The Millennial Used Car Project: Chapter 1 | Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited June 2015 in Dodge
imageThe Millennial Used Car Project: Chapter 1 |

A yearlong chronicle of ownership of a 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 with real maintenance costs and an imaginary millennial behind the wheel.

Read the full story here


  • mittzombiemittzombie Member Posts: 162
    8+ year old Dodge, good luck with that.
  • zoomzoomnzoomzoomn Member Posts: 143
    It's hard to believe that these cars came out that long ago. Time flies when you're having fun! On that note, I hope that the one you got has never overheated. Known issues of catastrophic engine failures some time after plague this model. Good luck!
  • hank39hank39 Member Posts: 144
    edited June 2015
    I really enjoyed reading the intro to this vehicle. As a car enthusiast, I enjoy the entire process of finding a good deal on a used car; looking at pictures of the condition (mods and whatnot); looking over the Carfax report; and basically the story of what the car has gone through. I appreciated the detail in which you provided all of the data of what has been purchased by Millennials and what you guys were looking for. Looks like you got a pretty good deal considering the reconditioning they did. Looking forward to reading the updates. Here's to some happy and safe miles to the edmunds staff!
  • throwbackthrowback Member Posts: 445
    Great choice on going for the SRT8. As for the millennials, my non-scientific observations of the millennials that work on my campus (large financial Institution) is that they do care about cars. Virtually all of the new Mustangs at work are driven by millennials (mostly men) while the ladies seem to prefer the Camaro. Not a lot of trucks driven by millenials and a few small SUVs virtually all driven by young ladies.
  • bankerdannybankerdanny Member Posts: 1,021
    I like the experiment, but like the V8 in your Mustang, you chose the car that is coolest to YOU and not the one that would be the likely choice of the demographic that you describe or the one that would be most relevant to the majority of your readers.

    I'm not unhappy with the choice mind you, but a low volume high performance special is not the best choice to evaluate the viability of a used car.
  • commenter1commenter1 Member Posts: 1
    edited June 2015
    Fun exercise, but not quite the best recommendation in my opinion.

    A few considerations:

    * Insurance costs on a 425 hp rwd car for someone in this demo? Could be a deal breaker.

    * Rear tires will likely require replacement on an annual basis considering the available power and driving behavior of someone interested in this car. Tire Rack indicates that a rear set is between $300-400. Anyone living in a 4-season climate will also be forced to shell out for winter tires since this will a wild ride when snow falls. It's one thing to run all-seasons on a 130 hp Civic, another to do it on a 425 hp rwd vehicle.

    * Fuel economy: reports people getting 17-18 mpg for the 5.7 V8 and that's only 340 hp. Another 85 hp and .4 liters of displacement will likely reduce that by 1-2 mpg, at least. Assuming $3/gal and 15 avg mpg, it costs 20 cents/mile drive. The SRT8 has a 19 gallon tank and assuming you fill up at 1/4 tank (14.25 gal), you've only driven 213.75 miles (14.25 gal x 15 mpg) at a cost of $42.75, again assuming $3/gal and 15 avg mpg. Said another way, you're spending $171 in gas per month, and this is while gas is cheap. The $171 assumes you fill up once per week.

    *Assuming you could get a $20,000 loan at 1.9% with a 4 year term, the monthly payment is $433.03. Someone could avoid the loan assuming they had $20k on hand, but I'd hope they also have remaining liquidity to handle possible repairs, and other life contingencies.

    I hate to throw a wet blanket on this idea and I think this would be a fun car, but a poor life decision for someone in this demo. I don't think it makes sense to spend this much money on an 8-year-old vehicle, particularly since this article seems to suggest it'll be a daily driver. If a millennial has the disposable income and a second reliable vehicle, it could make sense.

    I think it would be smarter to buy something new with a better fuel economy, and a warranty; something along the lines of a Fiesta ST seems like a reasonable balance between fun, practicality, and cost.

    I'm 33, could easily afford one of these and would enjoy driving it, but I don't think it's reasonable at this point in my life.
  • ebeaudoinebeaudoin Member Posts: 509
    This will definitely be an interesting read! I'm a millenial, though not your typical representative. I'm almost 24 years old, married for 3 years, college grad with a 1-year old and another baby on the way, all in a 3 bedroom home.

    I've got a paid-off 2001 Toyota Camry that my mother-in-law bought new, and my wife drives a 2010 Odyssey LX which we bought for $13,440 last year and financed for 5 years. I plan on paying that off quickly. I'm an auto sales consultant but I will cling to these two cars as long as I can. I'm a car geek and I love driving.

