Driving the American Dream: Dodge Challenger RT!

In the previous post I mentioned that I couldn't get lucky and drive a Mustang V8 or get a Corvette for a road trip. But my luck was not all bad as I was able to drive the magnificent Dodge Challenger not just once, but on 3 different occasions, One of which was a 700 mile road trip from Los Angeles, to Las Vegas, and all the way to Phoenix through Grand Canyon!
Having driven this car several times during the 2011 and 1012 I could see the evolution of the model with few design changes in the 2013 model facelift.

Most of the changes were on the inside, where it finally got the paddle shifters, as well as central display, and slightly more modern look overall.


But of course the most amazing feature of the 3rd generation Dodge challenger is its looks.  It is absolutely stunning.  The amazing blend of classic muscle car shape, modern lines, ideal portions and very beefy curves has created a true masterpiece of car design.


The car looks amazing from any angle at any time of day or night.  It looks and feels very American in every aspect, and that's a good thing.

At any part of the country the car was getting stares of appreciations and occasional thumbs up, even in the up-scale Beverly Hills area.  This car is a rock-star.

And it felt right at home cruising the Las Vegas Boulevard while tuning into Classics Rewind on the Sirius XM radio, which comes as standard on the RT.

But there is no better place to take it than the open road.  It absolutely absorbs the miles while it sails through the long straights of American highways.  Once the road gets curvy, however it feels a lot less planted than Camaro.  Its enormous weight is felt during cornering as there is plenty of body roll, while steering feels loose and lacks precision.  I think this can be resolved by installing stiffer and shorter springs, anti-roll bars, and set of high performance tires.

However, I often have to remind myself that this is not a sports car; it's a cruiser and from that perspective, this car is brilliant.  Even fuel consumption in this beast is reasonable.  It comes with the cylinder shut off system and variable valve timing, and together they do amazing things to fuel consumption, which really is noticeable during long road trips.

What may also come as a surprise is how practical this car is.  It has very roomy and functional interior; passengers in the back can sit comfortably during a long drive.  They also can be rest assured that their luggage will fit, as this car has by far the largest trunk in its class.

So there you have it, a winner in my book.  Out of the 3 muscle cars this one has the most character, best looks, and best sounding exhaust note.  It is also better as a daily driver and long distance cruiser.  Numbers?  I will let the magazines take care of that.  This one put the biggest smile on my face.

Cost of ownership:
3/5
The 5.7L V8 is surprisingly gentle on the fuel on the highways, and the car should be fairly maintenance free due to its simplicity.  However, those large rear tires will probably need frequent replacement, and while upgrades are recommended, they aren't cheap.

Practicality:
5/5
Out of all muscle cars, or sport coupes this one has the largest trunk and most room in the back.  If anyone is looking for practicality, this is the car to own.

Appeal:
5/5
This car turns heads.  People think that you are Dominic Torreto and Dukes of Hazard all in one.  Get it in orange, you won't regret it!

Fun factor:
4/5
While straigh line acceleration and the grunt of a V8 will send you through a pistonhead euphoria, it lacks in handling department and will not be that much fun around a track or a twisty mountain road. If that's your thing, handling upgrade is a must, or opt for SRT8 version that is $6000 more.


Thanks for reading everyone, please don't forget to like, follow, and share.
On this note I would like to conclude the California special and take the blog back go Japan.
Next stop: Mercedes Benz Japan.
       


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