By on October 26, 2021


2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD Fast Facts

6.2-liter V8 (710 horsepower @ 6,100 rpm; 645 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

12 city / 17 highway / 13 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

20.5 city / 13.8 highway / 17.4 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $80,995 (U.S) / $122,310 (Canada)

As Tested: $89,665 (U.S.) / $128,855 (Canada)

Prices include $1,495 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 to $2,895 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

“You don’t need it, but you’ll want it.”

It’s a common refrain when discussing bonkers performance vehicles, particularly ones that are based on family haulers. I’ve said a version of that a time or two in reviews I’ve written here and elsewhere. But some cliches are cliches because they’re true.

On the other hand, sometimes just because you want something cool, it’s not the practical choice.

Enter the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat.

You’d think stuffing a 710 horsepower/645 lb-ft of torque V8 (6.2-liters, supercharged) into a family-hauling SUV would lead to grin-fueling insanity. You’d be right. But also, as much as you might want this, you don’t need it.

In part because Dodge offers a V8 Durango that’s nearly as bonkers for less money.

That said, since car-buying decisions are often irrational, if you want to drop the coin on a Hemi-powered Durango (and the coin on fuel), you’ll get exactly what you pay for.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Which is a big SUV that accelerates terrifyingly fast, handles well enough for its size, and sacrifices only fuel consumption and a stiffer ride at the altar at of performance. Oh, and engine noise, but that’s not really going to be a detriment for most buyers.

If you’re light on the throttle (and you won’t be), the Hellcat drives a lot like a regular Durango, just with a rougher ride (though still mostly acceptable. Expansion joints are no fun, though) and sharper handling (again, relative to size and SUV mission). It’s even reasonably quiet until the revs creep up.

The big engine exists to make passing and merging a breeze, and it does. It also gives you the grins. The Durango Hellcat is a SUV version of those old full-size sedans I grew up with that got a V8 dropped in them. Think mid-90s Impala SS or Mercury Marauder. Big family vehicle + big/powerful engine + mild tweaks to suspension and brakes = a lot of fun, as long as the wheel is straight and the road empty.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

That suspension, by the way, is the same as what’s in the SRT 392 I tested earlier. That means the setup is a SRT-tuned short- and long-arm independent front suspension with aluminum lower control arms, coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping shocks, and hollow stabilizer bar. In the rear the setup is a SRT-tuned multi-link with Bilstein adaptive damping, coil springs, aluminum lower control arm, and stabilizer bar.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Inside, you get a dressed-up version of the usual Durango interior (see below for details). That’s a good thing, since the cabin controls are easy to use, if not super sexy in terms of design.

I’ve hinted it at it already, but you will pay a penalty at the pump for having a bodacious V8 underhood – and for driving a vehicle that weighs over 5,700 pounds. The fuel economy is listed at a dismal 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway/13 mpg combined. You can, however, tow up to 8,700 pounds.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

You’ll also pay a lot of dough just to acquire this beast (and you will have to hustle, as this vehicle is 2021 only). The base price is over $80K and standard features include Brembo brakes, adaptive damping suspension, electronic limited-slip rear differential, performance exhaust, power liftgate, keyless entry, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, premium audio, satellite radio, wi-fi hotspot, wireless charging pad, heated front seats, cooled front seats, 20-inch wheels, LED lighting, lower splitter, and Pirelli all-season tires.

Options included the Technology Package ($2,395; advanced-brake assist, lane-departure warning plus, full-speed forward-collision warning plus, adaptive cruise control with stop), the Premium Interior Group ($2,495; suede headliner, premium instrument panel, forged carbon-fiber interior accents), dual paint stripes ($1,195), Pirelli three-season tires ($595), and blind-spot and cross-path detection ($495). With $1,495 for destination, the total is $89,665.

Nearly $90K for a vehicle that’s a blast to drive in a straight line, competent (relative to size) in cornering, and still offering most of the utility promised by a Durango.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Yeah, you do not need this thing. There’s no use case for it. But who cares? It’s a throwback beast that delivers what it promises – and that promise is fun.

The SRT 392 Durango is a better choice for those who want a tooted-up Durango, since it’s cheaper, slightly less of a gas hog, and strikes a bit better balance between performance and daily driving. You can also get a 5.7-liter V8 Durango if you must have 8 cylinders and don’t need to go the SRT route.

