While every auto manufacturer these days seems to be touting their fuel-efficient future by way of ubiquitous fuel-sipping blobs and future-looking EVs, the engineers at FCA’s SRT division are still finding ways to expand their line of grin-inducing Hellcat-powered models.
As inevitable as it is, SRT has decided to give the Dodge Durango the full Hellcat treatment for 2021. Behold, the 710-horsepower Dodge Durango Hellcat.
Brute Force Family Transportation
To put it quite simply, the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat is the fastest and most powerful SUV on earth, besting even the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The supercharged Hellcat 6.2-liter V8 in the Durango Hellcat produces 710-horsepower and 646 lb-ft of torque, besting the Trackhawk by three horsepower.
The 2.38-liter supercharger that sits atop the massive V8 runs 11.6 pounds of boost and gets cold air through a scoop on the Durango’s hood, while a dedicated charge air cooling system handles cooling.
The ground destroying power is delivered to all four wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel-drive system does a fantastic job of making sure all four tires bite as hard as possible with all that power and can send 70% of the power directly to the rear wheels when in Track mode.
With the help of launch control, launch assist, and the all-wheel-drive system, the Durango SRT Hellcat, can do 0-60 in a mind-bending 3.5 seconds, onward through the 1/4 mile in 11.5 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph. Remember, this is a 5,710-pound vehicle that can seat seven passengers and tow 8,700 pounds!
What makes the Durango Hellcat so impressive beyond the insane power figures is the daily driving experience. There’s nothing intimidating about driving this F8 Green monster. It can drive as calm as Bruce Banner or turn into the Hulk when the gas pedal is put to the floor.
To keep the Durango Hellcat pointed in the intended direction with all that power at the front, SRT engineers started with the Durango SRT 392 suspension as a baseline and added 20% more rebound control and made the rear damper mounts 18% stiffer.
The user-adjustable suspension can be set in a few different modes varying from maximum comfort to full-on track mode. In all modes, there’s no forgetting this is a performance SUV and not a luxury SUV. The ride is stiff and can border on being harsh on particularly bad road sections. The Durango Hellcat makes no apologies for this stiffness, as the end goal is to minimize body roll and keep the Durango compliant in the corners.
Braking duty is handled by massive 15.8-inch front rotors with red six-piston calipers and 13.8-inch rotors with 4-piston calipers in the rear. These brakes did a good job stopping the Durango Hellcat’s heft a few times in a row, but I’d be wary of these brakes fading badly out on the track where you need to put the brakes to their limits, time and time again.
Since the Dodge Durango Hellcat is a family hauler first and performance SUV second, comfort, space, and technology are as important as the performance.
While the suspension is slightly on the stiff side, the ubiquitous SRT bucket seats are extremely comfortable and provide plenty of support for the legs, rear end, and back.
Second and third-row seats have 38.6 inches of legroom and 33.5 inches of legroom, respectively. While neither are at the head of the class for this segment as far as space goes, the third row is very comfortable for average-size adults, and let’s be honest, none of the class leaders have the kind of fun factor the Durango Hellcat has.
The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat gets a facelifted dashboard that is canted toward the driver to create a more cockpit-like feel. Dodge has also upgraded the Durango interior with a new 10.1-inch touchscreen featuring the fantastic UConnect 5 infotainment system.
There’s no logical reason in today’s current social climate that a vehicle like the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat should exist at all. It’s loud, brash, and a slap in the face to all the movements around, making vehicles more economical and ecologically responsible. Still, there’s a balance to be found.
Almost everything can be good in moderation, and I have zero problems with vehicles like this existing because vehicles like the Durango Hellcat are the reason many of us fell in love with cars in the first place. It’s great to see Dodge shunning the social norms and showing us that there’s still fun to be had behind the wheel, even when you have a family to move around.
That fun comes at a hefty price with the Durango SRT Hellcat of almost $90,000, but it doesn’t matter if you can stomach that price or not. The entire first-year production run of the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is already sold out entirely. If you can find one, it’s going to be pre-owned and likely carrying a $20k-$30k premium on the secondary market. Yes, these vehicles are that in-demand, and I’m so happy that so many families are going to enjoy the thrill of driving around in the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat.