By on August 8, 2018

2019 Dodge Challenger

I’ve always admired the Dodge Challenger for being very clear about what kind of car it is.

It is not a crossover pretending to have off-road chops. It is not a wagon pretending to be an SUV. It is not a four-door “coupe” that’s really a hatchback.

It’s simply a large American muscle car that offers a V8, loads of available power, and operates as a throwback to an era that existed before most folks younger than Baby Boomer age were born.

In short, it doesn’t mess around.

You know what you’re getting when you step into the Challenger – lots of mass and lots of power. For the 2019 model year, Dodge is sticking with the formula while addressing some long-stand concerns, such as handling. Dodge is also doing some DNA scrambling between the Hellcat and the late, limited-production Demon drag-strip car. All this mad-scientist work in the lab means Dodge has come up with some truly insane numbers.

(Full disclosure: Dodge flew me to Portland, Maine, put me in a nice hotel with media-themed décor, fed me excellent meals (there was lobstah), and gave me several laps in two different versions of the Challenger on a private race track. They offered me a hat, which I did not take).

Some of those insane numbers: 797 horsepower and a 203 mph top speed. Yup, 200 mph from a Dodge Challenger.

That particular Challenger is the SRT Hellcat Redeye, and it also offers 707 lb-ft of torque. That’s the fat cat of the lineup. The “regular” Hellcat now generates 717 horsepower and 656 lb-ft of torque.

2019 Dodge Challenger

The Widebody package made available on the 2018 Hellcat is now available on the Redeye model as well as on the R/T Scat Pack model. Opting for the Widebody package gets you fender flares that adds 3.5 inches, as well as 20-inch wheels measuring 305 mm wide.

Select Widebody for the R/T Scat Pack and you also get stiffer front springs, retuned shocks, and larger front and rear sway bars. The suspension has adaptive damping, the front fascia gets a splitter for cooling, and the rear spoiler is borrowed from the Hellcat. The six-piston Brembo front brake calipers grow larger.

We’ll discuss the R/T Scat Pack a bit later on in this review, along with other changes to the Challenger lineup. Let’s circle back, Dante-style, to the Hellcat Redeye.

The Redeye arrives with the Demon’s 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 under its hood, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The supercharger itself displaces 2.7 liters, boost pressure jumps from 11.6 psi to 14.5, the rev limit is 300 rpm higher at 6,500, and there are now two dual-stage fuel pumps, instead of just one.

2019 Dodge Challenger

Induction is helped along by new dual-snorkel hood (two scoops instead of one), an air intake along the driver-side headlamp, and an inlet near the wheel liner. The Redeye has the same air chillers, high-strength steel prop shafts, and 41-spline half shafts from the Demon, along with the same torque reserve system. Two final drive ratios are available – 2.62:1 or available 3.09:1.

Although there are changes to the “lesser” cars in the lineup, and the dragstrip-focused 1320 is also part of the crew now, Dodge gave us the chance to drive just the Hellcat Redeye and the R/T Scat Pack on track and on road.

On road, I was mostly well behaved with both, in part because of traffic and in part because of a desire to avoid Maine and New Hampshire’s finest officers of the law. That didn’t stop me from digging into the throttle here and there when the coast was clear, especially in the Redeye. Just tickle the throttle and you’re jumping forward with alacrity of the type that can scare passengers who’ve never sat in anything faster than a V6 Camry. You can leave each stop sign with immature tire squeals that induce giggles. All without doing anything to the drive modes or safety nannies.

2019 Dodge Challenger

The exhaust provides a great soundtrack for a drive – screw the radio. Needless to say, highway passes are effortless, except for that part about not overdoing it and finding yourself signing a ticket.

Other than the excess of power on tap and the exhaust note, the on-road experience of driving the Redeye isn’t much different from what came before. The ride is about the same, with the same mix of stiffness and large-car comfort as before, and the car felt composed in corners.

