2008 Dodge Viper Interior
Though the 2008 Dodge Viper is loved for its stunning performance, its two-seat interior is where it gets criticism. Though it's been improved for this year, reviews still don't feel the cabin measures up. "Inside, it's Spartan," says the.
Edmunds similarly points out, "Be forewarned that the compromises are many. In addition to its lack of save-your-butt safety aids, the Viper also has a small cockpit with plenty of hard plastic and little in the way of luxury features." Of interior quality, Consumer Guide says the cabin's "only relief from hard matte plastic and textured vinyl are some metal trim pieces."
AutoMedia.com, however, is one of a minority of reviewers to praise the improved interior: "Many termed the first Viper a 'four-wheeled Harley.' This slur referred to its lack of technological sophistication and creature comforts. The 2008 version is a far different animal. It offers advanced features and comfort comparable to its rivals from Ford and Chevrolet (though it still doesn't have stability control)." Edmunds concludes, "Although the optional two-tone interior schemes (black with red, tan, blue or slate) and available graphite or 'light arc' dash panel accents dress things up considerably this year, the cockpit is still rather blasé for a car whose price comes very close to $90K."
Reviews generally agree that the Viper's cabin is cramped, though they like the snug seats, which are perfect for racing. Car and Driver reports that the seats "make the most of the cramped interior, and the pedals are adjustable," and adds, "Once you're in the Viper and moving, it's actually pretty comfortable." Likewise, the comments, "You'll feel your body conform to the racing seat as soon as you slide into the low-lying car. Its bolsters hold you snugly in a friendly embrace." Still, Kelley Blue Book says the seats "will be a tight fit for many."
Despite criticism of the cramped interior, some test drivers find the Viper's seats more comfortable than its competition. "Oddly, I've always found Vipers to be very comfortable, even more so than Chevrolet Corvettes, and the 2008 is no different," says the . "Once you execute the mild acrobatics required to get in, the seats are supportive in all the right places." But comfort is definitely a matter of opinion, as illustrated by the , which finds that there are "far more comfortable seats in the Chevy than the Dodge, which is tight and feels as if each monthly payment should include a rib. In Viper you lean back and look up rather than sit back and look out as in a 'Vette."
As previously mentioned, a major complaint is the difficulty of exiting and entering the low-slung car. "Getting in and out is a gymnastic exercise of hurdling the door sill and ducking under the low roof," says Car and Driver. The adds: "With Viper you fall in and are pried out. High Viper door sills make entry and exit more suited to the folks jumping the hurdles in the Olympics."
Most agree that the level of interior equipment in the Viper is almost laughable. "Not that it makes a difference in a contest where adrenaline matters most, but the Viper -- in the grand Viper tradition -- lacks any sort of creature comforts beyond the ubiquitous air-conditioning and power windows," says Edmunds. The review also notes that the comparable Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is not only cheaper, but "it's also packed with gadgets and gizmos that make it a more usable car."
The fact that the Viper offers almost no electronic systems -- meaning no traction control, stability control or cruise control -- get it some negative reviews. Cars.com says the lack of cruise control "makes all kinds of sense, really, because it would be easy to go into a turn and lose control before there was time to shut it off and take over. Still, I find cruise helps me keep from inadvertently creeping above the speed limit. With the electronic throttles, cruise would add little cost and practically no weight."
On the plus side, one feature that reviews are positive about is the Viper's standard power-adjustable pedals, which Edmunds says is an asset because "finding the perfect driving position is critical in cars this capable." Most of the controls are user-friendly, too. Edmunds reports that the instrument panel "houses more gauges than you'll find in some racecars, but manages to be well laid out." Consumer Guide describes the controls as "self-evident."
However, a few reviews have complaints. Kelley Blue Book says the Viper's "small, offset speedometer is difficult to read." AutoMedia.com also takes issue with the instrument panel, noting, "Because the speedometer is so small and hard to read, I could not safely check my speed at the end of [the track's] front straight, and still have time to correctly determine where to step on the brakes." This also has an effect off the track, the review continues: "On public roads, the small speedo makes it a challenge to ensure a non-prosecutable speed."
The Viper comes standard with air conditioning, suede seats with leather trim, a seven-speaker stereo with CD player, power accessories (mirrors, windows and door locks), keyless entry, and a tilt steering column. A navigation system and SIRIUS Satellite Radio are available options for the first time this year.
The made-for-speed Viper certainly isn't made for transporting cargo (as evidenced by the fact that Dodge doesn't even list cargo capacity on its Web site). However, the convertible features a bit more space than its coupe counterpart. "A few soft bags fit in the convertible's trunk," says Consumer Guide, but adds that cabin storage is "limited to a small center console and dashboard glovebox." Edmunds, however, is impressed that there's even room in the cabin for a center console. Buyers should note that, in keeping with its speed-demon function, the Viper doesn't feature cupholders.