2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody review: Meaner and more agile

The Charger SRT dodges the Hellcat widebody no other American competitor offers: a full-size sedan with astronomical horsepower. Ford sedans are completely out of business and Chevrolet is bringing back its portfolio, with both companies focusing on crossovers and SUVs. Thankfully, Dodge is not following that lead.

like

  • Mighty supercharge v8
  • Better handling dynamics
  • Looks mean

do not like it

  • Old age cabin
  • Dazed fuel economy
  • Loses driver-support features

Broad hips over

The new-wide widebody for the 2020 adds 3.5 inches of width compared to the standard charger. In addition to the fender flares, the widebody gets a unique front fascia with a mail-slot grille that provides more direct passage radiator cooling, as well as a new rear spoiler and side mixes with added width. The result is a more menacing design that gets many signs of approval for this sedan.

In addition to a more hawking stance, the wider outer shell allows for the installation of thicker wheels and tires. In the case of the Hellcat, earlier standard 20-by-9.5-inch wheels wrapped with 275/40-series tires are replaced by 20-by-11-inch wheels covered in 305/50-series rubber.

A new wheel and tire package also meant engineers had to rework the Hellcat’s suspension, resulting in new tuning for three-mode Bilstein adaptive dampers, 32% stiffer front springs, and larger anti-roll bars. Other chassis tweaks include a multimode electric power steering system in place of the old full-hydraulic setup, as well as brake upgrades with six-piston front Brembo calipers cut on 15.4-inch, two-piece rotors.

What is the result of chassis modification and Meteor rubber? A more capable charger that creates more confidence through corners. With the track mode activated, the steering response is almost instant, and the dampers keep the 4,587-pound-old guy clumsy in turn. The wide contact patches of the Pirelli P Zero tires give the charger a commendable stick before beginning to move the charger forward, and the brake muscle stiffens, slowing the car down quickly. Where the charger size cannot be changed is under braking and a side-to-side weight transfer, but avoid slalom practice and you’ll be fine.

The Hellcat is rigid in widebody track mode, transmitting effects from every street root in the cabin. Additionally, in track mode, the steering weight is on the heavier side for road use – unless you want a pope-size forearms. Call the Hellcat’s Sport setting for the best balance of performance and comfort. You want the Street Mode for Gentle Behavior, but be sure that the ride quality is not a magic-carpet cushion and the steering is still quite a weight with a small dead spot on the center.

A wider body allows for the installation of wider tires.

John Wong / Roadshow

Supercharged centerpiece

The visual and handling shifts to one side, the main reason anyone buying hell is for the 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 under the hood. It still makes 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque for 2020, but holds up for the 2021 model and you’ll get 717 hp in the Hellcat and 797 hp in the new Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye.

The more powerful 2021 SRT Chargers won’t arrive in dealers until spring, meaning if you want a Hellcat right now, it’s going to be an example with 707 horses, which is hard to pooh-pooh. Not with a 0-to-60-mph run of 3.6 seconds and a 10.96-second quarter-mile run. The Charger Hellcat is a brute that sucks the right noise, becoming a supercharger whine during acceleration with a menacing exhaust note to boot. Throttle response occurs almost immediately, and a tidal wave of power is available on all parts of the rave band to force this sedan forward or spin the rear tires for smokey burnout and donuts.

The supercharged V8 is still the star of the Hellcat show.

John Wong / Roadshow

Power is routed to the Hellcat’s rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, which, in track mode, stops fast but does not shift completely. You can shift it yourself with steering wheel-mounted paddles, which offer respectable response to commands and re-matching on down-shifts. My advice is to allow the computer to do all the shifting, however, the transmission is well programmed.

For the time you’re not trying to find a nice piece of pavement on which to show the smoke, the street setting gives the drivetrain a more mellow personality. The gearbox shifts are smooth and slightly muted. Not surprisingly, the biggest strike against the Charger SRT is poor fuel economy, which is evident in how fast the fuel gauge needle drops. EPA fuel economy is estimated to be returning 12 miles per gallon to the city of this 707-hp beast and 21 mpg on the highway – the number is low enough for a charger to slap with a $ 2,100 gas Gujjar tax. Does this matter to a particular Hellcat shopkeeper? Less likely.

Same as it ever was

Inside is where the charger is showing its age. It is spacious with a straightforward layout and clearly marked controls. The front bucket seats are comfortable with generous side bolts and trimmed with fine leather, while plenty of soft-touch surfaces, an optional suede headliner and genuine carbon fiber trim bring some premium touches to this test car. There is also a nice big trunk at the rear with 16.5 cubic feet of space. Unfortunately, the interior design is now a bit stale and there are some budget rate areas, such as hollow window controls and shimmering plastic lower door panel bins.

The cabin is getting long in the tooth, but infotainment technology is still continuing.

John Wong / Roadshow

What’s not stale is the rugged infotainment system, which has a bumpy 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio setup with a cramped and responsive 8.4-inch touchscreen, controls navigation systems that route, Wi-Fi hotspots, Apple CarPlay and Calculates Android Auto quickly. And to keep anyone from getting a phone or tablet dead in the charger, both lines have multiple USB and 12-volt outlets within easy reach of people.

Sadly, anyone looking for a large driver-assist tech menu will be disappointed. The Charger comes with the Hellcat Federal Mandated Backup Camera and standard blind-spot monitoring and that’s it. Things like adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and forward-collision warning are not available.

Big performance explosion for your buck

Really, when you think what 2020 Dodge Charger The SRT Hellcat Widebody brings to the table for $ 73,590 (including $ 1,495 for Destination and Gas Geysler Tax), a performance deal. And that’s also the truer with the widebody, which allows the Charger to corner in a respectable manner thanks to its suspension changes and larger tires.

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody will set you back $ 73,590 to get you started.

John Wong / Roadshow

The Hellcat Widebody Tester has stickers on here for $ 83,150, with some of the options I would be happy with, such as separate wheels, a sunroof, and some small visual upgrades. My ideal car retains the frostbite paint job seen here, as well as the $ 1,595 carbon-suede interior package. I would also keep the great $ 1,995 Harman Kardon Audio Group, bringing my ideal car’s bottom line to $ 77,180.

Yes, the Charger Hellcat widebody has a lot of drawbacks, but when I walk towards this menacing machine in the parking lot, I don’t think about them. When I engage the launch controls and propel the supercharged V8 rocket, I don’t even think about them because I’m busy laughing happily with lots of laughter. The Charger Hellcat Widebody is a very entertaining machine.

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