More space, more technology, more usability.
It was only a matter of time before Dodge went completely insane and dropped a Hellcat engine into its full-size Durango SUV. The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat arrives for a single model year only, and in its short time on sale, we believe it will go down in history as the ultimate Hellcat model for six reasons that we will discuss here.
When our Durango Hellcat arrived for a week of testing, we wanted to do more than drive it on local roads and test the trunk space at the grocery store. We took the Durango to our local drag strip, where few owners are likely to take their 5,710-pound three-row SUV. Dodge claims the Hellcat will hit 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 11.5 seconds, but those times were recorded using the grippier Pirelli P-Zero three-season tires. Our Durango came wearing the Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season performance tires, which are not nearly as sticky, and yet, we weren't disappointed.
Most muscle car enthusiasts have a trained eye to spot a Dodge Hellcat from a mile away. The Charger and Challenger don't exactly blend in, even in their base forms, and the Hellcat versions make a bold announcement to the world. By contrast, the Durango Hellcat does blend into its surroundings. If someone took the SRT and Hellcat emblems off it, there'd be almost no way to tell a supercharged V8 sits under the hood.
Especially in a neutral hue like White Knuckle, the Durango Hellcat is the ultimate sleeper car. Many attendees at the drag strip thought we put on the logos ourselves and weren't even aware that Dodge built a Hellcat version of the Durango. That surprise later morphed into amazement when they watched it blast down the strip.
Like the Charger and Challenger, the Durango Hellcat packs a 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 under the hood, sending 710 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission. But unlike its siblings that send their grunt to the rear wheels only, the Durango benefits from all-wheel-drive grip. Managing a Charger or Challenger Hellcat on a public road is terrifying, and in the rain, they may as well be driving on a frozen lake. The Durango is a completely different story. Rain or shine, this Hellcat is ready to boogie.
We mentioned at the outset that our tester came wearing all-season tires, meaning it would be nearly impossible to match Dodge's performance claims. But it got pretty darn close. In our fastest run at the strip, the Durango clocked 60 mph in 3.6 seconds (one-tenth off the manufacturer claim) and ran the quarter-mile in 11.91 seconds at 116.38 mph (0.41 seconds off the manufacturer time). Spectators at the strip watched in awe as this three-row SUV ran times that are comparable to sports cars and muscle cars, all while toting around six seats and two DVD players.
Dodge updated the entire Durango lineup for the 2021 model year, and this refresh makes the Charger and Challenger feel even more dated inside. Even the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, which is more expensive than the Durango Hellcat, is slightly outdated by comparison. Dodge made massive improvements to the fit and finish here, adding a new forged carbon fiber material to the dash for a more premium feel. The sport seats are as comfortable as ever and still include heating, ventilation, and in the case of our tester, red Nappa leather.
At the center of the interior sits a new 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system powered by a new Uconnect5 interface. In addition to the screen being of a higher resolution than the outgoing 8.4-inch Uconnect 4 system, it also supports Alexa integration and wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Not only does the Durango boast the most premium cabin of any Hellcat-powered model, but it can also share that space with more passengers. The Durango Hellcat offers rear captain's chairs and a standard third row, allowing six people to bask in the glory of 710 supercharged horses. Buyers can opt to delete the third row, which replaces the captain's chairs with a second-row bench. For even more family fun, Dodge sells a Blu-ray video rear-seat entertainment system with two nine-inch screens. If we're honest though, a pair of iPads would cost less and offer better portability.
It may slay a drag strip in under twelve seconds, but the Hellcat hasn't lost its Durango practicality. Even with the third row in place, there are 17.2 cubic feet of space for luggage plus some hidden storage under the floor. Fold the third row down, and space opens to 43.3 cubic feet. With the second-row stowed, the Durango offers a capacious 85.1 cubic feet of space, which should be enough for even the biggest Home Depot runs. Towing capacity is unhampered, too, as the Hellcat can pull 8,700 pounds behind it - enough to bring your actual drag car to the strip.
Dodge promised to only build the Durango Hellcat for a single model year and the entire 2021 production run is already spoken for. There will undoubtedly be dealers willing to part with their inventory, although we expect insane markups on those cars. Dodge only produced 2,000 units total, making the Durango Hellcat much rarer than its Charger and Challenger siblings. It's even rarer than the Dodge Demon, which had a 3,000 unit production run. We suggest getting one of these cars at all costs, as prices should hold steady due to the rarity. When these sell on Bring A Trailer in 15 years for over $100,000, we won't be surprised. After all, it's the best Hellcat around.