The News for July 3rd, 2020

Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. This week: Dodge is celebrating Independence Day the only way it knows how – with Hellcats, lots and lots of Hellcats, and two American icons and the Dodge Journey will not live past 2020, plus your automotive news for the week.

Dodge Celebrates Independence Day with 2,314 Horsepower

It should come as no surprise that Dodge chose this week to break out of their pandemic-induced hiatus with some fresh new metal. And of course they’ve done so with three Hellcat derivatives with 2,314 horsepower among them. When you build the same thing since 2015 you get surprisingly good at it while finding new ways to sell it. Two of these new debuts are ones that have certainly been anticipated among enthusiasts while the other is a nice little surprise. Here’s the rundown on all three.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Hellcat

“For muscle car people with families” that need something bigger than the Charger were the target audience for the Durango SRT Hellcat. It’s largely the same SUV underneath as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk but has a bit more capability. After all, the Trackhawk came out three years ago so things have advanced a bit since then. The supercharged 6.2-liter V8 produces 710 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque in this package, a whole 3 horsepower more than the Trackhawk. It also runs the same eight-speed automatic and all-wheel-drive system. But that’s not the whole story.

When equipped with the “Tow N Go” package, towing capacity is an impressive 8,700 pounds, significantly more than the Trackhawk. Or most SUVs in fact. When you’re not towing, the performance capabilities will be greatly improved over the Trackhawk thanks to some chassis tuning and refinements. Its suspension will be more comfortable in standard modes and can transform itself in Track mode. New suspension tuning allows for an increased dynamic range so the changes in each mode will be far more noticeable.

Hellcat

All in all, they claim more grip and stability while understeer on this gigantic 4×4 SUV is reduced by 2.5 percent. Large Brembo brakes with six-piston (front) and four-piston calipers post some surprisingly good deceleration numbers for this thing – it can come to a dead stop from 60 mph in 116 feet. From the sources I can find, that’s within ten feet or so of standard Charger/Challenger Hellcat models. But if you’re just interested in playing with launch control and racing down the 1320, you’ll be pleased with its 3.5-second 0-60 time and 11.5-second quarter mile time. It won’t stop pulling until 180 mph.

The timing of the Durango SRT Hellcat launch isn’t coincidental. All Durango models are getting a bit of a refresh this model year with revised styling and new features inside and out. This Hellcat variant is a bit of a halo car for that lineup and is finally giving fans of the brand more of what they want – Hellcat everything. Sadly this has only been confirmed for a single model year run. Unless this thing prints a huge amount of money for Dodge, which I don’t see why it won’t, it’ll be gone forever when the 2021 model year ordering books close. Hellcat + one model year only = have fun with the dealership markups.

2020 Challenger SRT Super Stock

Hellcat

It may look like another Demon but it isn’t. But the spirit of limited-run quarter-mile-crushing Demon lives on through the 2020 Challenger SRT Super Stock. It’s another love letter to the drag racing fans and it’s got plenty of things inside to love.

The supercharged 6.2-liter V8 is taken from the Hellcat Redeye but features a new calibration, which means 807 horsepower and 707 lb.-ft. of torque on pump gas. Power is sent through an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission and standard Nitto NT05R drag radials are tasked with putting it down. Dodge claims this is the only production car to come standard with drag radials and I have no reason to doubt them. Those are sized 315/40/R18 at all four corners and are mounted to lightweight 18″ x 11″ wheels that look very close if not identical to the Demon’s wheels.

Hellcat

With that kind of hardware it’s easy to call it done and ship, but Dodge put some additional work into backing up that power with some really impressive features. A drag mode for steering and suspension, line lock, and launch control is standard these days on cars like this. But things like wheel hop reduction on launches, race cooldown which keeps the fans and cooling system running when the engine is off to minimize heat soak, and their SRT Power Chiller which redirects cool air from the cabin AC to reduce air intake temperature are unique to SRT vehicles like this. These all debuted on the Demon and are now available on the Redline and Super Stock.

