2019 Challenger New Car Test Drive
Launched as a 2009 model, the Challenger is a modern-day revival of a 1970s muscle coupe of the same name. Again exuding unmitigated swagger, it's a vivid reminder of the muscle-car era, brought up to date.
Performance is the byword for 2019. Dodge has launched the SRT Hellcat Redeye, replacing the 840-horsepower SRT Demon. With its supercharged 6.2-liter V8 churning out 797 horsepower and 707 pound-feet of torque, the Redeye can reach 60 mph in 3.4 seconds.
The regular SRT Hellcat's V8 now produces 717 horsepower and 656 pound-feet. Hellcats flaunt a new functional dual-snorkel hood. Compared to the departed Demon, the Hellcat is a more settled-down car for street or track.
A new R/T Scat Pack 1320 option package adds much of the Demon's drag-focused equipment.
The full lineup consists of SXT, GT, R/T, R/T Scat Pack, and the two Hellcats. SXT and GT are available with all-wheel drive as an alternative to standard rear-drive. Hellcats and R/T Scat Pack come in standard or Widebody form.
A 305-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 goes into SXT and GT models, sending 268 pound-feet of torque through a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic transmission. A scooped hood is fitted.
R/T models use a 375-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 that produces 410 pound-feet of torque. A 485-horsepower, 6.4-liter V8 that develops 476 pound-feet powers the R/T Scat Pack. Either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission may be installed. Automatic reduces R/T power/torque ratings slightly.
The SRT Hellcat draws its fire from a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that makes 717 horsepower (up 10) and 656 pound-feet, with a 3.5-second 0-60 mph acceleration time.
The new SRT Hellcat Redeye unleashes a 797-horsepower version of the 6.2-liter V8. It's the previous Demon engine with a different hood scoop and tuning.
Challengers are short on safety technology. A rearview camera is standard. All except SXT get rear parking sensors. Adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts and forward-collision warning are optional, but automatic emergency braking is unavailable.
Crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Challenger five stars overall and for side-impact, but only four stars for the frontal crash and for rollover prevention (a calculated figure). NHTSA doesn't rate SRT models.
Ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety could be better. The 2019 Challenger got a 'Marginal'? score in the stringent small front overlap test. Moderate-overlap and side-impact tests were rated “Good,” with roof strength judged “Acceptable.”.
Prices do not include $1,495 destination charge.
SXT ($27,845 with rear-wheel drive, $30,895 with all-wheel drive) holds a 3.6-liter V6 and includes houndstooth cloth upholstery, keyless entry, power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, rearview camera, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and 18-inch alloy wheels.
GT ($30,395 with RWD, $33,445 with AWD) has V6 power and adds a performance-type hood with functional scoop, performance-tuned steering and suspension, plus 20-inch wheels.
R/T ($34,295) gets the 5.7-liter V8 with rear-drive, active dual exhaust, and bright pedals. Either 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic may be installed.
R/T Scat Pack ($39,995) uses a 485-horsepower, 6.4-liter V8, adding heated cloth performance seats, four-piston Brembo brakes, Line Lock, Launch Control, SRT Performance Pages readouts, and 8.4-inch touchscreen.
SRT Hellcat ($60,695) contains the supercharged 717-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8, with After-run Chiller, adaptive damping, and six-piston brakes.
SRT Hellcat Redeye ($71,695) has the 797-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8, functional dual-snorkel hood with cold-air intake, and Torque Reserve.
A wealth of option groups is available, including R/T Scat Pack 1320, T/A, R/T Classic with stripes, Blacktop, Widebody, Shaker scoop, Performance Handling, and a Technology group with safety features..