There’s also a new interpretation of the Camaro’s iconic red, white, and blue “banner” insignia, displayed on the front fenders. We are told it was pushed by the Chevy design studio’s younger members, who thought the nod to earlier generations was wholly appropriate. We agree.
Other than the conservative color selection and the GPS oversight, the Scat Pack Challenger gets high marks from us, and not just because we’re pro-Chrysler. Scat Pack really is a top value proposition that ponycar and muscle car competitors at Ford & GM just can’t touch. We’re not carrying water for Dodge by saying that if you can find more performance and utility for less money, go ahead and buy it. You’ll just have to drive one yourself to find out!
Production of the 2016 Camaro begins later in the year at GM’s Lansing Grand River facility, in Michigan. It’s the home of the Cadillac ATS and CTS, which is appropriate, because that’s the architecture on which the new car is built. Those Caddies have been hailed as dynamic equals or better than German competitors such as the BMW 3-Series, so having that structure as the Camaro’s foundation is as good as it gets.
We’re going to argue, however, that the all-new Gen 6 Camaro is more significant. In our admittedly limited experience with preproduction examples and careful evaluation of the elements comprising it, it’s more of a driver’s car. We don’t mean to cast aspersions on the unquestionably popular Gen 5, but it was a car trimmed to fit an existing platform one that wasn’t originally envisioned as a 21st century ponycar.
The 2015 GT is equipped with a Line-Lock, so doing a burnout is pretty easy. Be sure to roll all the way through the water box (or go around it) then stop. Refrain from doing a burnout in the puddle of water and don’t roll too far out of the water box, either, because that would put you in the really sticky stuff, and doing a burnout there can hurt your clutch. You want to be right on the fringe of the puddle, just in front of it.
The driving experience is not altogether different than Hellcat. In fact, the first third of throttle travel feels more alert and aggressive than the more powerful SRT. Moreover, full-throttle shifts sound like artillery going off with the Scat Pack’s Hellcat-inspired active exhaust system. The power comes on quickly, and when gears are shifted manually through the steering wheel paddle shifters, you better be on your game—the rev-limiter comes up quick in the first few gears. Pulling away from the intersection, you’ve got to be ginger with the gas pedal, as the tires will erupt with squealing and chirping during what we’d call normal driving.
The truck features the all-new BFGoodrich All-Terrain K02 tires to handle any type of terrain you could throw at it. In addition, the special edition graphics, badging, classic Shelby striping, 18-inch custom wheels and optional Rogue Racing front and rear bumpers, will visually set it apart from any other truck on the road.
And while not strictly an SRT product, the ’15 Dodge Scat Pack Challenger reviewed here would not be possible without SRT. We’ll let you do the math this time: 485 hp from an SRT-sourced 6.4L Hemi that gets 25 mpg (no gas guzzler tax), a seriously fortified eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission with paddle shifters, fully independent suspension front and rear, big Brembo brakes, an active 2.75-inch stainless steel exhaust system, 20-inch rolling stock, and a huge list of standard amenities that includes Dodge’s popular uConnect 8.4 infotainment/connectivity package with SRT’s breakthrough Performance Pages. All this Bow Tie-stomping, Mustang-eating goodness costs $39,890 as tested here, including a $995 destination charge. (That price actually goes down by $1,400 when you equip the Scat Pack Challenger with a TREMEC TR-6060 six-speed manual trans.)
Enthusiasts will tell you there are three types of shifting: granny, speed, and power. Simply stated, if you shift aggressively but lift off the gas, you’re speed shifting. If you ram the gears with the throttle held on the mat, you’re powershifting. Granny shifting is not worth talking about. In any case, you want to complete the shift as quickly as possible and with as little flare in the rpm. Timing is everything. Practice makes perfect. If you’re uncomfortable powershifting, try it at a lower rpm until your shifting is seamless.
Our Scat Pack was a base model with just the extra eight-speed TorqueFlite, so you can order one with a lot more gear, including a variety of seating, technology, convenience, and entertainment options. (See the sidebar.) You can even step up to the Scat Pack Shaker package, which adds the inspired legacy hood scoop with a functional cold-air intake.
The Ford SVT Raptor is without question one of the ultimate street-legal go-fast off-road rigs you can buy and hit the dirt in. While the Raptor is incredibly fast in the desert, it leaves plenty to be desired on the table. Contrary to keyboard racers, the Raptor is not a Trophy Truck, but it was built to race—in fact, it did just that back in 2008 at the 41st SCORE Baja 1000. Of course this means that improving upon the performance of the Raptor is quite an uphill battle if you still want the truck to have decent road manners.
A set of Rouge Racing upper and lower control arms offer a heavy duty suspension package that can hold up to the stresses of high-speed off-road jaunts while a set of King 2.5-inch coilover remote reservoir shocks soak up the hard hits and smooth out the bumps. Out back, a set of King 2.5-inch bypass shocks keep the truck floating over the whooped out roads.
It was certainly a big deal when Chevrolet resurrected the car for 2010. The “heritage”-style homage to the iconic first-generation design was an unqualified hit. To date, Gen 5 Camaro sales have surpassed 500,000 and has outsold the Mustang for the past four years. In an age when car buyers are turning increasingly to crossovers, that’s no small feat.