Acceleration from the V6 is pleasant, and the engine gains speed rapidly as it gains revs. Gearing could be better, as off the line it feels a little boggy, but once it starts to rev, you forget all about it and it feels surprisingly lithe. Redline is set at 6,200, and we tried short-shifting at 6,100 and also shifting just before the rev-limiter stopped the fun at the 6,400-6,500 mark. We got some consistent numbers throughout the five runs with only slight variances from the different methods we tried. Our best 0-to-75 and quarter-mile time came on the second run, while the best 0-to-30 and 0-to-45 came on the third. And we got the best time to 60 on the fifth run. Off the line, it was only a matter of revs to get the front tires spinning, so a softer launch was preferred. The big surprise was that after driving it in our staff's usual aggressive style, we still managed to get 24 miles per gallon.
We got a competitive number from the Dodge during the braking portion of the test. It generated some ABS system noise along with some steering wheel shudder from the ABS system pulsation. The tires seem to make a fair amount of noise as they gain and lose traction on the pavement during ABS operation. Our best number from 30 was on the second run, and the best from 60 occured on the third, letting us know that they worked better with a little heat in them. The first and fourth runs showed only a 2.13-foot difference, showing fade was not an issue.
The number generated while testing the car through the slalom does not tell the whole story here. Although we managed to get a really fabulous number, it comes with a fair amount of body roll. That soft chassis with noted roll may allow the tires to grip the pavement better, because it does produce some good numbers. The steering is a little on the light side, but aren't most vehicles? Besides, consumers seem to like overboosted steering. The rear could get loose if you get too much swing going on through the cones, but I found that it had a surprising amount of grip with a tight line. -- Neil G. Chirico