Even if you don’t particularly love muscle cars, there is something insidiously appealing and romantic about the 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T with the rumbling 5.7 liter V8 engine. From its stiff pistol grip six-speed manual, to the floor operated parking brake, to the interior door handles located by your knees-the 2010 Dodge Challenger is retro to the core.
I had the privilege of testing a press fleet model from Chrysler that was also yellow-now, I think yellow looks dumb on cars (especially the Camaro) but that little Challenger pulled it off. It is so cool that it can literally wear anything. But unless you just want this coupe for looks do avoid the base V6 engine. The Camaro and Mustang offer better base V6 engines for poseurs. The 2010 Challenger requires a V8 and is not for poseurs.
So, while my tester (which was fully loaded with every convenience and performance MOPAR option) cost a little over $39,000, I have to say that it is actually worth the price. Yes, even considering the dash that looks a bit like it was designed in 1992. See what I said? Retro to the core.
Here are five things that I absolutely grew to love during my time with the 2010 Dodge Challenger:
The Stiff, Macho Six-Speed Manual Transmission with Pistol Grip
Although ordering the 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T with the six-speed manual would no doubt preclude it from serious stop and go commuting, the heavy clutch and the force needed to shift gears just made me feel like a man. It makes you feel like you have to work for your power. The shift lever also looks cool and feels cool in your hand. And your friends will make fun of you if you buy an automatic.
The Exterior Styling
Chrysler knows how to design the exterior of a car, with the obvious exception of the Sebring sedan. The 2010 Challenger is a chiseled, macho design statement that makes the car always look like it is up to no good. And that’s what you really want your muscle car to say, don’t you?
The Interior Leather
I had a lot of friends in High School with old muscle cars from different eras and the leather in those old models, somehow, felt and looked exactly like the leather seats in the Challenger. I am not saying the leather in the 2010 Challenger looked worn, far from it, as it felt gloriously smooth and soft to the touch. It just felt and looked like a leather seat from a different time. Sort of like they copied the leather seat from the original Challenger and installed it in the 2010 model.
The Compliant, Comfortable Ride
While the stiff clutch does make the 2010 Challenger R/T a bear in stop and go traffic, the ride is so compliant that long trips are truly a joy. Surprisingly despite the sloppy power steering set-up, the 2010 Challenger can also tackle a corner with reasonable aplomb. But it’s not a Lotus in the turns. It’s meant to go REALLY FAST, REALLY STRAIGHT.
Chrysler’s Affordable In-Dash UConnect Touch Screen
For anywhere from $1,200 to $1,600 you can get Chrysler’s UConnect system (price varies by model) and it is the most impressive OEM unit for the price. Not only does it have navigation but it also has HDD, Sirius satellite radio, AM/FM/CD/USB/Aux-input jack, hands free cell-phone connectivity and a 30GB hard drive for photo or song storage. You couldn’t get anything like that with the original 1960’s Challenger.