2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat Review by Matt Barnes

2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat

Adding the Hellcat Durango to the list in Dodge’s 700+ horsepower stable, and dropping the Journey and Grand Caravan, Dodge now offers a hellcat in all of their current production vehicles.

Exterior

The exterior of the Hellcat Durango, as with the SRT, is subdued yet powerful. The hood contains two functional vents and a hood scoop. The bumper is more aggressive than the standard Durango, and a little lower.

From the side the Hellcat Durango is very similar to other Durangos. However, there is a noticeable bulge in the hood, the splitter on the front bumper is larger, and the biggest standout, the massive Brembo brakes. One other minor thing is the relatively small Hellcat badge on the front quarter panel.

We had many people comment how the Hellcat Durango looks like a monster from the front and a minivan from the rear. Apart from the Large exhaust tips and SRT Hellcat badging, that rings true.

Interior

Stellantis has come a long way with their interiors since 2014. In the case of our test model, it was very nicely appointed, lacking nothing in the way of comfort. The Laguna red leather seats and trim contrast nicely with the black dash and suede headliner.

Uconnect has long been a favorite infotainment system and remains one of the best in the industry for ease of use and practicality. Everything works well and is easy to manage with the steering wheel controls. On the other hand, we found the SRT pages to be slow to load initially, but once up they worked fine.

There are physical buttons for all of the necessary functions, like climate and audio control. There are four USB ports, an AUX input for 3.5mm devices, and a wireless charging pad to take care of charging needs up front.

The middle row of our tester was equipped with heated captain’s chairs and a center console. These seats are comfortable and supportive for full-size adults. For charging, there are two USB ports and a 115-volt outlet in the back of the front center console.

While our tester was equipped with the rear seat entertainment package with screens in each of the front seatbacks, we would forgo this option in place of tablets and tablet holders for the kids.

Like most vehicles in this class, the third row is tight. There is just enough room for average adults on short rides, but for the most part this is a place for teens and young children to ride.

Driving the Hellcat Durango

On Road

Driving the Hellcat Durango is a blast, and an exercise in self-control. When there is 700hp under your right foot it can be difficult not to unleash all the power all the time.

There are six drive modes to electronically dial in the driver’s desired dynamics. These modes are: Track, Sport, Auto, Snow, Tow, and Custom. When Auto mode is selected, an Eco sub-mode is also available.

Each of these modes adjusts 6 different settings: Transmission, Paddle Shifters, All-Wheel Drive, Stability Control, Suspension, and Steering. Of course, in the Custom mode the driver selects each of the settings as desired.

Driving around town, the steering is tight and precise for easy maneuvering. Power is simple to manage, especially in Eco mode which deadens the throttle a little. The Hellcat Durango isn’t bothersome or complicated in normal driving conditions. The Hellcat is very stiff even in the auto drive mode, which is similar to what we’ve experienced with other SRT tuned Durangos. For some this will be bothersome, others will like the lack of body lean.

Cruising on the highway is easy and comfortable. Passing slower moving vehicles rarely requires downshifting, and in 8th gear the exhaust is quiet enough to not be bothersome inside. The stiff suspension is still noticeable but isn’t as much of a problem on the more thoroughly maintained highway.

Performance and Towing

Switching to Track mode, the acceleration becomes extreme. We had multiple 0-60 runs under 4.0 seconds. It’s likely that number would be even lower with more traction from wider rear tires, like the GLE63 AMG has. The supercharger provides instant power meaning there is no waiting to build boost before the Hellcat Durango launches forward. The suspension is also very stiff with little body lean in the corners.

Towing in the Hellcat Durango is about the same as towing with the R/T Tow N Go and SRT Durangos. Power is clearly not an issue and the Durango is surprisingly stable for its size. The transmission hangs out in a lower gear for better response, but this can cause the exhaust to drone. This can be especially bothersome for rear seat passengers who are closer to the exhaust outlets.

Pricing

One thing that Stellantis does well is bring power to the masses. In the case of the Durango it is the second most expensive Hellcat vehicle in the Stellantis line-up, just behind the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

Dodge has given the Durango Hellcat a base price of $80,995. Our test model was equipped with the following options:

$1595–High Performance Laguna Leather Seats

$2,395–Technology Group

$1,995–Rear DVD Entertainment Center

$2,495–Premium Interior Group

$95–Red Seat Belts

$595–Second Row Console

$995–Harmon Kardon audio system

$495–Blind Spot and Cross-Path Detection

Add in the destination charge of $1,495 and the total for our test model comes to $93,150.

Conclusion

Dodge seems to have this spot in the market almost without competition. The R/T Tow n GO, SRT, and SRT Hellcat Durangos can all tow 8,700 lbs, haul six people, and are still very fun to drive. Sure, a VW Atlas might be more practical, and a Ford Expedition can tow more, but nothing combines these traits as well as an SRT tuned Durango.

Matthew Barnes is an experienced towing expert. He works as a mechanical engineer and his day job involves testing a variety of vehicles while towing trailers of all types and sizes. Matt shares his knowledge by writing for automotive news outlets in the evenings. When he’s not working he can be found spending time in the great outdoors with his family. He enjoys camping, hiking, canyoneering, and backpacking. Whenever possible he spends time riding in or on any power sports vehicle he can find and claims he can drive anything with a motor, which probably isn’t true.

Matt lives in the Utah mountains and often posts cool off-roading videos to his Instagram and YouTube channel.

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