Track Tested: 2010 Dodge Challenger SE 3.5 V6


2010 Dodge Challenger SE 3.5 V6

Edmundstests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test-drivers. Enjoy.

Late last week, details on the 2011 Dodge Challenger leaked out. The big news, of course, was the 6.4-liter, 392 Hemi V8 and its power rating of 475. Overlooked, perhaps, was the base, V6 Dodge Challenger. The 2011 Dodge Challenger packs 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque from the 3.6-liter V6.

And that number is quite a bit higher than what we have here in the 2010 Dodge Challenger SE. This Challenger has a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 250-horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. It also has a five-speed automatic transmission, making it a different animal than the 2009 Dodge Challenger V6 and its 4-speed auto that we featured as an Inside Line Track Tested last year. Sporting the surprisingly awesome-in-person red, white and blue paint and 18-inch wheels, does this Rallye pack Challenger go as good as it looks? Or is 2010 the model to skip, waiting instead for the 305-horse 2011 V6 Challenger?

**Note that the following chart is not intended as an apples:apples comparison-- though it is-- but rather a look at where the 2011 Challenger should sit and the benchmarks it needs to hit to be competitive.**

2010 Challenger SE Chevy Camaro 1LT Ford Mustang V6
0-45 mph 5.1 4.0 3.8
0-60 mph 8.0 6.0 5.6
0-75 mph 11.6 8.8 8.1
0-60 mph with roll out 7.7 5.7 5.3
1/4 mile 15.9 @ 88.2 14.2 @ 98.9 13.9 @ 101.2
30-0 mph 31 27 26
60-0 mph 127 107 103
Skid pad 0.79 0.89 0.90
Slalom 61.0 68.2 68.6
As-tested weight 3,819 3,728 3,508
Price as tested $31,400 $26,845 $30,600

Vehicle: 2010 Dodge Challenger SE
Odometer:
Date: 5/25/10
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $31,400


Specifications:
Drive Type: Rear-wheel drive
Transmission Type: 5-speed automatic
Engine Type: V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,518cc / 215 cu-in
Redline (rpm): 6,500
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 250 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 250 lb.-ft. @  3,800 rpm
Brake Type (front): 12.6-inch ventilated discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.6-inch solid discs with single-piston sliding calipers
Steering System: Hydraulic-assist, rack-and-pinion power steering
Suspension Type (front): Independent, coil springs over gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, gas-charged twin-tube shock absorbers, stabilizer bar
Tire Size (front): P225/60R18 99H
Tire Size (rear): P225/60R18 99H
Tire Brand: Continental
Tire Model: ContiProContact
Tire Type: All season
Wheel size: 18-by-7.5 inches
Wheel material (front/rear): Cast aluminum
As tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,819


Test Results:
0-30 (sec): 3.1
0-45 (sec): 5.1
0-60 (sec): 8.0
0-75 (sec): 11.6
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 15.9 @ 88.2
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 7.7
30-0 (ft): 31
60-0 (ft): 127
Slalom (mph): 61.0 (59.2 stability control on)
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g): 0.78g (0.79 traction control OFF)
Db @ Idle: 43.0
Db @ Full Throttle: 79.1
Db @ 70 mph Cruise: 66.2


Acceleration Comments: With barely enough torque to overwhelm rear tire grip, there's virtually no difference between traction control on and traction control off runs. Upshifts are smooth and at redline. Also no sense in manual shifting the automatic, as it still auto upshifts at redline.


Braking Comments: Noisy, busy ABS as it hunts for grip on these all-season tires. The result is also less-than-arrow-straight with moderate dive. Adequate fade resistance.

Handling Comments: Skid pad: Stability control settings match available grip, hence near identical off/on figures. Pronounced understeer at the limit of grip -- hence throttle closure and equal lateral g. Steering feels OK, a little "wooden" with moderate build-up in effort. Slalom: With ESP off, the big car feels remarkably athletic despite slalom mph on par with a Honda Odyssey. Responds to throttle by slightly adding rotation to quell understeer. With ESP on, a tidy line to minimize jerky yaw angles keeps the system happy. Otherwise wild brake application.

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