New York Daily News

Press Launch button and Hellcat Hulks out, incredibly


The SRT Hellcat has a 6.2-liter Hemi Hellcat V-8 engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmissi­on. It delivers 710 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque. odge’s muscular lineup has always struck me as an Avengers comic book. There’s Challenger. And Hellcat. Demon and Charger. So what to make of a full-size SUV joining the team, the 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat?

Let’s call it Hulk.

Get it in green. It’s the perfect color for this huge, 5,710-pound, 710-horsepower beast that was once called Bruce Banner — er, Dodge Durango.

Its capabiliti­es are stupefying, comic-book stuff. Zero-60 in 3.5 seconds officially. I did it in 3.4. With launch control. You’ve got to take it out on the road with the kids: With all-wheel drive, this Hulk is a stable genius compared with its rear-wheel drive Charger Hellcat mate.

Find a deserted road on the way to school. Press the Launch button on the console (yes, there really is a button called Launch on the console). Mat the brake, mat the throttle, release the brake. Hulk explodes forward like a CGI action sequence, all four wheels churning in perfect harmony. The supercharg­er is screaming, the 6.2-liter V-8 roaring — if you can hear it over the kids’ cheers. It’s epic.

Try that in the Dodge Charger Hellcat and it’ll turn your hair white. With 707 horsepower running though just the rear wheels, it’s a challenge even for modern electronic­s systems to channel the power. I tested the Durango Hellcat back-to-back with an upgraded 797-horsepower Charger Hellcat Redeye in North Carolina this fall, and the Durango beat it to 60 every time thanks to superior traction — and despite Hulk’s added weight and ungainly appearance next to the sleek Charger.

The Charger Hellcat (and sister 485-horsepower Scat Pack) is one of my favorite sedans. But it’s hard for even this car disciple to deny that the Durango Hellcat is the superior family vehicle.

Not only does Durango accommodat­e six comfortabl­y with its palatial third row seat — your 6-foot-5 correspond­ent could sit behind himself sitting behind myself in the third row — but it comes with significan­t interior upgrades you can’t get in the Charger.

Chief among these is adaptive cruise-control that the Durango possesses and the Charger Hellcat does not. That low Hellcat face is handsome compared with Hulk’s meaty mug, but it comes at a sacrifice of airflow that the hungry, supercharg­ed monster under the hood demands. The radar brick simply takes

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