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2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8 Review & Test Drive

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‘THE ULTIMATE RETRO MODERN AMERICAN MUSCLE CAR’

The new 2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is the only American muscle car that stays true to the original early 1970’s styling with all of the proper design cues that makes the Dodge Challenger of old one of the most collected original muscle cars from that era.

New for the 2010 Dodge Challenger STR8 is a limited-edition Plum Crazy model. It features a unique Plum Crazy Pearl Coast exterior paint color with a plum seat-stripe insert along with a serialized dash plaque.  My test Challenger SRT8 was painted ‘Detonator Yellow’ clear coat, which was available late in the 2009 model year, and features a yellow seat-stripe insert on the seatbacks.

Today’s Dodge Challenger SRT8 features styling cues that are unmistakably Dodge with proportions that evoke a bold, instantly recognizable vehicle that has a wide, low stance on the road.  A full-length grille and fog lamps, reminiscent of the original Challenger, are married to the modern ‘Dodge performance attitude’.  The result is an aggressive face that is unmistakably a muscle car.  The hood-with a raised center, black stripes, functional dual scoops and giant lower airdam to increase downforce and cool the massive brakes, stays true to the Challenger heritage, as does the dual power-remote/heated, sideview mirror design, frameless door glass, the A-line, beltline and the bright, polished aluminum fuel filler door.  The rear features more heritage design cues such as a flat trunk lid, a full-length lip spoiler that increases downforce, flat sail panel with lamp clusters with Dodge lettering in the center, and rectangular dual chrome exhaust tips.  It’s as close as you can get to the original styling!

Modern technologies that can be seen on the outside include the High Intensity Discharge headlights, a radio antenna integrated into the rear glass, 20X9in. forged aluminum Alcoa wheels wrapped with Goodyear high-performance tires, big Brembo brakes and contrasting black lower aerodynamic bodykit.

This is the Challenger most people see in their mind’s eye-a modern muscle car without the limitations of the original.

The quality, technology, fit and finish and performance are all part of a modern American muscle car that blends perfectly with the new Challenger SRT8.  Just one drive and you’ll agree.

The 425hp and 420lb.ft. of torque in the 2010 Challenger SRT8 is the result of SRT’s (Street and Race Technology) exclusive and proven 6.1 liter HEMI V8 engine, which represents the highest naturally aspirated specific-output V8 engine ever offered by Chrysler.  Its 69.8 horsepower-per-liter rating exceeds even that of the legendary 1966 ‘Street HEMI’.

The ground thumping 420lb.ft. of torque flows to the rear wheels through a standard, performance-tuned, five-speed automatic, with AutoStick sequential shifting, or an optional, smooth shifting, short-throw, Tremec TR-6060 six-speed manual, the same transmission found in the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10.

All of the massive 420lb.ft. of torque is laid down on the pavement through a standard Getrag Limited Slip Differential.  The giant 20X9in. rear, Goodyear F1 Supercar high-performance tires further enhance the traction for very quick 4.9sec., launches to 60mph from a standstill.

The performance tuned 2.75 inch stainless dual exhaust system gives out a great sounding growl when you turn on the ignition, and when you mash your foot down on the aluminum throttle, all hell breaks out and the sound raises to a laud roar and you easily smoke the rear tires.

The new Dodge Challenger SRT8 is fun and very easy to drive with either transmission. It is civilized to drive and can be your daily driver for all of your personal needs, and also can be a feared vehicle on the road eating up the competition at the right time and place.

The interior will further please any enthusiast with sporty cues and plenty of room and comfort up front.  Inside highlights include race-inspired leather seats with added bolstering and perforated suede inserts to keep you snug when cornering, exclusive stitched accents on the seats and steering wheel, four-bomb gauges with 8,000rpm tachometer, 180mph speedometer in the center and an SRT-exclusive Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) with Performance Pages that give you readouts for instant feedback on 0-60mph time, 60-0mph braking, G-forces in addition to one-eighth mile and quarter-mile times.  The classic pistol-grip shifter featured with the manual transmission is reminiscent of the original Dodge Challenger, but now with a carbon fiber weaved  leather and aluminum finish to give it a more modern touch.

More highlights inside include an 8-way powered driver’s seat/manual passenger seat with manual lumbar adjustments and heating elements for both, tilt-telescope/carbon fiber weaved leather-wrapped steering wheel that feels perfect in your hands, aluminum/rubber faced foot pedals, center stack with easy to use dials, LED lit dual cupholders, and padded/sliding armrest with storage below.

All buttons, levers and dials are easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving.  The rear seat is great for kids but comes up short on the legroom for adults and is 60/40 split to enlarge the cargo capacity of the already giant trunk (16.2cu.ft.).  The rear seatback also features a pull-down center armrest with dual cupholders.

It is everything you need to enjoy the ride and successfully and safely pilot the car to very high speeds on the straight-aways and quickly around steep curving roads. Under the skin is where SRT engineers did their best work taming the 425hp Hemi V8 and giving you a ride that you won’t soon forget.

The SRT-tuned front and rear suspensions are a work of art with an independent front consisting of a SLA (short/long arm) setup with high upper ‘A’ arms, SRT-tuned coil springs over gas-charged monotube Bilstein shock absorbers, lateral and diagonal lower links and a solid stabilizer bar.  The unique independent rear features a 5-link setup with SRT-tuned coil springs, link-type stabilizer bar, gas-charged monotube Bilstein shock absorbers and an isolated suspension cradle.  Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) are non-existent when traveling over poorly paved roads, driving at high speeds or when cornering.  A strut tower brace located behind the engine enhances the responsiveness of the front suspension.

