As you probably know, the 2019 Dodge Challenger is offered in both Hellcat and Hellcat Redeye form. The Hellcat now offers 717 horsepower thanks to the increased air flow of the new hood design while the Redeye offers 797 horsepower thanks to a host of upgrades, the most significant of which is a larger supercharger. Really, anyone who cares about the American muscle car segment knows those key bits of information, but beyond that, there is a surprising amount of confusion around the 2019 Hellcat Challenger lineup.
The 717-horsepower Hellcat comes with the standard body design, but the widebody option is still available. Some people seem to think that the widebody is reserved for the Redeye, but it is not. Along the same lines, some people think that the Redeye comes only in widebody form, but that is also not the case. The Redeye comes in standard form with the width of the other non-widebody models, but many people opting for the 797-horsepower package are also going with the wider body to allow more room for tires.
So we have the Hellcat, the Hellcat Widebody, the Redeye and the Redeye Widebody, with starting prices ranging from $62,190 (with destination and Gas Guzzler Tax) to $79,190, but there is more to making your pick than basic pricing and power numbers.
Manual or Automatic?
The base price of the 2019 Hellcat Challenger mentioned above applies to a car with the 6-speed manual transmission. The manual gearbox is not available with the Redeye, so if you are insistent on rowing your own gears, your choice just got much easier. Now you just have to pick between standard body or widebody, but we will get to that in a minute.
If you want the automatic, the base price of the 717-horsepower Hellcat Challenger climbs to $65,185 while the standard-width Redeye starts at $73,190.
For those folks who thought that the Redeye was widebody-only, meaning that the true base price of the 797-horsepower package was $17,000 more than the 717-horsepower Hellcat, the actual price gap of $8,005 is far more manageable. In fact, a standard-width Redeye without any options is roughly the same price as a loaded Hellcat from a previous year.
With that in mind, we come to our next question – 717 or 797 horsepower?
Which Power Level?
If you are seriously shopping for a 2019 Dodge Challenger with a supercharged V8, you likely fall into one of two groups.
The first group is comprised of people who have enough money that they don’t care about the price, so of course they want the most power possible. If you fall into that group, just order a loaded Redeye Widebody and thank me after you spend some time behind the wheel. When you check all of the boxes, the Hellcat Challenger is like a supercharged luxury coupe, so as Ferris Bueller would say, “it is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
However, if you fall into the other group, comprised of people who have to live on a budget – even one that allows you the luxury of a $70,000 muscle car – there are a few things to think about. Are you really going to use the extra power of the Redeye? I own and daily drive a 2017 Hellcat Challenger, but I have also logged thousands of road (and track) miles on a Redeye. The extra power makes a big difference if you are going to use it, but there are really limited situations on the street where 797 horsepower will make that big of a difference over 717 horsepower. Both cars will be just about anything on the street, with the Redeye making that group even smaller, but most people would be hard-pressed to say that the less-powerful model isn’t just as much fun to drive on the street.
If you plan to spend lots of time at the track, or if you plan to build for big power, the Redeye and the added cost make far more sense, but if you are looking for a nice, very fast daily driver, the 717-horsepower Hellcat will likely meet your needs. Best of all, if your budget really allows you to consider the pricier Redeye, I would recommend that anyone looking for a nice, luxurious daily driver think about going with a loaded 717-horsepower Hellcat over the stripped-down Redeye for the same basic price. Of course, you can get all of the same upgrades on the Redeye, but a loaded (non-widebody, not counting satin black exterior paint) is up around $80,000 while the loaded 717hp package is in the low-$70k range.
The bottom line in terms of power choice is whether or not you are really going to use the extra power. If you are most concerned about bragging rights of having almost 800 horsepower, the Redeye is the easy choice, especially if you have the funds, but for someone looking to buy on a budget, the standard Hellcat might be the better choice.
Finally, whether you are buying the 717-horsepower or 797-horsepower 2019 Challenger, you have the option of the standard-width body or the Widebody. Some people really don’t like the design of the widebody while the only key advantage (other than the look) is the fact that wider tires will fit comfortably inside of the body. In stock form, the widebody package yields considerably better launch and cornering grip, but at $6,000, someone who doesn’t love the look will be able to buy that grip from the aftermarket in the form of tires for far less than $6,000.
That being said, the widebody design will allow owners to run even wider rear tires without them sticking out of the body like an old pickup truck. This means that owners who are focused on bigger power or record-setting track times can run wider versions of the same sticky tires that help the standard Hellcat get off of the starting line in a hurry.
Need More Room?
Finally, if you need more space than the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat offers, you should look into the 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. It offers 707 horsepower and very similar performance to that of the Challenger, with most of the same basic interior features coupled with more space for rear-riding passengers. The 2019 Hellcat Charger starts at $68,740, but it comes more heavily appointed in standard form, similar to the previous model years of the Hellcat Challenger.