By on February 7, 2017

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

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. 

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

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.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

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.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

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.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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61 Comments on “Chicago 2017: 2018 Dodge Durango SRT – Three Rows and Almost 500 Horsepower...”


  • avatar
    FormerFF

    Hmm, sounds like it would be more suited to drifting than autocross or track day duty.

  • avatar
    omer333

    Are you trying to get Big Trucks to come back? Because this is how you get Big Trucks to come back.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    Someday sooner then I’d like, trucks like these will replace the bespoke “enthusiast car”.

    Never entirely to be sure- but the standard definition of “sports car” will become some variety of hopped up SUV/Wagon/Pickup/crossover design.

    Only the nostalgic and the weird will drive low slung two doors.

  • avatar
    Ianw33

    I don’t like kids. With that said, if having kids helps my case with justifying this truck’s place in my garage…..

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    “Toyota Senna”

    I see what you did there.

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Coming to a ditch near you.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Definitely seems reminiscent of the hopped up big-block station wagons of yore. We’re living in a golden age of horsepower!

  • avatar
    319583076

    I like it, dunno if I’d take the risk on FCA quality/reliability though.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 has been around for a while now and has proven to be of average reliability. This Durango is just the Dodge variant of the JGC SRT8.

      The 2012 SRT8 my son gave to his daughter for her wedding in 2015 still functions as a daily driver for her husband, as does the 2012 JGC my wife gave to her to be her daily driver.

      Both are used in Phx, AZ, and the I-10 daily drive is no cake walk. Still, no problems with either one, each with over 100K miles on them.

      Maybe we’re lucky, or they were made on a good day for the UAW.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        The fact that we’re discussing 100k miles and 5 years of use as a meaningful reliability metric says a lot about Chrysler.

        • 0 avatar

          Ehhh. I’m not worried I have a 2000 Durango with 160k miles that costs less then $600.00 a year in maintenance and repairs.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            Yup. 190k on our 2000 and you have the usual stuff like alternator, starter. The odd one was the pinion support bearing. Didn’t do that one myself.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          When he had them, I took care of them. But now, with two young, 26yo, people working, driving them daily, relying on them to go whenever they’re needed, I doubt the cars are given any attention until the VIC dings to let them know it is time for something.

          Ironically, my wife’s Overland Summit was bought at Avondale’s in PHX, AZ. And after all these years, my grand daughter brought it back by moving to Surprise, AZ.

          The SRT8 was bought in CA when my oldest son lived there, but is also serviced by Avondale.

          I bet both cars, the Black SRT8 and Auburn Overland Summit, are HOT, HOT, HOT in the PHX sun.

          I’ll be there tomorrow to see for myself.

          Later, yawl.

    • 0 avatar
      Hemi

      Everyone says this and I’ve owned 4 or 5 Mopars now from the LX platform 05 and up. Only issues I had were bad tie Rod and cat convertor at about 100k.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Please, Hemi– don’t allow your anecdotal evidence to get in the way of such deeply-entrenched biases.

        We’re quick to dismiss a car as bad if it’s sold/traded before it’s used slap up, but we’re also going to dismiss the same car’s owner if they’re still driving it at 175,000.

        Which case is okay?

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I’m not sure I’d trust Dodge with developing a chassis and suspension appropriate for an SUV to handle what that 0-60 time can post.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Given the ML-mercedes roots (in highly modified form) and the precedent set by several generations of SRT Grand Cherokees, as well as various AMG ML mercs, I think it’ll be fine. Modern Traction/Stability control systems can do a lot to keep things within safe boundaries as well IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Ride, handling, braking and body flex are typical Mercedes Benz. IOW, typically Teutonic. Very much like an M-series.

        The JGC SRT8 rides stiff, not harsh, and is extremely sensitive to steering input. But the AWD is flawless. You can’t even feel it engage.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          “…But the AWD is flawless. You can’t even feel it engage.”

          That’s because it’s always engaged.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            QuadraDrive1 has a 25% offset, which means the rear wheels are the primary drivers.

            Go to YouTube and querry QuadraDrive.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            That’s just the front/rear bias. The fronts are never disengaged.

            BTW, this new SRT Durango doesn’t even use QD1. Read up on the AWD system being used and you’ll see that it’s ALWAYS engaged, which was my point from the beginning. Of course you can’t feel it engage if it’s always engaged.

          • 0 avatar
            NoID

            White Shadow is correct.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            As opposed to the 2008 Toyota Highlander AWD, where the front wheels are also always engaged, but you can FEEL the front wheels engage.

            Also, the QuadraTracII my wife’s 2012 JGC came with (Trail Ready) also has the front wheels always engaged, but the computer determines through clutches when to engage the front wheels based on the setting of the Traction knob.

            My comment was re the JGC SRT8 I mentioned.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            “Also, the QuadraTracII my wife’s 2012 JGC came with (Trail Ready) also has the front wheels always engaged, but the computer determines through clutches when to engage the front wheels based on the setting of the Traction knob. ”

            I think you may have a misunderstanding of how the system works in the JGC. I also own a JGC with QTII, which is always engaged. The terrain response settings are mostly a function of the traction control settings, throttle response, and sometimes the transmission gearing (and in my case, the ride height because of the air suspension) and aren’t actually engaging or disengaging any wheels. You can NEVER feel any engagement or disengagement of any wheels because it doesn’t ever happen. The torque split may very well change, but nothing is ever engaging/disengaging.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yep, our 2012 Overland Summit came with that air-ride-height adjustment.

