All posts in “Dodge”

2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Review

2020 has been a weird year. No one will argue that. And when things get a little too weird, you seek out things that bring you joy, things that bring you hope, and things that put a smile on your face. Things like classic Americana. Like muscle cars – big cars, big engines, big fun. So after a season of “sensible cars” we reached out to Dodge to see what flavor of Hellcat they were serving up this Autumn. The Durango Hellcat wasn’t available yet, but they offered us a Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody instead. The only thing we knew about it was that it had big ol’ fender flares around the wheel wells and manages to look even meaner than the standard Charger SRT Hellcat. We’d give it a shakedown.

The last Charger Hellcat we tested was two years ago. It was big. It was comfortable. It was loud. It looked mean. And it went like hell. We loved it and we laid burned rubber every opportunity we got. All the roads around our office had twin black squiggly stripes on them. Some short, some almost 100 yards long. It was a riot on wheels. So we were looking forward to driving the ol’ girl again.

The day it showed up, we heard it before we saw it. We knew it was arriving by the engine sound…a half-mile away. The unmistakable deep rumble of the engine through the exhaust pipes was audible from a literal half-mile away. Think about that. The driver wasn’t revving the engine, nor was he squealing the tires. He was simply driving it conservatively (don’t ask me how). The hair on the back of my neck stood up. As it pulled into view, my knees went a little weak. The TorRed (get it?) colored car with matte black hood, roof, and trunk looked amazing and the fender flares made it look incredibly aggressive. The curves of the myriad scoops and grilles and flares gave it a menacing appearance. The matte black wheels finished off the look nicely.

The interior is very straightforward. It’s basic but plush and comfortable. It is a mixture of black leather, caramel colored leather, carbon fiber, and chrome. It was a very comfortable-looking interior and we were not disappointed in that analysis. With a spacious interior and soft seats and surfaces, it proved to be an excellent cockpit from which to pilot the Hellcat, allowing long drives in maximum comfort and sporting drives in well-bolstered stability. Perfect for every Midwestern season, it comes with 10-way electrically adjustable heated seats (both front and rear) and steering wheel. The seats are also ventilated for summer comfort as well. If you can’t get comfortable in this car, you have a serious medical condition. The gauges are a blend of analog and digital. And who doesn’t love a car with a 200-mph speedometer. I was told it’ll make good use of most of that speedometer too, but we didn’t push it anywhere close to that. We like having a drivers license, thank you very much.

The 6.2L supercharged Hemi V8 feels relatively unchanged from our first experience with it. It still makes gobs of torque and horsepower and sounds like a million-bucks. Endowed with 707 hp (!) and 650 lb-ft of torque, it can move the heavy car to 60mph in about 3.6 seconds and keep on scaring the crap out of you all the way to 196 mph. The quarter-mile comes in 10+ seconds. Acceleration in this car literally confuses your brain the first few times you launch it.

Hellcat Engine

With great power comes great responsibility, so Dodge wisely fitted massive Brembo 6-piston brake calipers and dinner plate-sized vented disks to arrest that speed. They slow the nearly 2.5-ton car as quickly and easily as any lighter sport sedan. Pedal feedback is excellent and allows you to modulate the brakes in a simple, straightforward way.

The transmission is an 8-speed automatic, but offers paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. They’re much more responsive than you’d expect. While big horsepower cars like the Charger Hellcat usually respond better to letting the automatic transmission do it’s thing, In Track mode, I felt they really complemented the driving experience. It was also nice to be able to downshift approaching a stop light and listen to that Hellcat engine growl.

Since our last outing with a Charger Hellcat, Dodge has added a few features that make it easier to extract more performance. To complement their launch control, they’ve included a feature called “Line Lock.” If you engage Line Lock, it electronically disengages the rear brake lines, allowing you to step on the brake pedal and only lock the front brakes so you can send maximum power to the rear wheels for more effective launches. Launch control is still available, allowing you to dial up a pre-set rpm level for launch. A new “after run chiller” cools the engine after a workout.

