A Weekend With a 2014 Challenger V6 Rental

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My son and I were driving to Chicago to attend the Tottenham Hotspur FC vs. Chicago Fire game so just for giggles I rented a V6 Challenger for the weekend. Herewith my review... I'll begin by noting that the 2015 Challenger receives some significant upgrades besides the availability of the mega-horsepower Hellcat; the 8 speed ZF autobox and a "Super Track Pak" are now available with the V6. And a new interior manages to look both more modern and more retro at the same time. The exterior receives a few tweaks as well. As for the 2014 I drove, I can sum it up in two words: Big Cruiser. And I don't mean that as a slam. The thing is huge- 198" long and 4,000 pounds. Still, the 305 bhp Pentastar does a decent job of moving the big sled down the road; while a 0-60 in the mid sixes and a 15 second quarter mile cannot be considered even remotely fast, it is adequate for this car's intended purpose. And it is relatively efficient, averaging 29 mpg at an 80 mph cruise. The 5 speed automatic works OK, but it isn't all that responsive in manual shift mode. And I still think that the sideways autostick function is beyond moronic; left to downshift, right to upshift? Which imbecile gave the green light to that? Handling is again, adequate. While I would prefer much tighter shock damping and roll stiffness, the person who buys this car is never going to come close to pushing it to its modest limits(heck, the person who buys this car probably thinks "understeer" is a band that used to open for Pearl Jam). Steering effort was high(which most drivers think-wrongly-equates to steering feel) but not very communicative. Still, it was fine for the type of driving this car encourages. Ditto for the brakes. And the car is a brilliant interstate cruiser, quietly soaking up most every road imperfection with little to no floating or wallowing- it felt almost European as opposed to a domestic land yacht. I liked the interior; the cloth seats(with power lumbar support) were at least as comfortable as the base seats in my wife's E90 328i but not nearly as comfortable as BMW Sport seats or the chairs in my MS3. The base sound system sounded remarkably good. The trunk is cavernous, and the lid uses gas struts so no hinges intrude on the trunk space. Summing up,the Challenger V6 is just not my kind of car, but it is perfect for the demographic it is aimed at. As for me, if I had the money and garage space I'd buy an SRT just to take to cruise nights and for longer trips with two passengers.
 
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if you think that autostick layout is dumb, you should she version ford has on the current gen explorer(and probably more models, but that's the only place I've seen it) first you drop the shifter down to M, (ok, not terribly odd) to actually shift, there are +/- thumb buttons on the side of the knob. My brother Bought a '13 Challenger R/T Blacktop (Hemi) Last Summer to replace an 06 Mustang GT as his DD, as the mustang wasn't heavy enough to smooth out the rough roads on his commute(LOTS of HEAVY road Contstuction for the next several years) and in his words the Mustang was beating him up on a daily basis. He's Driving from his place in Dallas to here in OH at the end of the week, and has to decide weather to take the Challenger, or his 07 Dakota Quad Cab (4.7HO) in the past the truck has been his HWY Cruiser.
 
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8,306
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Grand Rapids, MI
Originally Posted By: earlyre
if you think that autostick layout is dumb, you should she version ford has on the current gen explorer(and probably more models, but that's the only place I've seen it) first you drop the shifter down to M, (ok, not terribly odd) to actually shift, there are +/- thumb buttons on the side of the knob. My brother Bought a '13 Challenger R/T Blacktop (Hemi) Last Summer to replace an 06 Mustang GT as his DD, as the mustang wasn't heavy enough to smooth out the rough roads on his commute(LOTS of HEAVY road Contstuction for the next several years) and in his words the Mustang was beating him up on a daily basis. He's Driving from his place in Dallas to here in OH at the end of the week, and has to decide weather to take the Challenger, or his 07 Dakota Quad Cab (4.7HO) in the past the truck has been his HWY Cruiser.
Modern GMs have that same shift layout. In the 2011 Malibu I drove, it had a "M" selection with the +/- on the knob that you'd push with your thumb. That one was a 6-speed auto mated to a 2.4 Ecotec.
 
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4,927
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Lima, Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
Modern GMs have that same shift layout. In the 2011 Malibu I drove, it had a "M" selection with the +/- on the knob that you'd push with your thumb. That one was a 6-speed auto mated to a 2.4 Ecotec.
Same Transmission. sort of. that car has the 6T70, the Explorer uses the 6f55 GM and Ford Co-Developed this line of 6 speed automatics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GM-Ford_6-speed_automatic_transmission
 
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14,732
Location
Central NY
Originally Posted By: earlyre
if you think that autostick layout is dumb, you should she version ford has on the current gen explorer(and probably more models, but that's the only place I've seen it) first you drop the shifter down to M, (ok, not terribly odd) to actually shift, there are +/- thumb buttons on the side of the knob. My brother Bought a '13 Challenger R/T Blacktop (Hemi) Last Summer to replace an 06 Mustang GT as his DD, as the mustang wasn't heavy enough to smooth out the rough roads on his commute(LOTS of HEAVY road Contstuction for the next several years) and in his words the Mustang was beating him up on a daily basis. He's Driving from his place in Dallas to here in OH at the end of the week, and has to decide weather to take the Challenger, or his 07 Dakota Quad Cab (4.7HO) in the past the truck has been his HWY Cruiser.
The escape/focus ( and everything else that uses that one) is actually worse.
 
