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What Will Be the Next Hellcat? (Updated)

by David Zatz on

The 707-horsepower Hellcat engine, a supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi V8, has rewarded Dodge with much higher sales than expected, along with a great deal of publicity in both magazines and social media.

hellcat fender

The engine, carefully set up so that it can be run “all day” at the track on hot summer days — unlike at least one competitive Camaro — seems to be a real winner, but it’s available only in two cars, the closely related Challenger and Charger. In the Challenger, buyers can get a manual or automatic; in the Charger, it’s all automatic, but that automatic responds far more quickly than even a well-trained human can.

As Chrysler and its suppliers work to boost production of the Hellcat engine (particularly the unique supercharger), the next question becomes, “Which car is next?”

hrv hellcat challenger burnout side

There are two real possibilities, both of which have been rumored: the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep is the more credible choice, because the Grand Cherokee SRT has been a hit — and has been able to command a higher price than most FCA US cars. In addition, the suspension has already been tuned for performance with the 392 engine, which puts out 485 horsepower.

Jeep Grand Cherokee is a worldwide seller, and a Hellcat version would certainly be relatively popular in parts of the world where Rams are rare if available at all.

Update: We were previously told that the Hellcat may be “downtuned” for the Grand Cherokee, into the “600s.” Even 600 hp flat would be 115 hp more than the current top engine. The reasons could be one or more of wanting to keep the vehicle “luxurious,” tying in AWD systems without destroying them, and a desire not to overshoot the handling limits of the more-top-heavy SUV.

Ram, on the other hand, would be much harder to performance-tune; engineers would be starting from scratch, rather than building on work already done. Packaging might be easier, but would it sell more normal Rams, the way a Grand Cherokee Hellcat would sell more of the 6.4 SRTs?

All indicators, and our own long ears, are that the next Hellcat will be a Grand Cherokee. There’s no point in waiting for it to come out this year, though — demand for the hot engine means that it’ll be restricted to large cars for the moment, simply because orders exceed supply.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304

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