are such that it’s barely pulling 2,000rpm
at 80mph and, predictably, it’s aurally
rewarding at either end of the rev range.
The transmission on “our” car was the
six-speed manual, which is good; although
the shifter shakes, you’d have to be
clumsy to grab the wrong ratio. Which
I was…three times. I was saved from the
embarrassment of stalling only by the
wonderful flexibility of the Hemi.
I suppose we have to talk aesthetics,
even though this is purely subjective. The
Challenger has always been massively
appealing because it pulls off the retro
homage so very well. Viewed head-on,
there’s no better (nor more intimidating)
car on sale today, and its tail end is as
evocative of the 1970s as its front.
Overall, the Challenger is extremely
distinctive, yet without being ostentatious
and without compromising the comfort
CHALLENGER SRT CORE
and convenience of drivers and passengers.
On the negative side, I’ve always thought
its ground clearance looked excessive,
and while I acknowledge how solid the
interiors feel in Chrysler Group products
these days, a few more areas of
light-colored materials wouldn’t go amiss.
As for the Core’s “remove or replace”
ethos, the fog lights aren’t missed, but
the HID headlamps are (half of my miles
in it were done at night, so I’m biased on
that one). The standardized black rear
spoiler is cool, whereas the wheel design
is not, in my opinion, as nice as the
standard five-spokers on the regular SRT.
But, again, we’re into a subjective area.
However, the simple fact is that the
Core edition of the SRT Challenger offers
you fundamentally the same product, but
with an approximate $5k price cut. That
can only widen its already huge appeal.
the driver taking full advantage of the
tools at his disposal…including the car’s
ergonomics. The Challenger has both
great headroom and good all-around
visibility, so it’s smart to use those
qualities. Slouch too low and too far back,
NASCAR-driver style, and the hood of this
car looks roughly the length and width of
Connecticut, but sit a little straighter and
you can slot into tight gaps without
fingers crossed. And by the way, replacing
leather with cloth on the bucket seats is
fine: the occupants are firmly held in
place under hard cornering, and the seats
are comfortable and supportive – and
those are the only attributes to seek
in car seats in my opinion.
Elsewhere, the experience is familiar
SRT territory. That 6.4-liter Hemi is eager
enough to send the Challenger to 60mph
from rest in 4.5sec, but the gear ratios
(ABOVE) No car on
sale today depicts
brooding and bruising
aggression better than
an SRT Challenger. It’s
an automotive Sonny
Liston, and no way
will you beat it in a
The Core models in the SRT range (from left to right, the Charger
Super Bee, the Challenger and the Chrysler 300) are based on the
same principle – offer the full-strength 392cu.in., 470hp Hemi,
but trim out a few of the luxuries and trim the price. It’s hardly
back-to-basics, but does bring power to yet more of the people.