12 Important Things About the 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Shaker

Pure-bred muscle car has a seriously unapologetic mean streak.

The Dodge Challenger has been on my “must drive” list ever since it came out in 2008, but for some reason, it never happened until just recently. Being a lover of all things retro, I was immediately a huge fan of its looks, a throwback to the original Challengers from the muscle car golden era of the early ’70s. I’ve always liked its looks better than the Camaro and the Mustang, and after driving the Mustang GT recently, I was dying to compare how they drive. I have a big soft spot for muscle cars.

For a full review, click here. Here is a quick take on what I learned after driving the 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Shaker (just two trims below the Hellcat, by the way).

1. Cars that make you work are a rare breed.

When cars make you work for your fun, it’s rewarding. So many cars these days are sensory deprivation chambers that do all the work for you, so it’s refreshing to have a car that engages you by making you work for your jollies. This car requires your full attention to drive, and it can be exhausting at times, but when you get to where you’re going, you feel a certain sense of achievement, like you’ve done something productive. After exiting the car, I say to myself, “Not bad,” and I pat the Challenger on its hot nose like a good dog. 2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker

This car makes you work because it’s not an easy car to drive and it requires a lot of effort. It’s not easy to see out of or gauge where the four corners are, the steering has a serious heft to it, the car’s heavy weight makes itself very obvious, the suspension is stiff, the clutch is heavy, and the manual shifter isn’t immediately familiar. The throws are also long and require a deliberate shove to get into the right gate. But the upside is that you feel like you’re driving a car, and not just using the car. There is a difference. There aren’t too many cars left like this.

2. If your commute involves a lot of traffic, this car isn’t for you.

2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker

Because the Challenger is, um, a challenging car to drive, it doesn’t do slow very well. At low speeds (in parking garages, for example) and in heavy traffic, it becomes very tiresome and borderline difficult to drive. Puttering around in rush hour city traffic, the Challenger stubbornly protests like a really pissed off dog on a short leash. It’s twitchy and jerky at low speeds and difficult to drive smoothly; it’s just chomping away, waiting to bite something right in the jugular. Especially with a manual transmission, at the end of a long traffic jam, your left leg will be numb and your right arm will be sore. Everyone will also hate you because you’re making so much damn noise. This is not a car for creeping along in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

3. Once the road opens up, the Challenger is much happier.

2016 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Shaker-17

Driving in the city, I was annoyed that I hadn’t given the Challenger a real chance to stretch its legs. I was unnerved and unsatisfied because it didn’t give me much reward for being so difficult to drive in the city. Plus, with the Pan Am Games happening in my city during my test week, there were cops everywhere! But as soon as the landscape opened up and I found a twisty, empty road in the country (with no cops) and was able to chuck the Challenger into some corners and drive flat-out, it all made sense. All of the time I spent working my ass off in traffic paid off.

With a wide open road ahead, the Challenger is in its zone and it really gets more comfortable and easier to enjoy. Mash the gas pedal and the Challenger charges ahead, spinning its wheels in the first two gears as the rear wheels struggle to make sense of the 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque trying to hit the ground. The Dodge just claws its way forward, full of rage and scorn, all the way to speeds that surely should have gotten me arrested. Burnouts are also spectacularly easy to pull off.

Thrown into a corner, the Challenger holds the line better than I expected and the turn-in feels confident, but it’s definitely not an apex killer. Its nose-heavy weight balance and old-school suspension setup becomes very evident in a quick turn. Steering is also surprisingly accurate and gives the right amount of feedback from the road.

4. There’s nothing like a naturally aspirated American V8.

2015 Dodge Challenger 392 HEMI® Scat Pack Shaker

There’s a lot to love about the 6.4L Hemi V8. It’s a dying breed of engine and should be celebrated as such. The gruff sound, the immediately savage power, that raw and slightly unhinged feeling, and the way it turns you into a corrupted, power-mad criminal. Watching the Shaker-style air intake throb around from side to side with each stab at the throttle makes me grin because it gives you the sensation that you’re in a first-person shooter game.

I also never had to honk people. It’s magical how one stab at the throttle can produce enough violent noise and commotion to make people panic and scurry out of your way.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible Review

5. If you’re cross-shopping a Mustang, there are some things you need to know.

2016 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Shaker-20

Purists and enthusiasts aren’t the same people. Muscle car purists would love the Challenger. Driving enthusiasts will prefer the Mustang, which is more nimble and takes a corner with more composure and poise.

