Driving a Challenger Part 4 - My first Road Trip - Dodge Challenger Forum: Challenger & SRT8 Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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Driving a Challenger Part 4 - My first Road Trip

I've owned my Challenger ("Renny") since September 25th, and have over 2,300 miles on her already.

The preponderance of those miles came from 20 to 40 mile "just to drive" trips, or 15 to 20 miles for various auto "meet ups" I've discovered either myself, or through my youngest, who out of four kids, is the only one interested in cars as something more than simply a means of transportation.

My daily commute, for Renny is my daily driver (what a fool, picking Pitch Black for a DD... I know, I know) and my daily round trip for work is only 14 miles, so I've had ample short trip opportunities to get to know my car.

What I had often read about, but hadn't fully experienced until recently was what the Challenger was like on long road trips. I consider any journey longer than an hour on the interstate a "road trip".

I recently had the opportunity to drive from Manassas, VA to Pittsburgh PA to visit family (and to bring Renny back to her roots at Heinz Field to witness the Steelers demolish the Ravens). All told, each way was approximately 331 miles.

I've driven this route over the years in a wide variety of vehicles ('80 Z28, '86 BMW 325 iX, '86 Honda Civic, '88 Wrangler PU, '00 Honda Accord, '04 Infiniti G35x, and now my '15 R/T Scat Pack 392). Hands down, my Challenger is the overall best performing road trip car I've ever owned.

I drove rapidly, but well within reason, unlike when I drove my Z28 back in the early '80s. That car still holds my record for a similar trip (Monaca PA to Univ. of Richmond 366 miles: 3 hrs, 45 minutes, avg speed 97.6 mph from driveway to college parking lot).

This time, I only averaged 77 mph, though you must understand there were stretches through West Virginia and on the PA turnpike where the speed limit was posted at only 55.

Yet, I am thoroughly convinced my Challenger could have shattered my old record with ease, and I would have been far more comfortable in the process had not the wisdom that comes with age win out over my desire to shatter my old record.

The Challenger is truly a "Grand Touring Car". At no time did even the Scat Pack's fixed and hard suspension give me discomfort - even on Pennsylvania's notorious Turnpike. The 6th gear handled the hills easily while continuing to glide me along. When I downshifted to 5th, you could just feel the power the car still had left untapped at 79 mph climbing the Allegheny Mountains.

I picked up a 2013 Camaro SS (auto) on my tail somewhere in the hollers around Berkley Springs, WVa, and he followed me into Breezewood, and right into the Starbucks. We talked for a few minutes, compared cars and trip notes. He too had started somewhere near me in Northern VA, but unlike me, he had his wife and son with him. The son was about 15 and stood no more than 5'8".

The contortions the son had to execute to get out of the Camaro were painful to watch. Since all three seemed like decent car folk, I fulfilled the son's request to "test out the Chally's back seat". The family was pleasant, so I didn't correct the son's use of slang regarding the Challenger's name.

This young man had been polite initially, but still engaged in some quiet "woofing" about the merits of his dad's Camaro over my Challenger, and made not-so-subtle references about Renny's weight (obviously, this kid has some things to learn about what not to say about females).

As the boy climbed (carefully and respectfully, I'm glad to report) into my driver side back seat) the Dad, Mom and I continued talking. At that point we had traveled nearly identical distances and travel times, so we compared gas mileage: they were shocked when I showed them I had averaged almost 24 mpg, but with an average speed of 78 mph. They thought Renny's voluptuous build would have kept me in the high teens gas mileage wise at best.

During this time, the son was quietly checking out the back seating area. The wife had walked around and (after an inquiring glance towards both me and her husband) climbed into the passenger front seat. When we were done, a voice came from the back seat: "Dad...uh, no offense, but can I ride with this guy the rest of the way?" The wife chimed in "...me too, or better yet, how about we trade cars; if this thing rides as comfortable as its seats feel, I won't need a butt-cheek transplant when we get home like I will riding that sled of yours".

We laughed, the son carefully climbed out un-aided, and without painfully contorting himself as he had from his dad's car. We parted ways, still enamored with our own choice of cars, but I think the seeds have been planted in at least one Chevy family about a viable alternative in the future.

These '15 Challengers glide down the highway; that's the only way I can think to describe the ride. Yes, with the Scat Pack I lose the ability to adjust the suspension, unlike the SRTs. However, I didn't think I'd mind when I chose the SP over the SRT, and I'm happy to say I wasn't wrong. Having driven on the PA Turnpike in all the cars I've listed, even with the "Core-like" harder feel, my Scat Pack is still far and away the smoothest riding car I've ever owned.

