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First Drive Review: 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat begs for a new platform to handle power

The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat is a new addition to the lineup.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

This generation of the Dodge Durango has been around a while – it was first introduced in 2011. Though it's been refreshed a few times along the way, it's nowhere close to novel. Instead of a complete redesign, we've gotten the new 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, an updated stablemate that comes with track-ready equipment, new tech, and a whole heck of a lot of power.

The Durango SRT Hellcat received a cold-air scoop, throaty twin-pipe exhaust, LED headlamps, rear spoiler, and different front end as part of its design process. There's no question the SUV is a Durango and the modifications give it an even more muscular appearance which is fitting for the model.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat The SUV comes with a host of equipment to make it track-ready.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The 6.2-liter HEMI V8 that's under the hood of the Durango SRT Hellcat produces 710 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque. Though it sounds like a lot – and it is – the power is easily controlled. Dodge has made this an SUV that is as comfortable creeping through city traffic as it is with the pedal to the floor getting up to speed on the highway. Shifts are smooth and so is the acceleration, once you ask the vehicle for it.

Steering is calibrated to allow the driver to feel connected to the car and it inspires confidence. The age of Durango begins to show through when it comes to the frame, whether on the road or track. A drive along rural North and South Carolina roads showed the suspension to be reactionary allowing bumps to be passed on to the cabin with seat bouncing a common occurrence, even at moderate speed. On the track, despite the amount of equipment and technology installed on the SUV to help it attack corners with ease, the tech was fighting the vehicle's architecture the entire time.

When it comes to stopping power, the Durango has plenty. Even when on the track and after repeated laps, the model's black Brembo six-piston brakes were up to the task.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat The interior of the Durango SRT Hellcat is appointed with premium products but it isn't elegant.Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

The interior of the Durango SRT Hellcat is very similar to the others in the company's lineup. It continues to have comfortable seating and a reasonable amount of storage space. There's a 10.1-inch centrally located infotainment screen that runs FCA's fresh Uconnect 5 operating system. It has pleasing and quick graphics, is responsive to touch, and quickly reacts to reroute navigation when required.

Unfortunately, though premium in price, the cabin of the Durango isn't particularly elegant. Its finery doesn't measure up to that offered by the Toyota Highlander and refreshed 2021 Nissan Armada. However, the fit and finish is head and shoulders above what was offered in the Dodge Journey, Grand Caravan, and previous iterations of the Durango.

The Durango also stumbles when it comes to safety features and technology compared to its rivals. Though the Durango SRT Hellcat is meant for the track, it's likely to spend most of its time on the street where active safety technology can play a big role in helping to keep people safe. It doesn't have the lane keeping and centering, and surround view cameras that its competition offers.

The 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat starts at $80,995. It is here that buyers are paying for the sports-centric equipment under the hood and body of the vehicle in addition to the most premium interior features that Dodge offers. That's a lot of dough.

But there aren't too many rivals to the Durango SRT Hellcat, let alone any that are cheaper. To get an engaging SUV with similar prowess you'd have to splurge on a super luxury SUV like the Lamborghini Urus, opt for Maserati Levante Trofeo, or Alpina XB7. In that way, the Durango SRT Hellcat is a bargain.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

A sufficient amount of torque can help get your trusty steed off the line with ease.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

For many, a pickup truck is as much a daily drivable vehicle as it is a tool for getting the job done. How much horsepower and torque a powertrain puts out is a big part of that. Most want enough to get the job done while keeping an eye toward fuel economy.

What's the difference between horsepower and torque? In simple terms, torque is the pull of the powertrain that gets you off the line from a full stop. Horsepower is what gets you going the speed you want and keeps you there.

Diesel engines tend to have more torque than gasoline-powered engines but have less horsepower. There's no perfect torque to horsepower ratio. It's all about which combination works best for you.

The engines on this list have the highest amount of torque and are available in 2021 model year pickup trucks in the U.S. To see the most powerful pickup trucks ranked by horsepower click here. See the 2020 horsepower champs by clicking here and the 2020 torque winners by clicking here.

