Dodge Razor Concept -- Review by Owen, Jan 26, 2002
So far, I have only written one review of a car that I have not driven. This review, along with my Aztek review, will make 2. I feel justified, however, inasmuch as nobody else outside of DC motors has driven one either.
So why am I writing this review? Well, it is because of an idea that I had on one very boring day in POLI 201 in 1996. (Don't worry, Dodge, I won't sue for theft of intelectual property, because I'm pretty sure that plenty of other people have had the same idea.) The Idea?
Build a car. Make it small and light, a rear wheel drive 2 seater, put a hardtop on it for stiffness, weatherproofing, and to keep costs down. Have cloth seats, manual doorlocks and windows, Don't add a navigation system, traction control, electronic brake distribution, leather and carbon fibre floormats, huge stereo, dual zone automaticaly ajusting climate control, e-mail terminal, or cigar humidor.
Instead, the car should be focused on providing a fun driving experience. It should be balanced, handle well, and have plenty of power. The shifter should be smooth, and the seats should hug tight.
At the same time, to keep engineering costs down, raid every parts bin you can find. Plenty of people smarter than me have designed engines and transmissions before now, some of them very good.
Finally, wrap it all in something beautiful, that looks like the great GT and sports cars of the 50s and 60s.
All of that more or less describes the Dodge Razor Concept.
Now, I know that when Shannon sees this car for the first time, she will roll her eyes, and say in her most long-suffering voice, "You can drive what-EVER kind of car you want." This roughly translates to, "I can't believe that you would even consider thinking about reflecting upon spending so much as a bent scottish groat on something that ugly and impractical." Needless to say, one of the many millions of reasons that I love Shannon is that she will drive a practical car, so I don't have to. Not that there's anything wrong with a Jetta Wagon, and if I didn't know that I would at least have a 323 hatchback as a supplement to a Razor, I would never consider getting one, too impractical.
Not that is any sure thing that Dodge will produce the Razor. Although it is a fully producable model, it is dependant upon "sufficient consumer reaction". Of course, let me make a quick list of vehicles which have been in the same position at DC in the last few years: Viper, Prowler, PT Cruiser, Crossfire, Neon, and Viper GTS. Not a bad track record for producing cars virtually unchanged (except yhr Neon, it was way different as a concept) a year or two after the concept debuts in Detroit. So I shall keep my hopes up, and at the same time remind you all to pester them at www.Dodge.com to tell them "This car is exactly what the 18-35 demographic wants and needs"
Is it perfect? Not at all. For one thing, it comes with two custom made Razor Scooters. Not only have razor scooters gone "out" in the four months it took to bring the car to the show, but they would take up space better kept for aftermarket custom fitted overnight luggage. Also the styling is just a bit too much "new edge" All folds and creases over curves, with big jewel headlights. Its a good look, but it will date itself faster than a narccisist with a cloning machine. My advice is to smooth out the edges a bit, drop the bug-eye headlights for a more retro 50s round headlight look, keep the razor name, but lose the scooters, design a set of overnight luggage to fit behind the seats, and keep the intended MSRP around the 14,500 USD suggested at the show.
14,500 USD you say? That's right. For about the price of a mildly loaded Honda Civic, you can have an incredibly stylish 2 seater, with a Bavarian designed 6 speed manual and a 250 horsepower turbocharged 2.4L Inline 4, without the things that we don't want or need, like DVD navigation, rear seat entertainment centre (or rear seat, for that matter), built in cell-phone, or 47 way ajustable electric seats. (If I wanted to sit in an electric chair, I would move to Texas).
This is the kind of concept that should be shown. GM can build all the 250,000 USD 750 HP supercar "communication concepts" they want, as long as DC keeps building realalistic concepts, and then putting them into production. My only request of Dodge? Keep the turbo 4, make it handle as well as it accellerates, and keep the price right where you say it could be.
Oh, and put my name on the waiting list for one, when they do make it to production.
So what is all of that worth? It gets 5 pints of Concept Beer. All it has to do to get 5 pints of real beer is to put it into production. Best concept of the North American International Auto Show, bar none. (And way cooler than the Pontiac Solstice. Who needs a ragtop?)