When you want a car as nimble as a dancer and as capable as a weightlifter, you want a Dodge Charger Hellcat.
Specifically, you’re going to want the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody (we’ll talk about what all those names mean in a moment). You want something fast and powerful. You want something strong and comfortable. You want something that prowls low to the ground like a panther—a little sexy, a little intimidating, but a whole lot of fun. As my younger sister put it, “This thing feels like a roller coaster.” In a good way, of course.
I have a long-time soft spot for American muscle cars, the ones that are long, wide, and outfitted with an impressive engine. They’re machines that are more fun than practical, that are better suited to the drag strip than the mall parking lot—but y’know what? Not every car needs to be perfectly optimized to give you tons of space on a budget. Sometimes you just need to treat yourself. Sometimes you just need a car that feels like bright red lipstick and a leather jacket.
What’s in a Name?
If you haven’t noticed, this car comes with quite a mouthful of a name, one that’s more complex than your pickiest girlfriend’s Starbucks order. But each word has a meaning that contributes to the overall purpose of the car, and each meaning builds on the next to create an unforgettable driving experience. Dodge occasionally adds some of these phrases to other cars, so it can be helpful to understand what they mean.
- Dodge Charger: The Dodge Charger is an icon. First introduced for the 1966 model year, it has been a staple for both car enthusiasts and for anyone who just appreciates a handsome, well-made car.
- SRT: SRT stands for “Street and Racing Technology.” This basically means that your car is made with the highest quality and highest performance parts available on the market. Think: beefy horsepower numbers, rapid responses, and speed.
- Hellcat: The ‘Hellcat’ moniker means that the engine under the hood is supercharged. A supercharger, at its most basic, pushes more air into the engine, which produces more horsepower and torque, which lends to a more powerful ride.
- Redeye: The ‘Redeye’ name adds even more horsepower and torque.
- Widebody: When a Dodge is a ‘widebody,’ it means that it includes wider fender flares, or those humps that protrude around the wheel well. That enables you to add wider tires, which provide more grip to increase your speeds.
Related: The Power of Passion: Meet the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye, a Demon-Inspired Supercar, and her Supercharged Sisters
Get Ready to Turn Heads
When you start up the Charger SRT Hellcat, everyone is going to know. It’s not obnoxiously loud, to the point where it’ll wake up the neighbors—but if they’re already up, they’re definitely going to recognize that bass-y rumble of a near 800-horsepower engine kicking to life. You might not understand the appeal of that, but that’s okay; you’ll be more inclined to change your mind when you press the start button and feel yourself in control of the power underneath you.
And even if you’re not terribly hip on the ins and outs of performance cars, that’s okay. The way every head cranes when you drive by on the highway will let you know you have something special. But you probably figured that out when you saw the thick fender flares, Octane Red exterior paint, and all those crisp, shiny Hellcat emblems decorating the body.
But This Car Is All About You
Sure, envious glances can be good for the ego—but the best part of the Charger Hellcat is how powerful you feel. I don’t think I ever wiped a smile off my face while I was behind the wheel. The Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody gave me that same rush I used to get when I took kickboxing. I felt sexy and capable; I could just as easily deadlift a personal record as I could head out in my favorite LBD and red lipstick. You know—that feeling you get when you hear the words “high-powered woman CEO.” Like I could take on the world.
And that’s a great feeling. I’ll never trade a poor word about a practical SUV, but if you’re just driving your car for its here-to-there purposes, you’re missing out on that really incredible feeling you get when you’re just doing something for the hell of it. There’s a reason there’s such a booming industry that centers around car enthusiasts, and the Charger Hellcat can give you the best of those feelings without actually having to care about all the other baggage that comes with the world of car enthusiasts.
That being said, this is a performance car that cares about your comfort. The leather seats hold you comfortably in place, even when you’re nipping the apex of a corner. The infotainment screen isn’t massive, but it’s the perfect size for a car that asks you to keep your attention on the feel of the machine underneath you. The command center is concise, which means everything is at your fingertips. The flat-bottomed steering wheel and the static pedal both give you the sensation of power, even when you’re cruising through the neighborhood. And even then, you’re going to feel like you’re the queen of the world.
