The 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. The 6.1-liter engine is the high point here, and it's a blast to play with. However, as the Challenger's top-dog model, the SRT8 can't compete with the 550-hp Ford Shelby GT500 and the anticipated Camaro Z28 that should make about 556 hp. In fact, you can beat the SRT8's 425 hp with a livelier Camaro SS for just $31,795. I also find the Dodge's pistol grip shifter to be one of the slower ways to switch gears in a car, as the throws are long, clunky, and vague.
The back seat may offer a fifth belt, but there is only a fractional improvement in rear-seat legroom. This segment is really filled with two-seaters for all practical purposes. And, Zenlea, who cares that the Challenger made it to market two years sooner than the Camaro? There were plenty of MP3 players before the iPod. I do agree that the interior here is far more functional than that in the Camaro, but while Chevrolet designers got carried away with style, the Dodge team lands on the opposite end of the spectrum with a cabin that's too sterile.
Eric Tingwall, Associate Editor