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Old 04-07-2009, 02:15 PM   #1
CamaroSpike23
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09 Mustang GT and 09 Challenger R/T test drives

In February, I took a trip for work to Delaware for a week. unfortunately delaware doesnt have any major airports... so I flew to Maryland and rented a car to drive the 100 miles or so up north. when I got to the airport in Maryland and went to the rental counter, they had a Kia Rio for me. or for an extra 17 bucks, I could upgrade to a mustang. sure. lets do it.

so I get the keys and go outside and see the car. look it over real quick, checking out the exterior styling (if you can call it that). put my luggage in the back and climb inside.

first impressions. I like the interior styling of the car. dash was hard, but looked nice. seats were somewhat comfy, tho I found myself adjusting the seat the entire week I had the car.

gauge cluster was easy and accessible, one thing I did like in particular was the auto shifter. T-handle albeit a wider one than I prefer.

first thing I did after starting the car up was turn off traction control and plug in my radar detector and my GPS. which the center console of the car has an extra lighter plug (which most cars these days do). which allowed me to run both without having a mess of wires running everywhere. after I pulled out from the airport I figured I'd have a little fun with the car to see what she can do. Acceleration is nice and smooth tho it seemed to shift early in the power band. and thats when I found a little button on the right side of the shifter with my pinky... which basically allows you to take it out of overdrive in any gear. so i did a few more acceleration tests with the OD turned off, quicker shifts, but still nothing to write home about.

during the drive up i realized quickly that the car handles very well past 80mph. however, at one point I turned the radio down cus I was getting a phone call from my mom. after I hung up, I noticed what seemed like a grinding noise coming from the right rear of the car. it bugged the hell out of me. it sounded like the brakes were grinding the whole time I was driving.

I put about 300 miles on the car during the week and it wasnt bad, but it just didnt feel right. the interior was somewhat cramped as I found out when I and 2 other members of my group took the car for lunch. all of us are right around 6' and my passengers were both cramped up as the guy riding shotgun had to scoot the seat up till his knees were nearly on the dash so the guy in the back didnt get his knee shut in the door.

overall, the car was nice. and granted it was a rental so I held some reservation on judging certain aspects of the car. While the car did have some power, it seemed afraid to show it. as I said in the beginning, I was constantly having to adjust the seat to get comfortable. I would get situated, adjust my mirrors, then realize that it didnt feel "right". so I'd adjust again, and go for a spin. checking my blindspots to get a feel for the car.... but it just wasnt happening.... and that grinding was adding to my disappointment. the final drive back to the airport was bland. tho I did "play" around with a few cars on the drive, I was getting tired of the car. One good thing about the drive back was when I stopped for gas, there was a C4 vette at the gas station and I chatted with the owner for about 20 minutes as he was looking to do some upgrades and I love the LTX motors.

overall, the car gets a 6.7 out of 10.
the car may be a performer on paper, but if its no fun to drive, whats the point.


fast forward to yesterday.....

My friend Josh and I have swapped a carb'd LS1 into the 86 camaro... well, the water pump went out about a week ago. so we made some calls and a friend and fellow member on our local forum had one and said he'd bring it to work with him. so I call Josh and tell him to meet me at the saturn dealership to meet Zac to get the water pump. well, zac was on a service call and wasnt going to be back for a little bit so I start driving around the different dealerships looking at cars and I spotted a challenger R/T sitting on the front row. bout that time Josh called me and said he had gotten in the area so I told him to swing over to the chrysler dealership to check out the chally.

as we are lookin it over... a salesman appears (go figure). and we start chatting about the car (he didnt know much). but he asked if we wanted to take her for a spin... ummmm...YEAH! so he goes back to get the keys as Josh and I continue going over the car with a fine toothed comb. I noticed right off the back that the brake and reverse lights on the trunk did not line up with the brake lights on the rear of the car. and the fact that the window washer sprayers are on top of the hood like two ugly nipples sticking out. as we were checking things over as much as we could (doors locked and it had been raining all day prior so the ground was wet), the car starts up.... I look over and the salesman has gotten back near us and has kicked in the auto start on the car.... cool.

I walk to the back of the car I notice something.... or really, the lack of something. the exhaust. barely noticeable. not saying it should be roaring, but I've farted better/louder than the exhaust on this car. the salesman (Isaac) gets in the car and goes to back it out but couldnt seem to get the car to work.... finally he got it backed out and he shut the car off and popped the hood. bland engine cover. at least the LS3/L99 cover has some styling to it. this thing looks like a serving tray from the chow hall.