I will give you a word of warning, though: if you’re not used to high-horsepower or rear-wheel drive cars, there might be a little period of transition. I had my Charger delivered on a rainy day, and I spun the tires in the wet a few times before I really eased into things. You’ll also want to be careful accelerating from stop signs; I know the vibrations of the engine will make you want to kick things into life ASAP, but even the thick Pirelli tires won’t be enough to hold you steady! It can be a little intimidating, but after a week of driving, you’ll be a master.
Space for All the Rest
I spent the week serving as the family taxi, which meant dealing with groceries, take-out orders, and deliveries to math class—which means every seat was tried and tested. And while we all know a sedan isn’t really a family car, you can absolutely make this bad boy work with kids or other rear-seat passengers. There’s not a massive amount of leg room—especially if you have some long-legged folks up front—but my sister, who clocks in at 5’6″ but is notorious for sprawling, felt that she had more than enough room. My 6’3″ stepdad was much more cramped, but he said it was a much better experience than he’d had in the rear seat of most sedans.
And that’s not even taking into consideration the incredible trunk space. My mom joked that you could fit a few bodies back there, but we were easily able to utilize most, but not all, of the space on one of our beefier grocery runs. We did a freezer-and-pantry filler trip that saw us bring home over 48 rolls of toilet paper, 11 reusable grocery bags full of stuff, and cases of Gatorade and soda, and we still could have added more. That’s going to come in handy for anyone who travels, camps, or has a family that needs extra space for their bags and sports equipment.
Of course, you’re not buying a Charger for its ample space—but it is a nice addition.
What I Loved About the 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody
- The streamlined look of the infotainment system, courtesy of the fact that there were no USB slots with pesky wires sticking out all over the place.
- The low, powerful stance and wide features.
- SRT and Hellcat badging.
- Launch control, which gives you extra grip and power when you start the car from a complete stop.
- The responsive and tactile Uconnect system.
- The unmistakable grumble of the V8 engine.
- The power! There are race cars with less power than this.
Who Is This Car For?
- Single women looking to kick ass, turn heads, and take names
- Moms who have finally gotten the kids out of the house and are looking for a little treat
- A childless couple that understands the benefit of sharing a fun drive
- Anyone who wants to drive a sedan that feels like it could blow the doors off everything else on the road
- Anyone who needs a confidence boost
Seriously—if you’re looking for a car that can make you feel more capable than you ever have before, you’ll want the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody. Its name might be long, but the way you’ll tingle with excitement after getting out of the driver’s seat will last longer. You’ll never doubt yourself again after driving this glorious machine—even if you just stopped at the grocery store.
Everything You Need to Know
Let’s talk about the specs you need to know:
- 6.2-liter V8 Supercharged HO engine
- 8-speed automatic HP90 transmission
- 797 horsepower (that’s less than $100 per horsepower!)
- 707 lb-ft of torque
- Top speed of 203 mph
- 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- WiFi hotspot
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Heated rear seats
- No USB ports in back or near infotainment system, but two in center console, along with an AUX cord
- Alpine speakers
- SRT Track Experience, which gives you access to special track days
- Safety features: pedestrian detection; blind spot camera; side, rear, and cross-path alerts; theft deterrent system
- Seats four
- Rear-wheel drive is your only option
And here’s a breakdown of the pricing:
- Base Price of the Dodge Hellcat SRT Redeye Widebody: $69,995
- Customer Preferred Package, which adds ‘Redeye’ and ‘Charger’ badges, 220 MPH speedometer, and SRT Power Chiller: add $8,600
- Carbon/Suede interior package, which adds a suede headliner and carbon fiber interior accents: add $1,595
- Navigation and Travel Group, which adds GPS navigation, Connect infotainment system, SiriusXM subscription: add $995
- Power sunroof: add $1,995
- Pirelli 305/35ZR20 Front and Rear 3-Season Tires and black carbon wheels: add $695
- Black brake calipers: add $595
- Gas guzzler tax: add $2,100
- Destination charge: add $1,494
- Total price as tested: $88,065
The baseline Charger SXT comes in at $29,995.
And For the Musically-Inclined…
We’ve put together a playlist of songs that will make you feel powerful and confident enough to break out the leather pants. We’ve got a great blend of girl power and 80s hair metal to accompany your drive in the Dodge Charger Hellcat.
Disclosure: Stellantis provided the Charger for my test drive; all opinions are my own.