And the best part is that this all actually serves a purpose. Get the launch right and you’ll knock out the 0-60 in 3.25 seconds and run the quarter mile in 10.5 seconds at 131 mph. The Challenger SRT Super Stock is not a limited run model either, so buyers that are looking for the ultimate factory drag racer that can still be driven on the street will have plenty of time to pick one up. No prices have been announced yet.

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye

Hellcat

After the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye spec has proven itself to be rather popular, Dodge did the inevitable and expanded that option to the Charger. Billed as the fastest and most powerful mass-produced sedan in the world, the Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is America’s super sedan. At least until the new CT5-V gets to take a shot at it.

It’s powered by a – yup you guessed it – supercharged 6.2-liter V8, but in Redeye specification that means 797 horsepower and 707 lb.-ft. of torque. All of the performance-enhancing features mentioned in the Challenger Super Stock section apply here as well. And even though that one was billed as a drag racing special with drag radials all around and a bit more horsepower, this one barely lags behind in the quarter mile by Dodge’s own numbers. 0-60 is “in the mid threes” and the quarter mile is run in 10.6 seconds at 129 mph. So a tenth of a second and 2 mph slower while having ten less horsepower and two more doors. The Redeyes are no joke. Compared to the “standard Hellcats”, their engines feature 25 major component upgrades like a larger supercharger, strengthened connecting rods and pistons, high-speed valve train, and an improved lubrication system.

Hellcat

The Charger Widebody upgrade is included in this model as well. That allows for 20″ x 11″ lightweight wheels with 305/35/R20 tires on all four corners. All of the additional design enhancements introduced in the Widebody are fully functional, including the thin “mail slot” grille opening for additional cooling and the hood scoop that is sealed to the air box. The Widebody allows for more traction and better handling, so the braking system was upgraded to match that. Brembo six-piston front calipers with two-piece 15.7-inch front rotors are standard.

No pricing has been revealed for any of these models. The 2020 Challenger Super Stock should enter production this fall while the 2021 Durango Hellcat and Charger Redeye arrive early next year with order books opening this fall.

Lincoln Continental and Dodge Grand Caravan and Journey are dead

2018 Lincoln Continental

 

Now for some sad news. As if we haven’t had enough of that already lately. According to reports from Automotive NewsThe Detroit News, and Jalopnik, two American icons and the Dodge Journey will not live past this year.

The Lincoln Continental was a groundbreaking car for Lincoln which was the beginning of a new and very bright era for Lincoln. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to revitalize the brand in the last decade or so, the Continental was a true jaw dropper from a brand that hasn’t had one of those in…. shit, I don’t know how long, but a long time. The concept car they debuted was stunning and the production car lived up to the hype. It may not have been the same kind of bahnstormer or canyon carver that its German rivals or even the Cadillacs were, but it was a true American luxury sedan and we don’t have very many of those anymore – even fewer now. The Continental played a huge role in saving Lincoln, but as the car buying public continues to favor SUVs and crossovers, it’s up to the heavy hitters like the Navigator and Corsair to carry that torch.

grandcaravan

Then there’s the Dodge Grand Caravan, the minivan what was left behind when Chrysler turned the aging Town and Country into the superb Pacifica. The T&C and Grand Caravan ruled the minivan world together for decades. Nowadays though, the now ancient Grand Caravan was the minivan reserved for travelers who fell on the wrong side of “Honda Odyssey or similar”. Its biggest rival was its own sibling from Chrysler, which offered significantly more for not significantly more money. But despite that it was the best-selling minivan last year. You can assume though that was mostly from fleet sales so that has likely dried up in the last few months. It’s unclear if Dodge will come up with their own version of the Pacifica or if their some 40-year streak of dominating the minivan market will truly come to an end.

dodgejourney

Then there’s the Dodge Journey. I forgot it was still on sale and you probably did too. The front-wheel-drive crossover has been on sale since 2008 with no major upgrades during that time, as demonstrated by the fact that it’s still offered with a four-speed automatic and produces 173 horsepower while only offering 19 mpg city / 25 mpg highway. Those kinds of numbers were mediocre in 2008 and are simply embarrassing today. So rest in pepperonis I guess.

