By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
From the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8. It competes with the Ford Mustang and Nissan 350Z.
(rock music) Hi, I'm Joe Wiesenfelder, senior editor of cars.com at the Chicago Auto Show where Dodge has finally rolled out its first production version of the Challenger muscle car based on the classic 1970.
Now what we'll do is we'll give you a quick overview of the car itself, and then we'll do another video, talk about what makes it an SRT-8 version, and some of the performance aspects. The look starts with the front, which is unmistakably Challenger. If you've seen the old one, it's very similar. There is a carbon fiber pattern, stripes, standard on all of them. Also on the hood, you'll see there are scoops up high. That is to cool the engine compartment. Now, aside from the obvious profile, it's very much like the original. There are these black rocker panels and bumper extensions that make the car seem like it's riding higher than it actually is. And that is what the original classic looked like, it rode higher than this. What's interesting is that if you look at the other two colors, there's a metal flake, black, which is stunning, and a silver. They all bring out different aspects of the car. The black one looks lower and sleeker because it's the same color as this. The silver brings out different angles and creases in the sheet metal. And the rear end treatment is also very signature Challenger, very broad. What's nice as they kept the dark spoiler on this, which actually is functional. It keeps the rear end planted. And again, on the black version of this, it fades in and gives it a whole different look. There are true dual exhaust with well-integrated rectangular tailpipes. They cut right into rectangular notches in the bumper. It's really well accomplished. The interior has a couple of elements that are trying to be true to the original Challenger, like deep black headliner up here. And there are four gauges. But also the interior looks a lot like that in the Charger and the Magnum wagon. Honestly, I think it could be dialed up a little bit more for the price. There are some elements like the suede- like panels in the doors, which are not in the Charger SRT-8. Likewise, these are nice sports seats. They hold you in place. There's some accent stitching, but that is unique to SRT. So again, we don't know for sure what the interior will be like come 2009 when the lower price Challengers come out. Even though it's sleeker and has a lower roof line, the Challenger is based on the Charger platform, which has a huge back seat. So actually there's a fair amount of room back here. It's not easy to get in. My head is just clear of the roof. I'm six feet tall. There's a fair amount of leg room, especially if the driver wants to share some of his. Dodge claims that this is a five seat adult vehicle. I don't think any adult or even a kid would want to be in the center here with this giant floor humping. Well, that's the Challenger for 2008. It's only in the SRT-8 version, which costs just about $38,000, which is not a small amount, but for what it can do, it's pretty good. Now I feel compelled to tell you the fuel economy on this is 13 miles per gallon, city, and 18, highway. It's not great considering all the other news we've gotten about fuel economy at the auto show. It's nice to have something here that gets the emotions running. Definitely go check it out. <v Announcer>For additional information on this car or any other go to cars.com and our blog Kicking Tires.