2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10: Hello from San Diego
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2009 Dodge Viper Long Term Road Test

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2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10: Hello from San Diego

August 26, 2010

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I've taken our long-term 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10 to San Diego. I'm here to drive a minivan (first letteris "h," last letter is "y"), so the comparison is apt, no?

Actually, I know some minivans with better off-the-line torque response than our Viper, but I digress. The Viper is not an ideal heavy-traffic car, but you knew that, and as expected, it bucked over the expansion joints and rain grooves that define LA's freeways. Once we hit South Orange County, though, the pavement smoothed out and the Viper mellowed out in the ride quality department.

It's also a relaxed cruiser in its tall 6th gear. Once you're up to your65-70-75-80-mph pace (take your pick), the fact that you can't really accelerate in-gear doesn't matter. But I went down to 5th and often 4th whenever I wanted to pass, or when traffic slowed, or when I just wanted to remind myself that I was in the most fun car on the road. Heel-and-toe downshifts aren't that fun to execute with the Viper's six-speed, but the resulting exhaust sounds of asmooth shift downare a decent reward.

It was a hot day, but the air-conditioning kept my hands icy while engine heat permeated the firewall and made my feet sweat. Yum, eh? Also, the not-quite-Z06-toasty transmission tunnel kept my tall coffee (secured in its cozyin the half-holder) warm for the duration of the drinking experience.

The traffic and the constant A/C use relieved the car of fuel at a rapid rate, but there's a still quarter of a tank in case the valets at my hotel want to do burnouts tonight.

After the jump, spotted on I-5: the most unusual Prius I've ever laid eyes on... and undoubtedly a kindred spirit to the Dodge Viper.

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Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 15,402 miles

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