2015 Dodge Viper GT: Earplugs and Ice-Cold A/C
by Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor on October 7, 2015
An 850-mile road trip to Monterey in our 2015 Dodge Viper was eye-opening on many levels.
First, I acknowledge that Jason Kavanagh and Carlos Lago are real men for driving this car across the country and back. It's not a machine that lets you get away with partial commitment. Plan to drive the Viper more than 100 miles and you better be all in.
This became crystal clear during the first leg of our trip, driving about 140 miles to stay with friends in Santa Barbara. My ears were ringing from the sheer mass of ambient noise that pervaded the experience after only a few hours. The engine, the tires and wind all contribute. I've lived through enough motorcycle trips and top-down Miata adventures to know that a five-hour stint would leave me with a lingering headache. That's exactly what we had planned for the next morning.
So the next day I committed to earplugs. It was a decision lost, initially, on my wife, who insisted on enduring the aural pounding earplug-free. But it was the right decision. After an hour with the plugs, I could hear her better than she could hear me. She wore them on the way home.
The Viper might be loud, but it has effective air-conditioning. Our return trip started at around noon from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, taking us south on U.S. Route 101 through the blazing heat along the edge of California's Central Valley.
Ambient temperatures reached higher than 100 degrees the entire way home (note the 104 degrees indicated in the photo), but the only time the climate control struggled was when we stopped for lunch at a drive-through.
Without the added efficiency of airflow over the condenser, the system struggled and we reduced the temperature to the minimum "LO" setting. Once back on the highway, "LO" was too cold and I reset it to 72 degrees.
Josh Jacquot, Senior Editor