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Staycation #4: This Cat Doesn’t Hate Rain

by Patrick Rall on

While the first two glorious days driving the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat were sunny, the third day met some nasty weather. I headed out in the morning with the Hellcat after the weather report insisted that there was just a 20% chance of rain. That 20% became 100% in the afternoon and I was about 100 miles from home, facing the daunting task of driving a 707 horsepower muscle car that has traction issues on dry pavement – in the rain.

And not just rain, but a torrential downpour. Traffic crept along the side roads, and at 15mph, the Hellcat Challenger didn’t have any problems. I set all of the drive mode options to the street setting (default), and I had no issue pulling away from stop lights or making turns, even where there was standing water. On roads where the speed limit topped out at 45mph, the Hellcat Challenger had no troubles making its way through the pouring rains, but my bigger concern centered around highway driving.

I have driven other very high performance cars in the rain and I found that they were quick to step the back end out when the tires easily got to spinning in the water. The Hellcat Challenger has such crazy power levels that it can barely get traction on a dry road, so I was wondering how it would be trying to keep up with highway traffic on the hard rain.

The Detroit area highways are well designed to prevent pooling during hard rain, but the roads were still very wet for my 50 mile drive in the Hellcat Challenger. Around town, I could basically coast through the wetter areas – especially with traffic moving so slowly – but how would the Hellcat handle highway speeds?

The same way that the Hellcat Challenger handles everything – beautifully.

On the highway, even with the hard rain, everyone was cruising in the low 70mpg range. You barely have to tickle the gas pedal of the Challenger to keep the big coupe going 70mph, so even when I hit hills where I had to ask for more power, traction was never an issue. I never felt the 3-season tires dancing under the back end under normal driving circumstances, and at no point did the traction control engage.

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As I got closer to home, the rain eased a bit and the traffic went with it, leaving me with the Hellcat Challenger on an empty stretch of wet highway. I was able to get into the throttle a little more, cautiously putting more and more power to the rear wheels on the open road and much to my surprise, the 3-season tires really do a great job of getting the water out of the tread and allowing the beast to grip the road.

Finally, once I got into my small town where I was facing only a light rain and still-wet roads, I was able to see just how far you could push the Hellcat in the wet. Not surprisingly, any real throttle input in first or second gear spun the tires, but I was able to easily get up to the posted speed limit in a normal manner (not racing to the speed limit, but also not being too gentle) without any traction issues. While I wouldn’t recommend a whole lot of racing in the rain, the Hellcat Challenger proved very clearly that it is not afraid of a little rain – and the owners shouldn’t be, either.

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The 707hp Mopar muscle car handled the hard rains and the wet roads beautifully, further proving that there is nothing stopping the most powerful muscle car ever from being an ideal daily driver – at least in warmer months. Realistically, so long as you drive with a little common sense, there is nothing stopping the Hellcat Challenger from being just as capable year-round as any other muscle car sold in America.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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