New Car Review

2017 Dodge Viper: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader May 2017

The 2017 Dodge Viper will be the last of its kind, so if you've always yearned to bring a new one home, this is your last chance to revel in its outrageous performance. It's a car like no other -- or rather, a car like none other that's been made for a very long time. It's raw, unforgiving and vicious in a world where exotic sports cars are increasingly comfortable, luxurious and easy to drive.

That makes the Viper extremely desirable for some, but also a nonstarter for many others. You'd have to be pretty committed to choose one over a comparably priced sports car that doesn't come with the same practical drawbacks. It's cramped and hard to get into, it's tough to see out of, the ride is punishing, it's incredibly loud and there's no automatic transmission choice.

As such, it really doesn't come as a surprise that the Viper is meeting its mongoose after 2017, as it's been unable to attract enough buyers to warrant its continued existence. So get one while you can, or at least keep your eye on used Viper listings.

 What's New for 2017?

The Viper gets lowered prices for 2017 but is otherwise unchanged as it sails into the sunset.

 What We Like

Vicious V10 performance; a race car for the road; easy-to-use tech; low price for the performance

 What We Don't

Cramped cabin with difficult entrance/entry; submarine visibility; unforgiving ride; no side airbags; no convertible; no automatic transmission; gets tiresome during prolonged seat time

 How Much?

$87,900-$118,800

 Fuel Economy

If you're interested in a Viper, we find it hard to believe you'll even read this section, but here it is just in case: The Viper is powered by a 645-horsepower 8.4-liter V10 that makes a whopping 600 lb-ft of torque. No turbochargers, nothing fancy, just old-fashioned American muscle. All Viper models use a 6-speed manual transmission, and they all return 12 miles per gallon in the city and 19 mpg on the highway.

 Standard Features & Options

The2017 Dodge Viper comes in four trim levels: the base SRT, GTC, GTS and track-ready ACR.

The SRT ($87,900) is available on a limited basis and comes standard with staggered wheels (18-inch front, 19-in rear), keyless passive entry and push-button start, power-adjustable pedals, a manually adjustable driver's seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, the 8.4-in Uconnect interface, a navigation system and a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system that includes a USB port and satellite radio.

Next up is the GTC ($95,900), which gains a 2-mode sport suspension, 5-mode stability control, upgraded brakes, a 6-way power driver's seat and upgraded leather with Alcantara inserts.

The GTS ($108,000) goes further on the luxury front with an 18-speaker sound system and full leather on the seats and most interior surfaces.

Topping the range is the sporty ACR ($118,800), which is a serious track car that adds enhancements to just about everything performance-related -- including the brakes, the suspension and the steering. The ACR is also lower than a standard model, featuring an aerodynamic body kit and a huge rear wing.

There are many performance enhancements that can be made, including the Extreme Aero package for the GTC and ACR, along with a variety of special editions.

 Safety

The 2017 Dodge Viper includes anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control. It features dual front airbags, but unlike virtually every other car, side airbags aren't available. A rearview camera is standard on all Viper models, but no other modern safety gadgets are available.

There have been no third-party crash tests of the Viper.

 Behind the Wheel

The world can seem like your personal drag strip from inside the Viper. While a virtual tachometer and submenus featuring performance data readouts reveal that this vicious snake has assumed new technological aptitude, one stab of the right pedal offers a not-so-subtle reminder that this is still a screaming, snarling hellion of a car.

It's not just the mammoth 8.4-liter V10 or the notchiness of the 6-speed manual shifter, but the brutish ride quality and driving feel that emerges while hustling the Viper across city streets. Even in its soft setting, the suspension still hops around and has trouble tracking straight on bumpy roads. Forget about the track setting for real-world driving; it's simply too stiff for use, unless you actually enjoy the sensation of rattling teeth.

The Viper seems more in its element at the track, where it's capable of fully delivering on its intended goals of automotive shock and awe. Grip from the Pirelli tires is considerable, especially in ACR guise, which wraps special high-performance rubber around lightweight wheels for even more handling prowess. The tires' steep drop-off of adhesion during high-g-force driving will put hair on your chest, though, as will the explosive acceleration and the glued-down handling, which enables direction changes with considerably more feedback and intuitive steering than was offered by Vipers of yore.

Gut-punchingly potent and impressively capable, the Viper offers a challenging and ultimately rewarding experience for drivers bold enough to explore its limits. For everyone else, though, it'll seem uncouth, uncomfortable and a shocking amount of money to pay given other, more refined sports cars.

 Other Cars to Consider

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 -- The Corvette may not be the performance beast the Viper is, but it's still pretty beastly, and it's substantially more refined. It just doesn't beat you up as much.

2017 Nissan GT-R -- This would be Japan's Viper. The GT-R allows drivers to lean on fighter-jet-like electronics and all-wheel drive in order to wring maximum performance from its twin-turbocharged V6, without the Viper's terror.

2017 Dodge Challenger Hellcat -- It has more power and it's much easier to live with. The Hellcat is without question a muscle car as opposed to a sports car, but if you're looking for flag-waving American muscle, this is it.

Used Porsche 911 Turbo -- If speed is your drug, few cars offer it like the Porsche 911 Turbo. Featuring virtually unmatched 0-to-60 times, the 911 Turbo boasts staid 911 looks but packs a mean punch. You'll have to get a used model to match Viper prices, though.

 Autotrader's Advice

Let's do this flowchart style. Will you only be driving on a track? If no, skip the ACR. Next, take a look at the Viper's prices and then answer this question: Do you think fancier leather and a few extra speakers are worth $13,000? If no, skip the GTS. As such, you're left with the GTC. Its various performance enhancements are worth the money over the base model.

Find a Dodge Viper for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Dodge Viper: New Car Review - Autotrader