2009 Dodge Challenger R/T: Zeitgeist
April 24, 2009
When I drive our 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T, this is what I feel like I'm driving. It's a Mopar concept from last year's SEMA show (with the red stripes removed), but in my mind's eye (and apparently in yours), this is how our Challenger looks. It says, "Don't even think about it, Tinkerbell."
And do you know what? People take thecar seriously.I can't tell you how many challenges I've received whenI was driving either the Evo GSR or MR, the 370Z, and of course the GT-R, but not in the Challenger.Wrist-steering high-school kids in theirfive-oh'Stangs, spikey-haired community college kids in their Honda-rebadged Integra Type Rs, and even mid-life crisis enduring Corvette drivers with personalized license plates pretend they're not looking/admiring, but I see them.
And here's the ironic part: I drivethe Challengerslower and more gently than I drive just about anything else in the IL garage. I single handedly raised the car's accumulated fuel economy average from 17.4 mpgto 18.5with onedrive home and back.
Intellectually, I know the Challenger R/T isn't thefastest car, itdoesn't pull1.0g on the skidpad, it certainly isn't the most refined car, but it's quick enough, holds a decent line around most corners, andperhaps most importantly,it sounds as subtly bad-ass as it looks.
If it were any other color: Hemi Orange, Torred, Inferno Red, blue, silver, or even white, I don't think I'd like driving it nearly as much as I do. There's something about our Challenger's Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl paint that transcendsall the marketing colors' ability to intimidate without having to try.
Now I'm going to see if we have budget for window tinting and a new set of black wheels. What do you think?
Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 3,904 miles