For you and your kin to experience the full potential of the Durango SRT Hellcat—the most powerful three-row SUV in existence—line up at a stoplight, punch the launch-control button, and put all those hours spent on the Peloton into the brake pedal with your left foot and into the gas with your right. When the light goes green, release the brake and feel the snarling cat stitched on your seat press between your shoulder blades. It’s unlikely to leave an imprint on your kids’ backs, but you’ll certainly imprint a love for acceleration into their minds.
Are 710 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque crazy for a three-row family hauler? Yes. Definitely. But SRT is all about crazy. The Durango is the fifth nameplate to receive the Hellcat V-8—further proof that the beast will work just about anywhere it fits. Use that power and 60 mph comes in 3.6 seconds. Hold your foot in it for 12.0 seconds and you’ll cover a quarter-mile and reach 115 mph.
Traction plays a big role in 60-mph times, and the Durango’s all-wheel-drive system helps make the most of it. That’s how a 5534-pound SUV accelerates to 60 just a tenth of a second slower than the 797-hp Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye and two-tenths behind the 760-hp Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.
Speaking of traction, Dodge tunes the chassis to keep the engine’s power in check. Hellcat Durangos benefit from a reworked suspension that most notably reduces body roll compared with the ’20 SRT model. The Durango bends into corners and rings around cloverleafs with ease—think Derrick Henry in a yoga class. On the skidpad, the Dodge recorded 0.87 g of lateral grip with the $595 Pirelli P Zero summer tires.
As if the blower whine weren’t enough to warn other drivers that this SUV isn’t the 475-hp Durango SRT 392, Dodge affixes plenty of Hellcat badges to the exterior. From the driver’s seat, the supercharger whine is noticeable but more subdued than it is in the Challenger and Charger. The Hellcat shares its instrument panel and 10.1-inch touchscreen with the rest of the ’21 Durango lineup. To help justify the fact that you’re paying nearly three times the price of the base model for the Hellcat power, the cabin gets a flat-bottom steering wheel.
At $89,665 as tested, this Durango is a relative bargain compared with the super-SUVs from Mercedes-AMG and BMW M and about the same price as Jeep’s 707-hp Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. But none of those would look as good towing a Challenger SRT Demon to a drag strip as this Durango, which can haul 8700 pounds. Once you get to the strip, you might even run a few passes in it, too. Just remember to unhook the trailer and check the back seat for kids first.
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