2015 Dodge Viper GT: Testing the Daily Driver Theory
by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor on April 18, 2016
Our time with the 2015 Dodge Viper is winding down. We still have two months to enjoy it, but the blue beast does a lot of sitting around these days. Seems like most of us have had our fill. Inspired by Josh's recent post about the Viper's livability as an errand runner, I decided to revisit the car before it was too late.
Immediately after contorting myself into the front seat, I remembered why I'd earlier vowed that I'd had enough Viper for one lifetime. Part of it is my height, or lack thereof. At 5-foot-6, I've got the pedals max forward and the seat pretty far forward just to work the clutch pedal. With no telescoping function, the steering wheel feels like it's nearly in my chest. But it's kind of an agreeable racecar-ish seating position and I can deal with it.
The next reminder of why I don't drive the Viper more often came minutes later on the freeway heading home, trying to collect my internal organs shook loose by the Viper's ride. Look, I know it's silly to complain about the ride comfort of a car like this. But at one point I mused that being towed behind a car while lying down on my skateboard would've been more comfortable. The suspension was set in normal mode.
Another silly point of contention in a car like the Viper: the audio system. It's just not very good. Power users will of course want to know why I need to listen to the stereo when all the music I need is on the other side of the firewall. Fair point, but here are two problems with that suggestion. First, my commute is about 60 miles of highway, and at night after traffic has mostly subsided, that's 60 miles of listening to a V10 at a steady drone. It's OK, but it's just not that interesting. And I usually need a little podcast, talk radio or introspective music to keep my brain active until I reach home.
Second, the Viper just doesn't sound that good. It's a car of superlatives, but "melodious engine and exhaust note" is not one of them.
The next day, however, I went out to run a few errands. Drove to the bank, the hardware store, the coffee shop. Remembered when I had the Viper for a weekend and made a Costco run with it. I was starting to mesh with Josh's sentiments about enjoying the Viper on the daily. Not only is there a thrill when walking up to the car after an errand, but also wheeling out of the parking lot with the huge, curvy hood line ahead of you.
The Viper is one of those cars where the thought of actually going out with it in suburban or city traffic is worse than the reality. You just get out, you do it, you find parking, you learn to drive it slowly and purposefully around rolling obstacles, and you come home happy that you did.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 18,846 miles