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Aaron Gold

First impressions: 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8

By May 19, 2008

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2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8So what's it like to live with the Challenger? Well, first, there's the rock star factor. Because the Challenger is so new and so highly anticipated, everyone wants to see it. When I drive the Challenger, cars speed up to chase me then hang on my quarter panel. Thumbs go up and cell phone cameras come out. And whenever it's parked, it draws a crowd. One guy even ran back home to bring out his 1968 Dodge Dart GTS, which happens to be one of my favorite old muscle cars. Way, way cool.

But there's more to the attraction than just the fact that it's new. The Challenger has got to be one of the most fantastic looking cars on the road. Chrysler's stylists totally nailed this one. And the drive? Oh, man -- the Challenger, like other SRT8 models, is deceptively quiet and sedate, but boot the gas and it takes off with the meanest roar this side of an LS3 Corvette. I haven't taken it out to the Top Secret Curvy Test Road yet, but just running down the highway, the Challenger feels... right. And it ups your cool quotient by at least ten percent.

I've only put about a hundred miles on the Challenger so far, and I have lots more driving to do. Look for a test drive report coming up in a couple of weeks -- and between now and then, you can expect reviews of a couple more new-for-2008 coolmobiles.

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I hear the Challenger calling. Time to go for a drive! -- Aaron Gold

Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee test drive
Dodge Challenger photo gallery

Photo © Aaron Gold

May 19, 2008 at 12:25 pm
(1) waiting on srt says:

wow dodge can get one to a media guy but guys who own or have bought dodge vehicles all ther life and have been waiting 2.5 years to get one are still setting in d status sweeeet! thanks dodge will i get it for xmas

May 19, 2008 at 7:25 pm
(2) sean says:

Well, of course they’re gonna get them out to the media guys, especially a new model that has the buying public foaming at the mouth waiting on launch. What better way to feed the frenzy? I can’t decide which they did a better job on recreating, the front or back; both flow so smoothly into the ponycar body. I’ve always been partial to the ‘Cuda look in the originals, but this latest Challenger incarnation is drop dead stunning. As far as all the people lamenting in the previous thread that Detroit can’t design anything ‘original’, the retro look is appealing and targeted to a huge market of (now financially qualified) buyers looking for some of that youthful nostalgia and memories from not so long ago. Granted, the current Mustang is looking somewhat dated now and in dire need of a freshening, but a few short years back it generated almost the same sort of maniacal frenzy from alot of 40 and 50 somethings. (I’m pretty sure Ford won’t attempt a Mustang II resurrection though!) I can’t help but think this thing is a home run, no matter how you slice it, but to each their own. People still laugh when I talk about my dream 2002 or ’70/71 Torino GT/Cobra… “They’re such ugly cars!” They sold the crap out of ‘em to someone though.

May 19, 2008 at 9:50 pm
(3) hawaiian don says:

This is truly a great retro car. It’s up there with the Beetle and the Mini. But it harkens back to a whole lot more excitement and an era that was so “60’s Americana”, than the VW or the Mini. This car appeals to the MOPAR fans vs. the Mustang and the FOMOCO crowd. What Chevy needs to do after it releases the Camaro retro, is to put out a “63 Split Window Corvette” retro. Now I’d be checking out banks to rob, to get me one o’ them!!!

May 20, 2008 at 8:57 am
(4) icerider11 says:

Journalists are testing pre-production cars, which is why they have them now.

May 20, 2008 at 10:44 am
(5) Gary from Atlanta says:

You have to be kidding me. This is the car you are waiting for? The media can keep it. Please return it to dodge when your done with a “No thanks” look when you give them the keys back.

May 20, 2008 at 12:16 pm
(6) lwatcdr says:

Looks nice but I am tired to looking back. Gas is heading too $4.00 a gallon. Can’t Mopar make a high quality, fun to drive car that gets good millage? I really like this car but goodness knows I would love to see MOPAR put as much effort into making a great mainstream car.

May 20, 2008 at 12:59 pm
(7) Scram says:

Aaron, you are a tease! Why no details? Any proper car review calls for it. Telling the reader your “cool factor is up by 10%” is more advertising and PR for Chrysler than actually telling me how it handles, brakes, the gas mileage you’re getting, etc. More *depth*, less fluff, please.

May 20, 2008 at 3:25 pm
(8) Rex says:

i agree with lwatcdr with gas at 4.00 plus who in there wright mind would buy another gas guzzler ? what is it going to take to change peoples minds ? mabe 8.00 a gallon gas!!

May 20, 2008 at 5:37 pm
(9) Aaron Gold - Cars Guide says:

Scram — if I give it all away in the blog entry, no one will come back to read the full review! :) Besides, I still have more testing to do… at the time of writing it was a bit early to draw conclusions. — Aaron

May 20, 2008 at 7:30 pm
(10) hawaiian don says:

Yeah sure Aaron! Your wife probably hasn’t given you the keys yet, until she done having fun with it. So far, maybe all your comments are based on driveway and passenger seat obsevations.

(just kidding)

May 21, 2008 at 1:22 pm
(11) John in San Jose says:

Absolutely gorgeous, whether you’re judging by today’s or 1970′s standards. But too big, especially considering current gas prices. Yes, Chrysler began development a couple/few years back when the price of gas wasn’t what it is today. But… They should have seen those prices coming. Keep the same proportions, but shrink it just a little. Wouldn’t take much to cut the weight by a half ton. Needs a modern, higher-revving higher-efficiency engine. That hemi engine (even after turning off some cylinders at speed) is a gas guzzler. Wondering what the 6-cylinder will be? Often, the 6 is a dud. Doesn’t have to be though. Love the hemi, but I’d also like to take the car out of the garage once-in-awhile.

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