Automotive

Review: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat brings 710 hp to the school pickup

Review: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT...
This is a family vehicle that will make one tripudiate on the daily
This is a family vehicle that will make one tripudiate on the daily
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With the 710 horsepower also comes seating for six and full-time all-wheel drive in the Durango SRT Hellcat
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With the 710 horsepower also comes seating for six and full-time all-wheel drive in the Durango SRT Hellcat
The off-road credibility of the Durango is not lost in the SRT Hellcat model
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The off-road credibility of the Durango is not lost in the SRT Hellcat model
This is the diminishing view most onlookers will have as the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat blasts into the distance
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This is the diminishing view most onlookers will have as the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat blasts into the distance
SRT badges with the Hellcat head are featured on the Durango Hellcat to set it apart from other crossovers
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SRT badges with the Hellcat head are featured on the Durango Hellcat to set it apart from other crossovers
About the only place one can find V8 power in the three-row, midsized crossover-SUV segment now is in a Dodge
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About the only place one can find V8 power in the three-row, midsized crossover-SUV segment now is in a Dodge
The profile of the Durango SRT models, including this Hellcat, is unmistakable
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The profile of the Durango SRT models, including this Hellcat, is unmistakable
It's not hard to see why the Durango's styling is so popular among buyers
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It's not hard to see why the Durango's styling is so popular among buyers
The Hellcat logos on the front fenders are simpler than the one on the tailgate
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The Hellcat logos on the front fenders are simpler than the one on the tailgate
The center hood scoop feeds the supercharger while the side scoops help funnel air around and off the engine block
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The center hood scoop feeds the supercharger while the side scoops help funnel air around and off the engine block
In the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat is the beautiful 6.2L found in many Stellantis models like the Ram TRX and the Challenger Hellcat Redeye
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In the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat is the beautiful 6.2L found in many Stellantis models like the Ram TRX and the Challenger Hellcat Redeye
There are some who may not understand why huge amounts of V8-based, throaty horsepower is awesome fun
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There are some who may not understand why huge amounts of V8-based, throaty horsepower is awesome fun
This is a family vehicle that will make one tripudiate on the daily
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This is a family vehicle that will make one tripudiate on the daily
Also functional on the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat are the lower fascia scoops and intake
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Also functional on the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat are the lower fascia scoops and intake
Rear seating in the Dodge Durango is roomy, with plenty of storage and USB plugs
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Rear seating in the Dodge Durango is roomy, with plenty of storage and USB plugs
The driver's controls, infotainment, and general comfort of the Durango SRT Hellcat are excellent
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The driver's controls, infotainment, and general comfort of the Durango SRT Hellcat are excellent
Cargo space in the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is ample, even with the third row up
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Cargo space in the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is ample, even with the third row up
View gallery - 16 images

Dodge seems intent on shoving horsepower into everything possible. The company’s potent 6.2-liter supercharged V8 and its Hellcat moniker are becoming synonymous with “ludicrous muscle.” Now you can take the whole family along for your drag strip sprints with the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat.

At a Glance

  • Ridiculously powerful (and loud) supercharged V8.
  • All of the goodness of the Durango crossover.
  • Plenty of room for the whole family.
  • Not so good fuel economy.

We’ve now driven all of the Durango engine options and are happy to report that from the standard V6-powered everyday models to the three powerful V8-juiced options, there’s definitely a Durango crossover for almost everyone. All of them have the same traits: near-luxurious family hauling, solid off-road credibility, best-in-biz infotainment, and surprisingly good daily ergonomics. But they all suffer from the same relatively low fuel economy versus their peers, don’t have standard advanced safety features, and are generally bulkier in feel and reality than most of the competition.

That said, about the only place one can find V8 power in the three-row, midsized crossover-SUV segment now is in a Dodge. Most of the other makes have long since dropped their V8 options in favor of six- and turbocharged four-cylinder options. Dodge, meanwhile, has gone the other way, giving the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) treatment to them instead.

The Hellcat logos on the front fenders are simpler than the one on the tailgate
The Hellcat logos on the front fenders are simpler than the one on the tailgate

It begins with the Dodge Durango R/T, which we drove not too long after driving the Hellcat model. The R/T features a 5.7-liter V8 common in the Fiat-Chrysler (now Stellantis) lineup, outputting 360 horsepower (268.5 kW) via an eight-speed automatic. That’s more than respectable for a vehicle the size of the Durango, adding about 80 horses to the V6-powered models’ output.

Next in line is the Durango SRT model, which we drove upon its production debut. Its 6.4-liter V8 outputs 475 horsepower (354 kW). We thought at the time that this was a little excessive. Apparently, the engineers at Dodge didn’t agree because they have given the Hellcat treatment to this Dodge in the aptly-named Durango Hellcat.

