Big Overdrive - 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T Long-Term Road Test

2009 Dodge Challenger Long Term Road Test

2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Big Overdrive

May 04, 2009


Yesterday, after a pleasant 9 innings at Goodwin Field watching Cal State Fullerton generally clobber UC Santa Barbara, our long-term 2009 Dodge Challenger and I found ourselves on wide open freeway. The first time I stepped out to pass in our Challenger, I realized I'd never before driven the car in light traffic.

I realized this, because I made a beginner's mistake: I left the Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual gearbox in 6th gear -- and then had no torque with which to complete the pass. A blip of throttle and a hasty downshift to 5th ensued.

This gearbox has two overdrive gears -- a 0.74 5th and a 0.50 6th -- along with a 3.73 final drive. In practice, the engine is turning at all of 1,500 rpm at 65 mph when you're in 6th gear. Had I bothered to look at the tach first, of course,I never would have thought I could leave it in 6th. If you remember from our Challenger's trip to the dyno,the 5.7-liter V8doesn't get into the meat of its torque band until you're past 2,000 rpm, but then it has plenty -- 350 pound-feet at the wheels.

It's not a big deal once you acclimmate (ask any Corvette owner, I'd imagine). But that first (and only) time you come up short for a pass, you feel like any weakling four-cylinder econobox driver. The difference is, in the Dodge, you can do something about it.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 4,424 miles

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