The performance-tuned rack & pinion steering with hydraulic assist is weighted for higher speeds.  Parking in lots is easy because at slower speeds the wheel is lighter to turn, even with one hand.  It also gives you a great feel for the road.  My inputs when turning was instant and exactly where I wanted the car to go.  I was impressed at how well the car handled in the mountains when I was traveling through steep curving roads.  I was also impressed with how light and nimble the response felt given my speed and direction. More impressive is that the challenger is a 4,144lb. coupe.

Around town the Challenger, besides getting ‘thumbs up’ all of the time, easily maneuvered around slower traffic.  The suspension is taut but never harsh, even when traveling over poorly paved roads.

Helping to keep you on your chosen path is a standard electronic stability control (ESC) system, and standard all-speed traction control.  You can of course shut off the ESC and traction control to let the rear slide out when exiting curing roads.  That is part of the fun driving this modern American muscle car.

The new Challenger SRT8 rides on giant SRT specific, 20X9in. fully forged, Alcoa aluminum, (when was the last time you saw Alcoa etched into alloys), wheels that are wrapped with Goodyear 245/55ZR20in. front, and 255/45ZR20in. rear, F1 Supercar, low profile, high-performance tires for the optimum in grip and traction.

Quickly and safely slowing the mighty Challenger SRT8 down from speed are world-class brakes.  Up front are 14.2in. vented and slotted rotors, clamped with Brembo four-piston fixed calipers in aluminum housings, while the rear features 13.8in. vented and slotted rotors, also clamped with Brembo four-piston fixed calipers in aluminum housings.

Enhancing braking control and braking power are standard ABS, Brake Assist and Brake Knockback Mitigation.  If you have to start when parked or stalled on a hill, the six-speed manual model comes standard with Hill-Start Assist.

The new Challenger SRT8 also comes with a long list of standard equipment not mentioned above, to make your ride even more enjoyable.  They include AC/Heating with dual vents at the end of the center console for rear seat passengers, Media Center CD/DVD/AM-FM radio, six-Boston Acoustic speakers, SIRIUS satellite radio ready, Uconnect phone with voice activation, manual tilt/telescoping, carbon weave leather wrapped steering wheel with controls for the audio system and EVIC, electronic vehicle information center readout, power windows with express down, universal garage door opener, thick cut-pile carpeting with luxury front/rear floor mats, 12-volt center console power outlet also with a 12-volt plug inside the storage bin, dual map lamps and rear courtesy lamps, trunk lamp, dual lighted vanity mirrors, a grab handle above the passenger door, storage slots in each door, start/stop ignition button, remote keyless entry, cruise-control, variable-speed intermittent wipers/washers, remote start with the automatic transmission, rear window defroster, LED lit inside door handles, auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink universal transceiver, power-remote/heated sideview mirrors, LED lit cupholders, power trunk-lid release, security alarm, automatic headlamps and power door locks.

Options that came with my Challenger SRT8 included 13-Kicker SRT High-Performance speakers with a 200-watt Kicker subwoofer and 322-watt amplifier, one-touch electronic sunroof, 3.92 axle ratio, and the Chrysler GPS navigation system.

Safety systems include advanced multi-stage front airbags, supplemental side curtain front and rear airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, enhanced accident response system, energy-absorbing steering column, 3-point safety belts with front load limiters/pretensioners, LATCH system for child seats, front/rear crumple zones and steel beams in each door.

The base price of the new 2010 Challenger SRT8 is $41,230.00 which is more than a 2011 Mustang GT or 2010 Chevy Camaro SS but you are getting a larger, midsize coupe where as the Mustang and Camaro are rated as compacts.

If real retro-modern muscle car looks blended with modern high-performance is what you are after, then you have to test drive the new 2010 Challenger SRT8.  My loaded SRT8 stickered for $46,785.00 including $725.00 destination charge and $1,300.00 gas-guzzler tax.

COPYRIGHT:2010:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

Price: Base SRT8 $41,230 As-Tested $46,785
Type: Large Coupe
Where Built: Canada
EPA Class: Midsize Cars

Dimensions

Exterior
Length: 197.7 in.
Width: 75.7 in.
Height: 57.1 in.
Wheel Base: 116 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.8 in.
Curb Weight: 4132 lbs.
Gross Weight: 5300 lbs.

Interior
Front Head Room: 39.3 in.
Front Hip Room: 54.6 in.
Front Shoulder Room: 58.2 in.
Rear Head Room: 37.4 in.
Rear Shoulder Room: 53.9 in.
Rear Hip Room: 48.6 in.
Front Leg Room: 42 in.
Rear Leg Room: 32.6 in.
Luggage Capacity: 16.2 cu. ft.
Maximum Seating: 5

Performance Data

Number of Cylinders: 8
Engine Size: 6.1 liters
Engine Type: V8
Horsepower: 425 hp
Max Horsepower: 6200 rpm
Torque: 420 ft-lbs.
Max Torque: 4800 rpm
Drive Type: RWD
Turning Circle: 37.5 ft.
0-60mph: 4.9 seconds

Fuel Data

Fuel Tank Capacity: 19 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Manual: 14 mpg / 22 mpg / 16 mpg
Range in Miles:
Manual: 266 mi. / 418 mi. / 304 mi.

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