I Really Dislike This Car — A Lot - 2015 Dodge Viper GT Long-Term Road Test

2015 Dodge Viper GT Long-Term Road Test

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2015 Dodge Viper GT: I Really Dislike This Car — A Lot

by James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor on November 9, 2015

2015 Dodge Viper GT

I decided to finally drive our long-term 2015 Dodge Viper this weekend. I knew, based on experiences shared by my colleagues, that it would not exactly be my cup of tea, Earl Grey hot. But what the hey, I thought. It's good to try everything once. There are plenty of cars that I can appreciate even if they don't exactly tickle my particular fancy. The Corvette, for instance. Brilliant car. Have no interest in buying one.

And then I got in the Viper, drove it halfway through the Edmunds garage and knew I'd made a terrible mistake. It was all I could do not to turn around immediately and swap keys for the Yugo. That isn't hyperbole. I would rather drive the Yugo.  

This could get rather long, so let's forego transitions and just stick with bullet points:

  • How the hell do you get into this car? You can't touch the sill because it'll burn your hand. You can't sit on the sill because it'll burn your butt. You can't climb into it normally because the sill is a foot wide, the car is 3 inches off the ground, the foot well is tiny and the steering wheel is in the way.

  • What is going on with this seating position? The seat, which adjusts six ways (no front seat tilt), feels like it expects my back to be roughly shaped like this: {  Putting the back rest bolt upright corrects this somewhat, but then that only exacerbates the next problem.

  • Visibility is appalling. Look at the picture below. That is my view out. I am looking at the windshield header. I have to lean the seat back to actually see out of the car. I am 6-foot 3, which is tall, but I'm not Dikembe Mutombo. The Viper makes me feel like I am. And no, this is not common for modern exotic cars.

2015 Dodge Viper GT

  • What is going on with the dead pedal? It's not on the same plane as the throttle. It's literally a metal pedal and it's placed vertically. As if the seating position couldn't get any worse.

  • The shifter and its placement are excellent. Figured I should say something nice.

  • The cupholders are behind you. So are the small bin and plugs for your smartphone.

  • It's really loud, and not in a good way. Unless you're absolutely gunning the engine, in which case you're most certainly going 95 mph in a 35, it sounds like a truck. Actually, that's unfair to trucks. They are quite quiet and refined these days.

  • Is there actually a suspension? The ride around town would imply otherwise.

  • It's creaky and rickety. Our long-termer is a $100,000 car. Its build quality does not indicate that.

You will note none of my complaints have much to do with how it drives out on some mountain road where its abundant power and grip would reveal the Viper to be a thrilling driving machine. That's because, for me, it is completely irrelevant. I would never be able to stand being in it for long enough to get to that mountain road. It actually made me angry.

So forget the Yugo. The Viper is MY penalty box.

James Riswick, New & Used Car Editor

 

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