The new Mustang is a thoroughly modern car, while the Challenger is extremely retro and traditional (which could be good or bad, depending on what you want in a car). Although the Mustang and the Challenger compete in the same American muscle car segment, the two could not be more different.

Where the Mustang feels slick, composed and easy to drive, the Challenger can be a handful to handle and exhibits a sense of rawness its competitor lacks. The Mustang is the logical and conventional pick, but I tend to favour things that don’t always follow the obvious formula. The Mustang could be a car for everyone, but the Challenger is a special car, one that doesn’t cater to the masses, and that deserves some recognition.

6. UConnect is the best infotainment system ever.

2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker

Hands down the best executed infotainment system on the market. You cannot get a system that is more intuitive and user friendly than this one. Everything is clearly laid out, the menus are easy to navigate, it’s responsive and quick, and the screen doesn’t attract fingerprints. Voice commands are accurately understood, and the system’s voice prompts are completely tolerable and not overly nannyish. UConnect just does everything right.

7. The backup camera is totally necessary.

2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker

This is what you see when you park the Challenger. The backup camera is completely necessary.

Call me a sissy, but you can barely see out the back of the Challenger, so parking it would be a white-knuckle experience if it wasn’t for the backup camera. The slanty front windows also mean my traditional parking sensor (sticking my head out of the window as I park) isn’t always easy. The aggressive rear roofline and back 3/4 panel means you have huge blind spots, which also makes the blind-spot monitor a handy feature.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Review

8. The foot pedal operated parking brake is a huge mistake.

2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker

In a car like this, the agricultural setup of having the same parking brake as a minivan or a truck is a huge mistake. It’s clunky and doesn’t feel special. I kept reaching for a phantom parking brake on the center console. This setup feels unnatural for a manual car that’s supposed to be sporty.

9. An angry gorilla is the Dodge Challenger’s spirit animal.

2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker

This car is the automotive equivalent of an angry gorilla. Not exactly the most graceful beast in the animal kingdom, this gorilla is pissed off like you just stole his girlfriend. He’s beating his chest, foaming at the mouth, asserting his dominance and hyper masculinity, screaming profanities into the air, and getting ready to kick your ass. What he lacks in grace, he makes up for in brute strength and serious intimidation tactics.

10. People still get excited about the Challenger.

2015 Dodge Challanger Scat Pack Shaker

Stopping to take photos, two gentlemen working on the farm were very impressed.

The best gauge of a car’s coolness is how kids react to it. During my week, a handful of kids peering shyly over their fingers from the back seats of their parents’ car caught my eye with huge, toothless smiles and a few thumbs up. I never get this reaction when I drive Porsches or BMWs.

SEE ALSO: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is Baby’s First Ride

Also, when visiting my boyfriend’s mom, she excitedly runs over to the neighbours, opens the door uninvited and screams, “You guys HAVE to come see this car!!”Challenger Dash

The neighbours come out all wide-eyed and start asking questions. They bust out their phones and start taking photos, as I smile awkwardly and rattle off some specs. I’ve also channelled the car’s retro vibes and I’m dressed like an idiot. They ask me to turn it on and they start recording, so I give them a show and rev the big V8 to redline a few times. Jaws drop, birds all flee the nearby tree. I’m sure someone is calling the cops. After the ordeal is over, they start trying to convince themselves that it’s time for a new car and wonder if they can fit a baby seat in the back. There were also handprints all over the place, a surefire indicator of how interesting a car is.

11. Everyone wants to race you.

2016 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Shaker-18

All of a sudden, people with sporty cars feel intimidated, so they do things like cut you off or rocket forward as soon as the light changes trying to assert their car’s superiority and protect their pride. They really shouldn’t bother. Everything from plasti-dipped BMWs to hellaflushed Civics give me dirty looks. The Shaker air intake only adds to this aggressive behaviour. People see that poking out of the hood and become immediately aware that is isn’t a car to be messed with, yet they still feel the need to try. Bring it on, I say.

12. The Hellcat is the king, but the Scat Pack Shaker is still a prince.

2016 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Shaker-18Everyone knows what the Hellcat is, so people have come to respect all other Challengers by association. It would be great to have 707 horsepower and a big, whiny supercharger, but no sane person really needs that. Not that you need the Scat Pack Shaker’s 485 hp either, but it’s much more usable for the average person and if you tell me you need more power, I will call you a liar. For just under $38,000 ($20,000 less than the Hellcat), this car offers an immense value, with the engine alone being enough to justify every penny.