That exhaust note does get tedious at highway cruise speeds, however.

On track, the Redeye handled better than anything carrying that much power and mass (nearly 4,500 pounds for a Redeye Widebody) should, and it felt slightly better than the previous Hellcat. But the track star is the Scat Pack Widebody.

2019 Dodge Challenger

Around a couple hundred pounds lighter (depending on trim) and armed with the performance-tweaked suspension, the Scat Pack is far more responsive in corners than the Redeye. Yes, it offers less power (485 horsepower, 475 lb-ft of torque), but that also means you don’t have to be quite as cautious with the throttle on corner exit.

The track we took the cars to, Club Motorsports in New Hampshire, is a bit technical, with one long straightaway. Both Challengers handled the track well, but the Scat Pack was noticeably more agile, with quicker reactions. The Redeye seems better suited to courses with lots of straightaway between turns (think Road America), but it’s a matter of “good” versus “better” as opposed to “bad” versus “good.”

For some reason, I actually felt more comfortable in the Redeye, even though the Scat Pack was better suited to the job at hand. I don’t know if it was just that I happened to run better lines during my Redeye sessions, or if the car’s power helped me make time in the straight sections after I made a mistake, or if I was just more respectful of its power, thus not upsetting the car by getting on the gas too early upon corner exit. Whatever, maybe I am just weird – at the end of the day, both cars handled better on track than one would expect, given their size or even my most recent track experiences in previous Challengers (including Hellcats).

2019 Dodge Challenger

Dodge arranged things so we’d get plenty of track time (I sacrificed about 30-45 minutes for photos), but my unfamiliarity with the track meant I spent my early laps learning the line. One normally wouldn’t take to an unfamiliar track in a car with 4,500 lbs of mass and nearly 800 horsepower, but the Challenger was easy enough to drive – just be gentle, especially in the Redeye.

I did have a couple of “oops” moments, but nothing that truly worried me. There was one bit of easily corrected oversteer when I goosed the gas too early, and I encountered controllable understeer a time or two after making a mistake with the line or application of gas or brakes. While I am sure that there will be at least one owner who gets in over his/her head and biffs their new toy (and goes viral while doing so), the experienced track driver should be able to handle these cars after a bit of acclimatization.

Both Challengers still have a ways to go to handle as well the more track-focused versions of the Mustang or Camaro, or at least the ones I last drove (it’s been a while).

Just like you could with the Demon, there is a rear-seat delete option for both the Redeye and Scat Pack.

After driving out to the track in a Redeye, I wheeled back to the hotel in a Scat Pack with the six-speed manual – the same car I used for some of the photos you see here. The six-speed remains bulky and notchy yet accurate, with a slightly heavy clutch. That’s unchanged from before.

2019 Dodge Challenger

“Unchanged from before” describes a lot of the Challenger experience. You’ll notice I didn’t bother with interior photos – that’s because it’s mostly the same, with some minor badging and trim differences/changes. The most noticeable difference is the hood – the Redeye has the double hood-scoop look, while the Scat Pack borrows the hood from the previous Hellcat. You know, the aluminum one with the single hood scoop and the heat extractors.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t subtle changes. The basic Hellcat has standard houndstooth cloth seats and several leather and alcantara seat options, and it also has a 200-mph speedometer and flat-bottomed steering wheel. Pop for the Redeye and you get a 220-mph speedometer and Redeye logos appear in key places (such as the key fob itself).

2019 Dodge Challenger

The Hellcat, Hellcat Redeye, and Scat Pack come standard with the usual array of performance drive modes, launch control, line lock, performance pages, and launch assist. Other available features listed on the Monroneys of one or both cars I drove included forward-collision warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection, satellite radio, sunroof, premium audio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated front seats, heated and cooled front seats, navigation, Fiat Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system, USB port, Bluetooth, and power tilt/telescope steering wheel.

