2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody Review - Shred Tires Responsibly

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
Fast Facts

2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody

6.4-liter pushrod V8 (485 hp @ 6100 rpm, 475 lb/ft. @ 4100 rpm)
Six-speed manual transmission, rear-wheel drive
14 city / 23 highway / 17 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)
17.7 (observed mileage, MPG)
16.7 city / 10.4 highway / 13.9 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)
Base Price
$40,390 US / $53,440 CAD
As Tested
$52,065 US/ $65,800 CAD
Prices include $1,395 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can't be directly compared.
2019 dodge challenger r t scat pack widebody review shred tires responsibly

I hardly watch television anymore. I’ve a couple of shows that I keep up with via on-demand or DVR, but generally my time is spent working or with my kids. Occasionally, however, I’ll end up at the in-laws, where invariably they’ll have the old Sony tuned to some half-hearted reality show. One of their faves is Dancing With The Stars, where washed-up tertiary celebs dress in tight clothes and strut for an hour.

Often, one of those stars is a washed-up football player who’s blown through his rookie contract and trying to increase his marketability before the league pension and/or CTE settlement dough starts rolling in. Getting those hulking beasts to move with grace is quite a sight.

You can see where I’m going with this. Yeah, the platform on which this 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody is old enough to vote. But Mopar engineers, in creating this package, have taught this bruising lineman to shake a leg in style.

The possessed elephant in the room are the big brothers in the Hellcat realm — including the Red Eye and the Demon. In that company, the 485hp Scat Pack seems nearly sensible. It’s hard to believe that a pony car with twelve-inch wide tires and nearly five hundred horsepower is the restrained choice, but here we are.

The most noticeable change to the familiar Challenger style is indeed the wide body flares, allowing those 305mm tires to fit. It’s an aggressive look, making the standard narrow body Challenger look almost demure in comparison. Destroyer Grey makes a valiant effort to let the Chally fly under the radar, but they’ll hear you coming for blocks. I’d pick a paint that stands out — B5 Blue (an outrageous $69 option) or Plum Crazy (even more insane at $70) are both great choices.

The interior on my tester was as garish as the exterior was reserved. The bright red Nappa and Alcantara seating surfaces are available when you combine the $1,695 Plus package (which also includes ambient lighting and a heated steering wheel) and the $1,095 Driver Convenience group — which also offers blind spot and rear cross-path detection, HID headlamps, and power side mirrors. It’s not subtle, but the material is grippy and keeps one’s butt from sliding when hustling around corners. It also doesn’t dry very quickly if you get caught in a rainstorm a fair distance from the parking lot and sit down with drenched outerwear — the material was still slightly damp the next morning, though a day in the sun dried it without any nasty smells.

Those seats are plush, with bolstering that isn’t too intrusive for easy egress. The rear seats, per the kids, are similarly comfy once you get back there — the Challenger has proven so far to be the best four-seat coupe for my five-foot-eight daughter, with head and leg room to spare.

The sound. Oh, the sound. It’s easy to get carried away, blipping the throttle at stop lights to get a bit more rumble. The 392 cubic inch Hemi is a loud, willing participant in any stupidity you want to throw at it — just don’t expect to slink away undetected should your stupidity attract unwanted attention.

The pedal placement isn’t ideal for heel and toe action — the dead pedal, similarly, is tiny, offering little space for the left foot beneath the inexplicable foot-operated parking brake. C’mon, Dodge — the tooling has been long paid off on this car. Take fifty bucks out of the next Demon Hellcat Literally-Evil Deathwagon Supreme LeBaron Max Wedge 2,000-hp nuclear/turbine/electric hybrid development budget and integrate an electronic parking brake with a hill hold feature, rather than keep building a car with four pedals for people with, at best, two feet.

Fortunately, for everyday driving heel-toe action isn’t needed — the impressive torque lets you pull away from a corner in nearly any gear with minimal clutch slip. The shift action is much tighter than you’d expect — the lever looks rather long, and the throws do need a firm hand — but it’s not sloppy in the least.

The steering is a bit overboosted, seemingly in an effort to compensate for the wide front tires. Still, you feel exactly what those fat Pirelli P Zeros are up to, and the light action allows you to quickly unwind the wheel should the right toe get a bit too excited.

Yes, even with modern traction and stability controls, the rear end of the Challenger Scat Pack will step out. It’s a beautifully controlled motion, and incredibly fun. My testing was limited to public roads with trees and deer everywhere, so I didn’t get the opportunity to properly liquify the Pirellis — to the immense disappointment to whomever supplies tires to FCA’s Detroit press fleet. It’s remarkable how effortless this big coupe is to wheel briskly.

The brakes stop RIGHT NOW, with a firm, responsive pedal — I never did get deep into ABS, of course, but I’ve got to believe that this would be the best choice from Mopar for track day shenanigans, as the supercharged models at the top of the range seem more likely to heat soak under repeated lapping.

Yes, Dodge built a big coupe that can dance. The Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, incredibly long name and all, has proved itself worthy of being included in the discussion with other Detroit pony cars for road course heroics.

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn]

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  • EBFlex EBFlex on Sep 21, 2019

    "C’mon, Dodge — the tooling has been long paid off on this car. Take fifty bucks out of the next Demon Hellcat Literally-Evil Deathwagon Supreme LeBaron Max Wedge 2,000-hp nuclear/turbine/electric hybrid development budget" Channeling your inner DeMuro I see lol

  • MorrisGray MorrisGray on Sep 30, 2019

    I would like to have a 2 door Charger with manual transmission. My first car was a 1970 Charger R/T 383 magnum with the pistol grip 4 speed transmission. Back then I really wanted a Challenger with side pipes but next bought a 1976 Firebird Trans AM 455ci 4 speed instead. Now I am considering a new 2019 Challenger with manual but really like the Charger body style and might even take the 4 doors if they offered it in manual. I am undecided whether I would purchase the 5.7L or the 6.4L Challenger with manual of course. Does either one run on regular 87 octane?

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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