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Friday, December 30, 2016

Greenlight 2015 Dodge Charger Police, SRT Hellcat, and 2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS

Two veteran castings in the Greenlight line are the Charger and Camaro.  Both have gone through several variations over the years, and the newest versions for 2016 are the best examples.  The Camaro needs it badly the most as the previous-generation looked flat-faced with a lot of ground clearance and tires that were a bit too wide.  The Charger, on the other hand, was pretty much perfect when it was first introduced in 2006 and then the updated version in 2011, but the previous-generation suffered from skinny tires and that large gate grille that really detracted from an otherwise fantastic model.  Both models are now updated with proper looks and stance so its time to see how they fared out.

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2015 Dodge Charger Police

One of the Hot Pursuit police cars that keeps on getting refreshed is the Charger.  Now in its third generation the new Charger is smaller than the previous-generation thanks to shorter front and rear overhangs despite sharing the same wheelbase as the prior generation.  Borrowing styling cues from the Dodge Dart the corners are rounded off with lamps that wrap-around and feature full LED lighting front and rear.  The headlights look more like the Dart with added LED C-shaped running lights and, finally, a smaller grille design.  The rear track lights still continue, but now with corners that wrap with the new rounded corners.  Powertrains are still the same, with the police car still using the 5.7L Hemi V8 with cylinder deactivation and an eight-speed automatic.  The first release of this casting is the Florida Highway Patrol version.  It has the famed beige/black two-tone, FHP and state trooper badges on the sides, and at the rear warning reflector stripes on the rear bumper with the Florida permanent plate in between.  The look of the castings looks pretty good, especially at the rear with the rounded corners, though not as highly-detailed as the 2011 version.


Up front there are some oddities:  The opening hood on my tester seems to recede in more towards the front.  The headlights have the proper C-shaped LED's, but the projector lamps are too far closer toward the grille.  The front-end seems a bit flat-faced, but then again that might be me.  The hood opens up to show the detailed V8 Hemi with accurate badging.  The wheels are blacked-out mags that still look awkward on a police casting.  The interior is the same as the previous model, so its no surprise that the 2011 interior tooling is reused here.  The dashboard has detailed three-spoke steering wheel, center stack, center console, door panels, and seats.  However, it can be hard to see inside when the dashboard is so big that it fills half of the front windshield!  I'll have to see more versions in different police liveries to see if this new 2015 Charger is a vast improvement over the 2011 casting (which was a vast improvement over the 2006 casting, a casting that was started life as a SRT model but was never planned for police duty until the Hot Pursuit line was created two years after the casting's initial release).

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Then Greenlight announced the SRT Hellcat version of the new Charger casting, and I have to be the party pooper but Hot Wheels did a fantastic job on their's so how can you improve on that?  Well, being a higher-end collectible company you tend to offer more accurate, and in this case of this casting, opening parts.  The Hellcat uses the same 6.2L 707 hp. supercharged V8 as the Challenger, as does the same hood design, wheels, and name.  The Charger only offers an eight-speed automatic and, surprisingly, it is faster than the Challenger Hellcat!  The hood opens up here to show off the supercharger and tall valve covers.  The exterior, in TorRed, shows off some of the flat-faced front-end that I complained about on the police car above, and it sits a bit higher in stance, but after a while looking at it you forgive the negatives and start to enjoy the casting even more as the SRT than the police car version.

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Yes, the front headlights still have the projector headlight beam too far inward, but overall it looks impressive with a new slender grille with SRT logo, a larger lower grille, and a new hood with Viper-style scoops.  The side profile is nice, but what really sets it off is the multi-spoke wheels and ultra low-profile tires, which reminds me of the Chrysler 300 SRT casting's wheels.  Out back the police stuff is removed, a rear spoiler added, and side bumper gills to finish off the sporty look.  The base and interior is shared with the police car version, so no difference here.  Overall it's an very impressive look than what I originally thought it was, and while the Hot Wheels version has the proper stance and body shape, the Greenlight version goes for the extra mile in details.

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2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS coupe

The car that needed the most attention was the Camaro: the 2010 version, whether in convertible, 2010 stock, 2007, concept, or convertible, all stem from the 2007 concept and that includes all of its maladies.  For 2016 a new clean slate is applied to the next-generation Camaro and hopefully that will improve the look of the Greenlight Camaro casting.  Well, it did.  The new 2016 Camaro is now based on the platform shared with the Cadillac ATS, shedding weight in the process becoming lighter and more refined than the last-generation.  The effect has earned the new Camaro many awards for its accomplishments.  The example you see here is the 2016 Hobby release of the new Camaro in SS trim decked in Torch red.  A convertible casting is also planned and will be released more into 2017 (I will review one when it becomes available).  While it still sits too high at least the wheels are not too wide and the front-end at least has some shape and not a flat face!

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The front-end has new headlights with new LED design (bye-bye halo rings) and integrated turn signal lights.  The grille between the headlights are narrower to allow a larger lower grille to fit in; that lower grille with the SS logo is a separate piece from the body.  The sides of the bumper have small gills with LED foglights.  The hood has dual vents that makes more sense than the non-functioning mail slot of the previous-generation.  The sides have Camaro badges on the fenders, exterior mirrors on the body and not with the windows, and nice double 5-spoke wheels (solid, blacked-out 5-spoke wheels are another design offered).  The rear has redesigned, Corvette-like taillights with integrated signal and reverse lamps.  The silver application is a bit too much and tends to cover most of the red in the lens.  The rear spoiler is now a separate piece and adds character to the model, while the lower bumper with quad exhausts finish off the sporty look.  It's a nice update and vast improvement over the previous model.

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The base shows off the exhaust and drivetrain details, while the hood opens up to reveal the 6.2L V8's engine cover and fender accessories.  The interior features seating for four with well-bolstered front seats, detailed door panels, console with shift handle, three-spoke steering wheel, dual pod gauges, and a center touchscreen infortainment system with the HVAC controls integrated into the two central vents below.  The transmission is an eight-speed automatic verses the six-speed manual transmission.  Now I couldn't see how well the details were inside because the front windshield is so small that you can barely see anything inside, while the side windows are frosted for some reason.  Hopefully i'll find out more when the convertible version arrives later.

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These three represent an improvement over the previous castings, more so with the Camaro than the Charger, and help continue these American modern muscle cars in the Greenlight line for years to come.

Update 12/19/17: A milder version of the Charger was released for 2017 as the Charger SRT 392.  This time it has the 392, or 6.4L) Hemi V8 under the hood, and not just a new engine cover: note how Greenlight managed to paint the engine block orange just below.  Very nice!  Aside from new badges, a new hood with one scoop, and a Go Green paint job the casting is pretty much unchanged from the SRT Hellcat:

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