[Sources: Jalopnik, Automotive News, The Detroit News]

What’s your automotive news?

hooniverse

That’s all I’ve got for you this week, so now it’s your turn. If you saw anything, fixed something, broke everything, or otherwise did anything even remotely car related that you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.

Have a good weekend.

I'm the guy that spoiled the site with all the new car stuff. Hooniverse News Editor since 2011, amateur motorsport photographer, sim racer, and mountain road enthusiast.

32 Comments

  1. Chrysler/Dodge is really a strange company. They make the same vehicles forever, but, despite that, they don’t seem to manage to make them well. Really surprising to hear that Dodge still sold so many Grand Caravans.

    As to the Continental…such a shame. Doug DeMuro just reviewed the coach door version:

    I keep thinking that conservative luxury should make a comeback, after all, the fashion pendulum’s point is to go back and forth, so we all crave what is hot, and what we don’t have (anymore). I thought the Continental would help create some momentum that way.

    1. The Conti would have impressed me if it weren’t built upon a FWD platform. It’s the same reason Acuras don’t interest me in the slightest. I realize the practicality (in both manufacturing and driving) of FWD, but I’ve yet to drive one that I genuinely enjoy. Granted, RWD doesn’t necessarily guarantee a great driving experience, but given comparable price points and classes, I always subjectively favor the RWD car over the FWD one.

      1. I understand where you’re coming from, and I don’t disagree. The fact that the above car is FWD and V6 is quite surprising. But, frankly, how often are these cars meant to deliver everything they’ve got? It will mostly happen when in motion already, hardly ever on a drag strip, and that’s when RWD vs FWD doesn’t matter quite as much. Plus all the gadgets cars come with today…I’m not sure how much of an Achilles’ heel this really is for prospective buyers.

        1. I agree that for the vast majority of prospective Continental buyers, this wasn’t a dealbreaker, and I’m not suggesting it as the reason Ford is pulling the plug on the model. Lincoln couldn’t likely have competed with the RWD Germans regardless. However, I’d never have considered a FWD Conti when the Genesis G90 is available. If the Lincoln had been RWD, I might have ranked them more evenly.

          I disagree that the RWD only shines on a track or drag strip. Subjectively, I find RWD more rewarding not only driving at 9/10, but in any driving situation. I have never, ever, driven a FWD with satisfying steering, and I attribute that to the fact that the front wheels are tasked with both direction and propulsion. Plus, anything but gentle acceleration shifts weight away from the driven wheels, which seems ridiculously stupid from an engineering perspective.

          I realize I sound like a cranky old-schooler. These are just my preferences. I know some FWD enthusiasts that will argue me to exhaustion on this, but I can only say that I don’t enjoy driving them. From my perspective, FWD is a built-in handicap that neither electronic gadgets nor horsepower can remedy, and I say this as someone who dailies a FWD and therefore understands its practicality. But even as a pokey grocery-getter, it’s simply an inherently flawed machine, IMO. I’m hoping that once my kids start to leave the house, I can be rid of front-drivers and automatic transmissions for good.

          1. FWD enthusiasts exist? 😳 I mean, I get your point, but it’s been quite long since I have driven an RWD car, even. I miss the “rolling sofa”-feel of my old Volvos, and the ability the tighten a corner with my right foot, but in everyday driving, I bear no grudge against wrong wheel drive.

            Also, my Centennial, the Genesis’ superior, has the same FWD-and-V6-setup as the current Continental, and it’s just fine. The biggest issue is weight distribution, it will sometimes push over the front wheels like a toy car without steering. But in very heavy cars, you always feel that coming.

          2. i won’t argue the point too hard, but it sounds to me like you just haven’t driven a good FWD car. the quality of the driving experience is going be much more dependent on the engineering than on the drive wheels. most FWD cars aren’t designed to be fun. the overloading-the-tires argument is one I’ve heard a lot, but I’ve driven too many good FWD cars and too many garbage RWD cars to believe it’s anything as simple as that.

            to me the argument that an FWD car is inherently and inescapably flawed is like saying that because you like blue more than red, any red car is inferior to any blue car. it’s a factor, but it’s one of many, and I think car enthusiasts give it way too much importance. to me, the execution of a cars powertrain and chassis are much more important than what the spec sheet says.

