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No Convertible for Dodge Challenger

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2009 Dodge Challenger SE

2009 Dodge Challenger SE

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What you see (above) is what you get when it comes to Dodge's Challenger. Despite rivals Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro, whose svelte pony profiles are (or will be) graced with a drop top, Cars.com reports that Dodge nixed the idea of a Challenger Convertible.

Dodge's director of marketing, Mike Accavitti, said the folks at Dodge considered a convertible but ultimately decided that the potential market was too small to be profitable. They also felt the extra weight required by a convertible's structural bracing would burden the already hefty sedan underpinnings, hurting performance and economy.

Domestic auto news has been decidedly gloomy these days, what with all of the belt tightening, bailout packages, and horrifically low stock values. Heck, we can't even get a slick drop-top version of Dodge's menacing new Challenger. So let's try to end things on a bright note: The new-for-'09 base Challenger model, the SE (pictured above), shouldn't drive like anemic base-model pony cars of yore despite an engine much smaller than the iconic HEMI with which the Challenger was launched.

Chrysler's corporate 3.5-liter V-6 is a relatively modern and respectably powerful (250 hp) engine that also yields decent economy (18/25 mpg) in the new Challenger SE. This may be small consolation to wind-in-the-hair types, but anyone who ever drove a Camaro Berlinetta Iron Duke four or a Mustang LX 2.3 will gladly trade a little extra wind for a lot less wheeze.

Chrysler's 3.5 in the Challenger SE should prove a bit happier and more refined than Ford's current 4.0-liter base six in the Mustang, which shows its coarse Explorer roots when pushed hard. However, the upcoming launch of Chevy's Camaro with the slick direct-injected, variable-valve timed "high-feature" GM 3.6-liter should keep things nice and competitive in the base-model pony car wars. Sounds like a good comparison test for next year...--Colin Mathews
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Comments (6)
  1. Give me standard side airbags and ABS or give me death!
     
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  2. I looked at the first of these to show up at one of the two Chrysler stores in my small town in Canada. It was beautiful, but it stickered for over $32,000! The salesman said the base V8 would be in the mid forties! Hello! Guess I'll wait for the inevitable depresation and saturation of the market before I get one.
     
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  3. Tony, Looks like the Chrysler dealers in Canada are no different than those in N.Y. In the Metro-NYC area, these dealers are notorious for ripping off the buyer on any new Chrysler that is or is projected to be "HOT". Was quoted double (what I eventually paid) on my Crossfire on a lease when it first came out and was told all kinds of stories about limited availability,dealers fighting to get one and that I'd have to pay a premium to get one (if at all). Six months later I was in one with choice of color, equipment and half the lease payment. How many other Chryslers cooled off because of greedy dealers? Worst part about Chrysler? It's not product, it's the miserable dealers. I'd rather take my car to a ten year old than trust it to a dealer service shop, but that's another story. Tony, I hope you still buy that Challenger,it's a great car.
     
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  4. Cute, but this retro theme is getting a bit long in the tooth.
    This will be a niche vehicle with insignificant sales numbers and profits,
    UNLESS they have a sroke of genius and stick a FUEL EFFICIENT, 4-cylinder (!!) Modern DIESEL under the hood,
    providing, with its huge torque, plenty of acceleration that a muscle car clone should have,
    and at the same time stellar fuel economy and longevity.
     
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  5. I don' blame the dealers, they finaly have something that may sell so they have to take advantage of it, though if I was a buyer I'd wait a few months, let the those who just have to have it now rush in, once they start sitting on the lot for a few months the price will drop like a stone.
     
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  6. I bought one of the first 2009 Challenger SEs in Oklahoma. Have been nothing but pleased with the gas mileage (21/29)and solid, tight feel. The build quality (very nicely equipped model with everything but the 40 Gig navigation) after driving 5000 miles in three months has been nothing short of phenomenal. The car crazy folks go absolutely nuts as they experience the first one in person up close and make nothing but positive comments whenever and wherever it is parked. The only thing that would make it truly outstanding would be a '70s Mopar pistol grip shifter.
     
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