2015 Dodge Viper GT: Makes Errands Fun
by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on March 28, 2016
Our 2015 Dodge Viper has received its fair share of criticism as a daily driver. Editor Frio was "not sold" on its cargo-carrying ability and Editor Riswick memorably wasn't sold on anything. I can't really disagree, but at the same time, I developed some genuine affection for the Viper while running errands over the past few days.
In fact, I'm here to tell you that there's no current long-termer I'd rather drive to the drycleaner.
There's a learning curve with this car, as Brent and Reese have mentioned. Or maybe it's more of an adjustment period, since there's nothing complicated going on. But you've got to figure some stuff out. Like the clutch pedal, for example. It feels like there's about three feet of travel down to the floor, but the engagement point is closer to the top, so you don't have to press it in all the way. With a little practice, you'll be shifting smoothly almost every time. Pedal effort is pleasantly light, too. It's a remarkably user-friendly setup given the car's uncouth reputation.
There are other things. The blind spot over your right shoulder is huge, so you have to keep close tabs on traffic before it enters that area for peace of mind. Blind-spot monitoring the old-fashioned way. The gearing is exceptionally tall, so you learn to leave it in first a lot longer — I'll take it up to 40 mph sometimes — in order to facilitate a nice positive change into second (and circumvent the infuriating 1-4 skip-shift function).
The gearing also has implications for matching revs on downshifts, with the common 3-2 swap needing just the lightest dab of throttle. Otherwise you get a cranky V10 bellow and miss your mark by 2,000 rpm.
But you get used to it. And once you do, this machine grows on you. Despite the Batmobile nose and insane track skills, the chin seemingly never scrapes when exiting parking lots (eat your heart out, Chevy Volt). Yes, there are creaks and rattles, but the suspension itself feels cartoonishly solid — I actually don't mind driving over rough patches in the Viper, just because it's cool how the suspension shrugs it off. And walking up to a Viper when your errand's done is a thrill that never wanes. If there's a more arresting rear-three-quarter view of any car today, enlighten me. I haven't seen it.
So yeah, nevermind the Optima, Civic, Pilot and all the rest of the supposedly superior grocery-getters. I'll get around town in this thing anytime.
Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor @ 17,975 miles