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DRUNK ON LOVE: 2021 DODGE DURANGO SRT HELLCAT

If there was a way to quickly describe the merits of Dodges’ latest SRT Hellcat installment, it would be like a Vegas night shit show. After a night of heavy partying and falling for an off-the-strip hooker that rocked more than our world, we end married by an Elvis impersonating Priest only to wake up the next morning wondering what the hell we just did and who the hell is that next to us. It’s then we discovered she’s a little older, a little crazier and after ten years of marriage and two kids, we’re still sucked into her tangled web of unruly bedroom talents. Welcome to the life of a Durango SRT Hellcat.

Okay, maybe we’re over exaggerating … but that’s also the Hellcat way. Everything is a little over the top. It’s what we come to expect with 710-horsepower piping between our legs hitting that fizzy area that brings out the crazy in us. Following suit of the devils off-spring of the Challenger and Charger, the Durango SRT Hellcat is fitted with the same 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V-8 that makes us all drunk on stupidity. Then again with 645lb-ft of torque surging through a vivacious eight-speed automatic, you’ll be bringing life back into the P.T.A. meetings. Sure hope you brought the vodka and edibles.

So the Hellcat brings out the demon in us; of course we want to be the rebellious parent that gets drunk before the morning carpool and high off magic markers in the afternoon. It’s only natural. There is a secret however to its devilish ways – it’s a modern day sleeper. From the outside, things are very, uhhhh, Durango-ish. Apart from our demon faceplate planted on the side fenders, there’s no staid distinction this Durango has an evil progeny dallying inside. So the police will be unsuspecting when you’re running late to pick up the kids from karate and see you accelerating from 0-60 in 3.5-seconds to a top speed of 180-mph. Should such occurrence transpire, its silver paint is sure to blend in with the other soccer mom utes outside a Pilates studio. 

There have been some significant updates for 2021… apart from the obvious engine option. There is a new muscular presence with a narrower, aggressive grille, updated LED headlights and updated wheels. The interior has been given a slight overhaul with a driver focus design. Featuring an updated 10.1-inch infotainment system with the latest Uconnect software, there’s a high-definition display and quicker responsiveness to its infrastructure; although, the same can’t be said for the backup camera and its pixelated display.  

To make the Durango SRT more hellish, so to speak, the engineers had a playdate and did what they do best to make it more of a muscly villain to take on its beefy heat. After all, you can’t just fit a 700+ horsepower engine to a standard Durango, FCA isn’t that daft. The Durango SRT Hellcat has an upgraded suspension with dynamic tuning to handle its furious Track drive mode. Steering has been upgraded with selectable steering tuning to help manage better grip and responsiveness.  And of course its stopping power has been heavily increased with massive, high-performance Brembo brakes, 16-inches at the from and 14-inches at the rear – and women say size doesn’t matter, ha. Then there are the electronic gizmos that have been added, like Launch Control and Launch Assist, you know, in case you need to hightail it out of a Girl Scout turf war. Gotta teach that Cindy not to mess with your cookie selling spot!

With different drive modes available between Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow, Eco and Valet, there is endless possibilities to extract the demon lurking in the shadows. Naturally, we’re penny pinchers and left our Durango SRT Hellcat in Eco Mode to squeeze every last drop of fuel from its tank. Risking our driving abilities however, Track mode opens up the belly of the beast and exploits any good behavior we had built up. Back to the naughty corner we go. The nine-speed transmission is quicker than expected, but is best if left to its own devices – choosing to use the large stainless steel paddle shifters and we were left with a few embarrassing moments of the vehicle hesitating to shift and losing a great deal of power – that was awkward. At least with its throaty exhaust, it sounds menacing – that same kind of sound mom makes when you come between her and her box wine.  

Going on 11-years however, some would say the current generation Durango is nearing Cougar Town and should be set for retirement. We can’t blame FCA for trying to recoup ever last cent of its original R and D resources since its original launch. But needless to say, making this the third design and technological update to its 3rd generation concept, they are starting to stretch that fine line. Its things like the lower quality interior components compared to some of the more recent updated brands. The forged carbon fiber accent trim fitted to our interior was a nice touch, but felt more like plastic than the real thing. The rear windows don’t offer automatic up/down features and access to the third-row isn’t as easy for someone operating the seats with a toddler in their arms. At least the leather interior has been upgraded on the SRT for a better quality product.

At the end of the day, the things that drive us nuts get tossed aside as soon as we open taps on the throttle. Have mercy, this thing makes us drunk on love. And we have to be in order to swallow the amount of money it drinks at its favorite watering hole – at barely 9-MPG’s, its no wonder it acts sozzled half the time. Then, theres the price, starting at $80,995, ours came with nearly $14,000 in options including its $1195 Tow Group Package that can make this Durango tow up to 8,700lbs  making our tester hit just a few grand below the six-figure mark.

So if you want an SUV that’ll make your kids car sick, get you banned from the morning carpool, kicked out of the P.T.A. and arrested for destroying a Girl Scout stand, hello Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat. Damn that one night in Vegas..  

VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS

Vehicle: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat
Base Price: $107,500
As-Tested Price: $95,730

PERFORMANCE SPECIFICATIONS

Engine: 6.2-liter Supercharged HEMI SRT V-8
HP | Torque: 710-HP |645 lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Drivetrain: All-Wheel Drive
MPG: 12 | 17 | 13 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 9.5-MPG COMBINED
Fuel Range: 180 miles
0-60 MPH: ±3.5 seconds

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