Well, this is a bit awkward … I’ve had a big crush on the Challenger ever since I first saw it. Those toned curves. That shapely behind. Our first date had to be special – and so we hit up Venice Beach in Los Angeles for a night out on the town.
Yes. Muscle Beach is about the perfect place to grab the eyes of passersby, but my eyes were occupied only by the Dodge. While it’s more masculine than feminine, and more muscular than svelte, I couldn't stop looking at it.
As with many Americans, Aussies tend to either love them or hate them – and while this may not be the prettiest coupe in the car park, its strong personality and great sense of humour (this thing can make a sourpuss grin like a silly little kid) really make up for it. Hot as – but the stripy makeup could be toned down a little.
Depth of character and quality interiors are things that US cars of years gone by haven’t been able to boast about, but the Dodge was surprising in that regard. The seats are comfortable and well bolstered, the ergonomics are mostly good, and there are little highlights that catch your eye, such as the optional coloured seatbelts and 8.4-inch UConnect media system.
That screen was tied to one of the best stereo systems of any car I’ve driven in 2014. The optional Harman Kardon stereo has thumping bass, excellent clarity and 19 speakers. It’s enough to make even the most dancefloor-phobic among us start to wiggle their tooshy to the rhythm of whatever’s on the radio (yep, satellite radio in the US, too).
There are plenty of other smarts, too, with optional gear such as automatic headlights, a forward collision warning system and adaptive cruise control. There’s even a WiFi hot spot.
Oh, and it can go easy on the drink if you go easy on the throttle, as the Hemi 6.4-litre engine can deactivate four cylinders to help save fuel. But we all know the Dodge is at its best when things are going full bore, with as much fun juice added to the mix as possible.
Enjoys a drink (perhaps a little too much) and can get loose in response to peer pressure. Can be quite rambunctious with a crowd to perform for, too.
No. The mindset of this Dodge is one of hedonistic fun, living in the now – all that stuff. And with a huge 362kW of power and 645Nm of torque sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, there’s plenty of fun to be had.
It comes with a three-year/36,000 mile warranty (that’s 58,000km, or thereabouts) so it seems even Dodge knows this is a short-term proposition. Three years of this, though, and there’s every chance you’ll be worn out and ready to settle down.
I’d have to move to the US to make this a long-term deal. I’m not sure after one date that I’m ready for that kind of commitment.
It was a fun fling (through a couple of corners near Santa Monica) and sometimes you only need a drink and a laugh. But with no chance of the car being sold in Australia (it’s left-hand drive only) in this generation, it might be five years before there’s a chance of a right-drive model being made available. And that may never happen.
Yep. I can’t see this working out – particularly over such a distance.
Some lucky American who can keep up with the Challenger SRT 392’s go-fast lifestyle.