We’ve loved the third generation Challenger since it made its return in the mid-2000s after a 20+ year hiatus. When the SRH Hellcat model was unveiled in 2015, it marked the return of American music and wowed us with its power. Fast-forward to present-day, news recently surfaced that the Challenger and Hellcat as we know it is being shelved as Dodge’s parent company Stellantis Group begins its shift to an all-electric line-up. Fortunately for us, Dodge delivered a 2022 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat to our doorstep for a week-long test-drive… and we’ve giving our thoughts.
One of the cool things about the modern-day Challenger is that it looks like it could have come out of the 1970s, especially with its roaring V8 engine and retro looks. Still, the Challenger, specifically the Hellcat, boasts a lot of technological advances you would not see in the past. You have a sleek touchscreen infotainment system and insane horsepower numbers — 717 if you are carrying the red key fob. That’s a lot of power and what makes it so much fun to drive.
One thing to note: this is the “widebody” edition, which gives it a more aggressive look and 2.5-inch wider track to help you hit those corners faster.
What’s New For 2022?
For the 2022 model year, Dodge does not alter the Hellcat-power Challenger. Unfortunately, for purists, the six-speed manual transmission is no longer standard, though they are available in non-Hellcat Challengers. Aside from that, it’s otherwise identical to the 2021, though they now come with a high-end security system is now included as standard equipment.
The Engine and Performance
To say the Challenger SRT Hellcat has power is an understatement. When you are equipped with the vehicle’s red key fob, you unlock 717 ponies of horsepower, thanks to a 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8.
The 8-speed paddle-shift automatic transmission is the standard for the 2022 Hellcat. Though using the paddles to shift manually is fun and makes you feel more in control, we always feel as though automatic shifting does a much better job than any human can do on their own. Acceleration from 0-60 mph takes an astonishing 3.6 seconds, and it can reach a top speed of 203 mph. We did not get it up to those sorts of speeds, but flying down the highway upwards of 100 mph feels smooth. When you are stuck in traffic, you feel as though you are wasting all that impressive power. But when there is open road, it’s a fun car to drive.
With launch mode, you will have a fun day at the track drag racing. However, it is heavy so handling isn’t on par with other sports cars in its class, but with the Widebody option you do get some relief. All in all, it’s important to remember that the Challenger is a formidable car and you need to respect its power. With just a little pressure on the gas pedal, you are moving. If you slam your foot on the gas immediately or accelerate too fast around sharp turns, you may lose control. So, as stated, respect its power.
Respectable Comfort Levels & Nice Interior
The Hellcat is surprisingly comfortable, despite its extreme level of horsepower. All but the biggest bumps in the road are smoothed out by the adaptive suspension, which is both firm and pliable. An easy-to-use climate control system further enhances the convenience, making even the hottest summer days bearable.
Additionally noteworthy is the seating comfort. We drove for more than 10 hours in a few days and the seats were plush and comfy. No discomfort to report here. The Carbon & Suede interior package is a nice touch too, as well as the cooled and heated power seats. A moonroof would be a bonus, but honestly, you’d almost never think to use it if it did.
As far as the audio system, the 18-speaker system is courtesy of Harmon Kardon. It sounds amazing and the subwoofer in the truck gives you enough bass to enjoy your playlist on a road trip.
The tech you would expect is included: Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a backup camera, remote start and even blind spot monitoring.
The Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody starts starts at $74,125.
It’s surprising how much power is packed into the Challenger Hellcat Widebody, but still has enough room for a few passengers and their luggage in the truck. For a sports car, that’s very appealing.
In all, it stays true to the muscle car mold that birthed it. It is a blast to drive, and even more fun when you’re driving a straight line, especially when you can perform a smokey burnout at will. You won’t win any races on a windy race track, but is anyone really buying a Hellcat for that purpose?
For it’s price and the amount of power it packs, its a fun car that’ll take you on a ride that is well worth the price of admission.