Isaac then handed me the key fob and told me to swing around to the front of the dealership as he walked back to get a dealer plate so we could go for a drive. I climb into the car and hit the push start button on the dash (as this car doesnt have an actual key). wouldnt start... so I pushed the start button on the key fob....wouldnt start.... then I remembered that you had to push the brake down when starting the car... she fires up as Isaac arrives with the dealer plate.

Josh climbs into the back of the car (mind you, Josh is 6'3" and Isaac was about the same height). as he's getting situated, I look back and notice that there is a lot more room in the back than the mustang had and more than my 4th gen had. not to mention it has a full bench seat in the back that can fit 3 people. nice.

Isaac pops in to the pass seat as I adjust my seat and the mirrors to get comfortable. once I'm situated, I realize that the visibility is not the greatest. and the haunches of the nose of the car make it seem a lot bigger than it really is. Interior styling is nice overall, seats are comfy and form fitting and it was easy for me to get situated and comfortable.

we slowly roll thru the dealer lot and out to the road.

as we pull out of the dealership, I start playing with the throttle. smooth acceleration. I didnt mash it as it was wet and I had Isaac in the car lol. but I did start playing around with the trip-tronic auto shifting. basically, you put the car in D and push it left or right to go up or down a gear. cool.

we get out on the highway and I start working our way towards the interstate. as I went to go pass a car, I glanced over my shoulder to check my blind spot.... to see a 2' square c-pillar in my way. so I gave it a little more gas and checked all my mirrors again to clear my way. once on the interstate I started getting into it, slowing down to about 45 in 3rd and getting on it hard to see the roll acceleration. not bad. smooth power. however the shifts were still lacking, both in regular drive mode and in manual mode. as I said before, it was wet outside so I figured I'd take the car to one of my favorite high speed cornering areas... which is basically an off/on ramp from one interstate to another that "S" curves and the speed limit is 40mph. I take it at 60 in my truck and ~80 in my Z.
I jumped on the off/on ramp and kept it about 65 thru the whole thing. Isaac was somewhat enjoying it. tho I could tell he wasnt fully comfortable with me pushing the car that fast. lol tho the looks and honks from other cars was awesome.

back on the interstate heading towards the dealer, Isaac made the comment to me that he could tell I was enjoying myself in the car but that "we really dont have to push this car to the limits."

Bull hockey! I told him flat out if I was going buy this car, I wanted to know what it could do first. (not that I'd buy that car anyway, but more on that in a min).

we pulled off on the next offramp and pulled into a gas station and I looked back to Josh and said with a big grin "Your turn". he shook his head and said "no, I know how well you drive and I know I'll have more fun letting you drive"

ok... fine with me. back out of the gas station and see some cars moving towards us on the road as I edge out. so I lay into it out of the gas station, spinning the wheels and getting her sideways as Isaac is grabbing the dash and door frame with fear, Josh is in the back with a grin on his face. straighten the car out and got back on the main road that runs to the dealer... Isaac is starting to calm down. he looks at me and says "lets get on back to the lot, since you've gotten to push the car to the limits"
I look at him and smile "that? that wasn't pushing the limits... that was just goofing around" as I dropped it down a gear and weaved thru traffic.

we pass the dealer (cus its a 4 lane road with a median) and I get in the turn lane to whip it around.... traffic clears and I mash the gas, we slide across the road sideways, I straighten her out then get her loose again before slowing down and pulling into the lot with ~117 miles on the odo (we left with 52). Swing back around to the spot we pulled her out of and I stopped short. opened the door and told josh to get in the drivers seat. Isaac gets out of the car as I tell Josh to blip the throttle. Isaac looks at me with a weird look and I tell him "It's a muscle car thing"

Josh gives it some gas, and its...... just....















quiet. I told josh to hold it a 3k then blip to 5. short, crisp and quiet.

ok... I swap places with Josh to let him hear it, go to give it some gas and it lets out at 4k. wtf.... so I throw the car in neutral and try it again. 4k cutoff. ok fine. one last punch from idle....and I was suprised. from idle to 4k... near instantaneous. im talking tach-snapping fast. nice.



after we get done playing, Isaac pulls the car back into the spot and I look underneath it again and notice that the resonator on this thing is freaking HUGE. 3" long and enveloping both sides of the exhaust as they merge to the X-pipe and split again. blegh.

then we walk back to the building and Isaac asks me what it would take to get me driving the car home.... I told him knock the price down to about 20k and we could talk. he smiled at me and I told him flat out that I was serious. we went inside and stared talking a little more and I got him down to around $31k (from ~$38). and I chuckled to myself. he asked what was so funny, I told him "you do know that the camaro..... for the same price mind you.... is putting out the same power AT THE WHEELS as this motor makes at the crank and im not impressed. So unless you can get the price down lower I'm going to have to say no."

then he started on his sales tactics and I told him sorry, but ive test driven both the mustang and the chally now and they still dont hold a flame to the Camaro.