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Lima, Ohio, USA
"stupid Flappy Paddle" shifters > +/- Buttons on the side of the shift knob. they are small/close enough together, I could see myself accidentally hitting the wrong one...
 
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PA
Originally Posted By: MCompact
And I still think that the sideways autostick function is beyond moronic; left to downshift, right to upshift? Which imbecile gave the green light to that?
My mom's C300 has the same setup. The only explanation I can come up with is that moving a manual shifter to the right always means moving up the gears, and moving it to the left always means moving down. There isn't the same kind of correspondence between forward/back and up/down. shrug
 

MCompact

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KY
Originally Posted By: RamFan
I'm sorry, but since when is 0-60 in the 6s not considered fast?
Since about 1995 at the absolute latest. If it makes you feel any better, my lightly modified MS3 takes @5.2 seconds to get to 60, and I don't think it is very fast either...
 
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MN
Originally Posted By: RamFan
I'm sorry, but since when is 0-60 in the 6s not considered fast?
The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTC crew cab can hit 60 in the mid 6s. Nuff said. grin
 
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Clovis, CA
Originally Posted By: MCompact
As for the 2014 I drove, I can sum it up in two words: Big Cruiser. And I don't mean that as a slam. The thing is huge- 198" long and 4,000 pounds.
Umm........you say 198 inches long is huge? My little Buick is 200 inches long and I consider it a little car. ???
 

MCompact

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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Umm........you say 198 inches long is huge? My little Buick is 200 inches long and I consider it a little car. ???
To each his own. I've owned a 1967 Riviera as well as a 1974 Monte Carlo, but I much prefer cars less than 180 inches long that weigh in at 3500 pounds or less- preferably much less. Big anodyne sedans don't interest me in the slightest. I guess you consider a two ton coupe to be a flyweight?
 
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Clovis, CA
Originally Posted By: MCompact
I guess you consider a two ton coupe to be a flyweight?
Although it's heavier than my Buick, I don't consider the new Challenger to be a large car no. I grew up during the 70s and we had some large cars back then.
 
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Sunny Florida
Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Originally Posted By: MCompact
I guess you consider a two ton coupe to be a flyweight?
Although it's heavier than my Buick, I don't consider the new Challenger to be a large car no. I grew up during the 70s and we had some large cars back then.
If you ever see a 70's Challenger in the flesh you will realize that the 'new' one is HUGE! Probably the main reason I didn't buy one, they are gigantic compared with the original. But the payoff is a cavernous interior and trunk, and they ride sweetly. They also lack some key features of my car, like anti dive and anti squat at both ends. But 30 mpg is amazing...
 

MCompact

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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
I grew up during the 70s and we had some large cars back then.
So did I, and while I owned a couple, even then I never really liked big cars.
 
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14,732
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Central NY
Originally Posted By: earlyre
"stupid Flappy Paddle" shifters > +/- Buttons on the side of the shift knob. they are small/close enough together, I could see myself accidentally hitting the wrong one...
To enable manual shift mode, you have to shift it. So if you want to enable manual shift mode, but don't want to shift out of gear ... yo're SOL. You will have to manually shift it up and back again ... or down and back again.
 
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Da Swamp
Originally Posted By: ThirdeYe
Modern GMs have that same shift layout. In the 2011 Malibu I drove, it had a "M" selection with the +/- on the knob that you'd push with your thumb. That one was a 6-speed auto mated to a 2.4 Ecotec.
My Regal doesn't have a button arrangement on its 6-speed. You flick the lever left to enter manual mode, then flick back to drop a gear and forward to go up a gear. I'd hate the button thing too, since I'd probably hit the wrong one.
 
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14,505
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Top of Virginia
Originally Posted By: Benzadmiral
My Regal doesn't have a button arrangement on its 6-speed. You flick the lever left to enter manual mode, then flick back to drop a gear and forward to go up a gear. I'd hate the button thing too, since I'd probably hit the wrong one.
That's exactly how my Camry was, and this is a model that I wish all transmission shift lever designers would follow. It was elegantly simple, but gives the driver near complete control over gear selection if they want it. One could leave it in Drive for the life of the vehicle and never use the sequential function. But if you wanted it, it was there.
 
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I still miss my '73 Country Sedan from time to time. As '70s cars went, that one was reliable and could haul Texas. Acres of vinyl bench seats, crank windows and steel everywhere. Active emissions system was 3 vacuum hoses and a check valve (which was discretely bypassed). Liked the "5/60" AC with the tailgate window down, too. That was a BIG car. I can get our Volvo R 0-60 in the high 4s, but that is not quick anymore after 8-10 years. It was never a 1/4 mile sprinter. Still pulls like a freight train to high track speeds once the boost is fully up and does the rest, however. I think "0-60" is a bit overrated. Great for a drag race, but there is so much more to a competent road or track car. But as long as their brakes keep up with their engines, I wish the newest rocket sleds happy motoring.
 
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