Missing the Homunculus in Me
Goober Lee: So, you been drivin’ the 2007 Dodge Charger R/T AWD. Wadda ya’ think, man?
Me: I thought it would excite the homunculus in me. But it’s surprisingly refined.
Goober Lee: Aw, that’s disappointin’ to hear.
Me: The Mercedes-Benz hardware helps to make this perhaps the finest car ever to wear the Dodge badge. The emergency brake, windshield wiper control, and cruise control stalks are pure Benz. And I know about the rear suspension. It made me pinch myself and keep saying “Dodge. Dodge? Dodge!”
Goober Lee: What about burnouts?
Me: Didn’t do any. This car has all-wheel drive.
Goober Lee: Probably break yourself somethin’ real expensive. Hey, don’t be fooled none—that V-8 ain’t no real Hemi.
Me: I don’t really care what they call it. Again, it’s pretty refined, makes a huge amount of power, yet doesn’t guzzle fuel.
Goober Lee: Aw, hell. Next you’ll be singin’ the praises of five-speed automatic transmissions. This car should have a heavy clutch and a three-speed manual tranny with the shifter on the floor.
Me: I liked using the manual-shift feature. But the transmission sometimes clunked—not savagely, more like the head of Miss U.S.A. hitting the floor.
Goober Lee: It outright offends me that they used the Charger name for a see-dan.
Me: Not that it’s a big deal, but they might’ve called it something else. On the other hand, at least they didn’t spoon up a name from a bowl of alphabet soup.
Goober Lee: So what you’re leadin’ to is, I should be like Kasey Kahne and drive a Charger?
Me: I enjoyed this car. Although the seat cushion was inadequately padded. And there’s a huge blind spot because of all that cuteness with the C-pillar—
Goober Lee: ‘Scuse me for buttin’ in, but you might also point out the big gaps under the fenders.
Me: And that’s with eighteen-inch wheels and tires. Anyway, despite a few flaws—like steering that must have come from an arcade game’s console—this is a plain, simple, good-riding cruiser with homespun handsomeness, acceptable driving dynamics, and plenty of power. I can’t think of a whole lot of V-8 cars with all-wheel drive, especially for $35,740. For people who’ve been griping about fussy exterior styling and pointlessly over-accessorized interiors, here we have an unambiguously purposeful statement. It really made me wonder why the other Detroit Three makers have missed so badly in this enduringly important segment.
Goober Lee: They ain’t missed.
Me: What are you talking about?
Goober Lee: Why, they’s still plenty of ’91 Caprices to choose from.
Me. Aw, get outta town!
Goober Lee: Tell me now, what’s a ’munculus?
Me: Got a little brother?