As someone who is too young to have been around for the first round of muscle car wars, I sometimes forget that these beasts started out as rather crude vehicles that were nothing more than an excuse to buy an enormous engine that made an otherwise less than stellar car exciting. Now that virtually every car on the market is actually safe, reasonably fast, and dependable, these dinosaurs make much less sense.
The Challenger suffers from poor fuel economy and a footprint larger than many sedans on the market today, and it doesn't even generate neck-snapping acceleration. I know 425 hp is a big number, but check out the 4144-pound curb weight! That's 9.75 pounds per hp, and it feels more like 20 pounds per hp when you're trying to get it moving.
Cruising around town in a Challenger is a lot of fun. People stop and stare as the beast rumbles by while the passengers gently rock back and forth from that bump you hit a few blocks ago. But if you attempt to drive this muscle car like a sports car, you'll come up short. It's got the looks and the power to be a hot ride, but not the appropriate curb weight or suspension tuning to ever feel athletic. There's nothing wrong with this equation so long as you have the right expectations before you fire up that big Hemi.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor