The Dodge Durango has had an interesting life as an SUV.
It began life in 1997 being based on the Dodge Dakota and survived through all the years of Chrysler’s various name changes, mergers, acquisitions and other corporate happenings.
The Durango was marketed as a capable truck-based SUV that could carry seven passengers and haul 7,500 pounds when properly equipped.
As with any year, you could grab up a Durango with rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive that really made the SUV as capable as it could be.
Engines for years varied from V6 options to larger V8’s as the model range grew.
After the first generation of the Durango, there was a huge redesign that made the SUV much larger all the way around and was re based on the Chrysler Aspen. Rather than the Dakota.
After 2009, the Durango was discontinued as demand for full-size SUV’s faded away due to the market shrinking after the economic recession.
The Current Gen:
The current generation of the Durango began life in 2010 and has been reworked, but not redesigned up until today.
Being that the current SUV is nearing eight years old the egg heads at Dodge decided to spice things up for the 2018 model year.
And I mean really, really spice things up.
The standard Durango is the same as it has been. But there’s a new trim level that seems to be taking all of the attention. The Dodge Durango SRT.
Someone at Dodge decided it would be a good idea to fit a 6.4 L V8 HEMI engine into the bay of the Durango.
This means 475 horsepower in a family SUV that is capable of doing a zero to sixty sprint in 4.4 seconds. Necessary? No. But neither is four-cheese macaroni.
The Specs-2018 Dodge Durango:
|Vehicle Type:||Fullsize SUV|
|Power Plant:||6.4 L V8|
|Gearbox:||8 – Speed Autmatic|
|MPG:||Not Yet Available|
|Top Speed:||Not Yet Available|
|0-60 MPH (0-120 KPH):||4.4 seconds|
|Base Price:||$64,000 (est).|
The new Durango SRT is a monster of a machine. You can get into the whole “Why do you need that in an SUV?” argument and really get nowhere, because the SRT Durango is made to be ridiculous. And that’s that.
I personally love this kind of philosophy. It creates things like the Mercedes GL63, BMW X6 M, and other insane SUV’s like them. They’re created because the manufacturer can make them. And that’s all.
It takes a special person to actually put their money toward an SUV with nearly 500 horsepower. And I think I’d like to party with someone like that.
But as for the base model Durango, I think we can agree that the SRT is kind of a shout to the world.
It’s essentially Dodge saying, “Hey! The Durango still exists!”. And combining families where the mom wants a practical SUV and the dad wants a muscle car. If you look at things like that, this monster SUV (kind of) makes sense (sort of).
The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT doesn’t look too much different than the standard car. You can tell it’s special, but it isn’t too obnoxious.
The Exterior-2018 Dodge Durango:
The standard Dodge Durango is much the same as we’ve seen for a few years now. It’s a restyled version of the 2011 model year with minor updates to the outside.
The SRT however, is a bit different. But not as crazy as I think it could have been. For better or for worse.
Front fascia on the SRT Durango features a large vent below the grille that has a camera integrated into it. It could be for track recording, front park assist or both. But it’s clearly noticeable.
Along side the front bumper are small fog light assemblies that feature two bulbs on each side, which is a look I like.
Dodge decided to blacken the headlight housings and add a mesh grille with “SRT” branding on it.
Along with the revised hood with heat sinks and extractors, the front of the 2018 Durango SRT looks like a bigger version of the Charger. It has a lot of the same angles and characteristics…Interesting.
But the sportiness of the front end kind of dissipates when you get to the side view. The Durango is a MASSIVE piece of machinery.
It seats seven, and has the 392 HEMI badge on the side of the front fender. It’s kind of funny.
The SUV features massive brakes as well to keep its massive size in check. That means big red Brembo calipers that make the whole thing look even more ridiculous.
The rest of it is standard issue Durango. A massive back end, tall silhouette and a proportionally snubby front end.
In the back, you get a revised bumper that features some massive dual exhaust tips and some SRT badging. But that’s pretty much it for the differences between the SRT and the standard SUV.
Again that’s not a bad thing, but it’s interesting when you think about other SRT vehicles and their massive body upgrades over the standard car.
The rear of the Durango is giant, which makes it practical and makes way for plenty of storage space.
Overall, the Dodge Durgano SRT is an interesting looking thing. It is essentially what you think would happen if you drop a 392 into the bay of a massive SUV. Some nice badges, hood scoops, big exhaust tip and some good scoops.
The Interior-2018 Dodge Durango SRT:
I’ll admit upfront that the interiors of Chrysler / Dodge products just don’t do it for me. There’s something about them that just feels off. I can’t quite put my finger on it though.
Anyway, you’ll find that the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT has a lot of features from the standard car.
The general layout and set up is the same since the SRT is just a trim level and not a completely different car.
But of course, they added in the new SRT steering wheel complete with a flat bottom, thumb grips and large shifting paddles because this is a school bus built for the track.
The seats are big and bulky, which means they’re decently comfortable. But also very heavy. But I don’t think you’ll really notice.
And of course they come with SRT branding.
Inside the infotainment set up, there are new menus for performance data and vehicle settings.
The SRT Durango gets seven driving modes which seems like way too many. They’re broken down into Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow, Valet and Eco.
It seems to be getting to the point where there are too many options. I’m really not sure an SUV needs a track mode. I don’t care if there’s a Hellcat engine in it; An SUV shouldn’t have a Track mode.
Continuing with the interior of the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT and away from the performance tech, you can seat seven people comfortably inside the 2018 Durango SRT.
And of course Dodge markets the leather seats a ton. Because leather is nice.
Other than that, you get a Dodge Durango on the inside. With a lot of SRT labels.
The Performance-2018 Dodge Durango SRT:
The performance of the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is really what Dodge (and SRT) wants you to focus on. It’s the reason it exits.
First off, the engine as you might know is a big boy 6.4 L V8 engine that produces a crazy 475 horsepower and 470 pound feet of torque.
Coupled with an eight speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system, the Durango is a capable beast of a machine.
The SRT Durango will do a zero to sixty sprint in 4.4 seconds, and run the quarter mile faster than anything in its class. Which I’m inclined to believe.
Even with all of that, you can still tow 8,600 pounds. Which means the SRT Durango can get you up-north camping and run any three-row SUV off the road in the process. Again, I think this is hilarious.
Again there are seven drive modes and at least one of them is completely pointless.
The SRT Durango features a Track mode that makes the ride all the more harsher and aggressive. In a three-row SUV.
I understand dropping a massive engine in an SUV and making it fast as hell. That tells you the automaker has a sense of humor. I love that.
But, Track mode? Why? Are you going to track your Durango?…Why would you track a Durango?
That is where I draw the line honestly.
I’d say leave the sport button, but get rid of the track mode. It makes the whole thing seem even more confused.
And I won’t get into the shifting paddles.
Overall I love that Dodge made the SRT Durango. The model is in need of some excitement as it eventually dies, and I hope the SRT is the last of the current generation. It’s a proper way to go out.
Sum It Up:
The Dodge Durango SRT is a comedic genius. I want to see more manufactures do this sort of thing because it makes life a bit more fun for us consumers.
While I do think they went a bit overboard with the track mode (any manufacture that puts track mode in an SUV deserves some odd looks) the overall vehicle seems to be some great fun.
The starting price will be around $64,000 which is hefty, but it’s a special machine. As odd and unnecessary as it is, it’s still special.
Expect this V8 powered missile to hit showrooms (or wait lists) late 2017.