Challenger touts aggressive handling
THE RIDE: Two-door, five-passenger 2010 Dodge Challenger sports coupe. DOWN THE ROAD: A carryover from 2009, our test-drive SE model lacked the potent Hemi powertrain. But that didn't hinder the iconic muscle car from tackling sharp corners and quick turns with liveliness and confidence. TECH & PERFORMANCE: A 3.5-liter V-6 engine doles out 250 horsepower at 6400 rpm and 250 pounds-feet of torque at 3800 rpm. The rear-wheel-drive car is mated to a smooth five-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift capabilities. A multilink short- and long-arm front and five-link independent rear suspension handles rough surfaces with minimum sacrifice to the back side. A rack-and-pinion steering system with hydraulic power assist results in a nicely damped ride. LOOK & FEEL: Ensconced on the unitized steel body is a satin chromed grille flanked by round halogen headlights, dual scoops on the hood with black stripes and a steel exhaust tip. The well laid-out cabin draws inspiration from the car's racing heritage with a pistol-grip shifter. There is plenty of leg and head room inside for five passengers. Ingress and egress to the 60/40 rear seat is straightforward. A four-spoke tilt/telescopic steering column, eight-way power driver's seat, fore and aft sliding center console are standard.SAFETY FIRST: Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag for both rows, four-wheel antilock brakes with Brake Assist, Electronic Stability Program, traction control, three-point driver and front-passenger seatbelt pretensioners and tire pressure monitoring system are standard. OUT THE DOOR: $31,175, plus tax, tag, delivery and destination charges. BY THE NUMBERS: Tires, P215/65R17 all season; wheelbase, 116 inches; length, 197.7 inches; weight, 3,720 pounds; fuel capacity, 18.5 gallons; city, 17 mpg; highway, 25 mpg; Web site, www.dodge.com. WHY DIG IT: With sufficient power just a throttle away, the muscular-styled Challenger displays aggressive handling and balance.