It’s inevitable. You’re going to buy a Dodge SRT Hellcat. That supercharged six-two butters your toast with 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of Chrysler All Purpose Earth Rotation Assistance. So yes, of course you’re getting one. It’s a fixed point in your future, like your next dentist appointment. Except that it doesn’t suck, and far fewer people will put their hands in your mouth. But when Chrysler announced the Charger Hellcat last month, it posed an interesting question: Will you wind up with a Charger Hellcat or a Challenger Hellcat? Here’s a handy guide to help you choose.
So let’s start with some questions:
How much of a purist are you?
It seems that after almost a decade of a Dodge Charger sedan, there’s still a torch-waving throng of retirees out there complaining that something called “Charger” has four doors. No, the Charger Hellcat still doesn’t offer a coupe. I don’t think it ever will. But I’m not going to try to convince you purists about that. So if you spend your evenings waving torches in Auburn Hills, you might want to stick with the Challenger. It has two doors. Like the ones you couldn’t afford when you were a kid.
Are you a policeman or police department?
You’ll want to go with the Charger. Not only will there be room in the back for meth dealers, murderers, people who didn’t come to a complete stop before turning right, and other dangerous threats to society, but you can leave the Charger unmarked and catch speeders who think they’re just rental cars. Either way, you can save money arming a siren. The exhaust note alone will cause anyone to look back and pull over.
Do you want to show it off?
Either of these cars would work at a car show, but the Challenger, or any Dodge Challenger, would work so much better. Because the Hellcat Charger can do two hundred and two miles per ever-loving hour, it’s had an aerodynamic nose job, wiping away the sharp ferocity of the standard Charger. This leaves the Challenger the undisputed winner in the looks department. The Challenger has always had more presence than the Charger anyway, and in the author’s opinion, it beats the Mustang and Camaro in that respect, too.
Do you have limited vacation days?
Are the suits cutting back on your much needed PTO? Now that the Hellcat Charger is the fastest, most powerful family car Detroit has ever pressed into form, you can get the kids to grandma’s, three states away, while they polish off a single screening (their eightieth) of Frozen in the back seat. Though you’ll need to remember two things: First, that 6.2 is capable of devouring 1.5 gallons of dinosaur juice per minute. Second, see above about the whole police thing.
Are you a drag racer?
The Hellcat Challenger can run a 10.86 quarter mile. The NHRA certified the Charger to hit 11 seconds flat. That’s not much of a difference, but tenths are hours in drag racing. Also, again we must defer to the presence. The Challenger just looks so much cooler gliding down the strip.
Are you a bank robber?
Or do you drive for a team of bank robbers? It’s all about the Charger. Not only is it less descript if you can muffle that exhaust, but there’s easy ingress and egress for Shiv and Tony, the guys carrying large cloth bags of gold coins in the back. Heck, if you dress it up in police livery, you can give the fuzz a major slip. But you didn’t hear it from us.
Do you want to install a huge stereo?
We’re not sure why you would need a stereo at all when you can listen to that rapturous exhaust music all day, but if you do want to put a system big enough for Wembley inside your Hellcat, just go with the Challenger. The back seat isn’t nearly as useful as it is in the Charger. No one’s really expecting to be able to shoehorn themselves back there anyway. So they won’t ask, and they won’t be disappointed to hear that you gave their seats to subs.
How many bodies do you have to bury?
Surprisingly enough, the Charger trunk is bigger than the Challenger trunk. It seemed that with that long rear deck, the Chally would have so much more room, but no: the Charger has a 16.5 cubic foot volume, while its two door cousin only offers 16.2. This is a huge selling point.
And the most important question of all: Do you like to shift?
We all thought this would be it. The Hellcat is such a limited edition. The Hellcat drive train is already set up for it. But no, deaf to the cries of potential fans since the Charger was reborn in 2005, it still will not offer a manual transmission. If you want four doors and a stick shift, you must be some deranged Arkham escapee, because you’re not going to get it. So if you prefer your cars with three pedals instead of two, go with the Dodge Challenger Hellcat.
There you have it: Our extremely practical and useful guide to which SRT Hellcat you should end up with when the time comes. Which one will you pick? Choose wisely.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.