Scat Pack Or Hellcat: Which Dodge Charger Is Best?

Opinion / Comments

We drove them both back-to-back to find out.

Other American automakers have abandoned their muscle car roots, opting to build nimble sports cars that attempt to compete with Europe and Asia. But not Dodge. Dodge has doubled down on muscle cars with various performance versions of its full-size Challenger and Charger models. We recently sampled two of the highest performing variants in back-to-back tests, giving us a great feel for which one is best.

The 2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat arrived first for our testing, followed by the less powerful Charger Scat Pack Widebody. Dodge even sent us the limited edition Hellcat Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition, which packs a bit more power than the standard Hellcat. Which of these two HEMI-powered muscle cars is best? The answer may surprise you.

What Are The Scat Pack And Hellcat?

Let's start with a quick refresher on where these two models sit within the Dodge lineup. The SRT Hellcat name is pretty well-known as a recent entrant into the Dodge lineup as the flagship, supercharged version of the four-door Charger and two-door Challenger. Dodge is expected to expand the Hellcat portfolio with a new Durango model and the supercharged V8 from these cars is also used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk and upcoming Ram 1500 TRX.

The Scat Pack comes with a bit more heritage. The name was first used back in the late 1960s as Dodge struggled to market four unrelated performance models in its lineup: the Coronet R/T, Charger R/T, Dart GTS, and Superbee. These cars could all do the quarter-mile in under 14 seconds but Dodge needed one name that could tie them all together. One of the company's marketing geniuses decided to create the name Scat Pack as a play on Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack with those four cars being referred to as The Hive using the Superbee's logo.

7 Amazing Kit Cars To Build In Your Own Garage
7 Amazing Kit Cars To Build In Your Own Garage
11 Rare And Fascinating Ford Cars
11 Rare And Fascinating Ford Cars
CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz

Appearances: Both Look Great

The Scat Pack is available in standard or widebody guises with the latter sent to us for testing. Dodge used to offer the Hellcat in both of these configurations but now only offers it as a widebody. Both of these cars feature flared fenders housing 305-section tires wrapped around 20-inch wheels. Each car comes with unique badging to designate its place in the Charger lineup. The Scat Pack uses a variation of the original Superbee logo, which pictures a bumblebee doing a burnout. On the fenders, a 392 HEMI emblem signifies the engine size.

Our Hellcat tester was the Daytona Edition, featuring a B5 Blue paint job that is exclusive to that version for the 2020 model year. Most Hellcat Chargers ride on black, grey, or bronze wheels but the Daytona Edition wears unique silver ones. The Hellcat badges are finished in white or blue depending on the paint color and a unique Daytona stripe sits on the back with a small spoiler to signify it as a special edition. No matter which version of the Charger you get, Dodge's color palette is filled with bold hues.

CarBuzz
CarBuzz
2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Front-End View CarBuzz
CarBuzz

Interiors: More Of The Same

There isn't much to differentiate between these two cars in the interior. The Hellcat comes with a more bolstered steering wheel that can be finished in suede and also features an illuminated SRT logo. Aside from this minor difference, the seats and materials are pretty much identical on the two cars. You may notice two minor changes on the Hellcat including a red starter switch and an SRT button where the Drive Modes button normally sits.

Scat Pack models receive the Superbee logo stitched into the seatbacks while the Hellcat wears the word Daytona on the special edition or SRT with a Hellcat logo on normal models. On the passenger side of the dash, the Scat Pack gets a 392 plaque with a little Superbee emblem while the Daytona gets a special plaque listing its build number out of 501 examples with a Hellcat logo.

CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz

Engines: HEMI Vs. Supercharged HEMI

The most significant difference between the Charger Scat Pack and Hellcat models is found under the hood. Scat Pack models are powered by a naturally aspirated 6.4-liter HEMI V8 producing 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. The Hellcat engine is smaller at 6.2 liters but packs a supercharger, bringing the output to 707 hp (717 in the Daytona) and 650 lb-ft of torque.

This is a massive bump in power that has a significant impact on performance. The Scat Pack takes around 4.3 seconds to hit 60 mph compared to 3.6 seconds in the Hellcat. The quarter-mile can be completed in 12.4 seconds with the Scat Pack or just 10.96 seconds in the Hellcat. These are the estimated figures from Dodge but out in the real world, we struggled to put down the Hellcat's power. With a better driver, the Scat Pack could beat the Hellcat off the line.

CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz

Prices: Let Your Wallet Decide

The Hellcat may offer a massive bump in horsepower but it will also take a much larger chunk out of your wallet. Dodge has priced the Scat Pack at just $40,495 or $46,495 if you opt for the widebody model. The widebody-only Hellcat starts at a whopping $72,095, representing a $25,600 (55 percent) premium over the Scat Pack. We agree that the Hellcat feels like much more car but we aren't sure it is worth a 55 percent premium over the Scat Pack.

CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz

Verdict: Get The Scat Pack

If you sit around reading reviews of the Hellcat, it may be easy to fall victim to the allure of a sub-$100,000 muscle car with more power than most mid-engine supercars. We found the Hellcat to be surprisingly livable if not a bit scary when pushed hard and it is certainly worthy of dream car status. But driving the Scat Pack has softened our opinion. After driving a Charger with "only" 485 hp, we found it to be more than adequate and in fact, far more usable out on the road.

Whereas the Hellcat lights up its rear tires with the smallest provocation, the Scat Pack is more effectively able to let you enjoy the power without worrying about crashing or going to prison. Even on a race track, it would take some long straights for the Hellcat to hold a tangible advantage and out on public roads at legal speeds, there is barely an appreciable difference in acceleration.

If it were our money, we'd gladly save more than $25,000 by getting the Scat Pack Widebody. We understand getting the Hellcat if money is no object but on a budget or otherwise, we prefer the Scat Pack.

CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz
CarBuzz

Join The Discussion