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Friday 18 August 2017
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2017 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Test Drive

2017 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Test Drive

Yes, I had the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat in 2015, in fact, it was almost exactly two years ago this week. 

So obviously, there must be a lot of changes since I had the last one, right?  Well, actually no, but what car reviewer in his right mind would pass up spending a week in the fastest production car ever produced in America?

The Charger Hellcat still 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 with over 500-horses, but the automatic somehow works in this beast, and besides, you can’t get a stick shift in the Charger. 

The Charger has a top speed of 204-miles per hour, and it doesn’t take long to get there since this sporty sedan puts out 650 lb-ft of heart-thumping torque. It is interesting that although this is the fastest, most powerful 4-door sedan in the country, 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.  I’m still trying to figure out why Fiat Chrysler bothered to send me the black key, I can promise you the key fob battery in it is still at 100% charged.

The Charger 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 very 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 Hellcat 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.  It is working faster now than it did in 2015. 

I enjoyed the heated and cooled seats that are standard equipment, the back seat is heated, and it has backup camera and steering wheel controls. 

Speaking of the flat-bottom 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, a power driver’s seat, 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 immediately recognizes it. 

Options price out at almost $5600 and include the upgraded 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, floor mats, power sunroof, the full-length carbon fiber body stripes, and upgraded tires.

This car is exhilarating to drive, the handling is amazing.

When you learn the SRT screen in 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 what I assume is previous abuse from car 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/60,000 mile powertrain warranty on a car running over 700-horses.

As for fuel economy, it really sucks in town, but who cares? 

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 $74,320 and that includes the government’s $1700 gas-guzzler tax.  Of course with cars like this, the marketplace dictates the price and at times, they bring more than sticker price, at other times, you can get a slight discount.

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

2017 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
  • What I liked most: Pick something-ANYTHING-it’s awesome.
  • What I would change:  Not a damned thing.
  • MSRP: Base price $65,945.  As equipped $74,320.
  • Fuel Economy: 13 City/22 highway/16 combined.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 4900 miles.
  • Official Color:  Octane Red.
  • Weight:  4575 Pounds.
  • Length-Width-Height: 200.3” long/74.2” wide/58.2” High.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gallons.
  • Towing Capacity: 1000 pounds.
  • Final Assembly Point:  Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
  • 2017 Charger Hellcat in a few words:  A street-legal NASCAR that makes a wonderful daily driver.
  • Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/100,000 mile powertrain coverage with roadside assistance.
  • Manufacturer’s website: Dodge