Is the 2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Still Worth Buying?

Let’s face it. The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is getting on in age. In fact, the 700-hp muscle car is based on a model that’s over 12 years old. As a result, Dodge has had to implement extensive changes to keep the model relevant throughout the years. While SRT‘s recent strategy of adding more power has worked up until now, let’s see if the 2021 Challenger is still worth buying.

How old is the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat?

Red 2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock on the concrete highway
Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock | Dodge

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat made its debut in 2015, along with the facelift version of the iconic muscle car. However, the third-generation Challenger dates all the way back to 2008. In fact, the LC platform that underpins the Challenger is a derivative of the LX platform that underpinned the Chrysler 300 all the way back in 2005. The Hellcat’s engine isn’t exactly new either, given that it can trace its roots to the HEMI V8 found under the hood of the discontinued SRT8 model.

Since the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat debuted alongside the model’s facelifted version, it received major updates that remain today. For starters, the Challenger received an evolutive facelift, which modernized its aesthetic ever so slightly. The subtlety is intentional as Dodge didn’t want to eliminate its retro muscle car look.

The interior received a major redesign, which helped disguise the use of cheap materials found in the pre-facelift model. Additionally, the Dodge SRT Hellcat benefits from leather seats as standard and a unique gauge cluster with a digital screen in the center. In 2018, Dodge introduced the Widebody Package for both the Scat Pack and the SRT Hellcat. The result is that now the Hellcat became available with various body styles.

The Hellcat the cheapest way to get 700 hp brand-new

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While the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat’s improvements are noteworthy and important, none is more significant than its engine. Although it’s been on sale for over five years at this point, the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 that lives under the hood remains the cheapest way to get 700 hp from a brand-new car. If you are purely interested in raw power, it doesn’t get much better than 700 hp for a base price of $60,695. To put that into context, Chevy doesn’t even offer a 700-hp version of the Camaro. The most powerful Camaro you can currently buy is the ZL1 trim, which tops out at 650 hp. Despite offering less power, the Chevy starts at $63,995.

If we look at the Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat still comes out on top. That’s because the only way to get a 700-hp Mustang is to buy the Shelby GT500. With a base price of $72,900, the 760-hp GT500 costs over $12,000 more than the Challenger. Additionally, if the base 717-hp output from the Hellcat’s engine isn’t enough, you can opt for the Hellcat Redeye and its 797-hp output for $72,295. As a result, the Challenger’s incredible output is largely what has kept the aging model relevant.

Should you buy a Challenger SRT Hellcat?

2020 Dodge Challenger SXT is on display at the 112th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Dodge Challenger | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

As you may have guessed by now, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is a bit of a one-trick pony. As a result, determining whether or not you should buy one is quite easy. If your goal is to get as much horsepower for the money in the absence of everything else, the Hellcat is for you.

However, if you’re looking more for an all-out sports car, you’ll want to look elsewhere than the 4,448-lb Hellcat. Even the aforementioned GT500 managed to keep up with a track-ready Porsche 911 GT3 RS during a hot lap on ISSIMI Official‘s YouTube Channel.

In short, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat continues the muscle car ethos by excelling in straight-line speed and just about nothing else.