by Jared Rosenholtz
When Dodge started stuffing a range of models with the supercharged Hellcat engine seemingly at will, there were those that joked - including us - that the company should build a three-row Durango with over 700 horsepower. And that's exactly what the crazy cats have done. Introducing the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, the most powerful production SUV that there has ever been.
Dodge says it will only build the Durango SRT Hellcat for the 2021 model year, meaning this could end up being remembered as one of the most unique SUVs of all time. Its performance stats are absolutely outrageous and despite there being zero arguments for needing a three-row SUV with this much power, Dodge does not know the meaning of the word excess.
The current third-generation model has been in production since 2010, so the Durango's shape is pretty familiar. It last received a facelift back in 2014 and now for 2021, it becomes a bit more modern. All Durango models for 2021 receive new LED headlights while the SRT models get a new integrated chin splitter. The Hellcat specifically uses a two-piece chin splitter for added downforce along with a fog lamp delete to improve airflow.
As you'd expect, the Durango Hellcat is clad with special badging on the grille, fenders, and tailgate. These emblems are typically finished in Satin Chrome but can also be painted in Neutral Grey Metallic as part of the SRT Black Package. All Durango Hellcat models ride on 20-inch wheels as standard. Just like other Hellcat models, Dodge offers a variety of outrageous color options including F8 Green, Octane Red, and In-Violet.
Dodge has not gone to great lengths to redesign the Durango's interior but it has packed in some much-needed upgrades. The old 8.4-inch touchscreen is still available but there is also an optional 10.1-inch display powered by the new Uconnect 5 infotainment system. Uconnect 5 adds impressive features such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and over-the-air software updates. Dodge has also improved the center stack with nicer buttons and chrome-accented toggle switches, giving the Durango a more premium feel inside.
With 710 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque coming from a 6.2-liter supercharged V8, the Durango Hellcat is unequivocally the most powerful SUV on sale. Power goes out to all-wheel-drive through an eight-speed automatic transmission, rocketing this big beast to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 180 mph. Dodge has already run the Durango Hellcat through the quarter-mile where it achieved an NHRA-certified time of 11.5 seconds.
Helping bring the car to a stop are Brembo brakes with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers, which can halt the vehicle from 60 mph in 116 feet. Dodge also wanted to make sure that all of this performance didn't ruin the Durango Hellcat's practicality. Like the standard SRT model, the Hellcat can tow up to 8,700 pounds.
There aren't many SUVs out there that can rip off a sub-four-second 0-60 mph run and still tow a boat. The Durango Hellcat can also do it while seating up to seven passengers. And while you are taking a road trip, rear-seat passengers can enjoy a built-in Blu-ray entertainment system with dual nine-inch screens. No MPG figures have been quoted but we do estimate that your family road trips will have plenty of fuel stops.
No pricing has been given for the 2021 Durango Hellcat but we assume it will be significantly more expensive than last year's Durango SRT, which started at $62,995. We'd estimate this new supercharged model will start in the mid-$70,000 range. As for the competition, there isn't any. The Ford Explorer ST will be much less expensive at $54,740 but with "only" 400 hp on tap, it will be left in the dust by the Durango Hellcat.
Dodge's only real competition in terms of performance comes from the BMW Alpina XB7 and Mercedes-AMG GLS63. These three-row luxury SUVs can match the Durango Hellcat in terms of performance but cost nearly twice as much. The Durango Hellcat is truly in a league of its own.