2016 Hellcat Review

Discussion in 'SRT Hellcat General Discussions' started by GoodCaptain, May 13, 2016.

  1. GoodCaptain

    GoodCaptain Gold Member

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    With roughly 1300 miles on my new 2016 Charger Hellcat, I think I can give some solid impressions. Having previously owned the 2015 SRT 392 Charger and access to some cars that are often compared to the Hellcat, I can also comment on that.

    The Power
    It's everything I heard about, but I never really expected that the launch control would be utterly incapable of controlling the torque. It's going to take real skill to get a Hellcat into the mid 3 second 0-60 runs that are possible and it may cost two tires getting there. The symbiotic relationship with the 6.2L and the A8 is a marriage made in heaven. The brains of the tranny are more than enough for most spirited driving and I prefer it over the manual in the Challenger. A big heavy car like this demands concentration on the chassis dynamics and the A8 draws no penalty. This is the fastest configuration for the current Hellcat lineup.
    On the highway, with traction issues mostly behind you, the power available can challenge most anything on the road and many modded cars will also avoid tangling with the Cat. At higher speeds, with the power being delivered so smoothly, the car feels stable and confident. It's easy to see why haters swarm to the Hellcat. It's off-the-rack capability is insane and it's given the Chevy/Ford/BMW/Audi (and others) fans a serious case of envy. It's also clear that the Cat is being conservative in their power ratings since it NEVER feels like the weight is a factor.

    Handling
    Like my SRT 392 Charger, it's not so much the weight, but the SIZE of this car that can be daunting. The hood seems to go on forever in all directions and this is a BIG car. But anyone who questions the handling is either a hater or hasn't driven one, which is most people!
    The car handles really nicely, but you have to learn to trust the suspension and get used to the feedback. It won't carve a canyon like an Evo, but it's no slouch either. As you come out of a turn and learn to apply the power you'll experience a thrill that lower powered go-carts can't match and it's a lot of fun.
    But at the end of the day the Hellcat is most at home on the highway or road where it can stretch those legs and put the power down with impunity. At those high speeds the Hellcat is simply fantastic, composed and stable.

    Comfort
    I've got a 4 door family sedan that makes sense. The family fits. Friends fit. Groceries fit. Those 4 doors are important because we don't want to do the seat-dance every time someone wants to sit in the back. The room inside this car is cavernous. You give up nothing. The dash and displays make perfect sense. Comfort is on par with our previous 2012 Grand Cherokee Overland.

    Fit & Finish/Quality
    Thus far my car is perfect. Paint, doors and the whole package is defect-free. We'll have to see how she holds up over time.

    The Gadgets
    Hi Siri or Hey Google...directions to Jefferson Mall....or "directions to the nearest Hooters"....or "Directions to 232 City Avenue in the Bronx."
    The ease with which up-to-date devices can handle simple navigation make the Uconnect system laughable. It's got a big pretty screen, but the interface is ponderous and 5 years behind the times along with every other car-based system. Google-Maps and tying in our phones will become the norm, but it's hard to be impressed with the the Navigation in this car.
    The rest of the tech is very good. Performance pages, comfort controls, and the depth available to control many aspects of the car are generally well done.
    As I pointed out elsewhere, the audio system in this is weak. Charger buyers would do better to go with the stock Alpine system and add a sub of their own.
    Things I'd change? I want the ACC system back!

    Compared to:
    My SRT 392 was slower. It was fast, fun and a pure joy. But the Hellcat goes to 11. It has Warp drive, a special feeling and sound that can be tough to describe. At times the whole car feels a bit too good to be true, especially for the 70-80K price tag.
    And yet...my SRT 392 may have been the more balanced and rounded car. I could tap into the power more readily, apply it with less focus and worry. It had more tech, from fog lights and adaptive cruise to collision avoidance and rain sensing wipers. I could get 27-28 MPG whereas the Cat is tough to get above 25 MPG. I still think the SRT 392 with the A8 is the "sweet spot" for the platform for most drivers.
    My friends 2013 M5 was a terrific car. But it really handled no better than the Hellcat, had TERRIBLE controls and needed major service work in less than 14 months. It's still one my favorite cars, but SRT caught them napping and the Hellcat is the faster American M5 that is not squeamish about making a scene and carrying attitude everywhere. The M5 is discrete and refined while the Hellcat is brash, bold and over-the-top. Yet both are hugely practical sedans. But think about this: My Hellcat is faster, and more fun than the M5 for about 40K less. It's also going to get the girl 10 out of 10 times vs. the M5. The Hellcat is the better meal to feed your inner child.
    The Camaro and Mustang platforms went for all-out sports car status and earned it. By virtue of their superior handling they deserve respect, even if the Hellcat can usually outrun them. But I can't see out of a Camaro and the Mustang is too small for me. The same goes for the Vette; it's a lighter, smaller two seat car and so different that I laugh at comparisons.
    The Tesla? I'm a red-blooded American and proud that the Tesla is made here and leads the world for a electric car, if not ALL cars. If you haven't driven one or have some sort of hate for the Tesla, you need to see a shrink. It's an AMAZING machine. But it's NOT anything like the Hellcat on an emotional level. The Hellcat takes a lot of what we loved about cars and pours it under the hood. The Tesla is a ultra-logical expression of what private transportation should be in the end. If you're a real car enthusiast you'll end up loving both.
    But the fact that the Hellcat is the defacto measuring tool for so many dedicated sports cars speaks volumes for what has been achieved with the Hellcat. It has the ultimate street credibility.

