2009 Dodge Challenger Long Term Road Test

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Goodbye, Old Friend

June 28, 2010

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On the way to deliver the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T to the buyer, I stopped to have it washed. The only problem was, there was no spot-free rinse so I arrived with a dripping car that was soon to have driving marks all over it. Before we even signed papers Matt, the new owner, grabbed a towel and dried it off. As the water disappeared, the luster of the black paint began to gleam. "This is so awesome," Matt said more than once as he lovingly rubbed down his new car. When we were done he signed quickly and I slid two sets of keys across the table to him.

Yes, sadly, the Challenger is gone. It didn't quite fetch the high price we had hoped but we still feel pleased with the result. We might have done better but there are other cars to buy and we need to keep moving forward. So here's a quick rundown on the selling process.

We began by offering the car at $29,900 -- $800 over TMV. I got several calls but no serious action. So after two weeks we dropped the price to $28,900. I immediately got two calls. Strangely enough, they were both from guys named Matt.

On Father's Day, Matt #1 arrived with his father. They took a long test drive, enjoying driving the Challenger and remarking on the shift action, the suspension and its great looks. I felt an offer coming and I hoped it was a good one.

"Here's something for you to think about," Matt said. "I'll give you $26,500 for it." It took me a second to realize that Matt had undercut the asking price by $2,400. I didn't respond at all, hoping that Matt #2 wouldenter the fray and make a better offer. So for now, I just thanked Matt #1 for coming to see the car.

Matt #2 never called back so the next day, I called Matt #1 and talked about how the Challenger's trunk was plenty big for his golf clubs. This led to a friendly little chat about golf, his handicap and what courses in the area are fun to play. As we talked I felt he would open to a strong counteroffer so I told him we could be convinced to part with the Challenger for $27,800, an $1,100 discount from our asking price. He bounced back with $27,500 and I accepted.

Later, when I looked at the numbers, I realized we had done well to get that much for a one-and-a-half-year-old used car with 26,800 hard miles on it. Unlike many American cars, it only depreciated 20 percent from our purchase price of $34,600 a year and a half ago. That means it lost $7,100 of its value. That's a whole lot of fun for a small price tag.

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Up Yours Sir Henry Clinton!

June 15, 2010

Sometimes I'm at a loss for words, andcan onlyresort to this graphical representation of my thoughts ...

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Why Buy Used?

June 14, 2010

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Some of the comments on the blogs about the sale of the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T have pointed out that you can get a new one for a starting price of $30,860 (before destination, tax and registry fees). This makes our asking price of $29,900 look unattractive by comparison.

After a Sunday afternoon with the Challenger parked near a busy street, and the phone not ringing at all, I began to lose faith in our price. I consulted with the pricing gurus here at Edmunds and they pointed out that there are incentives on the Dodge making our price even more unrealistic. However, when I looked at the actual incentives, I found a different story.

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Sales/Mileage Update

June 11, 2010

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For an unexplained reason (probably a computer snafu) our Autotrader ad was rejected without our knowledge and we lost some valuable time selling the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. When it finally posted a few days ago we got two calls immediately but neither one was very serious. Still, it's a positive sign that indicates we are in the ballpark with our asking price of $29,900. In our experience, if the price isn't close, the phone doesn't ring.

Meanwhile, the Challenger has been doing a lot of highway driving and logging some respectable fuel economy for a muscle car. On a road trip in May it set a personal best for 401 miles on one tank and got 23.8 mpg. The lifetime average is 17.5 mpg and the EPA says the combined figure is 19 mpg. Given that we tend to be enthusiastic drivers, and that we spend a lot of time on clogged Los Angeles freeways, that's pretty close.

Philip Reed, Edmunds.com Consumer Advice Editor @26,490 miles

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Let the 2nd Guessing Begin

June 04, 2010

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The ad for our 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T has been posted at the selling price of $29,900. My previous blog triggered a firestorm of speculation about the integrity of True Market Value prices, the psychology of buyers and other mysteries of the universe.

Some comments were thoughtful and insightful such as this: "Will you change the TMV calculator if you can't get it ;)" Our TMV experts definitely keep an eye on our long term sales and might modify the price slightly. However, this is just one sale, one piece of data, and TMV is based on thousands of transactions, both at auctions (for trade-in prices) and at dealerships (for dealer retail prices).

Another commenter said, "Considering I just priced out a new one on Dodge's website for $32,500, with no options save the manual transmission mind you, I'd rather pay extra for a new one." Well, our car had $6,000 worth of options so it would be about $38,500. To buy ours at $29,900 would be quite a savings.

Moving now to the more vitriolic comments we have this opinion from blueguydotcom: "25-26k. Dead company, car has a limited amount of appeal and TMV is pretty much always wrong." Did I miss something? Has Dodge been eliminated? As far as "limited" appeal, it was the top pick in coupes in Consumers Top Rated.

And finally this, from firstwagon: "TMV is a pretty much useless number. A used car is worth exactly whatever someone is willing to pay and not a cent more. You're free to ask whatever you want but the price is set by the guy who writes the check."

From this comment I'm led to believe that we should list our cars for sale and invite people to make offers based on what they want to write checks for. And as far as TMV being a "pretty much useless number," it is only a reflection of the market, an average of sales that have already taken place. Doesn't it make sense that anyone wanting to sell an item would check to see what others have been able to sell that item for in an open market?

Hey, TMV is free, check it out. Unlike Kelley Blue Book, which has a strong history of dealer support, Edmunds.com has no vested interest in presenting prices that are artificially high. It's a guide, a reflection of the marketplace, a starting place for people selling cars.

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Knob Replacement

June 04, 2010

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^ This is what the driver seat adjuster looked like when we dropped the Dodge Challenger off at La Brea Chrysler Jeep (they've always been good to us-- fast service and in my neighborhood) the other morning.

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: The Driving Experience

June 01, 2010

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I never expected to like driving our long term 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T. It just doesn't suit me even though I grew up during the muscle car era it evokes. But I do love driving this stealthy monster and I've been struggling for a way to put the experience into words. Certainly, a lot of the pleasure comes from the deep well of power and the throaty rumble of the 372-horsepower Hemi V8. I also like the cool feel of the pistol-grip shifter in the palm of my hand. Beyond that, it's a blend of so many elements that it defies words. So, in lieu of any forced prose, I offer this photo which conveys a feeling of the driving experience for anyone who has not had the great good fortune to find themselves behind the wheel of this car.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 26,300 miles

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Asking vs. Selling Price

May 28, 2010

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We priced out our 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T and were pleasantly surprised. Even with a $600 hit for extra miles (we're at 26,200 miles now) the True Market Value Price is $29,200. Back in February 2009 we paid $34,600 for it so the drop off hasn't been too harsh.

We're thinking that black is the preferred color for this bad boy, as is the six-speed manual transmission, so we're going to put it up for sale for $29,900 and see what kind of interest we get.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 26,200 miles

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2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Beautiful When it's Clean

May 26, 2010


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We're getting ready to sell our 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T so I gave it a bath and rubbed it down to keep off the drying marks. It reminded me of a piece of advice I once heard. Before you buy any used car you should wash it because it makes you touch all the body panels and you will notice any dents, dings and the quality of the paint.

What I noticed is that the paint on this car is gorgeous. It lives up to its name on the sticker: Brilliant Black. The only drawback is you have to keep it clean.

We're going to price the Challenger and post a for sale ad soon. It'll be interesting to see how much interest there is in this car. We'll keep you posted.

Philip Reed, Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 26,100 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2009 Dodge Challenger in VA is:

$149 per month*
* Explanation
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