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Rating the best and worst in cars, SUVs, trucks, motorcycles, tools and accessories.

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SRT

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

Before Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was re-named Stellantis, it developed a virus of its own in the Dodge Division that now has infected the 2021 Dodge Durango.

It’s called the Hellcat, a monstrous 6.2-liter supercharged engine that, in the new Durango SRT Hellcat, delivers 710 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque, enough to launch this 5,335-pound three-row sport utility vehicle to 60 mph in about 3.5 seconds.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Just to make sure, the all-wheel drive Durango Hellcat comes with a sophisticated launch control system that keeps the tires hooked to the pavement, eliminating wheel spin. Punch the launch control button, floor the throttle and feel your eyeballs thrust into their sockets.

At the same time, your eardrums are assaulted by the engine’s racket, which blasts mostly out of the tailpipes, to the point where you’d be forgiven for thinking the engine is somehow mounted below the third-row seat.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

This is the main drawback to the Durango Hellcat. Though you can feather foot and motor relatively quietly at speeds up to about 62 mph, it has to be on a smooth, level surface. Any time you need to add power for any reason — a modest uphill incline, passing another car — the blast of engine noise from the tailpipes reverberates throughout the cabin. As exciting as it can be, there’s also a fatigue factor on a long drive.

Of course, it’s music to the ears of smug enthusiasts who enjoy knowing that they can take on almost anything on the road and power past whatever.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

On a test drive, the thought occurred that if the famed 1893 painting, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, had been about a 21st century vehicle, the open mouth would have been the grille of the Durango Hellcat.

Though infecting any vehicle with the Hellcat virus — the Dodge Charger and Challenger come to mind — transforms it into a hellish performer, the Durango Hellcat also has a softer, practical side. No surprise, it can  tow up to 8,700 pounds, be it a boat or a house trailer. 

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

If set up like the tester here, it can carry six people, with four in comfort. The front seats are wide and accommodating, with huge bolsters to hug the torso in aggressive driving on twisting roads. Second-row captain’s chairs are similar, with gobs of headroom and enough knee room for most people.

Even the third row can accommodate a couple of medium-sized adults, though they’d best be moderately athletic types without too many years on the clock because of the calisthenics required to get back there. The second-row seats do not adjust fore and aft but there’s plenty of headroom in the third row and just enough knee room as long as you’re not Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

A clever addition is a console between the second-row seats that contains cup holders and storage. It opens from both the front and back so third-row passengers can access the USB port and the 12-volt power source.

On the road, the Durango Hellcat is a welcome companion. Instruments and controls will be familiar to almost anyone who has driven a 21st century vehicle, and the Stellantis (nee FCA) infotainment system is among the best and most intuitive anywhere.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Even with the almost scary power under the hood, the Durango Hellcat has capable handling and communicative steering feedback, and a relatively tight turning radius. It can easily chase some smaller and more sporting vehicles on curving mountain roads.

At some point, however, there are downsides to discuss. For all of its attributes, this sucker is a relentless guzzler — no surprise given the heft and Hercules personality. The EPA rates the city/highway/combined fuel consumption at 12/17/13 mpg — shades of the 1960s and 1970s. Most owners will get less. 

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

With General Motors coming out with an electric Hummer, maybe we should wait for a rechargeable Durango Hellcat and save some of that fossil fuel for campfires on our winterized planet.

Then there’s the out-of-pocket moolah to get one. The tested Durango SRT Hellcat arrived with a price tag of $82,490, including the destination charge, which everyone has to pay. By the time options were added, including a rear-seat entertainment system to keep the kids from freaking out during stoplight drag races, the bottom line sticker came to a whopping $92,690.

Problem is, there’s currently no vaccination for a dearth of disposable income.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Specifications

  • Model: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat AWD four-door sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine: 6.2-liter V8, supercharged; 710 hp, 640 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 16 feet 9 inches.
  • EPA/SAE passenger/cargo volume: 142/17 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 5,335 pounds.
  • Towing capability: 8,700 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 12/17/13 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $82,490.
  • Price as tested: $92,690.

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Photos (c) Stellantis

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

Tamworth, N.H – With its unrivaled new 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye and a slew of other bulked up coupes, it looks as if Dodge intends to overpower the market for muscle cars.

Counting the Redeye, the company now offers nine brawny Challenger pony cars, including a purpose-built drag racer and others with all-wheel drive, that cover an affordability spectrum aimed at enthusiasts of modest means to those with big bucks.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Widebody

The focus at the Club Motorsports 2.1-mile road racing course here was on two new Challengers: the R/T Scat Pack Widebody and the pinnacle, the new SRT Hellcat Redeye, which Dodge touts as “the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car” in the world.

Numbers testify to the claim. The Redeye is a step up from the Hellcat, which itself is a more powerful version of the original SRT Hellcat. It astonished enthusiasts in 2015 with a 707-hp, 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine that sent 650 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels.

