If it seems as though Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has adopted a Hellcat-all-the-things strategy in recent years, there's a good reason: they have. The 700-plus-horsepower supercharged V8 has been a staple of the Challenger and Charger lineups for more than half a decade, been wowing high-end Jeep Grand Cherokee buyers since 2018, and made guest appearances in concept cars from practically every brand under the FCA umbrella.
Yet somehow, it's taken until the 2021 model year for Dodge to cram the Hellcat engine into the Durango SUV. It'll be arriving alongside the new Charger Hellcat Redeye and Challenger Super Stock as the third new addition to Dodge's high-powered lineup — and, with all-wheel-drive grip helping make the most of its 710 horses and the ability to tow 8,700 pounds as well as carry seven people at once, it stands to be the most versatile member of the Dodge family.
Sadly, it won't hold that honor for very long. According to FCA head of passenger cars Timothy Kuniskis, the Durango Hellcat will only be rolling off assembly lines for six months.
“With all of the changes we made in the plant to come back up [to production] post-COVID with the sequencing and spacing in the plant, it’s changed the number we can build," Kuniskis told Muscle Cars and Trucks. "I don’t have an actual number but it will be less than 2,000. I don’t how much less than 2,000. It will be determined by customer demand and how much we can build in that six-month period.”
Putting pressure on the Durango Hellcat's production schedule: the launch of the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep is built on the same assembly line as Dodge's SUV, as they share much beneath the skin; combine that with new emissions regulations that would make it prohibitively difficult to get the Durango Hellcat to pass muster for the 2022 model year, and you have the recipe for a short life for the mightiest SUV in the land.
Luckily, there are a few rays of sunshine to be seen here. The rest of the current Durango lineup won't be expiring just yet, Kuniskis said, so the delightful 485-hp Durango SRT will still be around. The new emissions regulations won't affect the Hellcat-powered Charger and Challenger, so they're liable to stick around until those cars are replaced or put out to pasture. And, of course, it seems very possible that the next Durango will offer a Hellcat version as well.
But should you want one of Dodge's current high-horsepower SUV masterpieces, you can reserve one starting this fall, with production beginning in early 2021. And with only a couple thousand ever to be made, you just know you'll be able to make a lot of your money back on Bring a Trailer someday.