The stick-shift Scat Pack I drove rang the register at $55,550 (including $1,395 destination and delivery) and the Redeye cost $89,405 including the same destination fee. The Widebody package on each car was $6,000, and selecting the package that turns a Hellcat into a Redeye costs $11,000.

2019 Dodge Challenger

Lest we forget that there are other Challengers in the lineup, the SXT and GT models with rear-wheel drive get a performance suspension and “enhanced” steering, plus the houndstooth cloth seats, a new hood and front splitter, and 20-inch wheels.

There’s also the drag-race oriented Scat Pack 1320 model, which basically uses the drag bits from the Demon while keeping the Scat Pack engine. It only comes with one seat – the passenger seat and rear seat are available as $1 options.

Base pricing across the board works as follows (excluding destination): $27,295 for the SXT, $29,995 for the GT, $30,295 for the SXT AWD, $32,995 for the GT AWD, $34,100 for the R/T, $38,995 for the R/T Scat Pack (the 1320 is a $3,995 package and automatic-transmission-only), $58,650 for the Hellcat, and $69,650 for the Hellcat Redeye. All models have a $1,395 destination and delivery fee, and the manual-trans Scat Pack and both Hellcats get whacked with a gas-guzzler tax: $1,000 on the Scat Pack and $1,700 on the Hellcats.

2019 Dodge Challenger

There’s a certain level of insanity at play here, especially with the Redeye. An insanity we’ve already seen from FCA – a company that also makes Hellcat Chargers and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and, of course, offered the Demon for public sale. But it’s a focused sort of insanity. Fiat Chrysler isn’t just building these cars because it can, or because there’s a market for them, or because of Dodge’s history, or because the brand has some weird aversion to green cars (there’s nothing stopping FCA from building more hybrids and EVs while also offering cars like this).

It’s building these cars because even in an era where we’re all sensitive (rightly so) to environmental concerns and fuel economy (speaking of which, my drive partner and I saw 21-22 mpg during our road drives), there’s still something magical about a screaming supercharger and horsepower numbers that were once reserved for NASCAR. With some sort of autonomous future possibly awaiting us, it’s nice to jump into a car that has a brute-strength outlook on life – even if yes, that car has an automatic trans and safety nannies that help keep you out of the weeds.

2019 Dodge Challenger

Change is often good, but sometimes, it’s best to keep doing what you’re already doing, and just do it better. That’s what Dodge and FCA have done here.

Neither will make any apologies for it.

[Images © 2018 Tim Healey/TTAC]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

40 Comments on “2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye and R/T 392 Scat Pack First Drive – Different, Yet Still the Same...”


  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The widebody scat-pack would be the sweet spot for me. Plus the flares help break up the slab sides on the car.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOldChryslers

      I agree. If I lived somewhere that I could drive this year-round, the Scat Pack widebody would be very tempting.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I just bought a Scatpack “narrow body”, I don’t like the widebody at all. I think it could have been done much better. I drove my 5.7 R/T year round in NW Ohio, I see no reason the Scatpack will have any more problems getting around than it did.

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      Having driven a Scat Pack, I will tell you it is just a great package. And it is far more comfortable than a Mustang or Camaro. I figure a Camaro is faster around the track, but driving daily I think a little more size and comfort is the winner.

  • avatar
    threeer

    While both are far, far from my budgetary limits and are completely useless in the sense of what I actually need a car to do…I am unashamedly tickled that cars like this still exist today. I suspect that in the not-too-distant future, we’ll look back wistfully at vehicles like this as we climb into our standard white blobs that shuttle us off to work or wherever with little to no soul. Bravo, FCA…Bravo.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Except with the Model 3’s all-wheel-drive, you’ll actually see 3.3 to 3.5 times. Probably not the case with the two-wheel drive dodge.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I am quite sure a 3 is NEVER cross shopped vs. a Challenger.
    If e cars are the sun and moon to you. Fine.

    Just let us enjoy our V-8 s!

