2017 Dodge Challenger Hellcat – Tire Roasting Retro Fun
It’s hard to argue that we’re living in a bit of a golden age for cars, and one of the best trends is the retro-throwback muscle-car resurgence we’ve seen. There’s all manner of high-horsepower versions knocking around now from the big three manufacturers, and even the Germans and Japanese are getting in on it. With the recently introduced 840hp Dodge Demon, Fiat Chrysler is re-asserting their authority on the segment, and making this 707hp Hellcat seem tame by comparison. Well, I can assure you – it’s not tame.
From the time you press the start button with the red-key in your pocket, you know there’s something special under the hood. There’s just no denying, even at idle, that this is basically a racing engine for the street. When you get rolling, the supercharger whine further tells you there’s excitement right under your foot. We tested the Charger Hellcat last year, and this Challenger is much of the same, just with a shorter and more retro looking body.
When the Challenger was first reintroduced in back in 2008, it was a bit odd looking – with some mismatched proportions and tiny looking wheels/tires. The car itself looked great, and there was certainly no mistaking the retro inspiration. But this new Hellcat truly looks the part. Extremely aggressive body lines and front lights, coupled with the low chin spoiler and proper sized wheels/tires, it’s a properly muscular profile. And it’s not all show.
The ease with which this car spins the rear tires is somewhat laughable, it’s just instant wheelspin when you have the traction control turned off. And we’re guessing most journalists had already been doing that with our test car, because the rear tires were almost bald already when we got it – and the front tires were like new. But I can’t blame them, it’s just so much fun!
A car like this isn’t bought for convenience features, creature comforts or technology, but this has a decent amount of all that – the seats are comfortable and supportive, and the infotainment system has lots of great features. There are even performance apps you can use to fine tune the engine response, steering and shifting. Sure there are available safety features, but again – this isn’t a minivan. You get this car to enjoy your favorite road on a sunny day – and it will put a smile on your face.
Are there some negatives? Surely you wouldn’t expect a 707hp car to get good fuel mileage, and you’d be right. Also, there are some cheap materials scattered around the interior that take away from what is generally a nice cabin. It’s hard to gripe, however, when you realize you can get a car that’s capable of 10-second ¼-mile passes with the right sticky tires for under $70k. We’ve tested some plain-jane sedans that cost more. This is supercar performance for the money.
Overall, this is car that makes you happy to be a car enthusiast in this day-and-age. We really do have some amazing performance cars to choose from, and for sheer brute power, it’s hard to top this Challenger Hellcat!