Final impressions, the Chally was more fun and more spacious than the Mustang, but it is overpriced for what you are getting. Granted the power level of the R/T isnt that of the SRT-8, but when you can get a 1SS camaro for the same price as the R/T (after numerous discounts on the R/T) and you still dont have the power.... I cant do it. If the R/T were around 31k to begin with, I could see myself getting one. but not as it stands now.

Dont get me wrong, I enjoyed my time in the Chally, and I can see why people would enjoy it. but its not for me. the mustang... has never been for me.

I know I didnt go into in-depth about some of the aspects of the car, but most people will forget the little stuff in a car they are comfortable in and enjoy driving.

Camaro for me hands down.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:32 PM   #2
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"If the R/T were around 31k to begin with, I could see myself getting one. but not as it stands now."
Umm ... it is
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:41 PM   #3
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Umm ... it is
he probably meant with the options he tested it with not base price.
im glad you liked the rt.....you should have driven the 6 speed tons more fun and grunt....tho i always change out the exhaust on my cars right away.

glad you respect the rt now go test drive an srt8 6 speed!
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:46 PM   #4
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Umm ... it is
base MSRP is. but I cant find one for MSRP without having to haggle for 3 hours first. and this one had some options.

I know for a fact I can get the Camaro for MSRP or $98.00 over if I choose. without having to haggle.

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he probably meant with the options he tested it with not base price.
im glad you liked the rt.....you should have driven the 6 speed tons more fun and grunt....tho i always change out the exhaust on my cars right away.

glad you respect the rt now go test drive an srt8 6 speed!
I've always had some respect for the chally, same as the mustang.

they didnt have a manual (only one on this lot) nor an SRT-8. tho there are 9 challys sitting down at the Hendrick Dodge down the road. but even so, with the power that the SRT-8 makes for the price that it is at, its still not that appealing to me.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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nice write up.

I bet the dealer almost s*** himself.
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:55 PM   #6
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drive the manual GT if you get a chance
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Old 04-07-2009, 02:58 PM   #7
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Yea, I haven't like the Mustang since the '93 Cobra...

I drove an SRT8 a friend of mine had and while it was a nice vehicle, I just didn't care for the interior at all. Straight lines were fun, but I like making my passengers grab the "oh $hit" bars when I corner and I could tell that I would be in the grass half the time just because of it's weight. That being said, and knowing how heavy the Camaro is, I really hope all of the reviews that I'm reading are accurate on how well it handles compared to the Chally.
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Old 04-07-2009, 03:01 PM   #8
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On a side note...I work at a dealership and I HATE WHEN PEOPLE DRIVE THE CARS LIKE THAT WHEN I'M WITH THEM! I'm not gonna let you put my life at risk just to get your rocks off. I've literally made people pull over, switch seats with me and then get the hell out of my office once we got back. A few years ago it would have been different, but now that I have a kid and a wife and such, I don't have time to spend in a hospital bed because somebody wants to play race car with something they don't even own.
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Old 04-07-2009, 05:21 PM   #9
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"And one time at band camp".........lol
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Old 04-08-2009, 09:04 AM   #10
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nice write up.

I bet the dealer almost s*** himself.
a couple times. but he was enjoying it.
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drive the manual GT if you get a chance
planning on driving a friends in the next couple weeks for kicks and giggles.... and to show him what the car can do. (he's got more money than experience, where im the opposite...lol)
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On a side note...I work at a dealership and I HATE WHEN PEOPLE DRIVE THE CARS LIKE THAT WHEN I'M WITH THEM! I'm not gonna let you put my life at risk just to get your rocks off. I've literally made people pull over, switch seats with me and then get the hell out of my office once we got back. A few years ago it would have been different, but now that I have a kid and a wife and such, I don't have time to spend in a hospital bed because somebody wants to play race car with something they don't even own.
you wouldnt want to ride with me in any car then. lol now that I think about it, only a few people have every volunteered for a second ride with me. My buddy Josh is the only other person to drive my 94Z since I've owned it. and he's ridden enough times with me that he no longer gets worried. tho he does carry a feeler gauge with him when I drive.... to check the clearances between my car and others on the road.
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Old 04-10-2009, 10:11 AM   #11
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167 views... 11 posts. guess I should not apply for a magazine writing job.
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Read that link that Spike posted, it'll tell you everything you need to know.
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Post count is truly an accurate measure of how cool someone is on the Internet.
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I piss excellence
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Nobody makes CamaroSpike happy. You just disgust him a little less than other people.
"You can think I'm wrong, but that's no reason to quit thinking.”
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:00 AM   #12
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Nice review. I can just see that turn into the dealer.