In the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat is the beautiful 6.2L found in many Stellantis models like the Ram TRX and the Challenger Hellcat Redeye. So far, every vehicle that’s received the Hellcat treatment has made us tripudiate. There are some who may not understand why huge amounts of V8-based, throaty horsepower is awesome fun; possibly because they’ve never tried it or don’t realize that speed for speed’s sake is not really that interesting. But there are plenty of people for whom speed as a result of breathtaking power and visceral engine screams is definitely cause for glee.

Like the SRT, the SRT Hellcat model of the 2021 Dodge Durango comes standard with all-wheel drive configured in a way to handle the huge amounts of torque involved with this engine. The supercharged 6.2 churns 645 lb-ft (874.5 Nm) of torque to an eight-speed automatic transmission also beefed up to handle the extra strain. Brembo brakes, an adaptive sport suspension, and leather sport seating with improved bolstering are also included.

Also functional on the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat are the lower fascia scoops and intake
Also functional on the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat are the lower fascia scoops and intake

For those wondering, yes, the Durango Hellcat model is still surprisingly good off the road as well. While the standard tires are made for pavement and street gripping, light off-road is still doable in the factory stock model. Changing to some more all-terrain options would mean being on par with any Durango off the road, but would sacrifice some on-pavement capability and the ability to shove the 6.2’s muscle to the ground in full control of its rubber-squealing abandon. It is definitely possible to do burnouts in the Durango Hellcat, even with AWD. It’s so possible that it can happen at highway speeds if one shoves the throttle down too quickly.

As Uncle Parker said, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Some might say that the responsibility is being most paid for at the pump. The 2021 Dodge Durango has a highway fuel economy figure ranging from 26 mpg (9 L/100km, V6 model) to 17 mpg (13.8 L/100km, Hellcat model). Those figures aren’t terribly good compared to the rest of the market. We could argue about the below par economy of the V6 model, but little argument can be made when the model is clearly designed as a performance variant.

The variance in fuel economy between models is also seen in price tag. The Durango’s V6-powered base model starts at about US$33,260 while the Hellcat model starts at $80,995. That’s quite the spread. This follows all of the supercharged models in the Dodge lineup, though, and comes as no surprise. The buyer is essentially paying to more than double horsepower output and add the equipment to handle that upgrade.

With the 710 horsepower also comes seating for six and full-time all-wheel drive in the Durango SRT Hellcat
With the 710 horsepower also comes seating for six and full-time all-wheel drive in the Durango SRT Hellcat

So love or hate the idea of an insanely muscular family hauler, the Durango SRT Hellcat is selling. Hauling the kids to the soccer field and band practice has never been this much fun.

Product Page: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

View gallery - 16 images
7 comments
Spud Murphy
Geez, anyone would think we weren't trying to reduce greenhouse emissions or something. Honestly, why would any intelligent person buy such a vehicle, why are they even allowed in Australia? If you need something with that much grunt and space, but a Tesla Model X, it's got better performance, better handling and doesn't stink up the planet.
WB
a Tesla Model X better for the planet, saver for your kids, auto updates itself, auto drives, no stink, and is faster than this ice dinosaur, please guys grow up we only have one planet.
guzmanchinky
These things are annoying, they don't have the performance of a car and yet can't tow anything or do anything other than rip in a straight line and annoy the heck out of all the neighbors while burning fuel. I seriously hope this last gasp of noisy stupidity ends soon so we can get to electric, silent power sooner.
RFM
Dodge is the 'Trump' of auto mfgs in my opinion--both loud and clueless at the same time. I cannot tell you how obnoxious it is to hear the blaring noise from the exhaust pipes on the Challengers et.al. as they rev up and down a nearby road. In Atlanta, there are new laws being written to curb "street racing", which targets gatherings where cars (mostly Dodge muscle cars) waste tires while waking neighbors at 2AM. Frickin' ridiculous.
KurtCannon
All roads lead to Rome. What the hell does one need 700 HP in a station wagon for? It used to get me that commuting to work on a highway I was surrounded by 300, 400, 500+ horsepower cars and we were all traveling at 45 mph. Methinks it is a matter of ego and feelings of inadequacy. ICE autos are on their way out as we move to electric cars but that will not change anything because Teslas are as fast as hell.
Hopeful
Good ol' Chrysler or FCA or whatever they're called now - still have their heads in the sand trying to peddle the worst examples of last century's technology. No wonder they're at the bottom of the heap.
Aaron MacTurpen
@guzmanchinky The Durango Hellcat has a tow rating of 8,700 pounds.