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Headlights

The big draw though, is what comes standard as part of the Widebody option: an improved suspension that gives the car much improved handling. The Widebody Hellcat isn’t just a body change that makes it look cooler and allows wider tires under the fenders. No, it’s really more about the suspension that wheels are connected to. Two years ago when we first drove the standard Charger Hellcat, we found the suspension to be too soft. It was floaty and uninspiring, leaning heavily in corners. It was electronically adjustable though, and switching from Normal to Sport or Track firmed things up, but the base setting was much, much too soft. Even in Sport or Track modes, it was still softer than we liked.

The new Widebody performance adaptive suspension is very firm in Normal mode and feels much more competent right out of the gate. Switch it to Sport mode and it firms up a bit and turns traction control completely off. This is also known as “Burn-the-Tires-Off” mode. This mode really allows you to be a complete hooligan and really play with the car, drifting through roundabouts in smoky lurid drifts. Switch it to Track mode and the traction control returns enough to provide the maximum balance of slip and grip to make the Charger Hellcat Widebody a track-devouring animal. The shock setting on Track is too harsh for everyday roads unless you’re hardcore though. We usually left it in Normal unless we felt like signing our names in rubber paint.

On a winding back country road, in any mode, the Hellcat Widebody just wants to run. It’s suspension is unperturbed by bumps and dips and uneven spots; it stays balanced and controlled and just wants to go faster. On the freeway, it’s comfortable and fast and unflappable. Cloverleaf on-ramps are no challenge – the Charger Hellcat Widebody just rockets around them and allows you to shoot into traffic with surprising ease. This is really the WHOLE package. This isn’t just a one-trick pony muscle car, but a balanced performance car that’s at home on the road and on the track.

Burnout Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody

And the whole time you’re burning up the tires and terrorizing the freeways, you sit in an airy, spacious cabin enjoying the comforts of the cockpit. The smell of the leather seats mixed with the acrid smell of burnt rubber soothes you. The climate control keeps temps at a comfortable spot. The fantastic stereo cranks out one AC/DC tune after another. And the cupholder holds your 32-ounce pop tightly while you drift the car sideways through yet another corner.

The Hellcat engine may be Chrysler’s greatest gift to the world, but the rest of the car provides a marvelous platform to exhibit it’s abilities in. It’s just about perfect. Are there any flaws? Not really. Everything worked perfectly, as expected. Would we change anything about the car? My first thought is to shrink it down in size, but truthfully I loved the enormity of the car. I’m the guy that usually seeks out the smallest car possible to drive, but I loved the sheer size and heft of this car and the fact that DESPITE that size and heft, it still launches harder than an F/A-18 off a carrier deck. The size also adds an intimidation factor. Nobody wants to mess with the 900-lb gorilla.

Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody Seats

If it has a flaw it’s fuel consumption. Fuel consumption is lousy, as you’d expect. There’s a price to be paid for all that fun. But it’s completely worth it. The EPA estimates that you’ll get 12 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway for a combined estimate of 15 mpg. We actually averaged better than that, getting a combined average of 18.5 mpg. Which is pretty darned good for a 707 hp, 2-1/2 ton car.

The base price of the Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody is about $73,000 USD. That’s a pretty reasonable price for such a big comfortable performance rocket like the Hellcat. Our car came in at $85,000 USD with all the various options but it’d be fairly easy to keep the price closer to base if you were so inclined. None of the options on the car were essential, though that Harmon-Kardon stereo system was pretty kick-ass.

It’s amazing to us that for as long as the Charger has been on the market, it neither feels old nor outdated. Dodge does an excellent job keeping it updated and keeping it immensely fun. As long as they keep improving it and expanding the legend, it’ll always keep us wanting more.

Dodge has sold 3 new Vipers so far this year

  • Image Credit: Dodge

Like zombies, these dead cars still sell among the living

Car models come and go, but as revealed by monthly sales data, once a car is discontinued, it doesn’t just disappear instantly. And in the case of some models, vanishing into obscurity can be a slow, tedious process.

That’s the case with the five cars we have here. All of them have been discontinued, but car companies keep racking up “new” sales with them.

There are actually a lot more discontinued cars that are still registering new sales than what we included here. We kept this list to the oldest and most unlikely vehicles still being sold as new, including a couple of supercars.  We’ve ordered the list in order of fewest vehicles sold. Click on the image above to get started.

