Just back from Texas - 2,700 miles in 19 days.

Avis has some "interesting" cars available at some of its bigger locations, but as we booked rather late, the "best" they had available to reserve was a Mustang Coupe. I accepted that 305 bhp would probably be adequate fro our needs - 55bhp up on the Charger we rented two years ago. However, when we went to pick up the car the very nice man on the rental desk informed me that for a few dollars more they now had a Dodge Challenger available . . . an R/T with the 5.7 litre Hemi engine. I thought long & hard about his offer (must have been all of five seconds!) & decided to accept!

So, what's it like from a British perspective? Looks-wise, in my opinion better than Mustang or Camaro - not so "over-styled". The dash I found rather disappointing - a "down-market" look to it & poor quality plastics. However, for me this car's all about the engine. . . no disappointment there! Driven gently there's that lovely V8 rumble; push that little pedal all the way to the floor & there's a glorious howl accompanied by acceleration to match! Handling's pretty good too, for such a big (by my standards!) car - maybe initial steering response could be better & there's a bit of understeer, but with all that power going to the rear wheels that problem can be easily solved! I certainly had loads of fun on what are now very high on my list of favourite driving roads - 118 north of Fort Davis & 170 between Presidio & Terlingua.

Everywhere we went the car attracted compliments - one the better moments was the driver of an old Buick who walked up to me at a rest area & said in a heavy Texan drawl "is it fayust?", spotted the "Hemi" badge & said "yup, it's fayust"; just how "fayust" I ain't saying . . .

Apart from the uninspiring dash the only other criticism I'd make is that the thick C pillars create a sizeable blind spot, which can make merging at junctions difficult.

The bottom line is, I loved it!