I recently traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to test the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat on the road and on the track. Our track testing session included seat time in a 2021 Durango SRT 392, so we had a chance to experience the strongest Dodge SUV from the current model year along with the Hellcat model that is coming for 2021.
The entire 2021 Dodge Durango lineup has been refreshed inside and out for the new model year. This includes a sportier, high tech exterior with an aggressive front fascia on the outside while the inside benefits from loads of new technology. The refreshed 2021 Durango looks great on the outside and the new interior technology rivals that of European luxury models, but today, we are focusing on the performance of the two SRT models.
In the videos below, I work out the 2021 Durango in SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat form on the road course at Carolina Motorsports Park. It rained on and off during track testing, which proved to be nothing more than a minor annoyance for the all-wheel-drive performance machines.
2021 Dodge Durango SRT 392
For those unsure, the Durango SRT 392 was introduced for the 2018 model year with 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The power is sent from the naturally aspirated Hemi to all four wheels by means of an advanced full-time four-wheel-drive system and a ZF 8HP70 8-speed transmission. The SRT 392 Durango features sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein adjustable, adaptive dampers, Brembo brakes with 15-inch front rotors under 6-piston calipers and 295-45-20 high performance Pirelli tires.
The 392-powered Durango has loads of power, pulling hard out of the corners and braking nicely on the wet track. The Pirelli tires gripped the wet pavement surprisingly well on acceleration, braking and cornering while the suspension system set to Track Mode kept the big SUV nice and flat under harder cornering.
2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat
The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat has not yet come to market, but it is expected to begin arriving in dealerships early next year. When it arrives, buyers will enjoy a similar supercharged Hemi to the one in the Dodge Challenger and Charger. In Durango form, it offers 710 horsepower and 645 lb-ft of torque, with that power being sent to all four wheels by means of a ZF 8HP95 8-speed transmission and a heavy duty, full-time all-wheel-drive system.
The Durango Hellcat has the same 20-inch Pirelli tires and the same Bilstein dampers, but the suspension of the Hellcat models has been uniquely tuned for the added weight. According to official Dodge numbers, the Durango Hellcat is about 332 pounds heavier than the 392 model. Also, while both SRT Durangos have Brembo brakes, the Hellcat has larger, 15.7-inch front rotors under 6-piston calipers.
Of course, the supercharged Hemi pulls the Durango out of the corners and down the straightaways a whole lot harder than the 392. Also, the shifts of the stronger transmission are quicker-feeling and harder in Track Mode. As you might imagine that extra horsepower and torque can make traction tricky, especially in the rain, but the Pirelli rubber working with the Bilstein dampers did a great job of gripping the corners. Also, the larger brakes make a noticeable difference. The Hellcat was reaching higher speeds between the turns and it weighs over 300 pounds more, but the added speed and weight was no issue when approaching turns. Even on the wet surface, the big Brembo brakes did a great job of getting the Durango Hellcat from well over 100 down to speeds that allows us to safely carve through the corners.
Ultimately, while the 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat handles beautifully, the rear difference between these two high performance SUVs is the power. In the video below, you can hear the blower scream as the supercharged Hemi launches the three-row family hauler from one corner to the next.
If you have a Dodge Durango SRT 392 and you are wondering whether or not the Hellcat is worth the added cost, the answer to that is an emphatic “yes”. The supercharged model handles and brakes a little better, but it launches and pulls through the mid-range like no other three-row SUV in the world.