By Larry Lark, contributor
If you want something truly special, get in line to buy the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD sports utility vehicle.
Initially a limited six-month production run of 2,000 vehicles has recently been extended, so you might have a puncher’s chance.
Nothing like 710 horsepower to break you out of a long winter’s slumber.
Joining Charger and Challenger, Dodge infuses its supercharged SRT (street racing technology) Hellcat DNA into the Durango, a three-row, seven-passenger, family SUV.
Powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat V8 engine mated to a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, the Durango delivers 710 horsepower, 645 lb-ft of torque, and accelerates from 0-to-60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds. On a track, the Durango covers a quarter mile in 11.5 seconds. Its top speed is governed at 180 miles per hour.
For the ultimate driver-controlled experience, the transmission can be manually shifted using the performance-inspired steering wheel paddle shifters.
When you’re not street racing, the Durango is capable of towing 8,700 pounds and all-wheel drive enhances driver confidence by leveraging Durango’s near perfect 50/50 weight distribution.
I was in love at first sound. Roll down the windows, press the start button, and let the Hellcat’s specially tuned exhaust system bathe your ears with throaty, aggressive, and full volume exhaust notes. Probably loud enough to wake your neighbors.
The Durango Hellcat looks even better than it sounds.
A muscular body with aggressive styling combine with a forward-leaning profile, 20-inch machine-faced wheels, distinct Hellcat badging, sculpted hood, grille and rear spoiler do the trick. My tester came with an “Octane Red Pearl” coat of enamel – another name for “Speeding Ticket Red.”
The new Challenger-inspired, driver-oriented cockpit is refine, upscale and high-tech throughout. No sports car claustrophobia. Plenty of space for everyone for everyone to kick back in comfort.
Families with three or more children will find the Durango’s available captain’s chairs with pass-through especially helpful as child safety seats can be latched into each second-row seat, and there’s still easy pass-through for passengers to walk between to get to the third row.
Durango offers a class-exclusive Blu-ray video rear entertainment system with two high-resolution 9-inch screens, one on each front seat back. Each screen allows customers to watch their movies on Blu-ray or standard DVDs or play gaming systems via inputs for HDMI or RCA cables for each screen integrated into the front seat backs. Wireless headphones are included as is a wireless remote.
Other amenities worthy of note include a Harman Kardon audio system with subwoofer, 19 speakers, and 825 watts of power. An adaptive cruise control system with stop makes freeway and open road driving carefree.
Heated and ventilated seats, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot, XM radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a wireless charging pad are all standard.
Dodge Durango offers consumers more than 60 available safety and security features, with seven standard air bags, including full-length, three-row, side-curtain airbags, standard front-seat-mounted side-thorax air bags, front-row active head restraints, standard trailer-sway control and available forward collision warning with crash mitigation, Adaptive, Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, ParkSense front and rear park assist with stop, and Uconnect Access with 9-1-1 call and roadside assistance.
I loved the Durango Hellcat. If you’re looking to go incognito, fly under the radar, transport seven passengers and enjoy SUV flexibility and functionality, and still be boss of the road, what are you waiting for
Base Price: $82,490
Price As Driven: $91,550
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.