There's something about the Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody that brings out the beast in baby boomers.
Model: 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Plus with Widebody
Exterior color: Octane Red
Interior color: Black
Engine: hemi, V-8
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: NA
Local Dealer: Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat, 2120 Chapman Road
Price (as tested): $54,600
Its massive hood scoop, eye-poppingly-wide wheel-wells and frowning fascia are design cues that awaken depleted hormones.
Aside Botox or little blue pills, driving a Challenger R/T is the quickest way to erase decades off of middle-age.
Even if you value expensive tire tread too much to waste it on burnouts, the Challenger R/T gives you the sensation that wheel-spin is your friend, and always it's always just a foot-flick away.
There were a couple of wet-pavement days during our one-week test drive — courtesy of Dodge — that we made the prudent decision to leave this V-8 (485 horsepower) beast in the driveway. One sneeze, one involuntary jab at the throttle and the Challenger can be, well, challenging to drive on a wet, twisty two-lane.
Still, every day we spent in the Dodge on Chattanooga streets was a blast. My 12-year-old son used the Charger's charisma to entice truck divers to blow their air horns on I-24. He also begged me to stomp out a lusty exhaust note while I was parked to pick him up at soccer practice.
A car that connects a 60-year-old and a 12-year-old is doing work.
Crown Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat on Chapman Road had seven Dodge Challengers in stock late last week, including one R/T model.
WHAT IS IT?
Our tester is a Challenger R/T Scat Pack Plus with Widebody Package. The Scat Pack basket of options includes the 6.4-liter, hemi V-8. The "Plus Package" folds in Alcantara upholstered leather seats with cooled front buckets. The real show-stopper though is a $6,000 Widebody Package that includes fender flares, a special competition suspension set-up and 20-inch diameter wheels and massive 305/35ZR20 tires.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Our tester has a base price of $38,995, but by the time you get to the bottom of the sticker the price is $54,600 before discounts. That said, this is a true-blue muscle car at the fraction of the cost of the ultra-powerful Challenger Hellcat Redeye, which harnesses 797 horsepower.
WHAT WE LIKED?
The Challenger R/T Scat Pack Plus oozes power, and its massive V-8 engine backs up the bad-boy looks with a power source that will go A to B faster than just about any other auto you are likely to encounter. The 180-mph speedometer may be a bit optimistic for most of us, but it's still a nice conversation starter.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
The black SRT performance spoiler on our tester looks like an afterthought. Fuel economy, which is yet to be determined in government testing, is likely to be modest.
The Challenger is a heavy vehicle and drives like one. As long as it's pointed in a straight line things are dandy, but its sheer mass causes it to wallow through curves on our mountain roads. Be aware that this car turns heads so drivers around you may become distracted.
For about $50,000 you get the full muscle-car experience without the uncaged fury of the Hellcat Redeye. The R/T Scat Pack Plus with Widebody shares the presence of the Hellcat Widebody for thousands of dollars less.
Online: In the market for a new vehicle? To access hundreds of Mark Kennedy's Chattanooga Test Drive columns visit www.timesfreepress.com/testdrive.