REVIEW: 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody – Priorities Perfectly In Line

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Looking for a muscle car that has all of what you want and none of what you don’t? Dodge may well have the perfect car for you.

What is it? 

The Dodge Challenger is a bigger than life two-door muscle car that makes no apologies. It comes in a variety of trims ranging from shockingly-affordable luxury AWD cruisers to the best factory drag racing car ever produced in the known galaxy. Among all of the various trims and packages resides the R/T Scat Pack Widebody. We almost can’t believe the stuff this car has, and that it thankfully does not have.

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Pricing and trims

The Challenger starts at under $30K. An amazingly well-equipped Challenger GT AWD car with a (relatively) powerful V6 engine will run you less than $40K. At the top of the range, you can spend about $75K on the Hellcat Widebody. A Demon is also available, but it is sort of its own trim and model designed for track days. In between, there look to be about a dozen variants. Ours rang in at $51,116. We won’t pretend to understand the minute details and differences between all of them. However, we know there are legions of fans that do understand all those nuances.

Our particular tester seems to us to be the most Challenger anyone looking for performance first and foremost could get with a budget of around $50K. If you haven’t checked muscle car prices since before the internet, that’s really where the great ones start.

Safety

Before we go too far in the safety category, let us just stop and ask, “Do you really care?” If so, buy the Challenger GT and be sure you get all the safety gear. If not, then you are going to be happy that Dodge seemed to pick and choose what you might really want. You get airbags, stability control, and ABS (this is still America). The only added safety kit seems to be rear cross traffic and blind spot monitoring. Dodge could not resist bundling these with HID headlamps and power folding mirrors and wants $1,095 for the package. Be glad they stopped there and didn’t charge another couple grand for more stuff you don’t want.

Options

Our tester had a $1 option we liked. For a single buck Dodge will take your rear seats out and chuck them in a landfill (kidding, but they really do take them out) and then add a 3:09 axle ratio. If you know what that ratio means you are going to love this car. You also get floor mats and a cargo net that goes in the back where the seats used to be. Want a four-door five-seater almost exactly like this car? Dodge has it and it’s called the Charger.

Our tester also had an optional upgraded infotainment system with a larger screen. Apple CarPlay is included at no charge and so is Android Auto. BMW, Toyota, and Lexus have zero models with Android Auto and 43% of us use that type of phone.

Next up is all the special stuff that makes this car what it really is. The performance options cost a total of about seven grand and the TorqueFlight 8-speed auto adds another $1,595. You get a special suspension, special tires, special rims to hold the tires, special brakes (very cool looking with slotted rotors and painted Brembo calipers), a baby wing on the back, special fender flares (hence the widebody), paddle shifters, and a special instrument cluster that tells how quickly you launched and that sort of stuff. How much of this is really needed on roads at sane speeds? None of it, but this car is not made for people asking that question. It is more of a “Full Send” type of car.

Performance

The engine is a 392 V8 Hemi. That’s a displacement of 6.4 liters for both of you who use the metric system. Dodge has been building 392s since before Barack Obama was born (in the United States). This particular one generates 485 hp. It sure feels like plenty on on-ramps and anyplace you can see the road ahead for a quarter mile. The engine and transmission combo has zero lag, even when loafing around and then being asked to suddenly get up and go. The exhaust sound is perfect. Gutsy with deep bass, but just quiet enough that your neighbors won’t hate you. Much.

Ride and handling

We’ve driven the Challenger GT, the Hellcat, the Hellcat Widebody, and a couple of other trims before this Scat Pack Widebody with 35-series rubber. Every single one of them drives very comfortably even on broken up roads. The cars also stick like glue and have amazing brakes. All of them. Only on a track have we ever broken the rear free and had a bit of oversteer. Muscle cars are not like Miatas. You can’t toss them around by the collar in public.

Seating

The seats in our tester were built to a budget. Dodge calls them “houndstooth cloth performance seats.” We call them partial-power with no heat and inexpensive looking cloth.

We love that the rear seats are removed. Dodge will even ditch the passenger seat if that’s what you want.

Cargo

The trunk is humongous in the Challenger. You could lay down in there. There is no spare tire and the tires are not run flats, so be sure your AAA membership is up to date just in case.

Infotainment and controls

Dodge is part of FCA America and FCA America offers the best infotainments systems. We love the simplicity, easy to learn menus and quality look and sounds from these systems. Our tester had it where it counts and tunes count in our book.

Overall

Dodge is giving you all the go-fast bits here with almost no fluff you don’t want to pay for. If you have fifty grand to spend and want to get the most muscle car possible, we can think of no better vehicle than the 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody.

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John Goreham

John Goreham