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      EV’s are fast no doubt just boring in their execution. They all ask the question “How can we slavishly emulate the digital driving emulator?” The Redeye might be a few ticks slower but it’s imperfect nature via its internal combustion engine has so much more character.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Yes only 296 miles and then fill up in 5 minutes and drive another 296 miles, and so on and so on, plus the ability to go fast without having to first dive into special “go-fast” menus to condition batteries.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Sounds like you made a good choice by purchasing your EV then. I’m glad you’re happy with your car.

        For those of us that don’t find refuelling to be particularly onerous, we’ll probably stick with ICE for now.

    • 0 avatar
      PJmacgee

      Big3, awesome tasteful trolling, thank you sir. “range anxiety…only 296 miles”, that’s hilarious, something to consider with super duper gas-guzzling muscle cars (and many motorcycles).

      I get so sick of the ignorant comments on here about EV range anxiety. Like everyone read a review of a 2011 Nissan Leaf and that was pretty much all they ever needed to know about EVs…

      Once “5 minute charging” comes online in a few yrs, vroom vroom sounds (oh yeah, and “character”) is really all that’s left for the Challengers of the world.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I argue with myself regarding my fantasy garage, do I go with the mature choice of the wide body scat pack or is it possible that I would choose the key that *only* allows for 500 hp on the hellcat most of the time? The struggle is real, I think I would go with my inner early 90’s ttop driving self and get the Hellcat just in case i need 707 hp.

    I adore FCA for building these cars and IMHO pricing them within the grasp of a normal fella. It would take some doing, but a guy could work and save to owning one, the HC’s are already showing up used in the early 50’s with low miles and not appearing to be rung out. A few passes down the strip by the previous owner does not bother me a bit, I believe that FCA has built a large amount of robustness into these machines, which is also part of the allure. Brutal power once reserved for the dainty rarely driven super car available with a warranty for easy DD use. What is not to love?

  • avatar
    John R

    FCA is going to sell every single one of those widebody Scat Packs.

    Is the SRT Chally still a thing or does the widebody Scat Pack make it moot?

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      The SRT is still around. I think the interior is still nicer than that in the Scat Pack, but I doubt there’s much of a performance upgrade at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I think as of the 2019 MY, the SRT badge is reserved for supercharged versions. I was looking at the complete list on offer in 2019 on the Challenger forums, all the 6.4s are listed as ScatPaks now. They had an SRT 6.4 version in 2018 but that isn’t listed now.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I feel like the siren song of Dodge is going to get my next year when I replace the Buick.
    Realistically speaking, I should get something like a Pasat R Line or Elantra Sport since my commute is almost completely town driving and I have alternatives for spirited driving otherwise.
    But a 392 Challenger or Charger have made their ways to my short list. And I keep thinking it is against my better judgement.

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Widebody Scat pack looks really good but man $55k. The Bullit loaded up comes in at $50k or $51k. All the things I want are too expensive for me.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “The stick-shift Scat Pack I drove rang the register at $55,550…”

    Tim, you’re being inaccurate here. You’re not disclosing the monthly bill for new rear tires evaporated during lurid smoky burnout sessions. I’m figuring the tab would be five Benjamins a month, easy.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    To each his own, I suppose, but you’re right – there are many ways to worship at the feet of the great god MPH.

  • avatar
    KevinC

    I’m beginning to think that Big3 is the reincarnation of BTSR. So much trolling.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      Just so we’re clear, the TM3 has about as much luxury as a Chevy Bolt.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        What makes the Model 3 so luxurious, exactly? Because the interior bits are only GM-grade if we’re generous. So what does that leave you that the Bolt doesn’t have? A few gadgets, and maybe a marginally better ride from the longer wheelbase and lower centre of gravity?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Reliability? Compared to what exactly? I am not up to speed on the TM3, if per chance it is a reference to anything Tesla than I am more than comfortable wagering on the Challenger. I have yet to meet a Tesla owner whose car has not been on a rollback.