    The Hot Chick Factor
    My friend bought a SRT and said, "Now I know what it feels like to be a hot chick."
    He was referring to the relative rareness of these cars and the attention they can draw. He ain't kidding! My Hellcat Charger is an attention grabber. Last week a guy walked out of a deli, saw my car and said, "Oh my god!" The avalanche of thumbs-up, nods and conversations started cannot be counted. This is NY and people will come right up and say "Is that a Hellcat? How'd you get it? What's it like?" On the first day, straight out of the dealer, we attended a local show and won. No other car brought so much attention.
    I'm 53, but I'd be lying to say that the attention isn't fun at times.

    Summary:
    Wow...what a car! It really is a dream come true. I prefer the looks, practicality and relative rarity of the Charger version, but ANY of the Hellcats are a no-brainer for the money. Keep it stock and you'll be thrilled. Mod it and the sky's the limit. Is this a perfect car? Of course not. But very little out there can stand against it at anywhere near the price.

    Time to drive.


    Robert
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2016
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  2. Snappycat

    Snappycat SRT Hellcat Moderator Staff Member

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    My thoughts exactly. Well written.;)
     
  3. digdug33071

    digdug33071 SRT Hellcat Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Well said. Especially the part about those who criticize the handling. Mostly because they've never driven one. In the turns, the Hellcat is no a 911 but the it stays with most everything. It outright owns the straights.
     
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  4. Jettster

    Jettster Gold Member Hellcat Car Club

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    Great write up...I took a friend for a ride in mine yesterday, we are both old muscle car guys in our 50's.
    He couldn't stop raving about the way the car puts the power down and is so smooth and tight.
    I am 6 foot 200 and he is 6'2" 250 and we weren't rubbing elbows...try that in a fill in the blank...10 second power and if you are so inclined HHP can put you in the 9's for a few grand-then cruise home getting 25mpg...I'm lovin' it!
     
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  5. MABBRYFL30

    MABBRYFL30 NYS President Hellcat Car Club Gold Supporting Member

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    Thanks for posting cappy. Amen snd enough said!!!!!!
     
  6. cleankat

    cleankat SRT Hellcat Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Nice write up, agree on all points. I came from a 14 SRT Jeep and I have to say the only thing I miss is the ACC. People knock it and say it's unneccessary, but until you live with it and use it on a couple road trips you see the worth. I would have checked that option box in a heartbeat, plus I like the active braking should you lose focus for a second, just nice to have. Oh and I guess I miss the front parking sensor, I haven't gotten quite used to where the front of the car ends and find myself not pulling into spaces quite enough. Other than that I have a huge grin every time I fire up this beast. Amazing machine
     
  7. Markp

    Markp Gold Member Hellcat Car Club Gold Supporting Member HCC Club Member

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    Very good write up.
     
  8. Robo21

    Robo21 Gold Member

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    Great review Robert, funny thing is that my test drive of the Charger SRT 392 is what drew me to the lineup. Like you, I found the SRT 392 to be a wonderfully well rounded car. And since I couldn't find a Hellcat at my price I ordered the SRT 392. About 2 weeks before my car arrived a dealer called and offered me a Challenger Hellcat with my color and options at my price. But I still want the Charger SRT 392 so one is coming soon. Probably a 2017.
     
  9. CrazyCat83

    CrazyCat83 Hellcat Member

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    Awesome review. Could not agree more. I was at a Cars and Coffee last night, and people were amazed why someone would buy a 4 door sedan with 707 HP. Once quick drive around the block, and a shitty grin on their face made them a believer! 30 years from now, the Hellcat will be an icon, even at a 4 door sedan. The HP wars of 2015-2017 will be talked about for many years. Glad we can all be a part of it!
     
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  10. Slowpoke387

    Slowpoke387 VIP Hellcat Member

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    What has impressed me the most about the HC coming from a 392 car is the tremendous roll on power at highway speeds. Took a buddy for a ride yesterday and nailed it at about 75. All i can say is holy **** this thing pulls like no other stock vehicle ive driven. It pulls at 80mph like the 392 does at 30mph. Never runs out of torque either. Clearly this is where the HC's shine. Smiles all around.
     
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  11. GoodCaptain

    GoodCaptain Gold Member

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    You could not be more right about this. The power at highway speeds, coupled with the sounds of the engine and supercharger and the tight composed suspension all combine to make for a very unique sense of power that goes beyond thrilling and becomes positively addictive.
    The Hellcat is not happy at 80 MPH. It wants to do 150 and more.

    Robert
     
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  12. JollyRoger

    JollyRoger Gold Member

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    Insightful and thoughtful write-up.
     
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