Sadly though, I must report that my wife does not like rides longer than 5 hours (whether by car, bus, plane or train), so any cross country trip hopes I might have, must be shelved. I drove from St. Louis to Pittsburgh one time with my folks straight through in an AMC Matador station wagon; 13 hours with few stops and none for more than a quick gas-n-pee. Spongy is the only way my memory allows me to remember that trip; by the end of it, I didn't know whether I needed a back brace or a vertigo medicine. I can tell however, that the Dodge Challenger would just eat up those miles without blinking.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 08:02 AM
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Nice read.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 08:55 AM
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Nice read! Sounds like a good experience

Formerly drove a 2010 Dark Titanium auto R/T (ah142721) PB 13.26 @104.87

Hopefully a 2016 B5 or Billet Scat Pack R/T in the future!
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 09:04 AM
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Yep, experiencing the "road trip" in your Challenger answers all questions. These are muscle car "road kings".


Last weekend, I had a Sat/Sunday 700 mile road trip in mine. Based on weather coming, probably the last for the year.


It never gets old or tiring!


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 19johned53 View Post
Yep, experiencing the "road trip" in your Challenger answers all questions. These are muscle car "road kings".


Last weekend, I had a Sat/Sunday 700 mile road trip in mine. Based on weather coming, probably the last for the year.


It never gets old or tiring!
I like that phrase: "Muscle Car Road Kings". I'm going to "borrow" that to use from now on. THX!
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 10:38 AM
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Fantastic writeup - I've been planning roadtrips ever since I ordered (and if Dodge will get off their butts, may even be able to do before the snow comes down), and hearing the comfort level is really...well, comforting for my list (Falls Church, VA to Dayton, OH is going to be a nice long one.)

Ordered 9/27/14, Stuck in D1 hell since 10/6/14, Tentative build date#1: 10/29, Tentative build date #2: 11/24. Actual build date 11/21, tentative delivery 11/27. Actual delivery date 12/3.

2015 Challenger R/T Scat Pack, TorRed, 8.4AN/Sound/Tech/Leather/Driver Convenience (Beast Mk II)

OLD: 2010 Challenger R/T, Hemi Orange (The Beast)
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 10:41 AM
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Just returned on Friday from a 13 day, 5482 mile road trip to New Orleans from the Bay Area in California, and back again, with numerous side trips in between. Longest drive was 830 miles in one day. Comfort is built in to the Challenger. It is very well suited for long road adventures. In fact, owning my 2009 RT has made it fun to take 3 total road trips over the last three years. Longest was 6600 miles last year. I averaged 24.7 mpg over varied terrain with comfort for my 6'8" son and myself. The Challenger is great out on the open road.

Mike
(Fyrdude)

2015 SRT 392 6 speed


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaVaSteeler View Post
These '15 Challengers glide down the highway; that's the only way I can think to describe the ride. Yes, with the Scat Pack I lose the ability to adjust the suspension, unlike the SRTs. However, I didn't think I'd mind when I chose the SP over the SRT, and I'm happy to say I wasn't wrong. Having driven on the PA Turnpike in all the cars I've listed, even with the "Core-like" harder feel, my Scat Pack is still far and away the smoothest riding car I've ever owned.
I always look for your posts PaVaSteeler, you can tell you are a writer. Every thing you post is so well written it is a joy to read.

I just wanted to point out based on the quote I included above, that the Scat's suspension can be adjusted in the performance pages. I have my default drive mode set to Comfy and even my wife commented the other day on how smooth it felt compared to when she first drove in it.

I then have Sport mode set to well... sport of course. Cant believe how much different the car feels with the press of a button.


One question for you though, you mentioned 24mpg which is great. Were you driving at all in sport mode?

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 10:59 AM
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iMerlin, those settings are for steering firmness. Suspension is a fixed setting

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 11-10-2014, 11:03 AM
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iMerlin, those settings are for steering firmness. Suspension is a fixed setting
15RT, I agree that is what the setting "says" but perception is often reality... it feels much more forgiving and softer in my opinion. But now that you pointed out that its for steering Ill probably FEEL differently next time I drive it.

DAMN YOU 15RT!! You took away my false sense of comfort! LOL
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