  • Image Credit: Lexus

2012 Lexus LFA: 1 sale

The first car on this list (which is mostly full of lackluster automobiles) is a supercar: the Lexus LFA. It’s an exhilarating car to drive, and is packed full of interesting technology. Lexus sold a total of 1 LFA coupe so far this year to what we have to guess is a very satisfied customer. By our count, there ought to be 4 more unsold LFAs sitting somewhere on dealer lots in America.

It’s also worth noting that Lexus only sold the LFA for two model years, 2011 and 2012, which means it is by far the oldest new vehicle on this list. It’s also one of the most soul-stirring supercars we’ve ever driven, complete with a V10 engine that revs all the way past 9,000 rpm. Let’s just say we’re jealous of the lone LFA buyer.

Lexus LFA Information

Lexus LFA

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2017 Dodge Viper: 3 sales

Dodge discontinued the rip-roaring Viper after the 2017 model year, but there are still a few left in dealerships around the country. So far this year, Dodge has managed to sell 3 SRT Vipers.

It’s interesting to think that these buyers had the option of driving home in a brand-new mid-engine Corvette, but chose to go in an entirely different direction. Something tells us they won’t be disappointed with its 640-horsepower naturally aspirated V10 engine, even if it’s mounted way out in front of the driver instead of the preferable sportscar location behind the driver.

Dodge Viper Information

Dodge Viper

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2017 Chrysler 200: 3 sales

The Chrysler 200 is actually a pretty nice sedan, with good looks and decent driving dynamics let down by a lack of roominess, particularly in the back seat. Of course, the number of Americans in the market for sedans is rapidly winding down, and other automakers are following Chrysler’s footsteps in canceling their slow-selling four-doors.

Even if Chrysler never really found its footing in the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, apparently dealerships have a few leftover 2017 200s floating around. So far, 3 buyers have decided to sign the dotted line to take one of these aging sedans home.

Chrysler 200 Information

Chrysler 200

  • Image Credit: Buick

2019 Buick LaCrosse

Much has been written about the American shift from sedans to crossovers, and the full-size Buick LaCrosse is one casualty of the times.

Interestingly, Buick sold 1,389 LaCrosse sedans in 2019, its last year of production. That’s certainly not a big number, but it’s not really the worst performance in the dwindling segment. In any case, there are apparently a few still left on lots around the country, because the automaker has recorded 6 total sales so far in 2020.

Buick LaCrosse Information

Buick LaCrosse

  • Image Credit: Chevrolet

2019 Chevrolet Volt: 6 sales

This one stings. We have always been fans of the range-extended plug-in Chevy Volt and the potential it offers to consumers looking to drastically cut their fossil fuel use. In fact, we liked it enough to write a eulogy of sorts.

Sadly, Chevrolet didn’t sell enough Volts to justify keeping it in production. The automaker has sold exactly 6 new Volts so far in 2020.

Chevrolet Volt Information

Chevrolet Volt

This 1970 Dodge Challenger Is Packing 2,500 Horsepower

Whether it’s at cruising nights, car shows or automotive events, we’ve seen our fair share of impressively powered old school muscle cars. Australia’s Rides by Kam makes cars that, comparatively, make even those impressive beasts…

Zombie cars: 9 discontinued vehicles that aren’t dead yet

  • Image Credit: Dodge

Like zombies, these dead cars still sell among the living

Car models come and go, but as revealed by monthly sales data, once a car is discontinued, it doesn’t just disappear instantly. And in the case of some models, vanishing into obscurity can be a slow, tedious process.

That’s the case with the nine cars we have here. All of them have been discontinued, but car companies keep racking up “new” sales with them.

There are actually a lot more discontinued cars that are still registering new sales than what we included here. We kept this list to the oldest and most unlikely vehicles still being sold as new, including a couple of supercars. Every car on this list was discontinued at least two years ago. We’ve ordered the list in order of fewest vehicles sold. Click on the image above to get started.

Last updated January 2019

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2014 Dodge Avenger: 1 sale

Wow. We’re truly amazed. Someone actually bought a brand new 2014 Dodge Avenger in 2019. The Avenger was uncompetitive when it was new, and it’s woefully uncompetitive now. Here’s hoping the sole individual who parked a new Avenger in their driveway in 2019 got a smoking deal.

