Hellcat: the name that brings enthusiasts to their knees. 707 horsepower is a helluva lot of power, especially in a big, aggressive muscle car like the Dodge Challenger. So when it hit the scene last year, everyone and their mother was talking about it. Literally, my mother was talking about it.
So recently, Dodge gave me one for a week, which was probably a mistake for a few reasons. I’ve been one of the biggest anti-Challenger journalists since I drove the R/T last year. If you didn’t read my review, it left me “less than thrilled,” to put it generously. Not to mention my general dislike for American muscle overall.
But the new Dodge Challenger is completely redone, and no one can really hate anything that has 707 horsepower. Not even if it was a 707-horsepower Chevrolet Trax (someone do that). So I put away any previous dispositions, buckled in my seatbelt, and decided to get my driving shoes on for what was bound to be a week’s worth of burnt rubber (and clutches).
Green. It was very green. If you’re going to have a big retro design why the hell would you not make eye-catching colors like green and orange and red?
It paired nicely with the black wheels and the black accents on the front and rear. It’s a beautiful, beautiful car. While I’ve never been a huge fan of retro styling either, the Challenger is one of the few cars that stills wears it well.
As large as it was, my biggest fear wasn’t the exterior, it was the interior. The previous-gen Challenger had one of the worst interiors I’ve ever had the displeasure of sitting in. So I was pretty thrilled when I saw the interior of the new Hellcat.
Chrysler fitted the Hellcat with its nifty UConnect system, which I have always been a big fan of. It lets you go in and do a number of things— like adjust the suspension, gearbox, and traction control.
You can even change from 707 horsepower to 500 horsepower for when you’re feeling a little less enthusiastic. It’s a big upgrade, and even bigger when you consider the car feels noticeably less cheap than it once did.
Now here’s the biggie: how does it drive? To put it straight, it drives like a Challenger.
You’re not going to be cornering this thing, so don’t even try. Where the Hellcat shines is in straight lines and quarter miles. Considering you can blast down a drag strip in 11.2 seconds (10.8 on drag radials), it says something about what this car was made for. 707 factory horses have never been so well used in a straight line.
As much as I hate cars that can’t corner, I sort of admire the Challenger Hellcat for what it is. There’s somewhat of a beauty in the fact that Dodge engineers didn’t even bother to improve cornering drastically over the previous gen.
They just said “F it,” and told everyone how great it was a drag racing. And it is. If you want a car from Dodge that can take corners, buy a Viper.Oh, and did I mention it does burnouts? It does burnouts:
Burnouts aside, at the end of the day, I had a few mixed feelings on the Dodge Challenger Hellcat. If you know me, you know that I love sports cars and sharp corners. It says so on my Tinder profile. So I can’t bring myself to fully appreciate a car that handles about as well as a boat. But on the other hand, a 707-horsepower car that costs $58,295 (base) is essentially witchcraft.
How Chrysler managed to make a car so crazy powerful, so cheap, and yet so much fun in a straight line is beyond me (definitely witchcraft).
So, no, I’m not completely sold on the Challenger Hellcat. I also wear skinny jeans and have ironic tattoos— just so you know the a-hole journalist you’re dealing with. But it really doesn’t matter what I think, because at the end of the day, the Challenger Hellcat — as a whole — is the best American car money can buy. Go out and buy one right now, as if I really needed to tell you that…
Engine: 6.2L Supercharged Hemi V8
0-60: 3.9 seconds
Price: $58,295 (base)
707 horsepower, obviously
Still handles like a boat
Manual gearbox is rough
Did I mention it drives like a boat?