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.

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]

Chris Tonn
Chris Tonn

Some enthusiasts say they were born with gasoline in their veins. Chris Tonn, on the other hand, had rust flakes in his eyes nearly since birth. Living in salty Ohio and being hopelessly addicted to vintage British and Japanese steel will do that to you. His work has appeared in eBay Motors, Hagerty, The Truth About Cars, Reader's Digest, AutoGuide, Family Handyman, and Jalopnik. He is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, and he's currently looking for the safety glasses he just set down somewhere.

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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?

  • Alan Like all testing and analysis work you need a good set of requirements. If you don't you'll find or end up with gaps.
  • Alan In aviation there is more vigourous testing, well, until Boeing changed things.
  • Alan This outcome was certain.The US, Australia and Canada need to approach this differently. A policy towards plug in hybrids should of been a first step. As in CAFE gradually tighten FE from there.There's no reason why you can't have a 2 litre F-150 with electric motors putting out 400-500hp. A 2 litre turbo is good for 200hp more than enough to move a pickup.Also increase fuel tax/excise every year to fill the void in loss of revenue.
  • Doug brockman hardly. Their goals remain to punish us by mandating unsafe unreliable unaffordable battery powered cars
  • Lorenzo It looks like the curves are out and the boxy look is back. There's an upright windscreen, a decided lack of view obstructing swoop in the rear side panels, and you can even see out of the back window. Is Lexus borrowing from the G-Class Mercedes, or the Range Rover?
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