Dodge Avenger Information

Dodge Avenger

  • Image Credit: Lexus

2012 Lexus LFA: 3 sales

The first supercar on this list (which otherwise is full of highly lackluster automobiles) is the Lexus LFA. It’s an exhilarating car to drive, and is packed full of interesting technology. Lexus sold a total of 3 LFA coupes last year to what we have to guess are very satisfied customers. By our count, there ought to be 5 more unsold LFAs sitting somewhere on dealer lots in America.

It’s also worth noting that Lexus only sold the LFA for two model years, 2011 and 2012, which means it is by far the oldest new vehicle on this list.

Lexus LFA Information

Lexus LFA

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2016 Chrysler Town & Country: 5 sales

The Chrysler Town & Country was already an old vehicle when it was officially killed off in 2016. The basic van was introduced for the 2008 model year, and saw only refreshes until its conclusion eight years later. Some of those updates were helpful and kept the car at least somewhat competitive.

Still, we’re thankful Chrysler replaced it with the Pacifica, a superb van that is arguably the best in the segment. And if you do happen to really like Chrysler’s older minivan offering, the Dodge Grand Caravan is still on the market.

In any case, Chrysler managed to sell five of these minivans so far this year. Here’s hoping the buyer scored a great deal.

Chrysler Town & Country Information

Chrysler Town & Country

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2017 Dodge Viper: 5 sales

The second supercar on our list out is one that we love. We don’t think there are a bunch of unsold Dodge Viper coupes sitting on dealer lots all across America. Nevertheless, five lucky individuals managed to bring new Vipers home in 2019.

At least we know those buyers are out there having fun!

Dodge Viper Information

Dodge Viper

  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

2017 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive: 8 sales

Mercedes-Benz sold the B-Class Electric Drive in the United States from 2013 through 2017. Though the rest of the world gets other versions of the B, only the electrified variant was sold here in the States. And it was never a big seller — just over 3,500 were sold over its production run in America. Now that 2019 has come to a close, we can add eight more to the total.

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive Information

Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Drive

  • Image Credit: Dodge

2016 Dodge Dart: 25 sales

Dodge discontinued the compact Dart back in 2016, just three years after its launch. The automaker just wasn’t able to compete with the segment leaders like the Honda Civic or the sales juggernaut that is the Toyota Corolla. Despite the fact that it’s been dead for several years, Dodge managed to sell 25 Darts in 2019.

Dodge Dart Information

Dodge Dart

  • Image Credit: Jeep

2017 Jeep Patriot: 27 sales

The Jeep Patriot initially launched back in 2007 alongside its more car-like Compass sibling, but while that vehicle got a redesign and is still on sale in Jeep dealerships, the boxier Patriot ended production in 2017.

Apparently there are a handful of Patriots still collecting dust on dealership lots in America, because the automaker tallied 27 total sales last year.

Jeep Patriot Information

Jeep Patriot

  • Image Credit: Chrysler

2017 Chrysler 200: 48 sales

The Chrysler 200 is actually a pretty nice sedan, with good looks and decent driving dynamics let down by a lack of roominess, particularly in the back seat. Chrysler never really found its footing in the ultra-competitive midsize sedan segment, but apparently has a bunch of leftover 200s floating around in America with a total of 48 sold in 2019.

  • Image Credit: Volkswagen

2017 Volkswagen CC: 58 sales

Volkswagen discontinued the CC in 2017, and the slinky coupe-shaped sedan recently got a replacement in the form of the 2019 Arteon. Here’s hoping last year’s 58 CC buyers managed to get a good deal on their new old sedans.

Volkswagen CC Information

Volkswagen CC

2019 Dodge Stars & Stripes Edition Celebrates Our Uniformed Men

In celebration of men and women in uniform, Dodge is introducing a Stars & Stripes Edition for two of its muscle cars — the Challenger coupe and the Charger sedan.

Dodge says its brand is the most popular among American troops in the segments in which the Challenger and Charger compete. That isn’t just hype; apparently, Dodge has data to back it up. But you don’t have to wear a uniform or serve the military to love Dodge’s vehicles. In fact, according to Steve Beahm, Fiat Chrysler’s head of passenger-car brands:

“We have a strong following of buyers who are in the military, as well as many buyers who are patriotic.”

