Trucks & SUVs

Dodge Durango Hellcat Rumor Is No Tease

Slowly but surely, Dodge has been Hellcat-in all the things. The Challenger and Charger, now available in Widebody form, have been juiced for years. The supercharged 6.2-liter V8 then went to the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk; subsequently, Hennessey gave it 1000 horsepower. The Ram Rebel TRX was seemingly next on the list. However, in an ad linked to Fast and Furious 9, Dodge teased what seemed to be a Durango Hellcat. Which, based on an inside source, appears to be actually happening.

What we’ve learned about the Dodge Durango Hellcat

The information comes courtesy of Motor Authority, who received it from a “person familiar with Dodge’s future products but unable to speak publicly.”

The Dodge Durango Hellcat is set to come on the heels of the outgoing Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The Grand Cherokee is set for an update, and won’t receive an SRT version until later. The Durango Hellcat, then, takes its place as the SUV holder of the Hellcat.

2019 Dodge Durango SRT
2019 Dodge Durango SRT | Dodge

According to Motor Authority’s source, the Durango will receive the full-force 707-hp Hellcat engine, rather than a detuned version as some Rebel TRX rumors have stated. It will be linked to an 8-speed automatic and the Durango’s four-wheel drive. Like other Hellcat models, it will get both a red key and a ‘valet mode’ black key. The high-speed SUV will also get a limited-slip rear differential.

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk
2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk | Jeep

There will be some differences between the Durango Hellcat and Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The Trackhawk hits 60 in 3.5 seconds and has a top speed of 180 mph. The Durango weighs slightly more, so its 0-60 time and top speed will likely be slower than the Jeep’s. In addition, the Durango will likely receive larger Brembo brakes than the Trackhawk and have a tow rating slightly under the Trackhawk’s 7200-lb limit. The Durango SRT, in comparison, can tow up to 8,700 lbs.

What we still don’t know about the Durango Hellcat

Motor Authority’s source didn’t reveal a specific release date. But they did claim the Durango Hellcat would be displayed at the 2020 New York Auto Show in April. Mopar Insiders’ sources claim the Hellcat trim will debut for the 2021 model year.  It’s unknown if the Rebel TRX would also be displayed; a 2020 release date was previously reported for the truck. Jalopnik, reporting on this, claimed the supercharged Durango would debut before the Rebel TRX.

Ram Rebel TRX Concept
Ram Rebel TRX Concept | FCA

In addition, the Motor Authority source didn’t reveal what the Durango Hellcat may cost. It will likely cost similar to the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which starts at $87,095. That’s roughly a $20,000 premium over the Grand Cherokee SRT, similar to the Challenger Hellcat’s cost over the Challenger R/T. The current Durango SRT, with a 475-hp 6.4-liter V8, starts at $62,995.

As of this writing, FCA has not commented on these reports.

How the competition stacks up

2020 Ford Explorer ST
2020 Ford Explorer ST | Ford

The Dodge Durango Hellcat’s closest competitor will likely be the Ford Explorer ST. At just under $56k, it’s cheaper, but it ‘only’ has 400 hp. And jumping from the Explorer ST to the Durango Hellcat likely won’t be more expensive than jumping from the SRT to the Hellcat.

2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo SE-Hybrid | Porsche
2020 Porsche Cayenne Turbo SE-Hybrid | Porsche

There are other SUVs that offer close to 707 hp, but they’re all significantly more expensive. The Range Rover SVR only has 575 hp and costs $114,000. The most powerful Porsche Cayenne has 641 hp and starts at $164,400. And to get 840 hp out of a Lamborghini Urus, you have to spend roughly $220,000.

To be fair, there is one SUV that does offer Hellcat-level power at Hellcat-level prices. But it’s not a factory offering. Hennessey Performance, the tuner behind the 1000-hp Grand Cherokee, offers a package for 6.2-liter V8-equipped Chevy Tahoes. Autotrader reports that, for $78k, Hennessey will tune the RST Tahoe to deliver 805 hp and 812 lb-ft on 93-octane gas. Motor1 reports that’s enough power to let the Tahoe out-accelerate the lighter Challenger Hellcat. However, as of this writing, Hennessey is not offering the HPE800 package on the new 2021 Tahoe.

For high-performance SUV buyers, then, the Dodge Durango Hellcat should make a compelling argument.

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