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REVIEW: 2018 Dodge Challenger 392 Scat Pack Shaker:

A Perfectly Executed Blend Of Past & Present...

MoparInsiders was fortunate enough to get some seat time in a 2018 Dodge Challenger 392 Scat Pack Shaker thanks to our friends at Abbotsford Chrysler.

2018 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker (Moparinsiders)

Design

Our tester was beautifully finished in Octane Red with black accents and featured 20×9 matte black aluminum wheels. Red Brembo calipers are visible behind the wheels and really complete the red and black look. Although the overall design dates back to the 2008 Challenger which in itself was a re-imagining of the iconic 1970 model it still turns heads everywhere you go.

2018 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker (Moparinsiders)

The Challenger received a fairly extensive refresh in 2015 that in my opinion cleaned up the looks of the 2008-2014 model. Long, low and wide seem to be the theme here with a long hood, low greenhouse and a long rear deck. The width of the car is accented by horizontal themes in the grille and taillights. Overall the Challenger has an imposing prescence on the road that does not go unnoticed.

 

2018 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker (Moparinsiders)

Interior

Open the drivers side door and you are greeted with a retro-modern look. The Challenger takes design cues from the past and incorporates them with materials and technology from the present to create an inviting and comfortable place to spend time.

2018 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker (Moparinsiders)

My Tester had the black Alcantara heated and ventilated seats with aggressive side bolstering. I found the seats to be very comfortable and unlike many bolstered seats they are wide enough for a big guy like myself to sit in and be comfortable. As with most FCA products there is an attractive gauge cluster with a 7 inch customizable display in the center. You can view vital information, such as oil temps etc, fuel mileage, 0-60 times and much more while having the ability to choose what you want displayed at all times. FCAs new Uconnect 4C infotainment system is also along for the ride with the big 8.4 inch display mounted high on the dash and angled towards the driver. The system is as easy to use as ever while being faster and featuring crisper graphics than the older UConnect systems. The redundant radio and climate controls are mounted in the center console, just ahead of the T-handle shifter and are easy to operate.

2018 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker (Moparinsiders)

This is a comfortable and well thought out interior that is an enjoyable place to spend time.

 

2018 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker (Moparinsiders)

The Drive

This is what you’re here for so lets get right in to it. The 6.4L Hemi develops 485hp @6100 RPM and 475 ft-lbs of torque @4100 RPM. Put your foot into it and the Challenger pins you to your seat and pulls like a freight train right to redline, the ZF 8 Speed automatic rips shifts lighting quick and as it’s doing that you get some nice barks from the exhaust, this is the best combination of classic muscle and present technology that I’ve ever experienced.

The 392 Hemi is so well tuned that you get the feel of driving a classic muscle car but with the refinement of a modern car. Drive it normally and it’s a nice composed grand touring car with a bit of bark to its exhaust, pin the throttle to the floor board and it turns into an animal.

ZFs 8 speed transmission is also very well calibrated in this car, shifts are lighting quick when you’re going full throttle or smooth and undetectable under normal conditions. The paddles respond quickly to up or downshifts as well. Something else I noticed with the way the transmission behaves is when you put it into gear the car rocks back and forth a tiny bit just like an old school high horsepower muscle car with a shift kit, nice touch Dodge.

2018 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker (Moparinsiders)

The big Brembos stop the car quickly and quietly with excellent pedal feel and feedback.

The biggest surpsise to me though was handling. Put the suspension and steering into sport mode and you feel them both firm up right to where they need to be. Throw the Challenger into corners and it sticks to the road on its Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar tires. This car corners a lot better than I expected going in, negotiating curves with ease. While it’s not going to take corners like a GT350 Mustang or a 1LE Camaro, it corners a lot better than a car of it’s size and weight has any right to and unlike the GT350 or Camaro you can put 3 people in the back seat, or drive across the country in comfort.

2018 Challenger R/T 392 Scat Pack Shaker (Moparinsiders)

Conclusion

I have always thought the Challenger was a beautiful car and this was my first time having the opportunity to drive one. I walked away from this very very impressed, the Challenger is really in a class of its own and it feels special. I had the opportunity to spend some time with a 2017 Mustang GT350 last year and if it was my money I’d take the Challenger, it just has something to it, that x factor that the Mustang lacks. That is why I think Challenger sales keep increasing, more and more people are experiencing the car and seeing how special it is. The halo models such as the Demon and HELLCAT are also attracting people to the car that weren’t previously paying attention to it. In the end, everyone wins. Excellent job Dodge, now if I could just win that lottery…

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