I share your opinions on the Mustang...though we took out the manual...so I imagine it may have been a little more engaging. The interior wasn't comfortable at all -- and the performance was impressive but...lacking.

I should be in an RT Challenger within days (or a week) -- waiting for the call from the dealer....we'll see how that goes.
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:30 AM   #13
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Camaro spike I aplaud your write up and do not discredit your opinion. Although what you wrote flies in the face of every review out there so I tend to think you are wearing your bias on the sleeves!
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Old 04-10-2009, 11:45 AM   #14
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Ps I just re read and realize he drove a 09 mustang now it all makes sense! LOL
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:06 PM   #15
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Wasting a dealers time and driving like an idiot in a car you don't own.......not cool.
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Old 04-10-2009, 12:59 PM   #16
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Wasting a dealers time and driving like an idiot in a car you don't own.......not cool.
He's not wasting the dealer's time. He was actually thinking on buying the car. It was the dealer's fault for not doing a better job on offering a deal.
and how else are you suppose to tell if you'll like the car, if you don't drive it like you would if it were yours?
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:02 PM   #17
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I agree with milk! Seriously dealers need to realize that in this market. People are gonna drive cars maybe many times till they spend there money. The days of impulsive car shopping is gone
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:50 PM   #18
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Nice write up CamaroSpike. Enjoyed that.

Now, as far as driving cars at a dealership - I only drive cars I expect to buy, and I wait until the negotiations are done before I drive it as my final bargaining chip. I do not 'beat' a car that I do not intend to buy, because let's face it: how pissed would I be if somebody did that to MY car that I was buying? We looked at a new CTS-V the other day and the salesman begged us to drive it. We both said NO. We both knew that it was NOT the car we wanted after looking at it (no Recaro's, missing chrome wheels). We were not going to put miles on what will be somebody else's baby.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:09 PM   #19
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Camaro spike I aplaud your write up and do not discredit your opinion. Although what you wrote flies in the face of every review out there so I tend to think you are wearing your bias on the sleeves!
I have a slight bias, I will say. I'm just used to driving something with power....lol

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Ps I just re read and realize he drove a 09 mustang now it all makes sense! LOL

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Wasting a dealers time and driving like an idiot in a car you don't own.......not cool.
trust me, I wasn't driving like an idiot. I could have easily made the dealer literally isht his pants. I could have "tested" the suspension on the rail road tracks a little further down the road by hitting them at 70mph and seeing how much air the car got. I could have done a brake stand and roasted the tires off the car. I could have pulled a J-turn on the interstate to see how well the car really handles. but I dont drive like that with others in the car. tho I dont know what every other driver on the road is doing, this isnt my first time on the playground either. as for wasting a dealers time. he honestly wasted my time as I was planning on going target shooting after getting the water pump from my friend. the fact that he offered for me to drive it shows his willingness to do his job. and the fact that I was driving it around town instead of letting it set on the lot does a better job for marketing the vehicle. esp when people get to see what it can do on the streets instead of being pampered and put-putted around.


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He's not wasting the dealer's time. He was actually thinking on buying the car. It was the dealer's fault for not doing a better job on offering a deal.
and how else are you suppose to tell if you'll like the car, if you don't drive it like you would if it were yours?
Chrysler needs to do a better job building a better car at a better price. 360 crank hp aint much.... compared to 370+ wheel hp
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Nice write up CamaroSpike. Enjoyed that.

Now, as far as driving cars at a dealership - I only drive cars I expect to buy, and I wait until the negotiations are done before I drive it as my final bargaining chip. I do not 'beat' a car that I do not intend to buy, because let's face it: how pissed would I be if somebody did that to MY car that I was buying? We looked at a new CTS-V the other day and the salesman begged us to drive it. We both said NO. We both knew that it was NOT the car we wanted after looking at it (no Recaro's, missing chrome wheels). We were not going to put miles on what will be somebody else's baby.
I coulda beat the car harder, I didnt even push it to redline. the car was used and I gave Isaac a fair warning that I was going to see what the car could do.
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Old 04-10-2009, 04:27 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by toesuf94 View Post
Nice write up CamaroSpike. Enjoyed that.

Now, as far as driving cars at a dealership - I only drive cars I expect to buy, and I wait until the negotiations are done before I drive it as my final bargaining chip. I do not 'beat' a car that I do not intend to buy, because let's face it: how pissed would I be if somebody did that to MY car that I was buying? We looked at a new CTS-V the other day and the salesman begged us to drive it. We both said NO. We both knew that it was NOT the car we wanted after looking at it (no Recaro's, missing chrome wheels). We were not going to put miles on what will be somebody else's baby.
As it should be....
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