            I completely understand about the front wheels always being connected. I do not dispute that. But in SOME AWD systems, like that of our 2008 Toyota Highlander, we could feel the front wheels engage.

            My son took me drifting in his 2012 SRT8 on the Tularosa dirt-track Raceway in 2012 and all four wheels were spinning throwing up dirt.

            So, yes, I understand that the front wheels are always engaged. But in some systems you can feel the front wheels take hold, sometimes by a tug on the steering wheel. In the SRT8 you do not.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            Wouldn’t that be the rear wheels engaging on a Highlander? Since it’s a FWD-based CUV?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yes, and it affects the front wheels as well. It’s been this way since we bought it in 2008 but the dealer says it’s normal.

            My grand daughter in El Paso drives it now and was quite concerned about the jerking and shuddering she felt as the AWD went into action in the desert on one of her archaeological jaunts for college.

            I drove it and noticed it too. Weird.

            No such problems with our 2016 Sequoia or my 2016 Tundra SR5 TRD once front axles are engaged.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh


            Wouldn’t that be the rear wheels engaging on a Highlander? Since it’s a FWD-based CUV?”

            I caught this too and just assumed HDC misspoke. Highlanders have a very typical viscous coupling setup that shuttles power to the rear diff. Front wheels are always engaged.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            Few things:

            F/R bias on SRT GC and Durango can vary from 40/60 (Full auto), 50/50 (Snow & Tow), 30/65 (Sport) and 30/70 track. It does have the ability to send 100% of the power to one of the rear wheels.

            And Quadra Trac I 48/52% bias, not 25%.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            gtem, I always wondered if that viscous coupling had something to do with the suddering and shaking. The dealer told me that it all functions as it should. And yes, I misspoke. Am pre-occupied with other stuff.

            SC5, thanks for the info. I never dived that deep into it beyond oil and filter changes and underbody inspections. For me what was important is that it all worked as advertised. And we had real good luck with both our 2012 Jeeps.

            No reason why this Durango should not be just as good.

            ————————–

            For WalterRohrl and others, I’ll be leaving tomorrow morning for an extended trip. I’m not ducking out on any discussions. Don’t know when I’ll be back. Never make plans that far ahead.

            Just letting you guys know.

            Have fun! I will.

          • 0 avatar
            NoID

            SC5, what you say is *technically* correct, however it makes it sound like the vehicle has torque vectoring. It does not, it has an electric limited slip differential.

            So yes, if you had one wheel in the air and the other on the ground, the axle will attempt to lock the two outputs which will transfer all available torque to the wheel that has traction. But it isn’t “sending” torque anywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            HDC the shuddering was more likely than not the Highlander’s VSC traction control system cutting engine power in an attempt to slow the free-spinning wheels, it can indeed be quite unpleasant and obtrusive. Part of what I find particularly annoying about newer 4wd/AWD vehicles is all the beeping nannies and traction aids that work in less-than-smooth ways. Toyota is a particularly egregious offender in terms of the beeps/lights and noisy ABS pump actuation when scrambling for traction. A good argument for hanging on to my 21 year old 4Runner.

          • 0 avatar
            White Shadow

            “Few things:

            F/R bias on SRT GC and Durango can vary from 40/60 (Full auto), 50/50 (Snow & Tow), 30/65 (Sport) and 30/70 track. It does have the ability to send 100% of the power to one of the rear wheels.

            And Quadra Trac I 48/52% bias, not 25%.”

            According to the info that I read, the maximum torque split to the rear on this new SRT Durango is 70%

            And BTW, 100% power to one wheel is basically a marketing thing. In reality, that doesn’t happen on any Durango or Grand Cherokee 4WD or AWD system.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Actually, the platform was primarily developed by the Jeep division of then-DaimlerChrysler.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            There was also some white noise about cross-pollination in the design of the w212/221 suspension. Some part of the LXs suspension enhancements made their way back to Germany for the newer MBs.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      I know, look at that stupid Viper. Can’t go around corners for nothing!

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Hot dog. A high-performance SUV that actually enhances the tow rating of the base version. A solid 1400lb increase over the AWD 5.7V8 rating too.

    As someone looking for a 7+ passenger tow rig capable of ~9k lbs this would be top of my list were it not for the fact the current V8 Durango already tops out the budget.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I can’t believe that you wrote an entire post about this vehicle without mentioning that the curb weight of the R/T Hemi is ~5300 lbs. and this is likely to be a hundred or two heavier.

    That’s obscenely heavy even for a large CUV. Most of the car-based competition is half a ton lighter. It’s bound to affect turning, stopping, and especially tire life with sticky tires, which will be measured in the single-digit thousands of miles.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      Inching up on a full 3 tons…that’s a lot of bulk.
      I wonder if guys compare the weights of their SUVs in the locker room at the country club?

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      A Cayenne is 5400. An Audi Q7 is 5100. Ford Explorer is 5000. So it’s really not outside the weight brackets of the class. Also it’s a rear biased SUV that’s got some real tow capability.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I guess once you have this much power that group of luxury products does become the competitive set. I think of competitors for the Durango (non-SRT) as being the standard Pilot/Highlander/Explorer/Lambda group. The Explorer is the heaviest of those and it’s a few hundred pounds lighter than the Durango when similarly equipped.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Why will this be 200# heavier? Is that R/T Hemi the 6 or 7 passenger version?

  • avatar

    Damn now all I need is the cash. Finally some one has built my ultimate car.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    This fulfills all of my needs in one vehicle. Can’t wait.

  • avatar
    thunderjet

    Well if I ever need a SUV……

  • avatar
    05lgt

    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?

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