2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Every Time
October 06, 2009
"I've got the Challenger tonight. It was that or the 2010 Camaro and I'll take this one every time."
I'm in our parking garage with Oldham and I press on, "It's the kind of car I just want to get in, roll the windows down, plug in my iPod and drive north on PCH until the highway stops or time does."
The pistol grip shifter isn't the most accurate, nor does it have the smoothest motion, but there's no shifter that's more fun to manhandle. Each shift is like opening the floodgates on a dam or flipping the switch on Old Sparky; it's mechanical and raw and when you grab it the muscles in your forearm get all veiney. You shift the Camaro as fast as possible to avoid touching that knob for any longer than is absolutely necessary. The Challenger's shifter belongs in a factory, the Camaro's belong in a kitchen stirring soup.
And then there's the Challenger's seat (which I'll get into in another blog later this week), steering wheel (slightly too wide, but still...), legible gauges, and super-smooth ride (18's > 20's).
There is no competition when it comes to engine, though. The 5.7 here pulls hard and sounds good, but the Camaro trounces the Challenger from the V6 to the SS to the hopefully-someday Z28. The 2010 Camaro might need more aggressive gearing, but there's no denying the merit of that mill.
There are two cars in our fleet I feel this way about. Two cars that whenever I see them I want to hop in, pack some clean clothes and just drive until I'm out of road: One of them is the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T, the other is the 2009 Ford Flex.
What that says about me, I'm not sure.
Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 11,090 miles