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    Big Abilities and Style

    By Philip Ruth–

    When is too much too much? It’s a subjective question with a highly personalized answer. 

    In terms of cars, the response has no baseline. Pretty much any vehicle owner can point to another car or truck that is faster, bigger, or more capable than theirs. It’s like the gym: no matter how lean and buff you get, there is always someone leaner and buffer. 

    There is a certain relief in accepting that. It’s OK not to be top dog all the time, and it can be the sanest choice to let someone else drive for a while. 

    But when competitive juices flow, a powerful tool could be just the thing. The satisfaction it can provide might make it right for your daily transportation.

    That’s pretty much the justification behind both our subjects this week: the Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack Plus, and the Range Rover Sport HST. Both are way more than you’d ever need, although the experiences they provide might be just what you want. 

    The tested Dodge rang in at $51,570, and the Range Rover doubled it at $105,170. These are chic fees for a family sedan and a mid-sized SUV, but, of course, that’s not really what we’re examining here. 

    Instead, the Dodge is a manifestation of brute force, and the Range Rover effectively mixes youthful vigor with old-school prestige. 

    The first interior feature listed on the Dodge’s window sticker is its 180-mph speedometer, which cues you to the 6.4-liter V8 engine and its 485 horsepower. It’s shunted through an eight-speed automatic that teams up with the Hemi engine to purr around town and then unleash the hounds at a moment’s notice. Particularly satisfying was the Charger’s throttle response from a stop; power is parsed out in fine gradations to prevent you from over-driving a car that begs for it. 

    That response lags by comparison in the Range Rover Sport. While it is also an eight-speed automatic, the Sport’s engine is a more modern interpretation of internal-combustion brawn, with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 propelling this truck with 395 horsepower. 

    But, the hat-tip to the Range Rover’s considerable off-road skill is acceleration that lags a second or two before really coming on. That’s the deliberate response you need off-road, but it’s less useful when you’re at city intersections opposite time-pressed Amazon Prime trucks. 

    Interior quality is an obvious reason for the Range Rover’s doubling of price over this top-shelf Dodge. The latter is improved over the Charger’s predecessors with attractive stitching around the instrument panel, but similarly-priced sedans like the Nissan Maxima feel better to the touch. The tested Range Rover Sport is in another class entirely, at a price point where the supple “Suedecloth” that wraps the steering wheel and seat bolsters could be from the hide of a magical animal spoken of only by young-adult authors. 

    Above all else, both of these vehicles are like none other on the road. That distinction, along with abilities relatively few others possess, affirms their appeal. 

    Philip Ruth is a Castro-based automotive photojournalist and consultant with an automotive staging service.

    Published on April 8, 2021