2010 Dodge Challenger Photo

2010 Dodge Challenger - Review


2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8

The 2010 Dodge Challenger is many things: Two-door sporty coupe, retro-themed mid-life crisis mobile, one of the last of a dying breed of big cars powered by big muscle. One thing it isn't: Subtle.

When a bright yellow Challenger SRT8 with the 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 (425 horsepower) and a 6-speed manual transmission shows up at your door, it's hard to resist getting some seat time behind the wheel. It's also hard to move throughout the city unnoticed.

Other than the availability of the "Plum Crazy" purple paint job, not much changes for Challenger, which was introduced in 2008 as a 2009 model.

My tester had a base price of $41,230, including standard features such as ABS, traction control, an antiskid system, front-side airbags, curtain-side airbags, 20-inch wheels, air conditioning, heated front seats, satellite radio, a tilt/telescope steering wheel, 60/40 split-folding rear seats, a wireless cell phone link, a spoiler, a functional hood scoop, a dual exhaust, and more.

Options included the yellow paint ($225), the Special Edition package ($275, unclear what it includes), the $695 SRT Option Group (white face gauges, upgraded audio), the 6-speed manual transmission (includes 3.92 axle ratio, hill-start assist, and Track Pak, $695), the $590 Uconnect media center (navigation system with real-time traffic information, 6-disc CD changer with MP3 capability, hard drive, and iPod adapter), and the $1,300 gas-guzzler tax. With the $725 destination fee, the total came to $45,735.

That gas-guzzler tax is well-earned, the EPA mileage numbers are 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. I was unable to measure real-world fuel-economy during my test.

What I was able to measure, at least by the seat of my pants, was acceleration. And no surprise here, it doesn't disappoint. Step on it, and the Hemi raises holy hell as the car leaps forward under the power of 420 lb-ft of torque. Woodward Avenue awaits.

The shifter is on the notchy side, and a skip-shift feature annoys at part throttle, although it's easily defeated with an extra squeeze of the throttle. Brakes are strong and smooth, as I found when an inattentive driver wandered into busy traffic from a cross-street and forced me into a full-on panic stop.

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