July 26, 2010
Our long-term 2009 Dodge Viper was waiting for me when I returned from vacation. And I assumed my 24-inch rollaboard bag, which is way too large to carry on to a plane, would be riding shotgun for the short trip home. But surprise, surprise, when I angledthe bagjust so, I was able to close the hatch securely. Wouldn't have been able to do this if the bag was inits"expanded" state, though.
I guess you'd call this anexample of the Viper'spracticality, though it's the only one I've found to date (though looking for practicality in a Viper is likely a sign of madness). It's pretty surreal and cool to drive around in a car with so much engine, but after a weekend of enduring theViper's narrow cockpit, wildly offset driving position and lack of an auto-dimming mirror (I know, I know, a petty complaint, but seriously, this car is low to the ground and it costs $94K) on LA freeways, the surreal coolness is starting to wear thin. Obviously, it's time for me to take my own Viperoadtrip.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 14,024 miles
July 14, 2010
There are things you think you know when you decide to roadtrip in a 2009 Dodge Viper, like it has instant torque, cargo space is minimal, it's stiff and loud. Roadtripping lets you test those myths.
For instance, the ride is really quite fine. Firm, yes. Stiff, no. A GT-R rides more harshly than this car. In this respect the Viper is an attractive car for touring.
However, its limited cargo space undermines this possibility. Anticipating this, we economized our packing down as much as possible. We ended up with a duffel, a small rollaway,a driver's suit bag and two helmets, plus a couple of light jackets. Good thing we did, because that gear filled 'er up. You could conceivably fit items on the shelf below the backlight, but I didn't want to block rearward visibility for obvious pork-related reasons.
Space in the cabin is nonexistent, too. You get a glovebox stuffed with the owner's manual and a shallow, wide bin aft of the gearchange lever. That's it -- no map pockets in the door, no cubbies in the dash and no usable space behind the seats. Not roadtrip-friendly. Odds and ends (snacks, drink bottles, maps) wind up in the passenger's lap or footwell. Suck it up, buddy.
Instant torque? Sort of. It's strange, but the Viper doesn't rock your head back like you might expect. The tall gearing and sluggish drive-by-wire throttle really dull the engine's perceived snap. The numbers on the speedo sure come upquickly though...
Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 11,505 miles.
Previous Viperoadtrip entries: first
May 10, 2010
If you're used to exotic cars with minimal cargo space the 15 cubic feet offered up by our long-term 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10 can make it seem like a super-speedy SUV.
On Saturday I had a number of errands to complete, not the least of which was a florist run for Mother's Day flowers. I also had one 12-year-old boy to bring along, as logistics didn't allow for leaving him at home. That meant I had to pick up a dozen roses andhalf-a-dozenfood itemsat the local farmer's market. It also meant I couldn't cheat by carryingsaid itemsin the front passenger seating area.
No problemo in the Dodge Viper. After wandering through the farmer's market and scoring a pecan pie, some dried fruit, a loaf of bread and two containers of flavored humus (mmm, the tomato and basil one makes bread taste like pizza) I then snagged those dozen long-stem roses.
These are all easily crushed items, but I could carefully load them into the rear, deep portion of the Viper's cargo hold and close the hatch without any getting getting "crunched." I even got my man-purse in there with plenty of room to spare. Heck, I could have picked up three pizzas on the way home,and put them in the shallower section of the cargo area, and still had room left over.
After constantly wrestling with the joke of a cargo area on a Ford GT (1 cubic foot, BTW), the Viper's storage potential feels like a small sports arena.
Karl Brauer, Editor at Large @ 6,820 miles