We have been talking for years about the Hurricane inline-six engine family and with the arrival of the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, those long-rumored engines have finally come to production. In the huge Jeeps, both the standard and high-performance variants of the 3.0-liter Hurricane engine provide great power, serving as reasonable alternatives to the Hemi V8 engines which are also available in the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
While there has been no official word, it has long been expected that the Hurricane engines would be featured in Ram trucks, since the Ram 1500 shares a basic chassis architecture with the Jeep Wagoneer family. We also expect Dodge to use the Hurricane engines, but we certainly didn’t expect the brand to introduce their versions of the boosted I6 quite like this.
While speaking to a small group of media during a video conference call last week, Tim Kuniskis explained that the Hurricane engines will soon join the Direct Connection crate engine list. Like the Hellcat-turned-HellCrate engines, the Hurricane crate engines from Dodge Direct Connection will be called HurriCrate. To play off of the Hurricane name, the initial three DC crate engines in this format will be called the Cat1, the Cat3 and the CatX. The HurriCrate CatX will be the same engine offered in the next generation Dodge Drag Pak.
You read that correctly – Dodge is already planning a next generation Drag Pak competition car and rather than a supercharged Hemi, it will have a twin turbocharged inline-six. To make the switch from the tried-and-true Hemi to the Hurricane shows that the brand has a whole lot of confidence in this new I6 engine architecture, with plans to produce over a thousand horsepower.
The Direct Connection HurriCrate Cat1 is similar to the engine offered in the current Jeep Wagoneer. It is a twin turbo I6 measuring 3.0 liters with 22 pounds of boost pressure leading to 420 horsepower. That is an official number from Dodge and while there is no torque figure offered, we know that the Wagoneer with the same horsepower and boost levels offers 468 lb-ft of torque. We imagine that torque output will be similar, if not the same for the HurriCrate Cat 1. This engine is expected to be available in Q1 of 2024.
Next, we have the Direct Connection HurriCrate Cat3, which is similar to the engine in the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. This 3.0-liter I6 features twin turbos and 26 pounds of boost, leading to 550 horsepower per Dodge. In the Grand Wagoneer, it “only” offers 510 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque at the same boost level, so there have been some changes made to the Direct Connection version to up the output. Since the horsepower is up a bit, we would expect for the HurriCrate Cat3 to offer north of 500 lb-ft of torque as well. This crate engine is expected to be available during Q2 of 2023.
Finally, the HurriCrate CatX is based on the engine that will power the next generation Dodge Drag Pak. Kuniskis didn’t actually say that the next generation Drag Pak would be a Challenger, but the Dodge/Mopar Drag Pak has always been a Challenger, so we suspect that this is our first bit of information that suggests that the two-door muscle car will continue past 2023.
In any case, the HurriCrate CatX will feature an aluminum “race block and head”, so it may have a larger displacement than the Cat1 and Cat2 engines, but that information has not been disclosed yet. The team is targeting “mid-1000s” for the horsepower with a full-race build that includes unique turbochargers and bottom-end upgrades. There is no indication as to when this crate engine will reach the Direct Connection catalog, but we would expect it to arrive some time after the next generation Drag Pak debuts. However, we will get to see this new engine in action at Roadkill Nights 2023, where the Hurricrate will be the featured engine in the Direct Connection Grudge Match.