The heritage of Dodge’s R/T branding comes to life once more on the Charger R/T and R/T Scat Pack. The R/T is powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 370hp, while the R/T Scat Pack pushes 485hp from its 6.4-liter HEMI V8. Both models are rear-driven only, and an 8-speed automatic gearbox is the only available transmission. The available Plus Group of equipment includes heated and ventilated sports seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. Available safety features include blind spot monitoring, a rear view camera, lane keep assist, and autonomous emergency braking.
R/T badging has been found on Dodge vehicles since the 1960s – the two letters standing for Road/Track. They are models with a duality of purpose – not overly compromised in either scenario, but accomplished in both. The Charger R/T and R/T Scat Pack take that duality and equip it to a family 4-door saloon, packing practicality and performance in an affordable package. The R/T models may not be anywhere near the Hellcat’s contained mayhem, but with two V8’s available both exclusively with rear-wheel drive; they’re the quintessential muscle car in the traditional, tire-smoking American way!
With doors that open wide, you’d think it easy to get in and out of the Charger R/R – but rear occupants will find it particularly difficult with the sloping roofline getting in the way. The doors are also heavy and awkward to close. The quirks of the roofline continue once inside, where adult rear passengers won’t find abundant head room – though hip, leg, and shoulder room are all copious. Front passengers will just about get lost in the space available, though drivers may find it awkward finding a comfortable position for maximum visibility. Chunky roof pillars obscure visibility, and the narrow rear wind screen and high belt line don’t help matters. A rear view camera is standard to curb the issue, but it’s a problem nonetheless.
But the Charger R/T’s biggest downfall is the quality of the materials. The trim panels lack refinement, and the plastics don’t feel as if they’ll stand the test of time.
To live up to their road and track promise, R/T models are equipped with upgraded brakes, sport tuned suspension, and 20-inch wheels. Though the ride is firm, the sports suspension offers better damping than lesser models. Even on rougher roads, the ride seldom crosses the line between firm and jarring. But it is firm enough to ensure that on any road, bumps of any size are felt – not always a bad thing. The upgraded brakes do a fine job of stopping the R/T, but the Brembo high-performance brakes on the R/T Scat Pack are even stronger, and resist fade better under heavy duress. The Scat Pack also receives even more aggressive suspension settings than the standard R/T, compromising the ride quality further on road – but improving it vastly on track.
The steering is heavily weighted – but when travelling at speed it adds a layer of stability to the drive that’s admirable.
As is the Dodge way, under the hood all you’ll find are HEMI V8s in the R/T and R/T Scat Pack. The R/T’s 5.7-liter motor generates 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. The Scat Pack trades the 5.7 in for a 6.4-liter V8 with 485hp and 475 lb-ft, with a claimed 0-60mph time in the low 4 second range according to Dodge. Both models feature rear-wheel drive exclusively, and only one transmission is available – an 8-speed automatic from ZF with shift paddles mounted to the steering wheel.
The R/T can notably be equipped with the Plus Group of equipment, which includes xenon headlights, heated and ventilated sports seats, leather upholstery, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel. The R/T Scat Pack features 8-way power adjustable sports seats, though optional leather and simulated suede upholstery is optional that includes heated and ventilated front seat functionality, and heated rear seats. Available safety features include lane departure warning blind spot monitors, and forward autonomous emergency braking to earn the Charger an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the NHTSA.
Though it may lack in quality and outright dynamism, it’s a robust performer with heaps of character and HEMI power. Its flaws can also be forgiven if only for the price. The Brembo brakes on the R/T Scat Pack and its larger engine make it worth the extra price.