The 2019 Hellcat gets a bump from the same basic engine to 717 hp and 656 lb-ft of torque. But the Redeye, with its supercharged 6.2-liter V8, revs up 797 hp, or 80 more than the regular Hellcat — if any of these machines could be called regular. Torque jumps to 707 lb-ft.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

Two transmissions are offered on the Hellcat: a six-speed manual gearbox with a twin-disc clutch or a beefy eight-speed automatic transmission. The Redeye comes only with an even stronger eight-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode controlled by paddles on the steering wheel.

As laps on the racetrack here demonstrated, however, the paddles likely will prove superfluous to most drivers because the eight-speed’s shift points are so computer-calibrated that the driver can forget about shifting and focus on picking fast lines through the curves.

Besides the Hellcat Redeye, the Dodge girls and boys offered track drives in the Challenger R/T Scat Pack, which gets its power from a 485-hp, 6.4-liter V8 with 475 lb-ft of torque. It is available with both the eight-speed automatic transmission and a six-speed manual gearbox, one of which was at the track.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

Interestingly, the Scat Pack had a stiffer suspension system than the Hellcat Redeye, which enabled it to finesse curves that the Redeye, with some slight body lean, overwhelmed with raw power.

Another distinguishing characteristic of the Redeye: docile manners in low-speed cruising. Though a driver can trigger an explosion under the hood by slamming the gas pedal, rocketing to 60 miles an hour in slightly more than three seconds, the Redeye casually acts like your grandmother’s Toyota Camry in downtown traffic.

Both Hellcats and the R/T Scat Pack can put more rubber on the road with the $6,000 Widebody option package. It includes fender flares and 11-inch wide, 20-inch diameter alloy wheels with 305/35ZR20 all-season performance tires.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody - interior

With full safety equipment, the Widebody’s Brembo brakes and a host of other options that included a 220-mph speedometer, navigation, motorized sunroof, high-performance audio system, leather upholstery and suede trim, the Hellcat Redeye’s $60,045 base price jumped to $88,410. Another version with comfortable and gripping cloth upholstery checked in at $81,331. Both prices include a $1,700 gas guzzler tax.

For less wealthy enthusiasts, Dodge offers the Challenger SXT and GT models, both with rear-drive or all-wheel drive. They are powered by the 305 hp Pentastar V6 engine, with 268 lb-ft of torque and a six-speed manual gearbox or eight-speed automatic transmission. The SXT stick-shift price starts at $28,690 and the GT is $31,390. Add $2,700 for the automatic.

SRT Hellcat Redeye emblem located on the cover of the Supercharged 6.2L HEMI® V-8 engine

The Challenger R/T has a starting price of $35,495 (all prices include the destination charge) and the R/T Scat Pack has a sticker of $41,390, which also includes a $1,000 gas guzzler tax.

No prices were announced for the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320, which is a model purpose-built for drag racing. It is intended as a less powerful successor to last year’s limited-production Dodge Demon, which was powered by a supercharged Hemi engine with 840 hp. It enabled the Demon to nail the quarter-mile drag strip in 9.65 seconds.

The Scat Pack 1320 — the number is the number of linear feet in a quarter mile — uses the same Hemi 392 engine as other Scat Pack models. Individual buyers will be able to customize their dragster rides. As with the earlier Demon, the 1320 comes only with a driver’s seat but a front passenger seat and a back seat are available for $1 each.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody

Specifications

  • Model: 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye two-door coupe.
  • Engine: 6.2-liter V8, supercharged; 797 hp, 707 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual-shift mode.
  • Overall length: 16 feet 6 inches.
  • EPA passenger/trunk volume: 94/16 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,492 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 13/22/16 mpg. Premium gasoline required.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $60,045.
  • Price as tested: $88,410.

Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

2019 Dodge Challenger Lineup: R/T Scat Pack Widebody, SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody, SRT Hellcat Widebody (from left to right)

Photos (c) FCA North America

Bondurant and Dodge SRT

by Jason Fogelson

Anyone can buy a fast car, but it takes skill and training to get the most out of your purchase. That’s why Dodge SRT has teamed up with the Bob Bondurant School of Performance Driving to offer SRT buyers a free day at the school in Chandler, Arizona.

LG016_001MBI got to attend a day at the school, and I wrote about the SRT/Bondurant experience for Autotrader.

I also wrote about the whole muscle car concept for Autotrader in “Why Muscle Cars Matter.”

When I got back from this trip, I felt like a better driver. I always do after driving instruction. Even if you think you’re a good driver, spending some time behind the wheel with a pro driver in the right hand seat giving you real time feedback can make you better — right after it makes you feel like you’re the worst driver in history and that you should never be allowed behind the wheel alone.

While I was in Chandler, I met Ryan Kim, SRT Brand Manager. I couldn’t really put my finger on what a Brand Manager does, so I arranged to do an interview with Ryan Kim, and ran it on Forbes.com. I’m still not quite sure that I know what a Brand Manager does — but Ryan is a really smart guy with real passion for SRT.

I’ll go to any driver training program, anywhere, anytime. It’s a great experience that pays off every time I get behind the wheel.

Oh, and did I mention that I got to meet Bob Bondurant, the legend himself? He’s a great guy, friendly and engaged, and can still drive the wheels off any car he chooses.

Photo (c) FCA North America

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