We get it Dodge, big engines in everything. The company started committing this schtick when it revived the Charger a decade ago and frankly, I’m surprised it took this long to make a monster version of the Dodge Durango. But here we finally are: six seats, 4.4 seconds to 60 mph. Get ready to clean a lot of Cheerios off that back window.
These days I’m torn on Dodge. Part of me feels like the company’s a hair metal band, and the spandex is starting to stretch a little too much. The Dodge brand’s whole identity is built around burnouts and bench racing.
Now a 475 horsepower Durango is the answer to... what question exactly?
That said, I do like toys and I have a soft spot for silliness. From an enthusaist’s perspective, that’s what the game is all about! So I do appreciate the sense of humor somebody must have had to greenlight this 392 (6.4-liter) Hemi-powered three-row SUV with a rated towing capacity of 8,600 pounds.
Now I’m not trying to call the Durango SRT anything like “logical,” but it really makes a lot more sense than a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or, remember the Viper-powered Ram RT/10?
The Durango never really had the off-road pretenses so many other SUVs are marketed on. Especially in its current body style, the Durango’s relatively low-slung stance and design skewing more muscle car than truck lends itself to a performance variant much more readily than a Grand Cherokee in my opinion.
Some readers may remember I actually really enjoyed the Durango R/T when I drove it in 2014. Back then I reckoned the SUV had just enough of the goofy machismo to be fun without being too obvious about having something to prove. The R/T had (has) guts, a great exhaust note and it’s very comfortable. Nice looking too, I thought.
The SRT, obviously, takes that concept and pushes it further. Too far, probably. But I guess that’s the point. The only question then is: who’s going to buy it?
Hard to imagine the hardheaded adrenaline junkie who’s into a Charger or Challenger needs or wants six seats. And how many Griswold family vacations are going to be set to the tune of a howling HEMI?
Pricing, of course, will determine just how enticing the Durango SRT is over the Grand Cherokee equivalent or maybe even some of the German super-loud people movers. And the MSRP hasn’t been announced yet. But I’m willing to bet it will slide significantly below the Grand Cherokee SRT since the Jeep is a pricier vehicle in general.
I doubt there’s going to be much cross-shopping between this and turbo Subarus, but this high-performance Durango would actually make a pretty badass ski wagon alternative since the WRX STI wagon isn’t a thing right now.
The Durango SRT’s key specifications are enormous and impressive. It has 475 HP (!), 470 lb-ft of torque(!!), and more importantly, Dodge claims that this six-seated porker can go from stopped to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds (!!!) and run a quarter mile in 12.9.
Thankfully Dodge had the forethought to equip the SUV with proportionate braking power, so the Durango SRT has high-end Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear brakes with massive 15 and 13.8-inch rotors respectively. Guess what color the calipers are? Ah shucks, you already saw the pictures. But you knew.
Apparently you can control the Durango SRT’s power distribution, shift points, suspension stiffness, throttle response and other parameters with a selection system that includes a “track” mode for you to point to and raise your eyebrows when you pick up your in-laws at the airport, plus an eight-speed automatic you can paddle-shift once and then leave in “D” for the rest of the time you own the car.
Kidding aside, take a second to appreciate the fact that we live in a time where a three-row family car has multiple performance settings you can access as easily as turning a knob on the console. I can’t talk about this super-powered baby buggy without acknowledging its silliness but it’d be a lie to play like I’m not impressed.
The infotainment screen has the same Performance Pages graphs tracking speed and g-forces and other wonderful nonsense from other Dodge SRT and Hellcats, too.
Heck, is this the most practical performance car that exists right now?
The Durango SRT has only been out for a few hours and it’s already making me feel a lot of weird feelings. Is it a monument to the stupidity of our time, a symbol of excess for its own sake? Or an awesome affront to the monotony of driving your kids to school in a Pacifica? I guess I’ll have to drive the thing to decide. But I’m pretty sure it can be silly and great simultaneously.