Previously, if you wanted a Hellcat engine in an SUV, your only option was the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. But for 2021, Dodge is spreading the joy from the Charger and Challenger into the Durango SRT Hellcat. The high-power SUV jumps into a market that’s spoiled for choice when it comes to fast and powerful options. But from recent reviews are saying, the Dodge Durango Hellcat comes well-equipped for the fight.
The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat has plenty of speed
Naturally, the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat’s main feature is what’s under the hood. It’s a tweaked version of the 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 rated 710 hp and 640 lb-ft. It’s linked to an 8-speed automatic, and it makes the Durango Hellcat the most powerful production 3-row SUV, Car and Driver reports.
Thanks to standard all-wheel drive, the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat goes 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, Car and Driver reports. That’s only 0.1 seconds behind the 797-hp Charger Hellcat Redeye and 0.2 seconds behind the 760-hp Mustang Shelby GT500. And keep in mind, the Durango weighs 5334 pounds.
Car and Driver reports the SUV can run the ¼-mile in 12 seconds. But Road & Track reports an 11.5-second run is possible. It can’t quite match the Bentley Bentayga’s or the Mansory RS Q8’s top speed. But then, there aren’t many places where you can legally hit 180 mph.
It has more to offer than just horsepower, though
While the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is roughly as powerful as the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, it has several advantages over the Jeep, Motor Trend reports. While it too has adaptive Bilstein suspension, the dampers get internal rebound springs for 2021. The Hellcat model also has stiffer damper mounts, as well as stiffer anti-roll bars and springs than the standard Durango. And for 2021, the Brembo brakes have new copper-free pads.
The Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat’s other upgrade over the Trackhawk is a more practical one: towing capacity. The Trackhawk can tow up to 7200 pounds, while the Durango Hellcat has an 8700-lb capacity. That’s 600 pounds more than the Ram 1500 TRX can tow.
Speaking of practicality, the Hellcat model gets the same updates as the rest of the 2021 Dodge Durango lineup. That means a new grille, a more ‘driver-focused’ cabin layout, and upgraded interior materials, Motor1 reports. Which, for Hellcat models, includes Nappa leather upholstery. It’s also the first Dodge to receive FCA’s updated infotainment system, displayed on a larger 10.1” touchscreen.
The Hellcat trim comes with a few more performance-oriented features, though. Instead of fog lights, it has extra cooling air intakes, R&T reports. Plus, it has a flat-bottom steering wheel, a functional front splitter, a rear spoiler, and a rear-mounted Gurney flap.
The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is a genuine sports SUV
Given its horsepower rating, the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is definitely quick, despite its curb weight. But as with the Charger Hellcat Redeye, the 3-row SUV offers more than straight-line speed, Hagerty reports.
The Durango Hellcat’s suspension upgrades over the standard SRT 392 model means it tackles corners with noticeably less body roll, Car and Driver reports. The handling is further enhanced with the AWD and optional Pirelli summer tires, which R&T notes are extremely grippy. And despite the Durango’s extra mass compared to the Trackhawk, the Dodge SUV’s brakes are actually more fade-resistant, MT reports. This is a genuinely track-capable SUV, Hagerty reports.
And when you’re not at the track, the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat will happily serve as a family-hauling commuter. The adaptive suspension creates a comfy ride, as do the well-bolstered seats. The interior is spacious, MT reports, and even offers a wireless charging tray. The only downsides are slightly over-boosted power steering and the fuel consumption that comes with a supercharged V8.
Is the one-year wonder worth considering over its rivals?
Unfortunately, the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat won’t be around for long. Emissions regulations mean Dodge is only offering it for the 2021 model year. Prices start at $80,995. While there are several SUVs that sticker at a similar level, there aren’t many that offer the Durango Hellcat’s level of power.
The BMW X5 M, for example, ‘only’ musters 600 hp from its 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8. While it’s only 0.2 seconds slower to 60 mph, it also costs $105,100. The Competition Package adds 17 hp and a few handling upgrades, but it also adds about $5000 to the X5 M’s price tag, Car and Driver reports. Though admittedly, it may have the advantage in interior materials.
It’s a similar story with the Audi RS Q8. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes ‘just 591 hp, while its 0-60 mph time lies in-between the X5 M and Durango Hellcat. But in addition to AWD, it also has adjustable air suspension, active anti-roll bars, and rear-wheel steering. Though that comes with a similar high base price of $114,500.
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