    So yep, I'm an atypical milennial. But I'm still very interested in this long-term test!
  • gorgarvosgorgarvos Member Posts: 1
    edited June 2015
    @mittzombie, try telling that to the many owners of 200K+ and 300K+ examples of these cars. Like any car they are not perfect, but they have a pretty good track record overall.

    @zoomzoomn, the engines you're referring to are the 5.7, not the 6.1 that the SRT8 comes with. The 5.7 (early years) suffer from improperly installed valve seats that can later fail without warning after a prior overheat situation. Not all of them will fail, and also consider that overheating an engine in any car is usually the beginning of the end.

    @bankerdanny, @commenter1 "According to the MTV study, "85 percent of millennials are looking forward to one day owning the car they've always wanted," compared to 59 percent of boomers and 72 percent of gen Xers." --- what better subject for this test than a high performance "dream" car? Take a muscle car that has been potentially beat on for several years already, has accumulated some miles, and is now in the price range for someone on a budget that still wants to have fun. The results of this test can help determine whether or not it's a reasonable course of action or a disaster. A one car example doesn't prove it one way or the other but is still useful information. Is it a sensible choice? No. Do all choices NEED to be sensible?

    I own 2 SRT8's that I purchased used. Love them both, flaws and all! I don't find the insurance to be unreasonable, tire life and gas mileage are dictated by your right foot, and these cars easily do 20 MPG highway (around 14-16 city) which is impressive for a 425HP 4000+ lb fullsize car!
  • greenponygreenpony Member Posts: 531
    I think I could convince my wife to let me buy this same car.
  • random_shotsrandom_shots Member Posts: 14
    edited June 2015
    "The 2006 and 2007 Chargers were the model years most commonly purchased by millennials in 2014."
    All this says is that Millennials* are so broke that all they could buy was an eight year old Dodge that they probably financed because the monthly payments are cheap.

    *I doubt Edmunds will actually release the average age and income demographic age of these buyers but I am guessing over 30, with a family, lower credit scores, lower disposable income, who bought the base v6.
  • mej2mej2 Member Posts: 4
    I'm glad you got this body style. It is far more menacing than the current car. Too bad you couldn't get the black one.
  • socal_ericsocal_eric Member Posts: 189
    Good luck? While the interior plastics of that generation were cheap and I'd expect some issues with trim and accessories on any car once they get that old, mechanically an SRT-8 that's nearly stock shouldn't be too big of a money pit but anything can happen with any new or used car. People pan the Neon too but well taken care of ten year old SRT-4s have crossed the 200, 300, and even 400+k mile marks and while looking cheap somehow manage not to fall apart if they aren't abused (and still hold up quite well considering the modifications some do to their cars).
  • misterfusionmisterfusion Member Posts: 471
    Yeah, that generation of the Charger is hideous IMO, but I don't think it's a bad car. I like the current version best. It's great that you can outfit one as a sleeper V6 family car (but what a great V6), a 5.7 V8 grand tourer, a 392 muscle car, or a 707 hp goliath. :P
  • nateokeydokeynateokeydokey Member Posts: 1
    I owned a 2006 300 srt8 for 8 years and loved that car more than any other car. I dunno what it was, but I think the "LX" platform (chargers, 300s, magnums) has something special about it. The car felt very solid, it was dependable, and most of all, had soul.
    I did have some problems with the car, being inner and outer tie rods (twice). Actually, the front end suspension in general is over engineered (in a bad way, thanks goes out to mercedes). I also think the interior (except the seats) felt super cheap, and is lacking, but with that said, it was a great car.
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Member Posts: 606
    edited June 2015
    @Edmunds-- I like the thought process you devised to choose this car. Though I graduated from the 18-34 age range several years ago (I'm GenX) it's the same thought process I went through when I was that age. The cars I aspired to were too expensive to buy new, but good-condition used models often were in my price range. The questions next were 1) is that older model still fun to drive, and 2) would the maintenance costs kill me?

    I believe that for most sport cars the answer to #1 is Yes. For $20k a V8 monster from 8 years ago is way more fun to drive than a brand new Civic EX. At least for a person who enjoys the act of driving. And for question #2... well, that's the point of this exercise, as you said. It'll be interesting to see how this used car's maintenance costs compare to the ruinous experience you had with the V12 Benz.
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