2015 Dodge Viper GT: 1,000 Miles in the Passenger Seat
by Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor on September 4, 2015
When I first heard that editor Jay Kavanagh was going to be driving our long-term 2015 Dodge Viper GT from North Carolina back to Edmunds HQ, I immediately claimed shotgun. Never mind that this sports car isn't the most ideal road trip car, for a passenger at least, or that there wasn't any room for my favorite road trip companion, my dog. I'd never seen that part of America before and had heard it's beautiful!
I flew into Denver, joining Jay for the last third of his journey and documenting it for Edmunds' Instagram. We would head toward Los Angeles, passing through Colorado, Utah, and Arizona. Jay had warned me beforehand that space in the Viper's trunk was very limited. Since the weather through all those states was in the 80s and 90s, packing only a small dufflebag's worth was a cinch.
That wasn't the problem.
Not only were we short on trunk space, but obviously the cabin itself lacked all the handy storage space one would rank high on a list of ideal road trip vehicle features. Yet we were able to make do.
During the trip, the two small cupholders at our elbows ended up holding charging phones and Jay's wallet. We stashed our large water bottles, as well as my purse and laptop, in my footwell. My charging smartphone and camera were always on my lap for easy access, but this made it difficult to jump out of the car, having to first untangle, then unearth myself from the low bucket seat of the Viper.
The Viper's passenger seat doesn't recline all that much, but as a passenger, I make it a rule to never fall asleep anyway. The passenger should be the driver's navigator, DJ, and water bottle server.
So, yeah, I could deal with the Viper's lack of space, the uncomfortable seat, and even the road noise. All that noise made me feel more connected to the voyage on the road. The thing that really raised my ire was the car's spotty WiFi. I know, #firstworldproblems. But as anyone addicted to social media knows, an unreliable connection is damn annoying. My smartphone picked up a better signal than the car's WiFi did.
Also, the car won't let the passenger search the navigation or sign into WiFi when the Viper's in motion. Very inconvenient.
One saving grace of the Viper is its air-conditioner. It did an excellent job of quickly cooling down the cabin, especially after a Vegas hotel valet displayed the car in the hot desert sun all morning before we had to hit the road.
But all in all, it was fun to travel those beautiful roads through Colorado's national forests and Utah's Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park and see it from the low seat of the Viper. Definitely a fun bucket list item to check off. If I get another chance to drive across America, however, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for something more plush.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor