Mountain Wheels: Mid-grade Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack offers paleolithic-era delights | SummitDaily.com
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Mountain Wheels: Mid-grade Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack offers paleolithic-era delights

With its wide stance and flared wheel wells, the Widebody version of the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack brings 485 horsepower of old-school automotive fun.
Courtesy photo

It was really not my intention to profile the automotive equivalent of Jurassic Park this week — a high-output throwback model with absolutely no good intentions — but my scheduled electric car either broke down, or went to a more important person than me.

What I ended up with, the 2022 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, with the Hemi Orange appearance package, is the absolute antithesis of the EV revolution. But it had 888 miles on it when I got it, and so much new-car smell and such unbelievably loud exhaust that … well, the EVs will keep coming, whereas this bad boy’s days are numbered. It’s so old-fashioned that a six-speed manual is still an option.  

This Ontario-made Challenger is what I might consider right-sized in Dodge’s expansive lineup of builds of the two-door retro machine. Unlike its as-much-as-807-horsepower Jailbreak edition — named appropriately — the extra-wide Scat Pack R/T model is a more comfortable but still an imposing 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet, with its 6.4-liter 392 engine. And, more importantly, just $44,155, if you avoid the laundry list of upgrades I got, which pushed the actual price to $63,500.



That’s the kind of power you used to associate with Dodge Vipers; here, it’s a pretty standard supply of tire-smoking SRT Hemi output that can be harnessed for both good and evil.

Unlike the ultra-high-output Hellcat, it appears you can’t electronically dull the exhaust note here, so your neighbors are going to be able to track all your comings and goings, all of the time. My advice is to take it easy on the throttle, as full foot-to-the-floor nonsense can get you sideways or straight into a ditch in no time at all. You don’t want that.



In terms of real mountain practicality, yes, the rear-wheel-drive monster and its 20-inch, open-spoke carbon black wheels and P Zero high-performance tires run the risk of having you sit out an off-season snow squall. But you can still get a (somewhat less powerful) all-wheel-drive Challenger, if you intend to be that very brave and noble guy I saw in the Murdoch’s parking lot on the snowiest day of the year.

On dry roads, clear of traffic, the 392 is one imposing machine. And, in a road test I never thought I would put myself through in a car like this, capable of getting at least 20 mpg making the uphill trip from Denver to Summit County. You need to drive a little cautiously to do so, but not much; the 392 Challenger is actually rated as high as 24 mpg highway, which is hilarious, but I suppose possible.

Yes, more energetic use of the vehicle’s full potential, especially its TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission and its range of performance-measurement features, will get you maybe 14, or sometimes 10 mpg, but you don’t have to show off all the time.

As the Challenger does that for you. Its first big modifier is the Scat Pack Widebody upgrade, which totally transforms the sometimes too-vertical look of the new Challenger with broad fender flares, Brembo performance brakes and a modified suspension with active damping. You also get a flat-bottomed race wheel, which I found tiller-styled helpful as Challenger on those big tires has kind of a short turning radius, and is a little more easy to yank around with that beefy wheel. 

The cool Hemi Orange package does not necessarily refer to body color (mine had a blessedly discrete, $95 Granite paint job), but instead lots of upgrades including Nappa leather and oddly sparkly Alcantara suede insert race seats, orange brake calipers and a very distinctive orange/yellow body stripe, straight out of your favorite 1970s action-adventure movie.

You’ll also find white-faced instrument gauges that, tellingly, go to 180 mph, and the cabin is considerably freshened up with lots of orange highlight stitching and even a load of carbon-fiber look detail panels.

Add in a curb-scratching lower front air dam, a serious spoiler on the trunk lid and some menacing orange running lights, and it’s all pretty ridiculous, and awesome. That trunk is big enough for four golf bags, and the rear seats oddly comfortable — though your rear passenger windows are ’70s-style minimal. Parked inside, “Unchained” by Van Halen playing as loud as possible, it’s actually a pretty comfortable and easy car to maneuver. You get visibility, there are very few controls to mess around with, and one big aluminum gas pedal to concentrate on. Enjoy it, before they stop making them.

Andy Stonehouse, Summit Daily News
Andy Stonehouse

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