There’s nothing quite like a 707-horsepower SUV to get people excited about cars again

Like most automakers these days, Dodge is bleeding money in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the whole world. And like most automakers, Dodge is reopening its business in an attempt to stem the tide and bring some much-needed cash flow back to its coffers. A big part of that plan, at least according to Mopar Insiders, is to prioritize the launch of the Dodge Durango.

Dodge’s resident SUV is expected to arrive with an array of updates and new features, including a new engine option that has a lot of people giggling with excitement. The high-performance, 707-horsepower Durango SRT Hellcat is coming, folks.

It doesn’t exactly have the look of a white knight coming in to rescue Dodge from the pandemic doldrums, but reports of its impending arrival are like shots in the arm for an industry that has been battered and bruised by COVID-19. The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is reportedly scheduled to arrive sometime in the latter part of the year, possibly around October 2020. If Dodge’s schedule holds, that’s something we can all look forward to.

Why is Dodge prioritizing the Dodge Durango?

Dodge Needs Money, So the Durango Hellcat is a Top Priority
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If you’re a business that got bum-rushed by a global pandemic and you’re looking for a way to inject some excitement back to your brand, you do it by rolling out a product that you know people will gravitate to. In Dodge’s case, that product is the Durango. The popular SUV stands as one of Dodge’s best-selling models. Last year, Dodge sold 67,599 units of the Durango. In the first quarter of the current year, Dodge sold 17,805 units of the Durango, edging out sales volume — 17,019 sold units — in the same timeframe a year ago.

Dodge knows how popular the Durango is in the U.S., and that understanding likely played a huge role in the company’s decision to push forward with the launch of the 2021 model despite all the model delays and cancellations that are happening in the business these days. According to Mopar Insiders, Dodge is expected to unveil the 2021 Durango in the next few months, or right before dealerships start taking orders for the new SUV on August 6. That timetable fits, at least when you consider Dodge’s October 2020 timetable to begin production of the new Durango at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jefferson North Assembly facility in Detroit, Michigan.

Should we get excited about the 2021 Dodge Durango?

2018 Dodge Durango SRT High Resolution Exterior
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Yes, we should, and for more than just one reason. Specific details remain unclear, but from what we’ve gathered, the 2021 Durango will benefit from stylistic improvements, specifically in the front section. The SUV’s interior is expected to receive its own set of upgrades, including in the tech front where FCA’s 10.1-inch Uconnect infotainment screen will make its debut on the new Durango.

From an "update" perspective, the Durango’s new features are significant for an SUV that’s supposed to be on its last legs as far as its current-generation form is concerned. The current-generation Durango is in its ninth year in the market, a staggeringly long time considering that the Durango’s first two generations each lasted just five years.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT High Resolution Exterior
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The fourth-generation Durango is coming, possibly as early as 2022. The fact that Dodge is dropping a significant amount of updates and improvements in the 2021 Durango shows just how important the SUV is in helping the automaker get back on its feet.

Mind you, we’re not just talking about one version of the Durango, either. A more powerful version is also expected to arrive this year, and it’s carrying a name that we’re all familiar with.

What can we expect from the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat?

Dodge Needs Money, So the Durango Hellcat is a Top Priority
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Oddly enough, it’s not the first SUV that’s powered by the same 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V-8 engine that you can find under the hood of the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

The massive V -8 is expected to produce 707 horsepower and quite possibly around 645 pound-feet of torque. Those are identical power figures to the ones you get from the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.

We’re fairly confident that the Durango Hellcat will boast identical power numbers to the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. What’s less certain, at least at this point, is how fast the Durango Hellcat will be.

For what it’s worth, the Trackhawk is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in a staggering 3.5 seconds. We still don’t know if the Durango is capable of replicating the Trackhawk’s acceleration time, but it should be noted that the Durango is a tad heavier — 5,381 pounds to 5,365 pounds (curb weight) — than the Trackhawk.

Dodge Needs Money, So the Durango Hellcat is a Top Priority
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The Durango SRT Hellcat is also expected to run on four-wheel-drive — same as the Trackhawk — so it’s going to be interesting to see if the Dodge SUV can match the Trackhawk’s 0-to-60-mph time.

The Durango SRT Hellcat’s quarter-mile time and overall top speed are two other interesting subplots that we’re excited to see. Remember, Jeep estimates that the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk can do a quarter-mile in 11.6 seconds at speeds approaching 180 mph. Likewise, the Trackhawk’s top speed is capped at 190 mph so it’ll be interesting to see if Dodge does the same to the Durango Hellcat.

Source: MOPAR Insiders

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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