Dodge Is Doubling Down on V8s as Competitors Go Electric – About Your Online Magazine


It’s because not to adjust a family SUV to have more muscles? The Durango SRT already had 475 hp and 8700 pounds of maximum towing capacity with a comfortable (though noisy) three-row interior. For the model of the year 2021 – and only this year, which is the key – the Durango will be available in a Hellcat variant whose supercharged V8 of the same name generates 710 hp. Durango SRT Hellcat is definitely in your face. This is a strong 91-octane vehicle and is not retreating. I drove on the track, and guys, it can really accelerate, that engine screeching like few when you hit it. It is a sport of participation in every way.

The regular SRT model has all the practical and impractical power that a reasonable owner could want. I used one to tow a huge summer travel trailer that my parents and I rented on RVShare; when we showed up to pick it up, the owner doubted that Durango was up to the task. “Well, this one has a Hemi,” I said, and he nodded. Respect. But if a company wants to survive on raw emotion alone, it needs to keep raising the stakes. Hence this change – as soon as the Journey and Grand Caravan leave the stage next year, you’ll be able to get a Hellcat V8 across the Dodge line.

Official fuel economy figures are not yet available for Hellcat; the SRT is estimated at 15 mpg combined. SRT and Hellcat are available with cylinder deactivation to shut off four of the eight cylinders during light load and cruising conditions. Aside from that saving nod, the 6.2 liter supercharged Hemi V-8 from the 710 hp Hellcat is pure adrenaline. The designers say the front splitter reduces front elevation by 10% and, combined with the spoiler, creates 140 pounds of downforce at high speeds; this is a 25-30% improvement in aerodynamics, which can also help with fuel economy, although we are still talking about a large, blunt SUV designed to reach 160 km / h with ease.

Dodge boss Tim Kuniskis is excited about the ongoing EV revolution, but remains firmly on the non-EV side for the brand. For a while.

“There are some incredible electric cars out there, but some of them will be prohibitively expensive,” Kuniskis told me during a call from Texas Auto Writers a few months ago. “What will happen is when electrification becomes dominant – when you have more smooth hybrids, more PHEVs, more BEVs – and the cost of electric motors drops, that’s what will open the door. That’s when hot rodders grab electrification; they will readjust it for performance and it will be like when people switched to fuel injection from a carburetor. People will then want electrification because it will be the most competitive car out there. “

In the meantime, the the average price of 87 octane is $ 2.10 per gallon in the US as of today (it is highest along the west coast, states in the mountain time zones and some states in New England). Barrels of oil are costing around $ 40 each, and there is still a large excess of oil on the market, as the pandemic prevents people from traveling. But when drivers hit the road, there are fewer worries about filling the tank. So vehicles like the Durango Hellcat are going to shine a lot now, which makes their one-year strategy very smart.

Electric vehicles are the wave of the future, but right here, right now, Dodge knows who its customers are, and they still love the smell of fuel in the morning.

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Paula Fonseca