No. 5 - 2021 Ford F-150: PowerBoost hybrid powertrain

2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

570 pound-feet of torque

Not surprisingly, Ford's new hybrid F-150 powertrain (a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine paired with a 35-kilowatt electric motor) delivers more torque than almost any other light-duty truck. It's rated at 570 pound-feet, which matches up well with the engine's 430 horsepower to provide up to 12,400 pounds of towing capacity in certain configurations.

No. 4 - 2021 Ram 1500 TRX: Supercharged 6.2-liter V8

2021 Ram 1500 TRX Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

650 pound-feet of torque

The Ram 1500 TRX isn't just the fastest and most powerful light-duty truck on the market, it's also got the most torque. Rated at 650 pound-feet of torque, the supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V8 also produces a staggering 702 horsepower. That's good enough for a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds and an 8,100-pound towing capacity.

No. 3 (tie) - 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD: 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8

2021 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

910 pound-feet of torque

General Motors' trucks have attracted attention in recent years for their innovative trailering and tailgate technologies, but both Chevrolet and GMC Heavy Duty trucks are offered with a truly attention-grabbing powertrain. The 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 produces a massive 910 pound-feet of torque, which is in addition to a respectable 445-horsepower output. That gives the trucks a maximum conventional-trailer towing capacity of over 14,000 pounds in some configurations.

No. 3 (tie) - 2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD: 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8

2021 GMC Sierra 2500 HD\u200b Photo courtesy of GMC

910 pound-feet of torque

Under the hood of the GMC Sierra 2500 HD is a 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel V8 that produces 910 pound-feet of torque and 445-horsepower, just like the Silverado 2500 above. The truck has a maximum conventional-trailer towing capacity of over 14,000 pounds in some configurations.

No. 2 - 2021 Ram 3500HD: 6.7-liter Cummins diesel V8

2021 Ram 3500HD

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

1,000 pound-feet of torque

Here, we enter the realm of outlandish torque numbers. The 2021 Ram Heavy Duty lineup is available with a 6.7-liter C
Cummins diesel V8 that produces 1,000 pound-feet of torque. It's offered in a "normal" output version that makes 850 pound-feet, but the four-digit torque number available in the high-output version is truly headline worthy. Ram says that the 3500 can pull up to 35,100 pounds with this engine on board.

No. 1 - 2021 Ford F-Series Super Duty: 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8

2021 Ford F-Series Super Duty

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

1,050 pound-feet of torque

Ford's 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 is the top of the torque hill for 2021. It makes 1,050 pound-feet of the stuff, which is in addition to a solid 475 horsepower. The F-450 truck equipped with the engine can tow up to 37,000 pounds, which is both insane and far above the weight limits for a standard Class A driver's license.

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This 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series 5 is one of one.

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

Three vintage Aston Martins will be part of the first Silverstone Auctions sale of the year on March 5-6, 2021. The three models represent some of the rarest Astons in the world. Let's take a closer look.

1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series 5

This car (seen above at the top of the page) is one of just 50 Series 5 DB4 saloons built prior to the arrival of the DB5, and it was one of the last ones off the line. The left-hand drive car retains its original engine and gearbox, and is finished in its original specification of Aegean Blue over White Gold.

The car is well-traveled. It was originally delivered new to California and comes to its new owner with an Aston Martin Assured Provenance document.

If it looks familiar, Bond fans, that's because it was a DB4 Series 5 Vantage that was used in filming "Goldfinger".

1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2 Vantage

1970 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2 Vantage

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

This is one of only 71 DB6 Mk2s that was equipped with the Vantage engine straight from the factory when new. Making it more rare is the fact that it is a right-hand drive saloon with a factory fitted manual gearbox. Those factors make it a one of one.

This chassis has been presented in multiple concours, had several successes with the Aston Martin Owners Club, and has undergone a significant engine overhaul by Aston Martin Works. It's finished in British Racing Green.

1969 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2

1969 Aston Martin DB6 Mk2

Photo courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

Lots of special attention courtesy of Aston Martin Works has made this 1969 DB6 a model worth taking a second look at for enthusiasts looking to invest. A history file of the car detailing all the work done includes notes regarding a full interior retrim, which was conducted at the same factory where the car was originally built.

The model was originally delivered new to Halesowen in October 1969. The car's original Celeste Blue metallic paint job was accompanied by a dark blue Connolly hide interior (bodywork is now finished in dark blue). It was supplied with the optional two front seat belts when new.

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