with the styling. It’s extremely comfortable and I can take my kids to school in it. Sure, I would change some things, and who wouldn’t make some changes to their current ride? Bottom line is that 99% of you will never take your daily driver to the track or Autobahn, so let’s be a little open minded with the review. How many of your cars will fry the brakes on the second lap?

    The cool thing about he R/T is that you don’t have to go fast to enjoy the car. Whether its the sound of the V8 going through the gears or the thumbs up at stoplights, or conversations it sparks – its unmatched by most other cars available. Maybe the old phrase “If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand” fits here.

    Readers of this board are supposed to be car lovers – but all people seem to do is bash anything they don’t care for. Some hate the R/T, but a lot love it. Dodge has a niche car – a V8, 5 passenger, stick shift coupe with PERSONALlTY. Remember when cars had personality? The Mini does, the Beetle does. I am not into either one, but I’m glad they build them in an otherwise boring car market (for the middle class, that is). If it was up to some of you, we all would be driving the exact same “perfect” car………

    One final comment about weight…… at 4000lbs the Challenger weighs the same as some Lambos and Ferraris, and is outweighed by some Maseratis and several Mercedes AMGs.

  • avatar
    HollowScar

    This car is very nice. To me, it surpasses the Ford Mustang when it comes to looks, but I don’t know if it can handle snow. The thing about muscle cars is that they can be fast, but back in the day, they use to weigh considerably less, and cost less too. How times have changed.

    The Dodge Challenger is too heavy, and that is probably it’s greatest disappointment. However, to me this slow car is better, than an insanely fast Dodge viper. It is a very laid back car that is more about “enjoying the moment”, rather than racing. it offers the retro style that Chevrolet Camaro lacks. It is also more of a tribute to classic muscle, than Ford Mustang.

    I also think that the price should be a bit lower to attract more consumers to this car.

    Thank you Dodge. Thank you.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    I love the original Challenger as I have one in my family ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR4r8FyroL0 ), however I agree that Dodge did a super job bringing it back to life. They did just about everything that they could where they failed with the Charger. The styling is awesome. Big deal if it’s a bit over weight because as said above, it’s a muscle car that you’ll just grin driving it no matter what speed.

    I just wish I had the understanding wife and the garage space for one. I would be happy with an R/T as a daily driver, or the SRT as a garage queen to baby. (drool)

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I actually kind of like the Challenger – although like most others, I wish it weighed at least 500 pounds less. I think the styling is nicer than either the Mustang or Camaro. But, again, I just wish it was smaller on the outside. In fact, a target weight of 3500 pounds would have cured most, if not all, of the Challenger’s shortcomings. And I agree about its interior being the best of the three for the real world. Simple and functional.

    But here’s the thing: I still have a hard time thinking of the new Challenger as a muscle car. Never mind the technical definition of the class and the power of its Hemi V8. To me, the Challenger is actually a personal luxury coupe – like the Chevy Monte Carlo, Pontiac Grand Prix coupes and 90’s-vintage Ford Thunderbirds. When viewed in this light, the Challenger makes much more sense.

    If I were to consider a Challenger, it would probably be the base V8 model only. I won’t be visiting a racetrack with it any time soon and outgrew the “hey, look at me” stripes about 20 years ago.

  • avatar
    360_cuda

    A couple of observations.
    1. The Challenger is a Muscle Car, not a Road Rally Car. If you want a road car buy a BMW.
    2. is the car heavy? yes! so is the S-class, the Cadillac CTS, and the Camaro. nobody complains about Foreign cars being too heavy!
    3. is the Challenger big? yes it is big it is a shortened version of the 300/Charger. Same as the e-body Challenger and Cuda. based off a shortened version of the 69/70 Charger.
    4. the interior isn’t Cheap!!!!! I challenge anyone to sit in my SRT and claim it’s cheap!!!! you want cheap! sit in a New Mustang. For how beauitful the Mustang looks on the outside, they blew it on the interior. I have a 2009 SRT8 6 speed, my boss has a 2010 Mustang GT. We spent an entire lunch hour comparing the two cars. yes mine is larger and heavier, however there is no way anyone can claim the Challenger interior is cheap. My boss was depressed after that lunch.
    5. I have a 74 Cuda that sits next to my new challenger. Yes it is a Muscle Car, not a Luxury Coupe like the 80’s & 90’s… it usually takes a while to get the grin off my face after I drive it… everyone has thier own opinion and personal likes and dis-likes. I Love the Challenger.

  • avatar
    Power6

    My philosophy on it is that if I’m going to strap something to my body for most of my life, it should be made with pride by craftsmen earning a living wage.

    That makes sense. There is also a certain satisfaction in only having a to buy a piece of equipment once in a lifetime. I don’t think that would be possible with a car, though some models would come close.

  • avatar
    macc4644

    TriShield and WhatThe got it right. I own a RT with the leather upgraded seats. Mileage on the interstate if you keep it under 70 compares to many 4cyl cars. It is far more comfortable and out runs a Lincoln LS V8 without the BMW style harshness. I did not go for the SRT8 because its too taunt and as stated incorrectly here its warranty is full of holes. You need to read the facts on the RT vs SRT8 warranty. Plus I grew tired of paying for premium gas and the RT works great on lower grades although 89 octane is the best choice.
    Only negative I see is that it does attract attention esp in Hemi Orange and often its not the good type. Great car.

    Dodge has a Rapid Pesponse bulletin on these. They give you a larger battery and that solves the delay in starting of hot cars. Just more CCA’s

  • avatar
    macc4644

    Seems as if the owners of these cars love them. The talkers and posters do not.Why? They have no valid experience in the joy of driving these fine machines. Challengers are a cheap thrill. Buy an original and see why!

  • avatar
    John_in_NC

    Well I have one of these 2010 Fat Biotches and can honestly say it does not handle anywhere near the previous performance cars I’ve owned. With its blind spot, it is difficult to back out of the parking spot, it can catch turbulance from the big rigs when on the highway and it does in fact float a bit. Donno about the understear, havent pushed it that hard yet.

    But with that said, I have never had a car that ever time I take it somewhere people stop and ask me about it. The car is gorgeous, it sounds great and is a blast to drive. It can make a camaro and a mustang invisible just by pulling up next to it.

    When getting on it, you guys in the rice burners better be modded cause when I get into 4th I’m coming and coming fast. You can either move when you see this big ass Dodge riding up on your bumper cause if you dont this pig might just go right through ya. ;-P

    Can’t say much else about it except when ever we go on a road trip, this is the car to take.
    When on the highway people see this hemi hood in their rearview and tend to move over.

    Now I got nothing against Evos and Civics, they are quicker off the line, handle much better, easier to park and better on gas.

    The only problem is being seen in one cause they make you look like a kid and are down right fugly!


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