          3. I dunno… over the years I’ve had friends that let me drive their GTIs, CRXs, Saab 900s, Dodge Stealths, Prelude SHs, Civic Sis, Focus STs, and Mini Coopers, to name a few that I thought were supposedly “good FWD cars”. My first FWD was a Contour SVT, a sedan that was touted as a good handler, but I was never satisfied with it. I learned to drive on a mid-60s big block hardtop with a three-on-the-tree, and I think I’m just a dyed-in-the-wool RWD lover as a result. I’m not saying RWD is the silver bullet for a rewarding driver, but I do think it’s a better platform than FWD, and with much greater potential.

        2. It’s a petty thing, but the long hood imposed by a RWD design is sort of ingrained in luxury car identity. The Conti looks sort of wrong, being a LWB Fusion/Mondeo, and seem like it’d be best suited to take paying passengers to the airport.

  2. We live in amazing times. A factory SUV that will do the 1/4 mile in less than 12 seconds… Also, Dodge needs to put a Hellcat in a Journey for a final edition. Or even in the Grand Caravan- that would be awesome.

    I finished, mostly, with the drivers side floor pan in the spirit. Its welded in, I need to finished the painting and clean up the underside a bit before it gets undercoating. I can’t say I’m proud of the work- it leaves a bit to be desired, but I’m learning. The next one will be better. And at the end of the day, it’s a floorpan that won’t be seen, so probably a good a spot to learn on. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b48f9cb90e313cde2f1ec82fed1ab5314cb56d0068ef2bd3423b83386ec2f5b4.jpg

  3. A nearly 800-horsepower Dodge sedan… I love it, and yes I know it’s stupid.

    1. I love it for being a sedan, as opposed to the Challenger, a two-door and obvious muscle car that you fully expect to kick ass. However, I would be much more tempted by a 392 Scat Pack Charger with a 6-speed manual, if Dodge would just offer such a combo. The thrill of 797 hp would be limited to rare occasions, whereas the fun of rowing 392 ponies could be had on every commute and grocery run.

      1. It was already a Challenger. They are using last year’s top 2-door drivetrain on a sedan this year. This isn’t so much of a breaking of new ground as it is an expansion.

        https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a21971714/trickle-down-demonomics-2019-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-srt-hellcat-redeye-official-photos-and-info/

        Chrysler doesn’t foresee enough demand for a manual Charger to justify the cost of crash-testing a new floorpan. If you want four doors and three pedals, you need to build it yourself.

        https://www.hotrod.com/articles/silver-sport-transmissions-first-offer-6-speed-kit-chrysler-lx/

        1. Of course it’s already been done in the Challenger. It’s just cooler with four doors. And yeah, I don’t expect Chrysler to offer a manual in the Charger, I simply wish they would. If I already owned a Charger, I would consider the swap (which I don’t expect would be terribly difficult– just find a rolled donor Challenger).

    2. They could do a Hellcat version of the Chrysler 300 for Australia! Not likely with not even 300 300’s sold last year…

  4. I know there’s much mourning of the Continental, but I always found it underwhelming. It might be different if I drove it, but the interior is a little cheap, and it doesn’t have the presence of some of the other luxo sedans (it seems in league with the MKS of being a nice car to buy off lease). I’ll miss the CT6 more.

    Out of principle though, the Grand Caravan will be missed. I learned to drive in one. Canadians bought an obscene number of the things since they’re big and cheap. Mind you, the Pacifica is wonderful, so if they start adding more incentives on those, I’ll move on quickly.

    I did see elsewhere that apparently the Durango Hellcat wasn’t expected to pass emissions soon, which will limit its longevity. That, and I assume the Durango and Grand Cherokee are due for replacement soon, although FCA knows how to amortize the hell out of anything they design. Too weird to live, too rare to die I guess.

