By Mark Maynard
We all know “You can never go home” to that happy period in our lives with few responsibilities and a muscle car in the driveway. But with the rebirth of some retro-styled muscle cars, aging baby boomers can take a sip from the fountain of youth and re-energize some long-lost memories.
The 2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8 is a dream car for many and a very popular car for women, which I learned unofficially at the recent Goodguys hot-rod show. I parked a TorRed model in the Maynard’s Garage display and talked with dozens of people about it.
The top three comments to me about the car:
— I love it.
— I like it (the styling) better than Camaro.
— It sure is big (but not big inside).
The Challenger SRT8 is the halo of the model line and as such has a 425-horsepower, 6.1-liter V-8. That equates to 370 cubic inches in old-school measurements of displacement, which was another popular question asked of me.
New for 2010 is a limited-edition Plum Crazy pearl-coat model with a serialized dash plaque and plum seat-stripe inserts. The option adds $500 to the $43,655 base price, which includes the $1,700 gas-guzzler tax. A five-speed AutoStick is the standard transmission, but a six-speed (from the Dodge Viper V-10) with hill-start assist is available for $695.
The SRT8 is the “big dawg.” Likeable, easy to drive and comfortable for long distances. The styling is its personality because the driving experience is mellow until you kick it down a couple of gears, and then it roars.
You will love this car if you want the image without the overhead. A woman at the hot-rod show pointed out that the back seat folded, which was her blessing for husbands everywhere to buy the car because it has expanded utility. And it has five seat belts compared to four in the Mustang. So, for those who need an excuse to get the SRT8, it has utility — and it will do 0-60 in 4.9 seconds.
You won’t like the SRT8 if you owned a 1970 Challenger and hope to relive that fantasy.
Seatbelts for five, versus four in the Mustang.
Styling appeals to drivers of Euro sports cars, imports and even Ford and Chevy enthusiasts.
Comfortable, all-day driving ride quality.
Turning circle of 35.7 feet isn’t terrible.
Large, easily loaded trunk with split-folding seatback.
Goodyear F1 Supercar rubber.
TorRed paint is perfect shade, but a $225 option.
Optional Kicker subwoofer does not seriously hurt trunk space; sits in the left corner out of the way.
Manual transmission features hill-start assist
Poor over the shoulder visibility; should come standard with a rearview camera.
Race-car-like front seats have extreme side bolsters that will show wear soon as drivers slide their rear ends across the wings. The wear will show as scuffs on the leather and then wear through the stitching and split the seam.
The body needs to be dropped 1.5 inches to 2 inches.
Too quiet. Add the Mopar cat-back exhaust system ($1,190) for some vocal personality.
Headroom is a little tight at 37.4 inches.
2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8
Body style: midsize, rear-wheel-drive, five-passenger coupe
Engine: 425-horsepower, 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 with 420 foot-pounds of torque
Transmission: five-speed Autostick
Fuel economy: 13 mpg city, 19 highway on 91 octane
Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 4.9 seconds; 0-100-0 mph, less than 17 seconds; 60-0 mph braking, 110 feet
Base price: $43,655, including $725 freight charge and $1,700 gas-guzzler tax; price as tested, $46,215
Where assembled: Brampton, Ontario, Canada
Mark Maynard is driving in cyberspace at Mark.Maynard@uniontrib.com.
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