Number of Cylinders: 8
Model: Other Pickups
Drive Type: rear
Number of Doors: 4
Middletown, Connecticut, United States
One of the prime complaints against the Dodge Challenger is that, even in SRT8 guise, its 470 horsepower is responsible for hauling over 4,200 pounds of vehicle. For comparison, the 420 hp in the Ford Mustang GT only has to deal with 3,618 lbs. Things only get worse from there, as the higher-performance variants of both the Mustang and the Chevrolet Camaro are far more powerful than an SRT8 without adding on much heft.
So what is Chrysler to do? The correct answer is add a whole lot more grunt to its hefty two-door and even the odds. That's where the all-new Hellcat engine comes into play. We reported on this engine in May, and suggested that the Hellcat, a supercharged powerplant based on a 6.4-liter V8, would easily generate 500 to 570 hp and could likely arrive boasting more than 600 ponies.
Chrysler's ace in its sleeve has now been spied testing, with a number of Hellcat-equipped Challengers running the potent new engine both in more urbanized areas and under the sun of Death Valley. The hoods on these testers have been raised to accommodate the engine, and that camouflage over the fascias of these prototypes is there to hide a larger air intake. We also note what appears to be a new split grille under wraps. As for power output, our spies are now suggesting a Viper-equalling 640 hp from the Hellcat-equipped cars.
Watchers of the auto industry will notice a theme among the formerly bankrupted American automakers, General Motors and Chrysler. There are the post-bankruptcy vehicles, and the pre-bankruptcy vehicles. The former, in the case of Chrysler, include the Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as the 200 and 300. For GM, there's the Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Impala and Buick Encore, among others. These vehicles have the freshest styling, with sharp exteriors and well-crafted interiors, as well as advanced powertrains and well-sorted chassis.
As for the pre-bankruptcy vehicles, they tend to be easy to spot. Most suffer from inferior driving dynamics, cheaper interiors, poorer fuel economy and often homely looks (we know, there were some decent cars before the bankruptcy, but they were pretty heavily outweighed by the bad ones). Think late, last-generation Chevrolet Impala or Chrysler 200. Increasingly, though, we're seeing vehicles that split the balance between pre- and post-bankruptcy. Vehicles like the Dodge Journey.
The Journey debuted in 2007 as a 2008 model year vehicle, meaning it should fall into the latter category. But heavily breathed upon in 2011, it now enjoys a new, 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, a big, critically acclaimed touchscreen display and in the case of today's tester, a new-for-2014 Crossroad spec.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ended its investigation of 153,817, 5.7-liter and 6.1-liter Hemi V8-powered 2006 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Dodge Magnum models after reports of stalling. Chrysler has responded by granting a lifetime warranty on the fuel tanks for these vehicles.
NHTSA received 299 reports of engines stalling while the models were stopped or driving at low speeds, and began an investigation. The government agency found that the control valve shutoff float in the V8s' 19-gallon fuel tank could malfunction if the fuel had too high of an ethanol content. In many cases, the valve would break in the open position, allowing the tank to be overfilled, which would then cause the cars to stall. However, there were no accidents reported, and the vehicles could be restarted immediately.
There will not be a recall on these vehicles because, "the condition represents a low risk to motor vehicle safety and is adequately addressed by Chrysler's extended warranty," NHTSA said to The Detroit News.