CarCorner Review: 2014 SRT Dodge Viper

Click to read more about Cathy.

Click to read more about Cathy.

Taking A Bite Out Of The American Muscle Cars

By Cathy Droz –

When I hear the word viper I think of a very dangerous snake, and since I live in the deserts of Arizona I stay clear of trails where those poisonous reptiles might appear. Did you know that the venom of the viper contains neurotoxins?  These substances restrict prey by disabling muscle control leaving you motionless and vulnerable when they bite.

Well, now I know why they named the Dodge muscle car the VIPER.  From the moment you sit in the driver’s seat and hear the sound of the exhaust… you’ve been bitten by the need for speed and you are left paralyzed, unable to believe your good fortune.  Knowing you have the ability to pass a Corvette ZR1 on the freeway or rev your engine while at a stoplight next to a Porsche 911 Turbo is worth the bite.ViperYellowFullShot

The SRT Viper (Dodge nameplate gone) is not for everyone, not only because it is financially out of reach for many people, but the feel of a 640 horsepower engine with 600 lb-ft of torque is like breaking the sound barrier or dating that bad boy in high school.   It’s not for everyone but for some it feels so good.

The 2014 model is the fifth generation Viper and features some outstanding changes.  Obviously a New Year’s resolution, the Viper shed a good 25 pounds (wish I had) from the engine alone.  The entire vehicle weighed in about 100 pounds lighter than previous models as they changed to an all-new aluminum and carbon fiber body.  I would love to say that the shedding of pounds helped tremendously with fuel efficiency but the VIPER stands at 12 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. That really isn’t bad for a 640 horsepower sports car.

ViperCockpitViewAs to the interior of the SRT Viper, an area that I am particularly interested in, some changes have been made.  In trying to get with the times and maybe appeal to more women, the latest Viper has a significantly more comfortable, stylish and attractive interior.  I don’t want the men to get nervous here as there is a very “drive-focused, cockpit-style” layout to help owners enjoy getting the most out of their driving experience with minimal distraction.  It’s similar to that race car “cocoon” feeling or perhaps the F-35 Stealth Fighter Jet cockpit “hug.”

Additionally, the new Viper offers driver comfort in unexpected areas.  In my case, with the rapid acceleration while holding tightly on to the steering wheel, it caused me to experience white knuckles and sweaty palms.  I was grateful for the extra padding to grip and perspire on.

If you are interested in every aspect of your driving experience you will be thrilled to know that all the vital information is on a seven-inch customizable instrument cluster display. This includes full time analog tachometer readout in the center to provide performance feedback, which is the Viper philosophy.  I should get as much communication from my husband after his golf game as you get from the Viper cluster display. This reptile of a car is so high tech and performance driven you might as well wear a racing jumpsuit when cruising about town.

The Viper is offered in two forms; a “base” model and a GTS trim level.  Standard on the base model includes a nine-speaker AM/FM/CD/Sirius XM stereo system with AUX/USB inputs and an SD car reader.  Included as well is Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, U-connect infotainment system, LED daytime running lights and taillights, bi-xenon headlights, and 18 inch front wheels.   The GTS has those and additional features. Now for the “serious” Viper owners there is the TA or Track Attack and those options include race track extras and packaged in the color “Crusher Orange.”ViperTZOrange

With safety as everyone’s concern, The Viper models come equipped with front airbags in addition to traction control and federally-mandated stability control.  However, side and side-curtain airbags, which are standard fare on nearly every other new car on the market, are not available. That doesn’t worry me since there is no room for the grandchildren or the dog anyway.

The Viper isn’t for the masses but if you have $100,000 or more to spend on one of the coolest American muscle cars, I say go for it.  Not only will this get you looks on the freeway and thumbs up from every teen driving a Dodge Dart or the mommy blogger in a Caravan, but the respect of the Lamborghini enthusiast or ZR1 “vette” wanting to race you home.

The Viper is a lot of car and an adrenalin rush upon takeoff so be ready for a ride of a lifetime … you will be smitten and bitten for sure.

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