  5. The 3-way switch for the fog lamps (off/front/front and rear) for the 944 is only available as used, approaching USD80 on Ebay.
    The 2-way switch is available as NOS, and the 3-way switch for the Rabbit is even a cheap reproduction item.
    There are differences and common properties, and after one hour I had married the two, providing three ways in a stock looking switch. Result!

  6. This was a busy car week, mostly last weekend.

    I replaced the starter on the Ranger, front brakes on my middle daughter’s Protege and did an oil change on both Proteges and the Ranger.

    Sadly, I’m not confident that the new starter has fixed the problem. Before it was not cranking most of the time, after it still has occasionally not cranked. I’m not sure if I got a bad starter or a different problem.

    1. Did you also replace the starter solenoid? You can take a screwdriver and “jump” that solenoid when it doesn’t want to crank – or just spend another $15 and replace it.

      1. Starter and solenoid pretty much come a single unit anymore. I’m pretty sure I’ve got an internally corroded battery cable. I’m going to pull each and take them to the parts store to get replacements.

  7. It will be interesting to see when the last Caravan and Journey have been sold. Last year Goodcarbadcar showed that there were still a few Darts, 200’s and Avengers sold, years after they left the assembly line.

    From what I read last year the last Caravan was supposed to roll off the line back in May. I guess they picked up where they left off because they have the parts to use up. As mentioned it was the ultimate rental fleet vehicle and that market has dried up, so my bet is we will still see it on the sales charts until at least 2022 if not 2023.

    Ford had also previously announced that 2020 would be the last year for the Conti so it is surprising that they are also re-announcing the end of a model.

  8. Finally back home, only to have a battery drain on the wagon manifesting itself through odd behavior of the ambient air temp sensor. Pretty sure I have a leak in one of the rear suspension airbags, as I found that corner slammed to the ground after I returned home, and when it tried to rise, it wasn’t successful, and I heard a hiss. Slight leak though, as it’s now sitting just fine. Presumption is that is the reason for the drain, since a leak would cause it to try repeatedly. Will have to wait though, as I’ve got the m5 in the air for a bunch of maintenance items (oil, brake fluid, coolant, plugs, fuel filter, and replace a broken fog lamp).

    1. I read your updates with interest and a certain joy, but I also continuosly return to the same mantra for myself: Don’t buy a BMW, don’t buy a BMW… 🤪

      1. Lol.

        Not much to defend here, but I have put 13k miles on it since last fall when I bought it, so there is a certain expectation that things will break, but I do believe I reached a vintage I do not care to own, or perhaps caretake. I’ve owned a number of bmw products built on chassis older than this, and have had minimal issues. My x3 is a case in point. This e60 chassis, however, is a complete sh*tshow. The wagon is meant to be the trusted vehicle in the stable, vs the M5 and the 185k mile x3, but, it isn’t. It didn’t strand me in my trip, but there was way too much drama for my liking. I’ve been slowly moving towards replacing the x3 with a newer vintage Toyota SUV, and that has accelerated in ernest given how this wagon has been shaking out. I’ve actually been in contact with a dealer halfway across the continent about a specific vehicle, which I’m prepared to make a move on if it all shakes out, but, we’ll see what happens on that front.

        1. It all boils down to whether it is worth it. If the wagon is great to drive, practical and a good car to own otherwise…but it seems like issues are way too plenty. 13k miles is about what I drive in a year, and what you have listed so far would have been above my pain threshold.

          I know three definitely non-Toyota-people who went and bought a ‘yota after a stint with BMW. A friend of mine drove straight to a dealer after I had to help him start his gorgeous 5 wagon with my run-down, ugly ’71 Volvo 145.

          1. I enjoy solving the problems, but on my own terms. I don’t like the feeling of having my back against the wall. I have 3 vehicles with an average age of 16, all Bavarian. It’s been 6 years since I had a non bmw. Perhaps I’ve been fortunate.

            The x3 replacement will not be a bmw. I need something with real off road capability, something bmw has never made.

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