2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat
The 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat should probably come with a swear jar because both its appearance and acceleration are best described with expletives. With an intimidating widebody design and up to 797 horsepower, there are only a few choice words that accurately describe this all-powerful sedan. The big, burly Dodge is on its way to becoming a household name thanks to its supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat engine, which now makes 717 horses in its base tune. While the rear-drive four-door is better at down drag strips than lapping racetracks, its impressive cornering grip and taut body control make it feel nimbler than expected. Too bad its steering isn’t as alive as its engine. Still, the 2021 Charger SRT Hellcat is practical enough to haul a small family and their stuff. But be careful. It might turn your kids into potty mouths.
What’s New for 2021?
Dodge does what Dodge does best when it comes to yearly updates of its seemingly ageless cars: it gives them more power. The 2021 Hellcat-powered Charger now makes 717 horsepower, 10 more than last year. There’s also a new Redeye model that inherits performance parts from the limited-production Dodge Challenger SRT Demon. While the mightiest Charger still isn’t as powerful as that drag-race-ready coupe, its Hellcat engine has been enhanced to make 797 horsepower and 707 lb-ft of torque. The Redeye also boasts a unique and functional hood design as well as special 20-inch-by-11-inch rims.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Without a doubt, the Hellcat’s main attraction is its supercharged 6.2-liter V-8. If you haven’t heard, it now makes 717 horsepower along with 650 lb-ft of torque. The Redeye model features an enhanced version of the Hellcat engine, which generates 797 horses and 707 lb-ft. Dodge claims the Redeye can rip down a quarter-mile drag strip in 10.6 seconds at 129 mph. However, we haven’t had a chance to test the latest example ourselves. Obviously, these ultimate Chargers will leave no one wanting for power, all of which is directed to the rear wheels through a quick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. The last Hellcat we tested to 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and completed the quarter-mile in 11.9 seconds at 124 mph. Of course, its unreal performance doesn’t come without a price, and drivers must carefully apply the gas pedal to maintain traction. And those big rear tires are expensive to replace. The standard widebody setup that we drove helps improve the supersedan’s body control and cornering grip thanks to wider, stickier tires and stiffer chassis components. Still, the widebody Hellcat’s front tires don’t communicate as much to the steering wheel as we’d like.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA estimates the 2021 Charger SRT Hellcat will earn 12 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. That’s actually pretty impressive when you consider how much power this sedan has. Once we test the updated powertrain on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regime, we can evaluate its real-world mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Inside, the SRT Hellcat shares the same design and passenger space as tamer Chargers. However, it has a slew of desirable standard features and some personalized options. Every Charger SRT Hellcat includes a 200-mph speedometer, leather upholstery, and heated and ventilated front seats. There’s a Carbon & Suede package that adds real carbon-fiber interior trim and a faux-suede headliner for a sportier atmosphere. Interior cubby storage is highlighted by spots to store small items, and we managed to fit seven carry-on bags in the Charger’s sizable trunk.