With the reveal of the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat, FCA now has two 700-plus horsepower utility vehicles in its portfolio. The other being the two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. With the two SUVs being so close in power, and even being in the same showroom in some cases, one may assume that the two vehicles may cannibalize each other. But according to Tim Kuniskis, head of FCA passenger cars, that appears unlikely.
“The real purpose of Durango Hellcat was that it was ‘muscle car’ feeling (compared to the Trackhawk) – more Dodge than Jeep,” said Kuniskis. “The (Trackhawk) doesn’t want to be loud and in your face like a Jeep customer is. The Dodge Durango Hellcat is loud and in your face.”
While the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk has poached customers from exotics like the Nissan GT-R, the Durango has a different mission.
“Our buyers call their Durango their three-row muscle car… they put the Hellcat in the Grand Cherokee and made it different (than a Dodge) because the Grand Cherokee buyer is different than the Dodge buyer, as it should be. When we put it in Durango we said ‘it can’t be the same’ because they’re different buyers.”
Indeed, if you’ve ever witnessed a Trackhawk move through traffic, it’s rather unassuming to those not in the know. It, more or less, looks like any other Jeep Grand Cherokee. And it idles rather calmly at the lights. So, with a raucous X-pipe exhaust and 710 horsepower (3 more than the Trackhawk), and more aggressive looks for the Durango Hellcat, Dodge bets that will be enough.
“We need to make sure that it looks like a muscle car… we’ve got the stripes, we’ve got the aggressive fascia, we’ve got Hellcat badges all over it, and we made sure it handled differently and very aggressively… we made sure the exhaust was very ‘Dodge like’… it’s loud, it’s obnoxious, it sounds like a Charger and Challenger, which is awesome.”
The three-row 2021 Durango Hellcat also caps the family of performance vehicles.
“We want Charger, Challenger and Durango to be looked upon as ‘The American Performance Brand’. That’s our goal.”