They are performance bargains.
Most American automakers have shifted from building overpowered, straight-line muscle cars to well-handling sports cars that can rival Europe's best. Dodge didn't get the memo. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat exists as the last school muscle car available. Big engine at the front, a supercharger bolted to it, and a steering wheel thrown in for good measure in case you want to turn right or left.
Even with a starting price of $58,995, the Hellcat is easily the cheapest way to get a new car with over 700 horsepower. But that price isn't exactly one that everyone can afford, meaning the Hellcat has remained a halo car for the Dodge brand. But what about a used one? Dodge doesn't have the most spotless track record for depreciation and luckily, this means used Hellcats are now remarkably affordable.
Do we really have to explain why the Challenger Hellcat is cool? The Challenger is the last of the retro-styled American coupes to still bear some resemblance to the original and the Hellcat version is the car that people in the 1970s could only dream about. It offers more horsepower than six-figure supercars at a fraction of the price. Putting that power down is a different story but we have a feeling most Hellcat buyers prefer tire smoke to blistering lap times. If you look up muscle car in the dictionary, there should be a picture of a green Hellcat.
Pricing for a new Hellcat starts at just under $60,000 but used examples from 2015 can now be found starting for less than $36,000. These lower-priced cars typically have more than 50,000 miles on the odometer but examples with fewer than 30,000 miles can be found for just over $40,000. This means you can now get a used Challenger Hellcat for less than the price of a brand-new Challenger Scat Pack, which only produce 485 hp.
The biggest selling point of the Hellcat is its 6.2-liter supercharged V8, which produces 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Dodge has increased the power to 717 hp (or 797 in the Redeye) but since we are talking about early examples, we are going to stick with the 707 hp figure. If you can put the power down to the tarmac, which is no easy task, Dodge says the Hellcat can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and complete the quarter-mile in 11.7 seconds. An eight-speed automatic transmission shipped on most Hellcats but there is also a six-speed manual if you have a death wish.
The Challenger's cabin won't be impressive to anyone hopping out of a European luxury car but plenty of luxury features can still be found here. Comfy leather or Alcantara seats include both heating and ventilation and FCA's excellent Uconnect infotainment is more intuitive than most German systems. Some of the plastics are remarkably cheap, showing the Hellcats' rental car roots, but it is overall a fine place to sit.
Despite being a two-door coupe, the Challenger is remarkably practical. Rear seat passengers have an acceptable 33.1 inches of legroom and the trunk boasts 16.2 cubic feet of space in which to store items. The rear seats even fold down, making it easy to get large items into the Challenger. You will have to make frequent trips to the gas station though because the supercharged V8 drinks fuel at a rate of 13 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.
The Dodge Challenger Hellcat has made a name for itself as an affordable entrant into the realm of high-horsepower fun. With plenty of used examples now on the market, for less than $40,000, you can now drive away from a used car dealer with more than 700 hp at your disposal. Thanks to Dodge, the American dream is alive and well.