      Name a more reliable 700 hp car than the HC….

    • 0 avatar
      MLS

      1) Coupe buyers generally aren’t concerned about rear seat legroom.
      2) Styling is highly subjective. In my eyes, Model 3 resembles an anonymous blob cobbled together for a car insurance commercial. And the Model X is best left unmentioned.
      3) Luxury?
      4) Reliability unproven.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    I’ve got a 14 RT M6 that I daily drive. The 1320 is squirming like a toad in my head right now. I already have snow tires even….

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    A bullet train or a jetliner is faster than either one of them. And both will give you just as much character or visceral fun as any disposable electric appliance.

    Who cares how ‘fast’ an EV is if it offers none of the mystique, thrills, or pride of ownership that a REAL performance car does? Tesla arguably makes the more attractive electic cars but they still come off as the fetus of some kind of space porpoise. They don’t offer the character or rumble of a V8, and NO a pair of speakers under the bumper doesn’t cut it. At that point, its just as much a lie as if someones wife looks like Kathy Bates but has pics of Pink in their phone.

    If you like electric cars, fine…go buy one. I’m sticking with my Hemi Challenger…a REAL car.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    At least they felt confident enough in it to let you out on a track. I like the Scat Pak a lot but it’s one of the thirstiest cars I’ve driven. What I’d like to see are track times of the Scat Pak vs the SXT.
    I’ve never driven the 300-hp version but I am curious if that’s enough power to haul that amount of vehicle around.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      When I drove the predecessors to these cars at the last press launch, I put up video of both. I can’t say what the current laptime gap is but I can probably dig up the old gap.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      It does, but it’s not enough to satisfy me. I’ve driven every Challenger model since it was introduced in ’08. The R/T I had satisfied me quite well for the almost 8 years I had it. When my money got right, I was thinking (for about 2 seconds) and going “sensible”, and getting an SUV with 4WD, but I quickly decided that at this point, I just wanted to get the exact car I wanted, with no compromises, and that was a Challenger Scatpack A8, leather, dynamics package, and the HK stereo, which in hindsight, was an overpriced mistake, it doesn’t sound as good as the mid range “Sound Group II” unless it’s cranked WAYYY up. If you can afford it, at least get the R/T, but the 6.4’s fuel economy hit so far compared to my ’10 R/T has been ZERO. Same fuel economy to the tenth of an MPG, 16.0 average. The 3.6 SXT doesn’t do much better.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Ideological nonsense aside, they’re two cars in a similar price range that offer similar acceleration performance. Mentioning the Corvette is about as relevant.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    I found a track compare from 2014. Interesting. It appears that the lighter V6 makes for better transitions, etc.

    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/track-analysis-challenger-v6-track-pack-hemi-scat-pack-srt-hellcat/

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I still wish I could get 6-speed manual with more doors (Charger ScatPack).

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’ve had a couple of Hemi Charger R/Ts as rentals lately, and I have to admit, they are silly fun. I can’t really wrap my mind around *hundreds* more HP than that though. They drive and ride nicely, though the interior is pretty dire – is the Challenger better? The nicer 300s are actually REALLY nice inside now.

    I don’t think I would ever buy one, but a good time on someone else’s dime for sure. When you get on it that motor sounds like an artillery barrage. Though 14mpg (at $4+/gal) driven gently in suburban LA was a tad sobering.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Corey Lewis: Make no mistake, the GS F is still a thing, and it still has a 5.0. It’s $84,000.
  • Corey Lewis: I think they are ExtremeContact Sports. I’ll be using 93.
  • Corey Lewis: Dealer just issues a temp tag. The Texas ones are good for 60 days.
  • Corey Lewis: It was dark back there and I was more tired than anything. I did scoot too far back though. Nobody...
  • ajla: @Dan: I think every TTAC commenter has replaced their vehicle over the past 20 months so you pretty much have...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States