Is The Dodge Durango Hellcat The Ultimate Three-Row SUV?

Comparison / Comments

We compare it to the GLS 63 and XB7.

Dodge has lost its marbles and we hope it never finds them. The company has just introduced a new Hellcat version of the seven-seat Durango, powered by the same supercharged HEMI V8 found in other Hellcat models and the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is now the most powerful SUV in the world, meaning its mainstream competitors are greatly outmatched.

In fact, the only way you can get a seven-seat SUV with similar performance is by spending much, much more. The 2021 BMW Alpina XB7 and 2021 Mercedes-AMG GLS63 can both go toe-to-toe with the Durango Hellcat, albeit at a higher price point. Are these premium performance SUVs worth their higher price tags or is the Durango Hellcat the new king of three-rows?

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Exterior

All three of these SUVs cast very large shadows with their imposing size. The Durango Hellcat shoots for a 'muscle car meets family' vibe while the BMW and Mercedes are a bit more restrained. Dodge has given the Durango Hellcat some nice touches like LED headlights, a wider grille opening, and 20-inch wheels, but the aggressive styling may put off buyers who prefer to blend in rather than stand out.

The BMW looks the most restrained to our eyes, with subtle Alpina touches including the wheels and fascia designs. AMG has gone a bit more extreme on the GLS, giving it the signature Panamericana grille and optional 23-inch wheels. Choosing between these three is mostly a matter of taste but each one has its high points and faults.

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Front Angle View Mercedes-AMG
BMW

Interior

Dodge has made some impressive improvements to the Durango's cabin for the 2021 model year including a new 10.1-inch touchscreen with Uconnect 5 and upgraded switchgear that feels more premium. Sadly though, these updates still do very little to approach the level of opulence found in the XB7 and GLS 63. These cars both feature much larger infotainment systems along with digital instrument clusters.

The Durango may have updated technology and plenty of luxury features but it can't match the driver assistance tech found in the BMW or Mercedes, nor does it have ultra-luxury features like massaging seats or built-in air fragrance systems. When you look at the material quality inside, the BMW and Mercedes are in a different league than the Dodge, which is why they are both much more expensive.

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Performance

Performance is one area where the Durango Hellcat is clearly on par with the XB7 and GLS63. It is powered by a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 producing 710 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque. In comparison, the XB7 produces just 612 hp and 590 lb-ft from its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 while the GLS 63 produces 603 hp and 627 lb-ft.

Mercedes says the GLS 63 can hit 60 mph in 4.1 seconds while the Alpina is rated at four-seconds flat, both of which are slower than Dodge's quoted 3.5-second time for the Durango Hellcat. At 180 mph, the Durango can outpace the GLS 63's top speed of 174 but the Alpina is a bit faster at 188 mph. We look forward to some real-world testing, where the XB7 and GLS 63 may make it a closer drag race than the numbers would imply.

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Engine CarBuzz

Pricing

Since Dodge has not yet posted pricing for the Durango Hellcat, we can only speculate on its price. The non-supercharged Durango SRT model starts at $62,995 and even factoring in a hefty price increase for the Hellcat, we predict it will likely sit in the mid-$70,000 price range. If our prediction is accurate, the Durango Hellcat will be around half the price of the Alpina XB7 and GLS 63, which start at $141,300 and $132,100 respectively. It may not be nearly as luxurious on the inside but if all you want is the best performance bargain with seating for seven, the Durango Hellcat will be impossible to beat.

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Rear View Mercedes-AMG

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