Flex those muscles with the Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

LET ’ER RIP: Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack is an affordable muscle car that’s also a daily driver.
LET ’ER RIP: Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack is an affordable muscle car that’s also a daily driver. –Gerry Miles

It’s easy to see why the Dodge Hellcat, with 707 horsepower, can be considered by some to be an egregious purchase. It comes with a steep price tag, little fuel economy, and few practical places to run it anywhere near its potency.

That’s why the all-new 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack, with its 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 engine and 485 horses under the hood, will leave you with a car that has 222 fewer horses, saves you at least $20,000 off the base price, and leaves you with a quasi-muscle car that doubles as a daily driver.

It’s a four-door sedan with comfortable, bolstered cloth seats and real-world room for adults. The rear 60/40 rear seats split to reveal a versatile 16.5 cubic foot trunk area.

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Unlike other cars with “rallye’’ or “sport’’ in their nomenclature, the Scat Pack reveals itself when you fire it up and 485 horses announce they’re ready to run and require four-piston Brembo brakes to scrub the speed.

The power won’t overwhelm unless called upon. Once summoned, it arrives in a nanosecond, seconded by the engine’s growl, and lasts as long as you deem prudent. It’s that fast, quick, and smooth. You’ll run out of courage before the Scat Pack runs out of pavement, watching the digital dash numbers run up to whatever speed you wish. Chrysler lists a top end of 180 mph, however.

A 392-cubic-inch engine rewards the auditory senses from the twin tailpipes when you rev the engine, making heads snap in search of where that refined racket came from. If you want to further impress, a punch of the pedal produces a heart-stopping 475 lb.-ft. of for quick getaways and a loud chirp of the tires slipping on the pavement.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: Viewed from any vantage point, the Charger Scat Pack has the chops to catch the eye of passersby. —Gerry Miles

Although it seems oxymoronic to call the Scat Pack a sedate muscle car, it feels that way at times. All the creature comforts you expect, including Chrysler’s super 8.4-inch Uconnect screen ($695) in a sporty interior with bolstered front buckets, dark interior, and every electronic gauge you’d want exist without the rough riding Spartan feeling of a NASCAR.

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If you’re not purposely goosing the gas either a) to hear the motor growl (and why wouldn’t you if you owned this car?) or b) try to attract attention to this car, which has a historically long hood as did the Dodge Viper in 1996, it can unobtrusively slide into the lot at the mall, supermarket, or hardware store with the ease of any other car. The red paint, hood scoop, spoke wheels showing off the red Brembo brake calipers, and black rear deck spoiler nevertheless suggest the car’s dual nature.

It seemed to make other high-end car owners look away, construction workers yell (hey, whatsit?!), and some Mustang owners appear meek behind the wheel.

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Cars that are very satisfying to own, and save people money

If you want to test your speed skills, a setting on the steering wheel lets you time yourself in an eighth-of-a-mile run from a standing stop. Equipped with a TorqueFlite, 8HP70, high performance, eight-speed automatic, the Scat Pack runs fast and strong. This transmission boosted economy some 8 percent, avoiding a gas guzzler tax, Chrysler stated. Purists may decry the lack of a manual, but I’d defy anyone to drive this car and not step out each time with a smile their face. If you desire, paddle shifters produce an F1 feel, which, at speed, is preferred with your hands wrapped around the thick steering wheel.

The purchase price is offset at the pump where the car’s only compromise for all this power results in paltry 15/25/18 EPA numbers, and premium fuel is suggested. During my week, the Scat Pack produced middling 18.57 mpgs in mixed use. Not bad considering what it is: a 4,400-pound mass produced muscle car that’s nearly 17 feet long and full of creature comforts to boot.

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A Beats audio option ($995) produces 552 watts of sound through 10 speakers. Personally I preferred the output of the tailpipe stereo.

Want a commuter car that can get up and go when you want? This is it. Do you desire an offering between the Hellcat and the other Charger/Challenger choices with AWD? This is it.

It’s not the Hellcat, but it’s still wicked fun.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

THE BASICS

Price, base (with destination): $39,995 ($995); as tested: $44,275. Fuel economy: 15 mpg city/25 mpg highway. Drivetrain: 6.2-liter, V-8. Body: Four-door sedan

THE SPECIFICS

Horsepower: 485 hp @ 6,000 rpm. Torque: 475 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm. Overall length: 200.8 in. Wheelbase: 120.2 in. Height: 58.26 in. Width: 75 in. Curb weight: 4,400 lbs.

THE GOOD

Awesome acceleration, fun to drive, handling.

THE BAD

No manual, gas mileage.

THE BOTTOM LINE

A bona fide muscle car that won’t beat you up.

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