Tuesday 25 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Review

Test Drive: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Review

Since I had the 2015 Challenger Hellcat a few months ago, I was not as excited about getting the Charger SRT Hellcat as I would normally be.  I mean, heck, they are both fast Dodges with 707-horses.  So what could be so different?  The answer is A LOT.

So let’s address the differences between the two, other than the obvious fact that the Charger is a 4-door sedan, versus the Challenger coupe.  The first thing you notice is the suspension is different, and the handling feels more refined and responsive.  When you floorboard the Charger in a turn, and that big rear end comes around on you, it seems easier to straighten out. 

When you activate the Launch Mode from a dead stop, the Charger holds straight and true while boiling white smoke out of the rear tires.  For me, the Challenger is a retro muscle car, and the Charger is a true sports car.  You might recall that I spoke extensively about the Challenger scaring the bejesus out me, I never got that sensation with the Charger.

Like Challenger, the Charger sports a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 that is putting out an amazing 707-horses.  My tester has the 8-speed automatic transmission that best shifts from the steering wheel paddles.  Generally, I would prefer a manual tranny in any car over 500-horses, but the automatic somehow works in this beast, and besides, you can’t get it in the Charger.  Not that it really matters, the Charger has a slightly faster top end speed of 204-miles per hour, where the Challenger tops out at 200 even.  Both speedsters sport 650 lb-ft of heart-thumping torque.

See Jerry’s complete 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat Burnout video here.

It is interesting that although this is the fastest, most powerful 4-door sedan in the world, you would feel great pulling up to a high-dollar restaurant, your place of worship, or Texas Motor Speedway.  As with all Hellcats, you’ll get two keys-one red, one black.  The red key unleashes the beast to full horsepower, while the black key will limit the car to just 500-horses.  Suffice it to say, the black key has seen NO action.

The Hellcat is a fairly heavy car, tipping the scales at just over 4500 pounds.  The big V8 adds a lot of weight, but this is a large car, and is quite wide.  What I loved about the car was the interior quality, room for four adults comfortably, and plenty of legroom for all.  The trunk was amazingly large, and these factors make the Charger a car that everyone can utilize if you have a lot of self-restraint.

Hellcat comes loaded with just about everything you can imagine.  The Chrysler Uconnect system is terrific as always, easy to operate, and the navigation system works great.  I enjoyed the Harmon Karden 19-speaker audio system, heated and cooled seats are standard equipment, the back seat is heated, and it has backup camera and steering wheel controls.  Speaking of the steering wheel, it is heated, has finger controls, and it is large and thick.  I used it to hang on when I hit the Launch Mode button.  Also standard are blind spot monitoring, remote start, voice activation, Bluetooth, HID headlights, dual-zone climate control, dual power seats, and much more.

On the exterior, the large front spoiler looks great, the hood is amazing, and the 20-inch by 9.5-inch forged aluminum wheels look awesome.  Only one badge on each front fender tells you it is the Hellcat, but every Corvette, Camaro, and Mustang owner certainly recognizes it.

This car is exhilarating to drive, the handling is amazing, and when you learn the SRT screen on the Uconnect system, and really learn how to configure the car for peak performance, it is an engineering marvel.  When you finally get the tires to grab the pavement, the sound of the exhaust, and the sound of the supercharger winding up, are like nothing I have experienced.

You have to take notice of how solidly this car is built.  In spite of previous abuse from a couple of reviewers before me, the Charger Hellcat is tight, the doors close well, every body part lines up perfectly, and there is zero wind noise inside.  You have to assume that underneath the car, everything including the transmission is heavy-duty; otherwise Dodge could not offer a 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty on this car.

As for fuel economy, it really sucks in town.  Of course, my driving habits could have something to do with that, but 10-miles per gallon causes frequent trips to your friendly gas station.  Amazingly, on the highway, holding it to 65 miles per hour, this supercar will get you 25-miles per gallon.

Price-wise, Chrysler priced this car right at an MSRP of $70,170 and that includes the government’s $1700 gas-guzzler tax.  Of course with cars like this, the marketplace dictates the price and I suspect you can’t touch one of these for less than a six-figure dollar amount.

I wish everyone had the opportunity to drive this car, even if just for 5 minutes.  It is an amazing experience.

What I liked most: Pick something-ANYTHING-it’s awesome.

What I would change:  Not a damned thing.

MSRP: Base price $62,295.  As equipped $70,170.

Fuel Economy: 13 City/22 highway/16 combined (actually got 10 city/25 hwy)

Odometer reading when tested: 1964 miles.

Weight:  4500 Pounds.

Length-Width-Height: 200.3” long/74.2” wide/58.2” High.

Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons

Towing Capacity: N/A

2015 Charger Hellcat in a few words:  Amazing machine, truly amazing.

Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain coverage with roadside assistance.

Car Pro Rating: PLEASE! 5 out of 5 Stars

Dealers:  We have great Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram dealers in Austin, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Fresno, Grand Rapids, Houston, Los Angeles, Lubbock, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Antonio, and San Francisco.

Manufacturer’s website:  Dodge

Jerry Reynolds, the Car Pro

Photo Credit: Dodge