The most powerful Durango ever made is here for a limited time only.
The Dodge brand comprises three aged vehicle lines. These are the Challenger coupe, the Charger sedan, and the Durango SUV. All three have not undergone a major update in more than a decade, but it’s the intermediary changes that keep customers coming back.
At the apex of all three models are the SRT Hellcats, high-performance versions that dazzle the eyes and cause heart palpitations. Not only are they fast, but they come dressed to win. For 2021, the Durango is the latest Dodge model to gain the SRT Hellcat treatment. Only 2,000 units will be built.
Dodge offers the 2021 Durango in nine trims ranging from the SXT ($32,570) to the SRT Hellcat ($80,995). Add $1,495 for the destination charge. Customers have a choice of standard rear-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. This SUV seats six or seven across three rows. For this article, we supply an overview of the entire trim line with the performance details based on our SRT Hellcat test model.
Interior & Exterior Highlights
To mark the SRT Hellcat’s debut, Dodge went all out with the decorative updates, including several practical changes. These modifications build on an extensive freshening for all Durango models including a new grille, slimmer headlights, and a sculpted hood.
With the Hellcat, an integrated chin spoiler improves the aerodynamics for added downforce. A cold-air scoop in the lower front fascia helps feed the supercharger. Other improvements cover the wheels and the crossover X-pipe, the largest of its kind among all SRT models.
Inside, the cabin features seating for six with two seats in each row. The standard models offer room for seven with a middle bench seat. Cloth-covered seats come standard and various leather choices are available. Make your way up through the trim range and features such as heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated second-row seats come in.
The SRT Hellcat’s front seats are generously bolstered, thick, and comfortable. The second-row captains’ chairs are the next best seats but are more lounge-like. The third row also houses two individuals and is ideal for youngsters or adults in a pinch.
There are a pair of strong attributes with the SRT Hellcat that are easy to overlook, but are most welcome: interior storage and towing. The standard storage space measures 17.2 cubic feet and 43.3 cubic feet behind the second row. With the second- and third-row seats folded, there is 85.1 cubic feet of cargo-carrying capacity. When it comes to towing, this model pulls up to 8,700 pounds, easily beating every competing model. Side note: all other trims pull at least 6,200 pounds.
Safety & Technology
The Durango’s weakest area is in the safety realm as very little driver-assist technology is standard. For example, automatic emergency braking and active lane control are available as is forward collision warning. Further, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and front and rear parking sensors are optional.
This year, Dodge upgraded the Durango’s tech features. An 8.4-inch touch-screen display is standard, while a 10.1-inch screen is available. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility, four or six USB ports, and the latest version of the brand’s Uconnect interface are included. Dodge also offers 6-, 9-, and 19-speaker audio systems, depending on the trim and package choices.
SRT Hellcat Performance
Dodge supplies a small army of engines with the 2021 Durango. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with 295 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. The smallest of a trio of eight-cylinder engines is a 5.7-liter V8 with 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque. A 6.4-liter V8 bangs out 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. The most powerful engine of all is a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 710 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque. All four engines work with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Each engine has its mission, ranging from a capable people mover to a track star. However, if you are captivated by performance, the SRT Hellcat does it all. This engine roars to life and sends a strong bellow out the exhaust ports under full throttle, then moves the Durango from 0-60 mph in a blistering 3.5 seconds. Notably, that makes for the fastest SUV among mainstream models, although quicker models from Tesla, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Mercedes-AMG can be had, but at much higher prices.
To make this SUV a performer on and off track, Dodge improved the suspension system to supply a quicker response, better grip, and improved stability while tackling corners. Sport-tuned shock absorbers, Brembo brakes, wide tires, and enhanced steering feedback narrow the gap between the standard Durango and Dodge’s coupe and sedan models. Yet, this Durango remains a high-profile vehicle and that means some body roll is still evident.
Where it shines brightest is on straightaways, with launch control activated, and the digital screen coaxing the driver to let it rip. Be prepared for a neck snap back experience and, if the kids are in tow, warn them. Expect shrieks of glee to come from every passenger.
SRT Hellcat Musings
The SRT Hellcat appeals to a narrow audience of customers who put a premium on performance. Certainly, it will cost you dearly, but the novelty factor is hard to ignore.
For $30,000 less, a well-equipped Citadel model with all-wheel drive is worth considering. With this in mind, you should remember the high-end performance aspect is not included with this one.
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