Retro style and performance won me over
Earlier this year I decided my new personal "fun" car would be a Challenger SRT8.
I chose it over the Ford Shelby GT500 and Chevy Camaro ZL1 for a number of reasons.
-Looks: While the Camaro and Shelby are awesome cars, you can't really call their styling retro which you can with the Challenger. It really does bring back memories of the ones I saw as a kid.
-Performance: The lack of a supercharger, plus it's larger size and weight means it's the least performing of the three, but how much HP and Torque do you really need to tool around the city and highways with? The Challenger SRT8 had more than enough. With base 470hp/470 torque. Several companies are also in the process of rolling out aftermarket supercharger kits for the 392 HEMI engine. It's not something I'd do now, but perhaps after the teenagers are out of the house, the car is out of warranty, etc....
-Size: The larger size sold me too. I can actually fit non-amputee adults in the back sears even though getting there is a little rough. That's not all that realistic with the Shelby or Camaro. The interior definitely feels more roomy to me than when I was sitting in the competitors models. The width of the car can make things a little tight if you have a house with multiple single garage doors instead of double ones, but I get it in and our without too much fear that I'm going to rip off a side view mirror.
For many though the more important question is what DON'T I like about the car. I have a few little things that I'll mention.
-Gas mileage: This should be a no brainer but this is NOT what most would consider a commuter car by any means. In the city, depending on how aggressively you drive it, you may get the rated 14mpg, or you may get less. It also uses premium fuel, not regular unleaded. So be prepared to pay a pretty penny at the pumps. I have one with a six speed manual transmission in it. If you get the automatic, it'll have fuel saver technology in it that will shut off four of the eight cylinders under certain conditions (mainly non stop and go highway driving). Other owners with automatic trannys have told me this does save them money on long trips, but not really for city driving.
-Navigation system: The Challengers come optionally equipped with a Navigation system. It's based on Garmin software which is a respected navigation system manufacturer, but it's screen size is smaller than what you'll find on most other cars today, even in the Dodge line up like the Charger. What bugs me about it is that it shows roads but not street names most of the time. So if your looking for a side street, but haven't set it as a destination before hand, it's not always helpful finding it.
-speakers: Challengers come with decent radio systems, depending on options integrated with the navigation system. I have no problem with that, but the Boston Acoustics sound system is totally underwhelming. I've messed with it plenty but no matter what it sounds like speakers in a car from the 70s. A little more retro than I was looking for guys! Dodge does offer an 18 speaker Harmon Kardon option, but for a LOT of money. This will be my first upgrade to the car, taking it to a shop and replacing the speakers with something that gives me better sound.
-Attention: This can be an upside and downside of any nicely styled car. Mustangs are a dime a dozen on the roads, not so much so with Challengers. They get noticed. I've yet to drive by a cop that didn't have a radar gun pointed at me. I had a guy in a parking lot tell me that his wife would be out in a minute and I could probably pick her up with my car. People do roll down their windows at stoplights and try to ask me questions about the car.
All in all, a few months after I bought it I'm not suffering buyers remorse at all. It's an awesome looking car that's comfortable and fun to drive. Not perfect, but I've yet to truly find "the perfect car."