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- Highs A three-row SUV with 700-plus horses, as quick as a 797-hp Hellcat Challenger, surprisingly deft handling for its size.
- Lows Precipitous price tag, miserable fuel economy, omnipresent supercharger whine can get annoying.
- Verdict The Durango SRT Hellcat is an incredibly powerful and shockingly entertaining three-row family hauler.
With three rows of seats and 710 horsepower on tap, the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is a rollercoaster ride the entire family can enjoy—or fear. As its name suggests, there's an almighty, unholy supercharged V-8 engine hidden within its intimidating bodywork, and its standard all-wheel-drive system is only too eager to assist its breathtaking acceleration. The howl of its supercharger and the rumble of its exhaust can go from background music to auditory assault at the press of a pedal. And when Dodge's supreme SUV isn't making its passengers squirm and regret their lunches, it can tow up to 8700 pounds and haul plenty of groceries. The 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat might seem like an excessive and expensive mid-size SUV, but not to those who appreciate its outrageousness.
What's New for 2021?
The Hellcat-powered Durango is all-new for 2021. However, the hugely powerful SUV is only scheduled for a single year of production. While the company pulled a similar move with the highly hyped and limited-edition Challenger SRT Demon, we hope strong sales and enthusiast interest will prolong this devilish Durango's life.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We think the 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat's asking price is rather steep, especially since the 10Best-winning Ram 1500 TRX is about $10k less to start, but, apparently, buyers disagree, because Dodge has confirmed that all 2000 limited copies have already sold out. Since it's still configurable on the consumer site, our model of choice was optioned without any of the gaudy dual stripes and upgraded with the Pirelli P Zero three-season tires for maximum performance. The available 19-speaker Harman/Kardon sound system is also a great way to drown out the omnipresent supercharger whine.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
There's a monster of an engine hiding underneath the bulging and vented hood. It's a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 that summons 710 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque. This earth-shattering power is directed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Hellcat engine exhales through an enhanced exhaust system that amplifies its thunder. That soundtrack mixes with the unmistakable whine of its massive supercharger, but we wish the blower didn't also squeal at low rpm. The version we tested launched to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds (matching a 797-hp Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye we tested) and cleared the quarter-mile in 12.0 seconds at 115 mph. Plus, it's capable of towing 8700 pounds, which is more than any other mid-size crossover SUV. The Hellcat Durango rides on a specially tuned suspension with adaptive dampers and 20-inch-by-10-inch wheels with standard Pirelli all-season tires or optional Pirelli P Zero three-season tires. Equipped with the latter, our example demonstrated surprisingly taut body control and 0.87 g of cornering grip. The top-dog Durango also employs a powerful Brembo brake system that clamps its 15.75-inch front rotors with six-piston calipers and its 13.8-inch rear discs with four-piston binders. These stoppers hauled the 5334-pound down from 70 mph in just 165 feet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat will earn a measly 12 mpg in the city and a not-so-impressive 17 mpg on the highway. Once we have the opportunity to test the 700-plus-hp family hauler on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, we can evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the Hellcat Durango has a driver-centric layout that looks similar to the dashboard on the Dodge Charger and Challenger. The super SUV's gauge cluster features exclusive red accents, and its flat-bottom steering wheel hosts a pair of paddle shifters as well as an SRT logo that has red backlighting. The Hellcat model also comes standard with heated and ventilated seats and nappa leather upholstery, which includes microsuede inserts on the front cushions. The cabin can also be upgraded with Laguna leather that comes in a black and Demonic Red color scheme with embossed Hellcat logos. The center console contains a pair of cupholders, a prominent T-handle shifter, a capacious storage bin, and space for a wireless charging pad. The Durango provides comfortable accommodations and a foldaway third row. Models we've tested in the past have also held an impressive amount of carry-on suitcases, too, with the ability to swallow four bags behind the backmost row and up to 26 with the second and third rows stowed.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Its infotainment system runs through a large 10.1-inch touchscreen that supports the company's latest Uconnect 5 software. The interface is primarily manipulated via touch inputs, but there's also a rotary volume and tuning knob built into the climate-control panel below. The addition of Amazon Alexa functionality allows expanded voice commands, and the system also allows two Bluetooth devices to be simultaneously connected. Other popular features include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. The Durango can also be equipped with a rear entertainment system that features a pair of 9.0-inch screens mounted on the back of the front seats.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
The mightiest Durango should also be available with a handful of standard and optional driver-assistance technology. For more information about the Durango SRT Hellcat's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard rear automated emergency braking
- Standard automatic high-beam headlights
- Available front automated emergency braking
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 6-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$89,665 (base price: $82,490)
supercharged and intercooled pushrod 16-valve V-8, iron block and aluminum heads, port fuel injection
376 in3, 6166 cm3
710 hp @ 6100 rpm
640 lb-ft @ 4300 rpm
Suspension (F/R): control arms/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.7-in vented, grooved disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero Runflat, 295/45ZR-20 (110Y)
Wheelbase: 119.8 in
Length: 200.8 in
Width: 76.4 in
Height: 69.8 in
Passenger volume: 142 ft3
Cargo volume: 17 ft3
Curb weight: 5334 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.6 sec
100 mph: 8.9 sec
130 mph: 16.0 sec
150 mph: 23.9 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.2 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.3 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 2.6 sec
1/4 mile: 12.0 sec @ 115 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 165 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 323 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 12 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 13/11/17 mpg