The Verdict: 2015 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack Shaker

This is a pure-bred muscle car with a seriously unapologetic mean streak. It stands out in a world of overly sanitized cars that aren’t engaging at all. No, it’s not the most practical car out there, but it takes pride in that fact, and dollar-for-dollar, this is one of the most fun, unique cars you can buy.

Discuss this on our Dodge Challenger Forum

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  • craigcole

    The foot-pedal parking brake is such a terrible idea! Put in an electronic unit with a simple toggle switch, or better yet, a proper lever on the center console.

  • Christopher Kyle

    This was an enjoyable article, I hope to see the same for the mustang and camaro thanks!

  • Drew Gardner

    Great article. I pick up my B5 Blue Scat Pack Shaker on Friday and am very much looking forward to it for many of the reasons that you mention. However I am getting the A8 Automatic 8 speed transmission which should at least ameliorate #2 a little bit which I am glad because I commute into Washington DC a couple days a week! 🙂
    Something also to note is that although it is 2 levels below the Hellcat exactly as you mention, it does have the same engine as the SRT, so performance-wise it is only 1 step below the Hellcat. The SRT has bigger Brembos and a better suspension but if #4 and retro is your big thing (and it is for me) the Shaker is even better than the SRT. That’s my 2 cents anyway.

  • weirdroid

    This is better than an SRT IMHO. Straight-up R/T is the real retro muscle-car badge and this color/stripe combo and “392 Shaker” on the scoop make it the best looking Challenger I’ve seen yet. I’m surprised it came in at $38K. If I was in the market I would be happy to have waited all year for the Shaker, cooler than the 6.4 Scat Pack. I don’t think it’s as tough to handle as she says. I just read a review about a 6-speed Hellcat and they said it was real easy to drive

    I have a 2012 black R/T 6-speed with red hood>fender stripes that cost just $30K. While it’s no 392 it’s still got that great V8 vibe and stick shift. I thought that was one of the best looking Challys around till I saw the pics of this example.

  • James

    not even close. I bought an 15 SRT for 4k off sticker for 48… by the time you get nav and a few goodies you still dont come close to the SRT. The brakes alone are worth the extra few grand from 44 to 48… throw in the suspension, interior amenities and 20×9.5 forged hellcat wheels and will get you more on resale when you end up trying to sell a SRT

  • Miles

    I bought a Jazz Blue 15 RT Plus, manual, 900 miles ago. Mine was around 34K. This car is way cool! The 15 interior is awesome. Ventilated seats and 900 watt stereo add a nice touch. It’s borderline luxury in a muscle car!

  • Scabby Jack

    You can still perform proper Bat Turns with a good foot e-brake pedal like that no problem. It certainly has its uses.

  • Superbee ?

    Nice write up but this car IS NOT 38K. More like 50 out the door.

  • Superbee ?

    You’re crazy bro. This car is easily 50 out the door with tax, tags, title, and gap. I bought the exact same one. This is an SRT but better IMO. I had the choice between the SPS and the SRT and without no hesitation I chose the SPS. Nothing beats that badass hood scoop and Superbee badging.The only trim I’d pick over SPS would be the HC.

  • Superbee ?

    How are you liking your B5 Blue SPS? I had a B5B 15 RT before selling it for the Torred SPS ?. I too live in the DC area. We need to meet up ?

  • Superbee ?

    Straight beasting on them fools!

  • Mark Marky

    The Emergency brake is on the floor where it should be….
    .
    These Cars always had it on the floor……Chrysler only puts its fwd cars with the emergency brake behind the gearshifter/console as fwd cars are smaller thus no room on the floor…
    .
    I drive my 392 Challenger daily and it gets 28 mpg hwy,and 22 mixed average,when driving normally….Its the best cart on the market,big,powerful,economical on fuel and its SAFE !!
    .
    I never had a problem with mine,my buddy has a 2011 392 Challenger with 120,000 miles and never had a problem,except rear tires get worn out quickly ,lol…
    .
    If people knew how great these cars were,they would buy them….These handle like on rails,powerful high 11 second 1/4 mile times can be had with the 392 ! Average 12.10’s with street tires !!!!! 3.9 0-60 was my best…usually 4.1 – 4.3 seconds,but you cant floor it from the start…
    .
    Relaible,comfortable,frugal on fuel,its a fuel miser !!! Its like a 1990’s 4 cyl car,28 HWY !!! 22 mixed….

  • Scatman

    I have had numerous mopars, that being said my pitchblack 2015 Challenger Scat Pack is the most f.un and well mannered one of the lot. Interior is great the active exhaust is perfect