In fact, the magazine itself doesn’t even recommend the Challenger, giving it a score of 53 out of 100 because of its handling, braking, visibility, fuel economy and poor predicted reliability. So how did it win the title of most satisfying car?
Well, 92 percent of the people who have bought one said they’d buy one again.
I guess that’s because the people who buy Challengers don’t buy them for reliability or fuel economy. They buy Challengers because they look cool and accelerate fast. Plus, after dropping up to 40 grand on one, admitting to not wanting to do it all over again would be a huge ding in the ol’ ego and probably result in hearing the phrase, “I told you so,” over and over again from the wife.
Plus, there’s the emotional appeal of cars, a factor consumer magazines can’t test. Braking ability (as long as it eventually stops) is nothing compared to the way a car makes us feel. And the retro-designed Challenger invokes memories of Chrysler’s muscle car hey-day of the ’60s and ’70s. For a lot of guys (and probably some girls) a modern muscle car with the attitude of the original is an emotional home run.
Which makes me wonder how the new 2010 Ford Mustang and 2010 Chevy Camaro would have held up in the survey. They are both too new to be included in this year’s owner satisfaction survey though, which requires that a car be on the market for at least a year. (The current generation Challenger went into production in 2008.)
The Ford Fusion Hybrid ranked second in the magazine’s Predicted Owner Satisfaction survey, with 91 percent of owners saying they would buy another. In further evidence of a space/time continuum shift, the Toyota Prius dropped all the way to fifth place in the survey this year, behind the Chevy Corvette and Porsche 911.
Would you buy your car all over again?