Chicago 2017: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT - Three Rows and Almost 500 Horsepower

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

If you want to scare your larger-than-average family by surprising them with a round of impromptu autocross through the mall parking lot, you’ll have to limit the size of your brood or risk looking daft while hustling a Toyota Senna around the storefront of a California Pizza Kitchen. However, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is prepared to accommodate you and your family on those days where you just can’t help but drive like a lunatic.

Ideally, you would let them out before putting the pedal down, but the Durango SRT’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 can easily move around an extra few hundred pounds of human flesh without breaking much of a sweat. If you decide not to heed my advice of driving defensively with your kindred in the vehicle, Dodge is offering every new owner a full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. At least then you’ll be more familiar with the beastly three-row SUV at the limit.

Aggressive looks and SRT badging aside, the Durango’s primary duties will be practical, so let’s get the boring stuff out of the way. A towing-capacity of 8,600 pounds means you can hitch it to a pontoon boat or massive camper without worrying and the three-row seating is good for six passengers. It’s still a Durango, and Dodge intends it to be used like one.

Dodge also intends for you to occasionally wring out all 475 horsepower and 470 foot-pounds of torque from the 392 cubic-inch motor. When you do, the SUV is equipped to manage a quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds and scoot to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds.

Managing the power delivery is a TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic and seven drive modes. Track mode reduces shift times by 50 percent in the first four gears, tightens up suspension and steering, and frees up the electronic stability control. Sport mode is essentially a softer track mode while auto is the default comfort mode. There are also eco and valet modes that limit power and eliminate first gear. Snow and towing modes control optimize stability management and set AWD to a 50/50 distribution.

Interior features include headed seats for the front four occupants, an 8.4-inch touchscreen to run your SRT performance data, Navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, leather and suede everywhere, and a T-shaped electronic shifter instead of a rotary knob to accompany the wheel-mounted paddles. Dodge will let you go bonkers with red Laguna leather and carbon fiber trim if you want to spend the money.

New exterior features include a functional center air inlet duct flanked by heat extractors on the hood, a new front fascia, and a lower valence to house new cold-air duct and upgraded LED fog lamps.

Pricing, fuel economy, and top speed were all numbers that Dodge neglected to share. However, we do know that the Durango SRT will be at the Chicago Auto Show this week and that the SUV should hit dealer lots during the fourth quarter of this year.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Thunderjet Thunderjet on Feb 07, 2017

    Well if I ever need a SUV......

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Feb 08, 2017

    This can tow the camper to the site, drift a bit on the dirt roads, and be fun on a grocery run if you need more beer? Does it have any rear seat entertainment options?

    • NoID NoID on Feb 08, 2017

      I don't see why not. You can get the JGC SRT loaded with the entertainment options, no reason why you couldn't here.

  • Probert A few mega packs would probably have served as decent backup.
  • Lou_BC Lead sleds. Now-a-days GM would just use Bondo.
  • Jrhurren This is a great series. Thanks Corey
  • Tane94 Not as stylish as the Soul which it is replacing but a practical shape and bonus points for EV only.
  • Ronin What is the magical white swan event in the foreseeable future that will suddenly reverse the trend?Success tends to follow success, and likewise failure. The perception, other than among true believers, is that e-cars are a lost cause. Neither government fiat, nor government bribery, nor even the promise of superior virtue among one's peers have been enough to push past the early adapter curve. Either the bust-out is right now for e-cars, or it doesn't happen. Marketing 101.Even subtle language-manipulation, such as deeming those possessing common sense as suffering from some sort of vague anxiety (eg, "range anxiety") has not been enough to induce people to care.Twenty years from now funny AI-generated comedians will make fun of the '20s, and their obsession with theose silly half-forgotten EVs. They will point out that, yes, EVs actually ran on electricity generated by such organic fuels as coal and natural gas after all, and then they will perform synthesized laughter at us.