Model tested: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD
Engine: 6.2-liter Hemi V8 SRT
Transmission: 8-speed automatic w/paddle shifters
Torque: 640 lb.-ft.
EPA rating: 12/city, 17/highway, 13/combined
Base price: $80,995
As tested: $91,550
Overview: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is a crossover SUV with the most powerful engine and highest tow rating of any midsize SUV. Other than its cousin, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk featuring the same powerplant, nothing else can touch it. The benignly aging Durango received a facelift for 2021, including new LED projector headlights, plus a larger touchscreen in the cabin and an electronic transmission control replacing the shifter.
Walkaround: The Durango showcases Dodge’s all-about-muscle philosophy, with a long hood featuring a scoop flanked by vents. The SRT’s 20-inch wheels are 10 inches wide, boasting a prominent Hellcat logo on the front fender behind the wheelwell. Up front, the 2021 refresh showcases a wide honeycomb grille with a new splitter under the intake for better high-speed cornering stability. In the rear, the SRT has a spoiler and chrome-tipped dual exhausts.
Interior: The Durango’s upgraded cabin features dark, soft-touch surfaces with contrast stitching; new additional storage; and wireless phone charging. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto are standard, as are satellite radio and a 4G LTE hotspot. Simplified instrumentation leans toward the driver, giving a wider feel. A new electronic transmission control replaces the shifter in the center console. Buttons, instead of the upgraded 10.1-inch touchscreen, now control the heated seats and steering wheel. A nine-speaker amplified Alpine system with subwoofer provides the sound. The heated/ventilated, power front seats are comfortable, firm and spacious, with captain’s chairs in the second row. The third-row 50/50 bench seats two adults, but is better for kids. Folded, it creates more than 43 cubic feet of cargo space. With both rows down, there’s 85 cubic feet.
Behind the Wheel: With a top speed of 180 mph, the Hellcat boasts 710 horses and 640 lb.-ft. of torque, doing the 0-60 drill in 3.5 seconds, and the quarter mile in 11.5. The Durango rides slightly lower than its Grand Cherokee cousin; however, high-speed cornering is improved by better aerodynamics from the redesigned front end with the new splitter. The 20-inch wheels and underlying suspension stiffen the ride, but driven casually on a smooth road — except for the throaty exhaust note — it’s fairly quiet and composed.
Bottom Line: The 2021 Dodge Durango is the oldest and most expensive midsize SUV available. It’s plush, but its main attraction is unparalleled horsepower.