Thursday, January 26, 2023
Reviews 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat Review: The Pinnacle of ICE Insanity

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat Review: The Pinnacle of ICE Insanity

The Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is quite possibly the most invisible supercar-killer on the road today

  • Pricing for the Durango SRT starts at $75,995 in Canada, $65,357 in the US.

  • The Durango SRT Hellcat starts at $115,720 in Canada, $81,390 in the US.

  • This is the ultimate sleeper SUV.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reviewed the Dodge Durango over the last twelve years or so. Not once was I displeased with Dodge’s 3-row midsize SUV’s performance, capabilities, and general overall value. One factor separates some Durangos from other Durangos and that’s the V8 engine. And with the SRT Hellcat, the V8 is nevermore omnipresent.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The word Hellcat has become globally synonymous with power, speed, and loud noises. And of all of Dodge’s and other Stellantis’ vehicles equipped with the already legendary push-rod operated Hellcat V8 engine, the Durango is the third most insane, behind only the limited-run drag-dedicated Challenger Demon (2.3 seconds 0-60 mph) and SRT Super Stock (3.25 seconds 0-60 mph).

Hellcat Power

Thanks to the supercharged 6.2-litre Hemi Hellcat V8’s 710 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque, the big SUV launches to 60 mph in only 3.5 seconds. The two Challengers have 100 or more horsepower over the Durango. Fact: Even the 797-horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye is slower, albeit only 0.1 seconds slower. But, the Durango’s AWD guarantees that it will launch reliably and every time. The included 8-speed automatic transmission is a smooth operator, as always.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat | Photo: Olivier Delorme

This colossal amount of power and performance does not make the Durango SRT Hellcat impractical or difficult to live with. Dodge actually upgraded the suspension in both SRT versions to more comfort from the adjustable dampers in Auto mode (street setting) with equal improvements in chassis responsiveness and dynamics in Track mode. With the exception of the supercharger’s whine, the Hellcat is no more feral than a Durango R/T. In fact, it’s amusing to cruise around in with the kids in tow. The kids, mine at least, are even more entertained when the hammer meets the firewall. Here, the transmission becomes a glutton for punishment and flawless distributes the gobs of power.

If I was to say something negative about the SRT Hellcat, it’s that there’s too much Hellcat going on. Anything longer than a 6-second stab on the throttle will send the driver straight to jail. Like most ultra-high-powered vehicles, output numbers are for bragging rights, not for street-light racing. But, you can if you want to…

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Under normal situations, the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is a perfect gentleman when in Auto drive mode. Depending on tastes and feelings, the Durango goes from urban kid-dropper-off to demonic track crusher.

Super Sleeper

And it’s here, in your friendly neighborhood mall lot or in front of your kid’s school that no one will fully understand or notice what you’re driving. At the risk of possibly hurting the SRT Hellcat’s resale value by $400 or $500, I’d remove the Hellcat badges throughout the vehicle and create the perfect sleeper. Painted White Knuckle like the tester unit, it’s got rental-fleet special written all over it. That is, until the supercharger whistles. To avoid the rental look, I’d opt for Bleu Shade, Octane Red, Redline Pearl, or, best of all, F8 Green.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Another reason why the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat flies under the radar is that it’s unadorned and does without a widebody kit. With the exclusion of the 20-inch wheels, which are available on the R/T and SRT 392, the only differentiators are the integrated chin splitter, a barely different grille, and minute rear spoiler. I love it more for all these reasons.

The cabin is straight-up Durango fare with the new 10.1-inch touchscreen display, which now features Uconnect5, a new narrow horizontal HVAC control panel, large comfortable seats, and a big boot capable of carrying everything.

I’d still and always SRT 392

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat | Photo: Olivier Delorme

I lied earlier: The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat has a few more flaws. For one, it will only be offered for the 2021 model year so if you haven’t ordered yours, it’s probably too late. And two, the Durango SRT 392. While the 392 might be as exclusive as the Hellcat, it’s about $40,000 less expensive and, in my opinion, about 90% a Hellcat.

In the $100,000+ super SUV segment, no other 3-row SUV is as brutish or fun as the Durango. If you don’t need something as big, there are the Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the Jaguar F-Pace SVR, or the usual suspects such as the BMW X5 M, Audi RS Q8, and Porsche Cayenne GTS, but one can never have as much fun with ze Germans.

None of these vehicles will be as rare as the Durango SRT Hellcat, not to mention that the big Dodge won’t stand out from the crowd, it’ll just blow its doors off.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat | Photo: Olivier Delorme

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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