Two newly released Dodge muscle cars were seen at the track of Texas Motor Speedway for the Texas Auto Writer’s Association’s annual Spring Round-up. This yearly event brings major auto manufacturers and auto writer’s from across the country to choose the top cars of Texas. In the mix were the Dodge Charger Daytona and Super Bee, and the Challenger SRT. Automotive journalists tested these hot muscle cars at the infields of the track and I recently had the privilege to test them for a week each.
Dodge Charger SXT Plus
In Dodge’s Charger fleet there are nine models from which to choose; SE, SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Road & Track, R/T Max, SRT8 Super Bee, and the SRT8.
With a 3.6 Liter V6 VVT Pentastar Engine and 8-speed auto transmission with E-shifter, this silver beauty with red interior and black accents just screamed ‘Super Hawt’ as it was driven around the streets of Dallas. The Charger included a tachometer cluster and during the daytime it looked somewhat plain. However at night its ambient lighting made it look spectacularly cool. Although not a necessity, an oil pressure gauge would have been helpful to have on the tach cluster.
The performance of the Charger had it ranking very high on all tests including serpentines, controlled 360s, braking, acceleration, handling, and complete response. With steady steering, touring and performance suspension, the Charger was very well centered. It also featured multiple modes such as Touring, and Sport mode which provided additional performance with the option to switch from automatic to auto-stick (for manual mode) using shift paddles behind the wheel .
During testing the Challenger held firmly to the road including during light and heavy rain storms (with the help of electronic stability control, and all speed traction control). The vehicle also included a plethora of safety features such as brake alert, lane change alert, rain brake support and rain sensitive wipers. The pedals of the vehicle are adjustable with memory, and the Charger also included adaptive speed control with forward collision warning.
The SXTs entertainment and telematics package includes every port a high tech junkie would appreciate including easy to use and reliable navigation, Uconnect®, DVD, CD, XM, and SD card input. Sound system enthusiasts will love the Beats Audio by Dre’ which features a 552 Watt Amp, 10 speakers, and a subwoofer. The SXT Plus achieves 19 city/31 hwy and received an overall 5 star government safety rating.
SXT Plus options:
$2,000 Alarm, leather seats, heated front seats, extra lumbar adjustments, 18” chrome wheels or 20” chrome wheels (at an additional cost), performance tires, rear stabilizer bar.
$1495 Blind spot with rear cross path detection, park assist, back up camera.
Base cost $28,595
*At the Auto Round-up the 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 Super Bee placed second in the Performance Sedan category*
2013 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic
Deemed by Dodge as the, ‘Most affordable muscle car in America,’ this 5.7 Liter V8 Hemi VVT – six speed gave me a few thrilling moments both on the streets and highways.
The Challenger is available in seven different models; SXT, SXT Plus, Rallye Redline, R/T, R/T Plus, R/T Classic, SRT8® 392
To get behind the wheel and drive the Challenger R/T like a Sunday driver would certainly be blasphemous. Shifting through the gears brought me to the conclusion that fifth gear achieves the most might in both performance and engine roar – sixth gear is mainly for cruising. I particularly loved the chiseled hand grip on the gear shift.
The vehicle performed remarkably in all tests including serpentines, acceleration, braking and steering. The Challenger is equipped with performance steering and sport suspension, all speed traction control, and electronic stability control. Other safety features include advanced multistage front airbags, supplemental side curtain airbags, hill start assist, park sense, rear park assist, heated side mirrors, and rain brake support.
Entertainment and telematics included Uconnect, XM, 40 GB hard drive, Bluetooth, sunroof, and a seven speaker Boston sound system with 276 Watt Amp and subwoofer. The navigation system was accurate and accepted all addresses entered. The GPS was reliably fast to recalculate the route if needed. The interior also featured a very wide back seat which seats up to three and provides plenty of leg room. Also, the trunk of the vehicle was immense and could easily fit multiple sets of golf clubs.
The vehicle achieves 18 city/23 hwy and includes a five year, 100,000 mile warranty. The only downside I experienced with the Challenger was a blind spot in both rear corner welds – because of this a blind spot with rear cross path detection feature would have been good to add to the supercar.
Base Cost $29,995
**At the Auto Round-up the 2013 Challenger SRT 392 won in the Performance Coupe Category**
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