So, what’s new with this Stars & Stripes and package? Well, at $1995, you can add it on a number of Challenger and Charger variants. That includes the R/T, R/T Scat Pack, and GT trim levels. They add a touch of patriotism to a car that already screams “USA!”

There’s an American flag decal on the fender. The kit also includes a matte black body-length stripe, 20-inch gloss-black wheels, and black-painted badges. You also have black cloth seats, a dark interior trim, bronze stitching, and a tiny bronze badge on the dashboard. On the front seats you’ll also find bronze embroideries. Service men and women are awarded the Bronze Star for exceptional valor and heroism on duty. That explains why it’s so abundant in this edition. Or perhaps that doubles as a description for Dodge’s cars, as well.

That’s certainly one way to show one’s love for the troops. Hit the link below to find out more.

VISIT DODGE

Photos courtesy of Dodge

Dodge Charger Teaser Hints At Something Big

A Charger Hellcat Redeye?

Dodge’s Charger has charged on a lot longer than it has any right to. The company still manages to get a lot of sales out of the car despite the fact that it’s actually quite an old car dating back over a decade at this point. Dodge appears to be trying to get even more out of its four-door muscle sedan.

Recently, Dodge released a teaser video that showed a Dodge Charger underneath a sheet. The SRT logo was clearly displayed at the front of the car underneath the sheet. As the shot zooms out, the music intensifies, and the sheet begins to be pulled off the car. That’s when it ends. Right before you can really see anything. 

The speculation is that the Charger will be getting yet another high-performance version. That seems to be Dodge’s plan for just about anything. As vehicles age, they just throw more horsepower at them and keep churning them out. The Challenger is another example of the company doing this.

The most recent high-performance version of that car was the Hellcat Redeye, a 797 hp bull of a muscle car. It now seems that Dodge could give the Charger the Redeye treatment as well. It would likely come with the widebody package and the same engine that’s in the Challenger. However, we also wouldn’t be surprised if Dodge had some other crazy creation up its sleeve. Time will tell.

[embedded content]

Watch the Dodge Demon Rage to 211 MPH

We Knew It was Fast on the 1/4 Mile, but Dang

So, the Dodge Demon is electronically limited to 168 mph. Take that limiter away and the big 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine can make the car go a heck of a lot faster. How fast? Well, some guys took one of the cars minus its speed limiter to the Johnny Bohmer Proving Grounds, which is a lovely little place in Florida to find out.

The description of the video below says previous attempts without all of the goodies included in the Demon Box that comes with the car for the low price of one extra dollar yielded the result of 203 mph. That’s insanely fast.

The video attempt below takes things even further, though. It lets the Demon stretch its legs a little more to 211 mph. The car was equipped with the Demon Box equipment, and we assume running high octane gasoline to get the result. 

The car seems to have no problem whatsoever reaching 200 mph. It then keeps ticking up the speedometer to 211 mph where it holds for a couple of seconds before the driver seems to run out of runway. The car appeared to have no more to give, though, even if there was more runway available. 

You can watch the full run below.

[embedded content]

1942 Dodge WC-56 Command Vehicle

In case you didn’t know, vintage military trucks are a hot thing now. Last week we’ve written about a rare Dodge WC-58 Radio Car and now, we’ve spotted another WWII icon, a 1942 Dodge Command Vehicle— the transport of choice for General Patton himself.

Arriving at the Auburn Spring Auction on May 12, this (still) highly-capable off-roader is an older frame-off rebuild. At its heart, is a six-cylinder Chrysler flathead petrol engine coupled with a 4-speed manual transmission, producing around 100 bhp & 180 ft-lb of torque.

Solid axles on leaf springs front and back ensure the ol’ 4WD Dodge can tackle bumpy terrain, while a folding canvas soft top provides versatility in different weather conditions.

Expected to fetch north of $60K, the truck comes with all the appropriate accessories including an entrenchment tool and axe mounted at the rear, jerry can, spare tire, and even a brass fire extinguisher, presenting itself as it would have in its glorious days.

Bid Here

Photos Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s