2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
Class: Sporty/Performance Car
Miles driven: 214
Fuel used: 14.5 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 14.7 mpg
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B-|
|Power and Performance||A+|
|Fit and Finish||B|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||797-hp 6.2 liter|
|Engine Type||Supercharged V8|
|Drive Wheels||Rear-wheel drive|
Driving mix: 15% city, 85% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 13/22/16 (city/highway/combined)
Fuel type: Premium required
Base price: $58,995 (not including $1495 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Customer Preferred Package 27Z (Redeye; $11,000), Plus Package ($1695), Driver Convenience Group ($1095), Harman Kardon audio system ($1595), Widebody Package ($6000), SRT Performance Spoiler ($695), 305/35ZR20 P Zero summer tires ($695), Uconnect navigation ($795), black brake calipers ($495), Gas Guzzler Tax ($1700)
Price as tested: $86,255
The great: Power…power…and more power
The good: Rides amazingly well for a car with this kind of performance potential sporting very low-profile tires; useful back seat and trunk; good control layout
The not so good: Steep pricing; fuel economy (and on premium gas); noise
More Challenger price and availability information
Those of us in the Boomer Generation like to think we know a few things some younger people don’t: how to wear a ball cap, how to do math in our heads, what it’s like to drive a REAL muscle car.
Well, in the words of the immortal Meat Loaf (look him up, kids), “Two out of three ain’t bad.”
As we’ve covered the Redeye in a track-focused First Spin and the “regular” Hellcat in a local Test Drive review, we invite you to read those reports for more details. In this one, we’ll convey some additional road impressions of the current top dog of the Challenger lineup (now that the one-year-only 2018 SRT Demon has left the building).
While it’s unlikely traction has a significantly tougher struggle against the Redeye’s 797 horsepower vs. the regular Hellcat’s mere 717, there’s no question it’s a fight traction loses — in rather spectacular fashion.
But as any good street racer will tell you, smoking tires is just wasting time … and the Hellcat can smoke tires with the best of ’em. Yet putting down 700+ ponies through street-legal rubber is a contest frictional coefficients aren’t going to win. So something has to intervene if global warming is to be kept in check.
In modern cars, that “something” is traction control. (Back in my day it was simply “restraint,” which typically didn’t work all that well.)
Trouble is, traction control is really intended to keep cars on the straight and narrow when the going gets slick, not rein in the enthusiasm of 797 horses. For that, you need something a little more…understanding. Which was a concept amply demonstrated during our acceleration tests.
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In the first two 0-60 runs, the Redeye stopped my G-Timer accelerometer at 5.3 and 5.4 seconds, respectively. While great numbers for almost any other car, they clearly aren’t for one with this kind of power. And it was easy to see the problem.
Immediately after launch, the tires would start to spin, which would cause the traction control to cut power. When traction was restored, power would come on again, the tires would spin, and … yep … power would be cut. This seemed to occur a couple of times a second up to about 50 mph as the car sort of stuttered down the road.
Clearly, Dodge recognized this to be a concern. While you certainly want a tight rein on tire spin in slippery conditions, on dry pavement, you need something more … lenient.
Enter Launch Control.
Although it has to be engaged manually, activating Launch Control is a simple and relatively quick process on the Redeye: Punch a dashboard button, press hard on the brakes, floor the gas pedal, release the brakes, and … “Houston, we have liftoff.” Oh, there was still tire spin and engine surging, but there was more of the former and less of the latter. And the G-Timer flashed 3.75 seconds.
With more time and a serious lack of social decorum, one could probably have done a few burnouts to get the tires nice and tacky and brought those figures down a couple of tenths. But that’s what drag strips are for. If it’s simply a matter that Grandma’s late to bingo, this should do rather nicely.
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2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye
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