Welcome to the first of a series of weekly posts reviewing cars. As a frequent business traveller, I rent a lot of cars. Sometimes, they are your typical boring car rental fleet cars: Dodges, Nissans, Kias, and the other uninspired small sedans, compacts, hatchbacks that rental companies are using in place of the once-omnipresent Pontiac Grand Prix. But occasionally, I can score a nice upgrade to something more interesting.
Case in point: The 2012 Dodge Challenger. This car was not what I expected. Maybe it’s the resemblance to the Chargers of 5 years ago or the original Challengers and Barracudas of 40 years ago. All were a bit sparse on features.
I found the ’12 Challenger to be just the opposite. The standard 3.6L V6 was peppy but not the monster you would expect by looking at her. She was quiet, polite, and adequate. Too bad I didn’t have access to the 6.4L HEMI V8!
Meanwhile, the creature comforts also surprised me. Again, I was expecting the no-frills interior of the Challenger’s pony car ancestors but found it to be more like a fully-loaded Chrysler 300. It was a comfortable ride even after 800 miles across the Midwest in one week! But that was only for one person. Two people would also be fine as the front seats are spacious with plenty of leg room. But forget bringing a third person. The backseat could barely fit my laptop bag and small suitcase.
Overall, the Challenger is a fun and interesting car for one traveller, or maybe two.
Car: Dodge Challenger
Area traveled: Illinois, Iowa (Interstates, US Highways, and Great River Roads)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Would I rent again? Traveling with others: no. Traveling solo: Hell yeah!