2017 Chicago Auto Show


by Frank S. Washington

CHICAGO – You can get jaded walking around three or four or more auto shows every year. But occasionally you see something special. In this case it was the 2017 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack.

A couple of years ago, Dodge staked out its brand identification: power and performance at a reasonable price. Yes, Dodge made a bunch of news last year with the 707 horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT.

This hellion of a car made a lot of noise in the marketplace but in the hoopla one of the best buys in America, we think, may has gone a tad overlooked. Actually, there are three of them, the Dodge R/T Challenger Scat Pack, the Dodge Challenger 392 HEMI Scat Pack Shaker and the Dodge Challenger SRT 392.

This trio of full-sized coupes is powered by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that makes 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. In case you are a basic driver, this engine can be mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Even better, in case you are a driver, a six-speed manual is available.

When this new family of Challengers was introduced in the summer of 2015 as 2016 models, we test drove the Scat Pack on the two-lane winding roads of the Columbia River Gorge. The car handled the slow pace well, it was comfortable and unlike a lot of cars with this kind of power, the cabin was spacious.

But we have yet to get one of these special cars on city streets. Challenge   brand manager Ben Lyon said the Challenger is selling well and he was particular pleased with the brakes. Available are 15-inch rotors, six piston high performance Brembo brakes and 20-inch wheels in a dozen or more configurations. You’ve got to be able to stop this kind of power quickly.

Best of all is that this power and performance and the manual in the 2017 Dodge Challenger can be had for less than $40,000. That’s a good buy.

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