2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat Test Drive Review: Supreme Family Muscle
Dodge’s Hellcat models have always been characterized by huge power that’s tricky to put down without a perfectly straight road and ideal weather conditions. Driving one of these cars on a race track or in the rain can be risky business, but the Durango Hellcat completely eliminates the terror associated with over 700 horsepower going to the rear wheels. This is the first Hellcat model with all-wheel-drive (not counting the Jeep Trackhawk), and it makes us wonder why Dodge didn’t implement it sooner. It doesn’t matter if the road is soaked, this Hellcat is still capable of putting down its power on-demand. Having this level of access to over 700 horsepower without the fear of spinning the rear tires gives the drive somewhat of a God complex. We will warn not to get too confident in the AWD system, though, because the Durango Hellcat is so powerful, it can still light up all four wheels in the wet.
Should the Durango Hellcat find itself on a dry section of road, it blasts away like a school bus strapped to the Falcon 9 rocket. We had a chance to experience the Hellcat at the Carolina Motorsports Park, in a situation that few Durango owners will ever experience. While it’s not an ideal track vehicle, the Durango handled itself better than we anticipated. Dodge paid special attention to the suspension, adding Bilstein rebound springs and stiffening the rear end to provide more grip and eliminate understeer. Despite its massive size and curb weight, the Durango feels easier to pilot around a track than other Hellcat models thanks to its inclusion of AWD. Just get it around a corner, plant the throttle, and let the supercharged HEMI take care of the rest.
As a cruiser, the Durango Hellcat suffers from some drawbacks associated with its increased performance. The adaptive suspension, while comfy on smooth roads, can bounce occupants around over torn up pavement. Kids in the back may end up car sick, especially if mom or dad decides to put it in Sport or Race mode on a bumpy back road. Speaking of the kids in the back, they may want to bring a good set of noise-canceling headphones because the Hellcat’s exhaust isn’t really capable of shutting up. Hopefully, the kids enjoy sleeping with a V8 rumble and supercharger whine in the background, but in case they don’t, it’s a good thing the Durango Hellcat has a rear-seat entertainment system on offer to drown out the noise.
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