$80,000 can buy quite a bit of car these days. We have been very fortunate to have been able to drive two of the premier cars in this price range. The 2017 Chevy Corvette Grand Sport, and the 2016 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, to be specific. Now, both of these cars cost around the same, and offer some very impressive performance figures, but which is the better one to buy? Roman Mica and Nathan Adlen took to the backroads of Colorado to find out.
Lets start with the numbers on each car. The Hellcat has a 6.2L supercharged Hemi V8 that produces a ludicrous 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Ours has the fantastic ZF 8-speed automatic transmission which gives power to the rear wheels. The Corvette Grand Sport, similarly, has a 6.2L V8. However, this one is naturally aspirated, making 460 horsepower and 465 lb-ft of torque. This power is sent to the rear wheels via a 7-speed manual transmission.
Despite their similarities in format, these two cars accomplish very different goals. In many ways, the Hellcat is like one final homage to the true American muscle car. It has an absurd amount of power slapped onto what is essentially a sedan chassis. It goes in a straight line really well, but when faced with a corner, the Hellcat’s 1,000 extra pounds over the Corvette really begin to show. Dodge has done some good work making the Hellcat handle as well as it does, but the car just has a lot of weight to throw around. That being said, the Hellcat does offer a lot more practicality than the Corvette. It has a backseat with room for real people, and it is not so low to the ground that each entry and exit of the vehicle is like a yoga session. The Hellcat offers just as much straight line speed as the Corvette, but way more practicality for every day living.
The Corvette is much more of a purpose built machine. This one in particular, the Grand Sport, has the same wheels and suspension of the Z06, with the the engine from the Stingray. What this means is that you get a car with magnetic shocks, massive 12-inch rear tires, and unlike the Hellcat, useable power. The Corvette has no issues putting down all 460 horses, and when faced with a corner, handles beautifully. The Corvette feels much more like a sports car than it does a muscle car, and that difference reveals itself again in the lack of practicality. Being a two-seater convertible, the Corvette doesn’t have much room for things in the back, and you can only carry one other person. The Corvette then becomes a car which is much better suited for weekend drives, whereas the Hellcat can function much better as a daily driver.
So, which is the one to buy? That ultimately depends on what you need out of the car. If you need something that can take the kids to school, and then hit the drag strip before lunch, the Hellcat is your car. But, if you don’t need all the practicality, and you can get by driving it once or twice a week, the Corvette Grand Sport offers a fantastic sports car, with the handling and power to match some of the best cars that Europe has to offer. Either way, we think you will be quite happy with your choice.
To see the full road review, be sure to watch the entire video above. Additionally, stay tuned to TFLcar for our track test of the 2017 Corvette Grand Sport, coming soon!