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1995 Dodge Viper Convertible

2dr Open Sports Car

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  • $58,600 original MSRP
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Printable Version

1995 Dodge Viper Convertible

Printable Version

1995 Dodge Viper Convertible

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1995 Dodge Viper

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

If you're considering the purchase of a Dodge Viper, chances are you won't be spending much time comparison shopping. Simply put, there is no direct competition for the Viper.

Oh, you might want to look at the Chevrolet Corvette. Like the Viper, it has a large engine shrouded in a plastic skin. But it's seen more as a model of high-tech sophistication when stacked up against Dodge's supercar. If you want the day-to-day practicality of a solid, easy-to-use convertible top, an available automatic transmission and a first-rate climate-control system, the Corvette is your choice.

Other sports cars in the same price range, principally the Acura NSX and Porsche 911, offer similar performance, but coddle their drivers with luxury appointments galore. Both would be good choices for all-around use.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for the essence of visceral automotive performance, the Viper definitely gets the nod.

Amenities? You'd best look elsewhere. The Viper's sole reason for existence is to provide maximum 4-wheeled thrills without frills. There are no gimmicks and no window dressing. For that matter, there are no windows, unless you choose to pull them out of their storage bag in the trunk.

Now in its fourth model year, the limited-production Viper has changed little from the concept car that toured auto shows across the land back in 1989.

In fact, there's nothing new worth mentioning for 1995, unless for some strange reason you want air conditioning, which is now an option.

Good news for the immediate future, though: A hardtop coupe version is just around the corner.

And that brings us back to the basics. On the fun-for-the-money scale, the Viper rates a top score. Sure, as a daily commuter, it is about as useful as a fishing rod and tackle in the middle of the Sahara. But if you want lots of power bolted to a chassis that can make the best use of it - this is your car.

Our test Viper, with no options, was $56,700 worth of fun.

Walkaround

You can't exactly say that the Viper has a no-nonsense look about it. Every one of its plastic panels has been formed to catch the eyes of customers and passersby alike. It's curvaceous and exciting, from a giant front-air inlet to side exhausts (which will burn legs that wander too close) to a wide, flat tail.

Swoopy looks, though, don't translate into aerodynamic efficiency; with a 0.55 drag coefficient, the Viper is about as slick as a brick wall on wheels.

Ordinarily, that would lead to a discussion about wind noise and fuel economy. There's plenty of the former (the Viper is an open car, after all), and more of the latter than you might expect, though it's the big, lazy engine and long gear ratios that make the Viper surprisingly fuel efficient on the highway.

Lift that monolithic slab of molded composite material between the nose and windshield and the Viper's huge 8.0-liter V10 engine dominates the view. With 400 hp on tap, the aluminum powerhouse moves the 3500-lb. Viper down the road as quickly as conditions - and the local authorities - will allow.

Interior Features

In contrast to the gee-whiz exterior, the Viper's passenger bay is businesslike to the edge of starkness.

All basic instruments are supplied in an array facing the driver, basic heater/vent controls and an entry-level radio are situated in the center console, and a stubby shift lever sprouts from the center of the transmission tunnel. The rest of the inside is all seat and leg space.

Door-mounted passive seat belts take the place of airbags. Though inconvenient when left buckled during entry and exit (as passive belts are supposed to be), they are excellent otherwise, holding both driver and passenger snugly in place.

The spartan interior of the Viper may not be to everyone's liking. There are no extraneous toys to play with, and little to look at except that expanse of gray plastic sweeping across the car from door to door.

Sighting over the wide fenders can be difficult for shorter drivers, too, and rearward vision makes backing up a chancy proposition.

Worse, perhaps, are some errors and omissions that detract from the driver's pleasure. There's no place for the left foot to rest except on the clutch pedal, the instruments' red lighting makes them difficult to read at night and taller drivers will wish a little more room had been provided for seatback adjustment.

Also, everyone will find the constant wind buffeting in the cockpit tiresome during long trips.

Do any of these little complaints detract from the fun of owning or driving a Viper in any serious way? Not at all.

Driving Impressions

Despite power assists for both steering and brakes, driving a Viper is far from being a no-effort experience. In fact, every move the driver must make involves more muscles than most of us couch potatoes can muster, from turning those huge front tires to shifting the 6-speed manual transmission to clamping down on the four 13-in. brake discs.

But oh, the rewards. Getting away from the stoplight was no problem for us; in less than 5 seconds after a full stop, we were past 60 mph and covering ground in a hurry.

Keep in mind, though, that a top-speed check is good for a day in court. A very long day, for that matter.

Acceleration isn't the whole story when it comes to the Viper. The vehicle's chassis is superb, displaying race-car manners around corners. And precise steering, responsive brakes (no anti-lock brakes, but you'll have to push awfully hard to lock a wheel) and sticky tires all contributed to our enjoyment of this car.

Do pay attention, though, because the Viper tends to follow its driver's commands with a directness that those coming out of more conventional vehicles may find a little disconcerting.

Although it isn't absolutely necessary to drive a Viper at high speed to enjoy it, a few of the car's systems aren't on their best behavior during slower, around-town cruising.

The brakes, for example, seem to be actuated not by how far the pedal is pushed, but by how much pressure the driver can exert. As a result, you should practice before you really need to use them. Also, the stiff clutch isn't much fun in city traffic.

By contrast, the V10 engine will operate at low speeds forever, but it also has enough torque to zoom away from the crowd in an instant. At freeway speeds, our model turned over at a lazy 1200 rpm.

Ride quality is another matter entirely. The Viper has no problem with smooth pavement, but bad surfaces are definitely to be avoided. As a rule, stiff springing and potholes just do not mix.

Summary

The Dodge Viper is really not the kind of car that lends itself to the objective evaluations of a standard road test. Even if you own one, you have to be in the right mood, with the right conditions, to really enjoy it.

Driving a Viper down busy downtown streets on a wet day, for instance, is akin to a torture chamber on wheels. On a clear, sunny afternoon out in the country, however, the Viper comes very close to being a mobile paradise.

If that kind of subjective pleasure is what attracts you, you've likely already decided to take the plunge and have ordered a Viper in your favorite of the four available exterior colors. If you seek more subtle joys, though, a Viper is just not going to do.

But remember, this car is certain to be a collector's item. All things considered, we recommend it highly.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$56,700
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$56,700
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Printable Version

1995 Dodge Viper Convertible

Road Visibility

Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Printable Version

1995 Dodge Viper Convertible

Dodge Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-Years/100,000-Miles (whichever comes first). Powertrain Limited Warranty runs from the date vehicle was sold as new.

3-Month/3,000-Mile Maximum Care Warranty. Starts on the date of the CPOV sale, or at the expiration of the remaining 3/36 Basic New Vehicle Warranty.

A deductible may apply. See dealer for details or call 1-800-677-5782
Age/Mileage Eligibility 5 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 125
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1995 Dodge Viper Convertible

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