Four model years after moving the Durango to the Mercedes-Benz-based platform also used by the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Dodge has finally applied the 392 Hemi-powered SRT treatment to the family-sized SUV, giving us the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT you see here. It will make its debut at the 2017 Chicago auto show before going on sale this summer.
“This is the one I wanted to launch,” Dodge chief Tim Kiniskis says, referencing an auto journalist who has called the erstwhile performance trim level Durango R/T the “three-row Charger.”
Beside obvious design tweaks such as a new grille and copious air intakes up front, including an air duct from just above the foglamps over the wheel openings and to the airbox, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT gets the familiar 475-horsepower, 470 pound-foot 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 and eight-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission. The Durango SRT will come standard with full-time four-wheel-drive and a viscuous clutch.
Kuniskis cites a 4.4-second 0-60 mph time and a quarter-miler of 12.9 seconds. So why buy one of these instead of, say, a lighter and lower rear-wheel-drive Dodge Charger SRT? The Durango SRT is the most capacious three-row SUV with the most legroom in the third row, the most cargo space behind the third row and, with a rating of at 8,600 pounds, more towing capacity than the Chevrolet Tahoe, says Kuniskis.
The Torqueflite is controlled by what Kuniskis calls a “real shifter,” a t-handle instead of the modern electronic dial. Its crosshair-free grille suggests the look of Dodges to come while the functional hood scoop and other front air intakes are there to provide maximum cooling, design chief Mark Trostle says. There’s the obligatory 20-by-10-inch wheel spec with an available “Black Noise” finish that’s not pure black, “392” badges on the front fenders, and a new lower rear fascia with dual 2 ¾-inch exhausts designed to emit a 392 Charger-like sound.
Suspension tweaks include stiffer springs and Bilstein shocks. With a 52/48-percent front/rear weight balance of roughly 5,510 pounds, the SRT Durango is “very neutral” and “feels smaller than it is,” Dodge says. Brembo brakes are 15-inch rotors and six-pistons front, 13.8-inch and four pistons, rear. Five chassis modes are Street, Sport (stiffened suspension, loosened traction and stability control, and 50-percent quicker shifts), Track (no traction control, even looser stability control, and 160-millisecond shifts), Snow Mode (50/50 AWD torque split), and Tow Mode, which activates trailer-sway control.
The Durango SRT comes with active noise control, a first for the model. The function works full-time in Tow Mode, keeping the engine quiet for the third row even under heavy throttle.
Inside, the SRT treatment includes a hand-wrapped stitched wheel, performance steering wheel with paddle-shifters, wrapped pillars and a suede headliner, Beats performance audio and a new UConnect center console head unit with enhanced graphics.
An optional premium interior adds Laguna leather, either all black or red and black. There’s an optional center console for the standard second-row captains’ chairs.
The Dodge Durango was once rumored to be on the cutting block a few years ago, but with SUV segments dominating the U.S. auto market, the “three-row Charger” has a better future as a halo model than the five-passenger Charger (is a Durango Hellcat next?).
2018 Dodge Durango SRT Specifications
|ON SALE||Summer 2017|
|PRICE||$62,000 (base, est)|
|ENGINE||6.4-liter OHV 16-valve V-8/475 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 470 lb-ft. @ 4,300 rpm|
|LAYOUT||4-door, 6-passenger, front-engine 4WD SUV|
|L X W X H||189.8 x 84.8 x 67.6 in|
|TOP SPEED||4.4 sec|