2010 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 Limited Edition

Thank you, David, for being the first to have a mostly positive spin to his review of the Challenger SRT8. Given my Mopar bloodlines, it might have seemed pretty suspect for me to be the only strong proponent of the brutish Dodge.

I've always loved the 6.1-liter V-8 in Chrysler's SRT8 products (the fabulous screaming retro soundtrack, the gobs of horsepower, even the attractive underhood look), but I'd never had the chance to experience it through a manual gearbox until I got behind the wheel of this Challenger SRT8 test car. What did I think? I totally loved it! Sure, the throws are a bit long and the linkage is ever-so-slightly vague, but the feel is very positive and the pistol-grip handle makes me feel like I was actually alive in 1970 to enjoy the original Mopar E-bodies.

I'd like the Challenger even better, though, if the gearbox felt as nice as the cue-ball-topped units in the newest performance V-8 Mustangs. I also wish the Challenger wasn't burdened by such a feeling of heft, which, as my colleagues have dutifully pointed out, does it few favors in corners. Still, the Dodge feels like it weighs about the same as a Chevy Camaro SS, not the 300 pounds heavier that it actually is. Another bonus is that you can actually see out of the Challenger and use the back seats and trunk more easily, unlike the Chevy (the Mustang is equal to or better than the Challenger in these aspects). I do think that the Camaro is the best looking of the bunch, but I still love the Challenger's head-turning retro looks (although maybe not so much in this "detonator yellow" paint).

Objectively, the Challenger is not the best of the pony-car trio, but I'd still buy it over the Chevy and, hesitantly, the Ford. Why? Because it remains a very good car, and it's much less common than the other two (in the first three months of 2010, the Mustang has outsold the Challenger two to one and the Camaro has outsold the Dodge by more than 250 percent). Personally, I'd rather not see a car exactly like mine at every stoplight and in every parking lot. (Seems like the attitude of Mopar guys from forty years back, doesn't it?)

Nonetheless, I would have a really hard time forking over $44,350 for a base stick-shift SRT8. I'd rather save ten grand and lose 49 horsepower and get a decently optioned R/T; I just went to dodge.com and built a stick-shift R/T with a sunroof, Sirius satellite radio, and deep blue paint, and it came out to $33,950. That seems like a pretty reasonable price for Cool.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

gridiron10
and Eric, before you slip on your chucks, pop your collar, and step into you Honda Element and sync up that purple ipod shuffle, maybe you'd like to think about what real men want to drive.
gridiron10
This dribble truly is insulting. I've owned a 2010 Camaro SS and test drove an '11 5.0 Mustang and I have to say, the Challenger rectifies all the issues I had with both. The Camaro had horrible sight lines, felt heavy on the road and then interior was literally cave-like. The trunk lid was shaped so strangely it was totally useless for any serious kind of storage. The Mustang felt like a go kart designed for females. Come on, this is a muscle car, not a pony car. It's heavy, powerful, truly retro and a blast to drive. I find the suspension fine in the twisties but refined enough to be a daily driver. And really. If you have issues keeping up with a Kia Rondo or some other mundane cross over crap even in the 250hp SE, you should declare yourself incompetent.
The1970Charger
I think you're way off base here on your Challenger review. This car is 100% true American Muscle. If you are under 40 years old, you should not be writing articles on muscle cars, because you obviously have not a clue about them. First let me mention that performance cars do not need to be the size of a crotch rocket, this is your first mistake - car does not have to be small or light weight to handle. Next, if you ever drove a car on an actual track, or have been to an SRT event - you would see that even an SRT 8 Charger and Jeep have been engineered to keep up with a Viper on the track. Yes, I said Viper - and I have seen it done at the events. The SRT 8 Challenger is no slug by any means and can be taken to a track just like the Jeep and Charger. Until you drove one on the track, ridden in one and have been pinned against the door going through a turn as a passenger, this magazine will never grasp it. The Challenger was built to be retro of the 1970 Challenger, and they hit the mark!! What were y
jeffb11
.Im relly confused about all the reveiws of the Challenger, such as this one, They say it runs 13.9 in a 1/4. I guess they need some different drivers. I just took mine out on southern blvd in West Palm Beach and ran a 13.34, at 108.2, and it is sprinkling out and 76 degrees, I guess mine must be broken. This car is a kick in the pants to drive, a big heavy coupe with tons of room and toys, thats real fun to drive. I cant believe the bad press its getting. The SRT8 is worth the price, turns heads and is a blast, go figure. As far as technology they say it lacks, its a wifi hotspot, has 0-60, 1/8, 1/4 mile timers, g-force indicators, The performance of 1970 at 18 mpg, what else do they want.
rsj130
I love it when people like justin and gybo, who've never even driven a Challeger, talk about how poorly it handles. These people who believe everything they read or hear are the reason Obama has President in front of his name.
tumbleweed2
And another thing, This assinine type of automotive writing and perspective is the reason I no longer prescribe to Automobile Mag after receiving the magazine for over 20 years.....Automobile mag has lost its way.
tumbleweed2
Photographer must have been snockered with a capital S.One side view and several gas cap and hood shots. PLEAzzzze. These writers would probably be assigned the task of writing about a D 9 Catepillar and abuse it because it would go around curves like a Ferrari or castigate it because if didn't ride like a Rolls. Sheese! Is there no REAL journalism left in this insane country?
justindcarter79
I have seen these cars around and there is no reason this car should weigh so much. My 2000 Cadillac STS weighs almost a thousand pounds less. Seeing these makes me think there is weight being added somewhere. I think if they where to lighten up the car it would help the handling imensley.
gybognarjr
There is no excuse for failure, hidden into a bright yellow retro MoPar body, but FIAT will figure out, how to put the Hemi into the Topolino/Fiat 500 retro car!
JohnRogers
"Challenger might just be the least sporty two-door vehicle this side of the Jeep Wrangler. The ride is softer than you get on a Chrysler minivan and the plus-sized dimensions allow crossovers to pull away from you in turns" Eric, the attorneys of Jeremy Clarkson will be filing suit against you for using Clarkson's trademarked over the top hyperbole.
rsj130
While reading the opinions of these "professionals" I couldn't help checking the address bar repeatedly to make sure this wasn't from MotorTrend or Edmunds. I've always laughed at those who say car magazines can be bought by manufacturers, but lately I'm becoming a bit of a conspiracy theorist myself. Last year you said the pistol grip shifter on the R/T was "Bolt action precise", now it's sloppy? You also said the clutch had to much feel and "sang", now you would like a little more feel? The last time you reviewed the Challenger it had the best "ride" of the bunch, now you apparently feel the effect of bumps for up to a block away. Like every other American (sad huh?) magazine that I've read, you folks just don't get it. This is not a pony car, it's a full grown muscle car. And why with the introduction of the 2011 Mustang, how has the Camaro's styling that was once described as "pure sex on wheels" now "dated and childish"? This dribble is insulting, get it together guys.
Cleve
I love the line about "plus-sized dimensions allow crossovers to pull away from you in turns..." If Eric Tingwall lacks even the most meager of driving skills to 'keep up' with a Chevy Equinox or a Buick Enclave in the twisty bits with any version of the Challenger he should seriously consider surrendering his driver license due to the onset of mental decrepitude. I would recommend he instead purchase himself an electric scooter for the mobility impaired. There are several fine choices on the market out there, Eric, for you to choose from. Good luck and God speed!

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