2010 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic Road Test Review

Alexandra Straub - CAP staff
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"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." These beautiful words were written by one of my favourite poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. If you're a fan of Victorian literature, you may have heard of her. She also just happened to be married to another famous poet by the name of Robert Browning. Back then, and even still today they're kind of a big deal.
 
Now if you are wondering why Victorian poets have anything to do with the 2010 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic, I'll explain. As I was driving around this sexy hunk of burning muscle, the lines of that poem popped into my head, only it went a little like this, "Why do I love the Challenger so much? Well, let me tell you…"
 
For one, I'm into looks. A car that looks good scores points with me. That's just the kind of gal I am! I couldn't help but fall in love with the Challenger's physique. It is heavily influenced by the original/first generation "ponycar" that came out in 1970, complete with its signature grille, long nose and rearward cabin. It also holds true to the two-door coupe configuration, which further adds to its coolness. The overall package equals one hot muscular ride. Cheers to that.
 
Since its reintroduction in 2008, the Challenger R/T Classic is anything but dated. On the outside, it hosts a variety of bold colours like HEMI Orange, Torred (Red) or Deep Water Blue, has an sweet set of 20" 5-spoke aluminum wheels inside P245/45R20 BSW all-season performance tires, and sports some snazzy decals and badges to let everyone know what kind of car it is. While some cars would have a hard time pulling off these kinds of accessories, the Challenger has no problem. So not only does it look good, it is confident too. The list just keeps getting better.
 
Another "love" I encountered with the Challenger was the feeling when I was behind the wheel. The R/T was a blast to drive especially since it came with the optional 6-speed manual transmission. The 6-speed manual comes as a part of the Trak Pack. I was able to harness all 375 horsepower (372 horsepower with the 5-speed automatic) and 404 lb-ft of torque that came from the 5.7L V8 HEMI oh-so-nicely. I'm sure the 5-speed automatic can get the job done well enough, but I find I can connect better with cars when I'm in full control of the power. Funny how that is.
 
High up on my love list was the engine/exhaust growl. It sounded so good from inside and outside of the cabin. I'll even go so far to say that I liked its tuning more than the Camaro SS (I guess I'll be getting some hate mail from Camaro lovers for that comment). I loved revving the engine when idling to attract even more attention. It's not a quiet car nor did I want it to drive like one.
 
Handling and everyday driving in the R/T was surprisingly agreeable. Even though the performance-tuned suspension was relatively stiff I didn't find myself complaining about it. In fact, if it were any softer I probably would have been a little disappointed. And since this vehicle came with the optional manual transmission it also came with a limited-slip differential to aid with traction so I wouldn't slip and slide all over the road.
 
Although I had developed a strong fondness for the Challenger R/T, it did have a few quirks. One, the visibility out the rear is very inhibiting. The "C" pillars are quite wide and make it almost impossible to see anything out the sides when pulling out of a parking stall with cars on both sides. Granted, it's not impossible, but a backup camera or sensor would have been extremely handy. And as great as the exterior is, the interior lacks pizzazz. The black dash probably needed a dash of colour or a hint of flare. It's not an eyesore by any means, but it could look better.
 
Furthermore, the Challenger is a five-seat vehicle, unlike the Camaro, which is only a four-seater. I had three people in the rear at one point, although it was not comfortable for the person in the middle. There was little to no legroom and it was pretty squishy. Last but not least, fuel economy. Then again, I can't really expect modest fuel consumption out of a V8 HEMI! The Challenger R/T used an extremely optimistic estimated 13.8L/100km in the city and 8.2L/100km on the highway, which directly translated into my bank account taking a big hit. Then again, I did receive at least two compliments and a stare-down at the pump so it all comes out in the wash, right?
 
With all the bells and whistles the R/T Classic came with, including the leather seats, premium Boston Acoustics stereo system, electronics convenience group, the MOPAR interior appearance group and more, the MSRP came out to $45,635, including the $1,400 destination charge. That's a whole lot of car for under $50K. But even the base SE Challenger, with its V6 engine and 250 horsepower is a good chunk of car without a crazy price tag; its MSRP is $25,995. So whether you're looking for a little muscle or a lot, the Challenger has got the goods.
 
Why do I love thee, Challenger? Well, for all of the above reasons. Whether I'm reading the classics or driving the "Classic," they just don't seem to go out of style, and I'm good with that.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Sports Coupe, Dodge, 2010, Challenger, $30,000 - $39,999,

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