But “better choice”, at least in terms of what’s more logical, doesn’t matter here. There’s no rational case for buying a Durango Hellcat. And that’s the point.

What’s New for 2021

The Hellcat joins the Durango line for 2021 and 2021 only.

Who Should Buy It

The well-heeled family person with a thing for big V8s and the bragging rights of owning an exclusive model.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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22 Comments on “2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat Review – Want Trumps Need...”

  • avatar

    The intro made me think of the late, great Tom Hnatiw (RIP), who always famously said after a review of something like this:

    “Do you *need* a car like this? No. Do you *want* a car like this?”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Well, I’m glad things like this exist.

    But the fuel cost would be a significant adder to the monthly payment, like an extra $400.

  • avatar

    Big engines ate now stupid, what’s the point of having something so heavy? Why buy an old rotary phone (muscle Car)men you can get a cellphone (Tesla). Bigger is not better, Formula 1 used tiny engines, not big stupid engines.

  • avatar

    The supercharger makes me want this less. The 392 has more than enough power for absolutely any street situation, and it’s lighter (lol), slightly less guzzly (again lol), and significantly cheaper.

    Oh, and I wouldn’t want to be seen in public in a Durango with ugly stripes better suited for a ’66 Shelby Mustang.

  • avatar

    The perfect mix of vehicles for the times:

    (U.S. fuel economy policy has been so very, very effective.)

  • avatar

    NINETY THOUSAND dollars for a Dodge SUV.
    “Uncontrolled laughter,” would be the appropriate response.

  • avatar

    Durango was very popular in Russia in 90s early 00s. It was good looking imposing “Jeep” (which in Russian means anything off road) with powerful v8 engine! Today Russian are more tamed and drive compact Korean or second tier Japanese cars.

  • avatar

    Love the forged carbon option straight from Lamborghini catalog. Think Dodge did a great job on this

  • avatar

    I m grumpy this morning. Out OF my way.

    1 Can we STOP black wheels on cars? (not on the testcar- i know)
    2 Can we STOP the flat gray fad.
    3 Why does it take 8 months to print up the review??? (Snow in the background.) THIS IS F ING B SHIT. This is primarily a car review site. Best radar detector stories and BEV BS that get 4 comments are NOT central here. I CAN engineer a conveyor for a G DAM ENGINE PLANT, I can spec it. PO it. Install it in less than 8 months.

    tHIS IS LOSS OF FOCUS FOR THE WHOLE of ttac. or Incompetence. or laziness. I VE HAD IT.

  • avatar

    Absolutely bonkers…I love it.

  • avatar

    I’m a fan of performance vehicles and people can buy what they want, but viewing something this big and this heavy as a performance vehicle flies in the face of common sense.

    But if you really want to announce to people that you don’t believe in climate change then you’d be hard pressed to find a better rolling statement of that position.

    • 0 avatar

      I think climate change is a threat too, but let’s be real…a run of a few thousand Hellcat Durangos isn’t going to destroy Mother Gaia.

      The solution here isn’t to shame people for what they’re driving – it’s to develop something different for them to drive.

  • avatar

    To those whining about the stripes, they’re an option. If the dealer ordered one with them — they can easily be removed.

    To those whining about the weight, big SUVs are all pigs these days — including the Model X which weighs just as much.

    To those whining about the price you are entitled to spend your money as you see fit. So is everybody else. In the meantime, name something that offers that amount of horsepower for less. Even BMW X4s with beer fart amounts of output cost a fortune.

    BTW, I like this a lot. Would change out the wheels for a set of 22 inch Hellcat replicas and call it day.

  • avatar

    The new Z06 will cost about the same, get better mileage, is better looking, more fun to drive, and be worth something after twenty years. This?

  • avatar

    Less sidewall = less weight. Which is smart.

    How much do the stripes weigh?

    “hollow stabilizer bar” – I wonder what the mass of a ‘hollow carbon-fiber stabilizer bar’ would be? (Or did we use up all the carbon on the optional interior accents?)

    Here is a man serious about weight reduction:
    “We rifle-drilled every bolt that went into that car. There is nothing lighter than a hole, if we could put a hole somewhere, we did. If we could acid dip something, we did,” smiled Herb. “We even acid dipped some things you shouldn’t, like a rear end, but we found out that wasn’t a good idea.”

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