2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Shaker Review

Absurdly fun, and an absurdly good value.

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September 10, 2015

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Shaker Review

Is there a lot to like about the Challenger Scat Pack Shaker? Oh, hell yes, there is.

Introduction
This thing has no right to exist in the 21st century. We're staring global warming in the face, and every other automaker is anticipating looming CAFE standards by electrifying and lowering engine displacement. Meanwhile, Dodge is sitting here putting SRT motors into R/T models and selling them for under $40,000. That's right - the 485-horsepower beast of a boat you see here, otherwise known as the 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Shaker (Brevity? Pfft.), starts under $40,000. Once you throw a few options into the mix, the price quickly rises, but nowhere else in this world can you get this kind of power for this low a price. Clearly, you're looking at something special.

What gives the Scat Pack Shaker its full name is the $4,600 Shaker package. Not only do you get a badass Shaker scoop that protrudes through a cutout in the hood, but the package also hooks you up with heated and ventilated front seats, a backup camera, better seats, better tires, and a whole host of badges and stickers. It doesn't add power, but it doesn't really need to. If anything, that (not so) little hood scoop is little more than an additional throwback to days gone by, when gas was cheap as hell and muscle cars roamed the open road. But that's why we like it so much.

2015 Dodge Challenger Interior Do you like sitting in a bathtub? Then you're going to love the Challenger's interior, which was greatly improved in the MY2015 refresh. The sills are high, but not Camaro high; that said, the top line of the dashboard continues across the sills, giving you the feeling that you're sitting in a bit of a tub. That feeling is magnified when you look at the absurdly long dashboard that could double as a shuffleboard court. Agoraphobes will love it.

The entire interior points everything towards the driver; the passenger side of the center console has a higher wall, as if to say, 'Let the driver deal with everything.' Hell, even the shifter is bent away from center. The shape of the dashboard surrounding the gauges and infotainment screen give off a nostalgic vibe, but there are plenty of modern touches throughout, like a multi-function steering wheel, power seats, and a large information display between the gauges. All four seats are comfortable, for a coupe; rolling four deep, even with a taller driver, rear-seat occupants won't be hurting for legroom. The suede-and-leather seats are comfortable, to boot. This might be the most overused phrase in auto writing, but the Challenger's interior is a good place to spend time.
2015 Dodge Challenger Exterior The Challenger's shape is unmistakable; there's nothing else like it on the road, and we mean that in a good way. It's an anachronism through and through, with a strong rising character line at the rear wheels and a hood that goes on for days. The Shaker scoop looks downright angry, and it bucks with every throttle blip. Between the large wheels, the maw so dark it looks like a portal to deep space, and the strong LED elements front and rear, everyone will turn and look when you come rolling through. Dodge did a great job updating the car for 2015, and the Shaker package only adds to that.
2015 Dodge Challenger On the Road If you lack both a gentle right foot and any semblance of advanced car control, you're going to have a difficult time driving any Scat Pack model, be it Challenger or Charger. With 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque on tap, any time you want to go flying forward, all it takes is a dip beyond 15 percent throttle. It'll pull from down low, and it'll absolutely scream up top; if that's the sort of thing that delights you, you'll never stop smiling. Ever. Even on startup, the Hemi barks loudly through a free-flowing exhaust; it's a rare moment when this car isn't loud. But if you're buying a 485-horsepower muscle car, that's sort of expected.

If you're quick with your feet, driving this six-speed manual won't be difficult at all. The clutch has a very solid, sensible bite point , and both the gas and brake pedals are easy to modulate. That said, the revs drop quick between gears, and with six gears and a 6,000-RPM redline, each shift will only drop you a few hundred RPM or so; if you're too slow with shifting, it'll get a little herky-jerky. The shifter's got an odd bend in it, so it might not look like you're in the right gear, but you can shift by feel alone, because the throws are appropriately short and the gates have a solid snick when you move into them.

Steering-and-suspension-wise, there's no getting around the fact that this is a heavy car. That heft does a good job absorbing bad road quality, but with an ultra-long hood and some thick C-pillars, it takes a little bit of driving to get used to this car's massive proportions. City driving is doable, but a little difficult, especially if you're not familiar with the vehicle. But to leave this car in the city forever would be doing it an injustice; this is a car that begs for open roads, or any road long enough to let you wind out a single gear. Keep the revs high and the footwork quick, and this car will have you feeling like you're bending space and time. It's heinous that it only costs $40,000.
2015 Dodge Challenger Final Thoughts Is there a lot to like about the Challenger Scat Pack Shaker? Oh, hell yes, there is. But it's not all Lisa Frank-approved rainbows and unicorns here. First, even though you're buying a relatively inexpensive car, the gas budget that comes with it will wring you dry if you don't have a bunch of wiggle room in your wallet. Our city driving never returned above 11 mpg, even with a very light foot and some awfully early shifts. Also, there's the matter of the Hemi Tick - a little bit of forum research will see that multiple 6.4 Hemi owners have reported an engine tick that just won't go away, despite trips to the dealer and multiple complaints. It doesn't seem to happen with every motor - we didn't notice it in the Charger Scat Pack - but this Challenger's Hemi Tick was able to cut through stereo noise and everything. It detracts from the experience a bit, but not enough to keep us from recommending this car to anyone with a thirst for speed, because for this price, this is a very, very tough act to top.
2015 Dodge Challenger Specs & Price Engine: 6.4-liter naturally-aspirated V-8

Transmission: Six-speed manual

Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive

Power Output: 485 horsepower / 475 lb-ft

Fuel Economy (mpg): 14 city / 23 highway

Base Price: $37,895 (not incl. $4,600 Shaker package)

As Tested: $46,880 (incl. $995 destination)

Available Features:

Scat Pack Shaker Package: Shaker-mounted 392 Hemi badging, Challenger script badge on grille, heated and ventilated front seats, power tilt/ telescope steering wheel, backup camera with rear parking sensors, Shaker scoop and hood, leather seats with Shaker logo, adjustable-weight steering, three-season performance tires, performance steering wheel

Interior/Exterior Scat Pack Appearance Group: Shaker stripe delete, HID headlights, Scat Pack bumblebee stripe, mesh interior bezels

Sound Group 2 Package: Nine-speaker audio with 506-Watt subwoofer

Driver Convenience Group: Blind-spot monitor, power mirrors with manual folding, remote start, HID headlights

Technology Group: Automatic high-beams, rain-sensitive wipers, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning

Individual Options: Uconnect with navigation, eight-speed automatic, engine block heater, 18-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, power sunroof

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