Premium sporty/performance car; Built in USA
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $27,700 – $41,500*

2005 Dodge Viper

2003 Dodge Viper

2003 Dodge Viper

2003 Dodge Viper

  • Acceleration
  • Steering/handling
  • Fuel economy
  • Noise
  • Ride

Simply put, Viper is an emotional statement that makes little sense for daily transportation–rendered only slightly rational by the improved 2003 version. A Chevrolet Corvette, base Porsche 911, or even a Mustang Cobra, can match the Viper’s usable street performance at lower cost and with much more refinement.


Dodge redesigned America’s high-performance champ for 2003, giving the two-passenger Viper new styling, new engineering–and even more power than before. Gone were the GTS coupe and RT-10 convertible, with its cross-body roof hoop. Badged SRT-10, the Viper was now a true convertible with a manual folding top and an electrically heated glass rear window.

Wheelbase grew by 2.6 inches, compared to the 1992-2002 Viper, but overall length shrunk about an inch and curb weight dropped slightly. When the roof was lowered, the folding convertible top’s rigid center section doubled as a tonneau panel.

Viper retained its front-mounted V10-engine/rear-wheel-drive layout, but the V10 was a new design of 8.3 liters and 500 horsepower, versus the previous 8.0 liters and 450 hp. As before, the sole transmission was a six-speed manual. While ABS was standard, this two-seater maintained an aversion to high tech by not offering traction/antiskid control. No side airbags were available, either.

In the redesigned interior, the tachometer sat directly before the driver, with a 220-mph speedometer to the right. Standard equipment included leather-and-faux-suede seats; a tilt steering column; power-adjustable clutch, brake, and accelerator pedals; power windows; and air conditioning. Tires were run-flats on 18-inch front wheels and 19-inch rears. Side-mounted exhaust pipes returned from the original Viper, and xenon high-intensity-discharge high- and low-beam headlamps were standard. Sports-car rivals included the Acura NSX, Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 911, but nothing was quite like the muscular rear-wheel-drive Viper.

Yearly Updates

2004 Viper
America’s most powerful production car stood pat for 2004, except for new trunk carpeting and red-colored brake calipers.
2005 Viper
Two new colors became available on 2005 models: Yellow and Copperhead Orange. Little else changed.
2006 Viper
Dodge revived the coupe body that had been offered on pre-2003 Vipers to join the soft-top roadster. The Viper’s V10 engine now was rated 510 horsepower (an increase of 10). Later in the model year, Sirius satellite radio joined the options list.
2007 Viper
Viper skipped the 2007 model year.
2008 Viper
Viper returned for the 2008 model year with a 600-hp version of its V10 engine, a gain of 90 hp. A navigation system was added as an option.
2009 Viper
Newly available on Viper coupes for 2009 was an ACR package, which included aerodynamic improvements, performance suspension, and other race-track-ready hardware.
2010 Viper
The 2010 Dodge Viper entered the final year in its current design with only minor changes.


longitudinal front-engine/rear-wheel drive

Only one powertrain is available in Vipers: a 500-horsepower 8.3-liter V10 engine, mated to a six-speed manual transmission. In 2006, the engine rating rose to 510 hp and 535 pounds-feet.

ohv V10
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 8.3/505
Engine HP 500-510
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 525-535
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual



Road Test

Explosive is the word for Viper acceleration, even at part-throttle and from modest rpm. Dodge said the Viper’s target was 0-60 mph acceleration in under 4 seconds, with a top speed above 190 mph. Few testers would doubt those figures. The Viper clutch and gearshift demand deliberate action, but are not taxing.

Fuel economy has averaged 10.6 mpg in mixed city/highway driving, so Viper isn’t the car for keeping gasoline costs down. Premium fuel is required.

Never full-out brutal, the Viper’s ride is always firm and frequently choppy. This car can jar if tar strips or pavement seams are wide enough to simultaneously hit both front tires or both rear tires, but there’s an impressive absence of structural flex.

Viper’s extraordinary width, low center of gravity, and steamroller tires provide uncanny grip, plus race-car response in changes of direction. Unless speed is excessive, the suspension is pliant enough to keep Viper on course through bumpy corners. Faithful, nicely weighted steering adds to the Viper experience. Resolute stopping power can be expected, with fine brake modulation and little discernible nosedive.

Because the big V10 engine turns only 1400 rpm at 70 mph, in sixth gear, it’s quiet while cruising. Still, even mild throttle input triggers an intrusive ear-level roar from the side exhaust outlets. Wind and road noise are always present, but no more meddlesome than in other high-performance convertibles, top-up or top-down.

Self-evident controls include generic Dodge audio and climate systems. Instruments have trendy black markings and white faces. The tachometer identifies rev limit by a mere change in hashmark color rather than a bold redline, which seems odd for a sports car in this league. Also, the speedometer and fuel gauge suffer sunlight reflections. Rich upholstery is pleasing, but the cabin’s only relief from common matte plastic and textured vinyl are some metal trim pieces.

Firm, form-hugging seats are supportive in turns, but a chore to climb into and out of. Lack of a tilt steering wheel may annoy some drivers, too. Seats have only manual fore/aft and backrake adjustments (no height adjustment). Close-set pedals are skewed far to the left, but power pedals are a plus. Engine heat turns footwells into virtual ovens–and doorsills are hot to the touch from the exhaust pipes within.

Intrusive angles jut into the trunk walls and floor, but a few soft bags will fit. The heavy trunklid must be opened for clearance to raise or lower the convertible top. In-cabin storage is limited to a small center console and a dashboard glovebox.


Model Tested: 2005 Dodge Viper SRT-10

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 10
Fuel Economy - 2
Ride Quality - 2
Steering/Handling - 10
Quietness - 2


Controls/Materials - 5
Room/Comfort Front - 2
Room/Comfort Rear - --
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 3

Total: 38


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.8 175.6 75.2 47.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
8.4 18.5 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.5 42.4
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.8 175.6 75.2 47.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
6.3 18.5 2
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
36.5 42.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Exhaust system
Description: Exhaust crossover causes cabin temperatures to be uncomfortably high in warm weather. (2003-07)
Poor transmission shift
Description: Poor acceleration when shifting from first to second gear, after sitting (such as at a red light) in hot weather with a hot engine is corrected by flashing the engine control computer. (2003
Steering problems
Description: Power steering additives containing Teflon can plug up the filter in the fluid reservoir. (2004-05)
Convertible top
Description: The tonneau cover can be worn through at the ends by the tensioners, but protective caps are available to prevent rubbing. (2003-05)
Description: The trunk may be hard to close (must be slammed) because the flange under the weatherstrip is too high and must be cut down near the center. (2003-05)

Recall History

2003 Viper
Description: Fuel pump wiring may become chafed by underbody heat shield, which could cause fuse to open, resulting in engine stalling.
2003 Viper
Description: Multifunction switch contact may corrode, causing headlamps, parking lamps and/or instrument panel to flicker or become inoperative.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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