“Does it shit and git?” a rally crew member from another team asked me after I rolled up to my hotel in a burbling and strikingly green 2019 Dodge Durango SRT. “What...yes? I think so,” I replied.
(Full disclosure: Fiat Chrysler was kind enough to let me borrow a Durango SRT when I needed a rally support vehicle that could both shit and git with a car trailer hanging off its hitch.)
The Durango SRT has been around for about two years, and the car it’s based on has been out for what feels like an eternity—around six years. Yet, somehow, it still manages to shield its occupants from the outdatedness that it truly rides upon. Well, at least in the SRT trim it does.
I spent about a week and 1,300 miles in this SUV, putting it through the tests of being a city car, a race hauler, and New England road trip machine to see if this $76,450 hellraiser of a vehicle was actually worth its rather mighty price tag.
The Durango SRT is a unibody, three-row SUV that can be packed with cargo, loaded with people, and be pulling a 4,000ish-pound trailer, and yet somehow still manage to accelerate quick enough and so brashly that’ll startle and confuse everyone in the truck in the most hilarious way. It never stops pulling!
When we first reviewed the Durango SRT back in 2017, Jalopnik Reviews Editor Andrew Collins said:
Maybe in somebody’s imagination, dad wanted a Challenger, mom wanted a Pacifica, and they bumped heads and fell in love all over again when they walked by this thing posted up at their local Dodge dealer.
Honestly, yes. This is the car that a MOPAR-loving family would decide on when a Challenger is too unrealistic, a Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is just too damn expensive, and the Durango’s extra seating is essential.
This truck has a 392 Hemi V8 that puts out an FCA-claimed 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels with the help of an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s not the most powerful of SUVs, but it does have some of the most impressive towing abilities. Dodge says that the SRT can pull up to 8,700 pounds—a bit under the Ford Expedition’s 9,300-pound rating, but also, the Blue Oval’s rig isn’t a performance truck by any means.
The Durango SRT also does 0-60 in a claimed 4.4 seconds, which is stupidly quick for a 5,510-pound SUV. It’s also strapped with a set of 15-inch Brembos to bring it back down to stationary mode at the driver’s request.
At no point while towing my 1995 BMW M3 rally car did I find myself longing for more power. The Durango SRT hauled, and hauled, and hauled. It also remained a stable, confidence-inspiring puller through some nasty rain that we encountered during our seven-hour towing trip in the truck.
When we had the trailer unhitched, we were able to get a small sense of how fun the Durango SRT could be as a daily driver and backroad-cruising monster. Unfortunately, because the truck was still doubling a storage container for all of my race car spare parts and tools, we couldn’t go too wild as everything would go flying. But it was still fun!
And I might have still managed to sneak in one launch control takeoff somewhere. It’s damn quick.
So, here’s the thing–the Durango SRT doesn’t have the power of the more-expensive Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, and it doesn’t have the luxury of a Range Rover or a BMW X5. Oh, and speaking of the X5, BMW claims the new M50i trim can do 0-60 in 4.1 seconds and starts at $82,150, which is just a few grand more than what our Durango tester was optioned to. The X5 falls short in regards to towing capacity, but for my purposes, I’d gladly give that up for some additional luxury and comfort.
Oh, and I should probably mention its fuel economy. When you stick a massive V8 in a three-row SUV that weighs 5,510 pounds, and then drop a 4,000-pound trailer behind it, and put a lead-footed, angsty, race-ready driver behind the wheel, there’s a bit to be desired when it comes to fuel efficiency.
On my whole 1,300-mile journey, the SRT managed around 13 miles per gallon. Not terrible, since I was towing. But even before I had the trailer attached, I noticed some pretty worrying mpg numbers around the city. It’s rated for 13 city and 19 highway, but with my heavy foot, I was seeing below 10 in New York City traffic sans trailer.
At its starting price of $63,000, you get a whole lot of truck. This tester, though, was optioned with an adaptive cruise control package which, honestly, should be standard for the SRT model, a rear-seat DVD entertainment package, a $1,200 towing package, a $2,500 “premium interior” package which could’ve definitely been skipped, a $1,300 sunroof package, $1,000 Harman Kardon radio, and $1,000 wheels.
To me, none of that is worth it, aside from maybe the towing package. Together, those options add around $13,000 to the truck’s price and put it even deeper into what some would consider the luxury SUV market. Of course, this was a press tester, and it’s not unusual for those to be loaded up with all the goodies.
Basically, at $63,000, the Durango SRT is a solid deal in my book. Go much above that, I’d probably start looking cross-shopping more aggressively.
During my race weekend, the Durango SRT did everything I asked it to. It hauled three 20-something-year-old men on a seven-hour drive each way while towing a race car and being filled with parts, tires, and other gear without issue. Even with that load, the truck still hustled happily when I smashed the gas and slowed confidently when I modulated the brakes, even in poor weather.
But, it’s a $76,000 truck! I kept thinking to myself, “Would I really be happy spending nearly $80,000 on this thing?”
Personally, no. But if you’re a MOPAR lover with a “HEMI” tattoo on your shin, if you’ve named your daughter Jane “Plum Crazy” Smith, then yeah, this might be the truck for you and your family. Just option it better.
And, yes. It definitely “shits and gits.”