Reading through the notes on "Big Blue," our 2009 Challenger, you almost begin to wonder how many people actually drove the car. Every entry is almost formulaic, hitting the same highs and lows and reaching the same conclusion:
"I loved the look of the car and the big V-8 engine. The pistol-grip shifter is awesome and the soft springs make it a great cruiser. On the other hand, the car's too big, it gets lousy fuel economy, and the nav/stereo system is awful. But despite its flaws, I just love this car."
Whether it was the brilliant blue paint; the shiny, throwback five-spokes; the perfectly formed pistol-grip shifter; the retro styling; or the all-American attitude, everyone found something to love about the Challenger. Editors waxed poetic about the nostalgia the car generated in wide-eyed onlookers, and the charisma the big machine exuded every time the burly Hemi fired up.
"Ten minutes into my drive, I had both windows down and the Black Keys blasting from the stereo," wrote associate road test editor Carlos Lago. "I really enjoy simply tooling around in the Challenger," noted digital integration director Mike Floyd. Executive editor Edward Loh and associate online editor Kirill Ougarov both dubbed the DODGE CHALLENGER
"a nice cruiser," as did countless others. Associate online editor Nate Martinez captured it perfectly, writing, "It's one of the few cars I've driven that has so much charisma." And that was it: The DODGE CHALLENGER
somehow found a way to tap into that slice of the American psyche that loves a big, comfortable, V-8-powered cruiser and an open highway. Not long into its stay, Big Blue inspired former editor-at-large St. Antoine to drive 1000 miles across the Southwest for no other reason than because he could.
"Here, in this car, is the road trip as only America can do it: a plain so vast that 75 mph seems a standstill, your broad steed galloping with 376-horsepower ease, bikers in full leathers offering thumbs-up as they catch sight of the Challenger's profile," he wrote.