By on October 29, 2020

2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392

2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392 Fast Facts

6.4-liter V8 (475 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 470 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

13 city / 19 highway / 15 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

18.3 city, 12.2 highway, 15.6 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $62,995 (U.S) / $77,990 (Canada)

As Tested: $73,060 (U.S.) / $85,610 (Canada)

Prices include $1,495 destination charge in the United States and $1,995 (up to $2,695) for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

There’s a stereotype of the American tourist in Europe being loud, brash, crude, and rude – all while being what doctors would call “overweight.” It’s a popular trope to be mocked in pop culture – The Simpsons, Family Guy, and others have done it many, many times. I’m pretty sure both those two animated shows about buffoonish men and their families have hit on the theme in multiple episodes.

National Lampoon went there, too, in the ‘80s, with European Vacation, though Chevy Chase looked pretty skinny back then.

We can debate all day long if the stereotype is accurate and/or fair. What we can’t debate is that the 2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392 fits all of those descriptors listed above in the lede.

It’s large. It’s loud, especially when the 6.4-liter Hemi V8 is summoned by a heavy right foot. It’s brash – the grille is quite in your face. It’s crude – try a long drive over bumpy pavement and see how your back feels. It’s rude – see above, where I discussed the Hemi and its way of making its presence known to all within earshot.

And it’s built by an American brand – no matter how deeply Fiat and soon Peugeot are involved, Dodge is as American as the Griswolds (I’d have said apple pie, baseball, or hot dogs, but well, you know). And large V8-powered SUVs are practically built for our comparatively more wide-open spaces.

2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392

Four-hundred and seventy-five horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque help to smooth a lot of rough edges, and that’s the case here. Most people could get by with the 360/390 of the 5.7-liter V8 that’s standard in R/T models and optional on Citadels, or even the 293/260 of the V6 from lower trims. But it’s stupid fun to summon the Hemi when you need to pass or merge, and the 5,510-pound curb weight suddenly seems svelte.

All those ponies get to the all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

That all-wheel-drive system and a suspension that’s tuned for sport and includes adaptive damping help the Durango SRT handle about as well as vehicle of its size and heft can be expected to handle. The downside is the ride is stiff , almost punishing on particularly bad pavement. It’s a tad rough, even with adaptive damping. It’s comfortable enough on highway surfaces that have been well-maintained – I had no issue with it on suburban Chicago’s better-maintained interstates.

2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392

Unfortunately, those roads are few and far between (and tend to be toll-supported). The freeways that haven’t been as well kept frustrated me, and even a low-speed pass through a pock-marked parking lot jarred me and a passenger fairly rudely. There’s that “r” word again, this time in adverb form.

At least the stiff ride is the worst/most noticeable flaw, and the only real issue when it comes to comfort. As noted, the ride is far more tolerable over decent pavement, and the Hemi fades into the background unless you call it to the fore. The eight-speed behaves better than FCA’s accursed nine-speed gearbox. The cabin has the usual Dodge setup of big, user-friendly knobs and large touch screen (8.4 inches in this case, which doesn’t sound large compared to what’s being launched on some vehicles this year, but it’s large enough to work well). That touchscreen includes FCA’s generally excellent UConnect infotainment system, and the performance pages that let you get more insight into what’s going on with the key systems when driving hard, as well as allow you to time speed runs.

It’s a pleasant place to attend to the business of driving, and slapping an SRT badge on the body and dropping an SRT-approved engine into the bay doesn’t change that.

2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392

Really, the only true sacrifice you make for being an SRT buyer is the ride penalty and the fuel economy, which, oy. That latter is a dismal 13 mpg city/19 mpg highway/15 mpg combined. Not surprising, but definitely not great, Bob.

Well, there’s one other thing you sacrifice: Your hard-earned dough. Sixty-two large to get in the door. Actually, a fin short of $63K, at $62,995.

That starts you off with the Hemi, the performance-oriented suspension with adaptive damping, a performance exhaust, electronic limited-slip differential, performance-tuned steering (has a nice heft and is nice and accurate), selectable drive modes, rearview camera, power liftgate, front and rear park-assist, remote start, keyless entry and starting, the chance to attend an SRT track experience/track day, UConnect, 8.4-inch infotainment screen, SRT performance pages, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, active noise control, in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, Alpine audio with subwoofer, heated and cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, paddle shifters, second-row captain’s chairs, 20-inch gloss-black wheels, Pirelli all-season performance tires, unique front fascia, and unique hood.

2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392

My test unit added the $2,395 Technology Group (adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, full-speed forward-collision warning plus, lane-departure warning), the $1,195 trailer-tow (class IV hitch, trailer-brake control, compact spare tire, 20-inch spare wheel), the $2,495 Premium Group (suede headliner, premium-wrapped instrument panel, red carbon-fiber interior accents), Harmon-Kardon audio with subwoofer ($995), and blind-spot and cross-path detection ($495).

All that plus $1,495 for destination added up to $73,060.

2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392

To those who worry that such a vehicle makes them look rude, crude, and loud, I say, if you have the means, go for it. As long as you can stomach the stiff ride and the high fuel bills, you’ll be driving the Hemi of three-row crossovers. And passing with glee.

Sometimes it’s OK to embody and embrace the loud American stereotype. This is one of those times.

America, baby. America.

[Images © 2020 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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41 Comments on “2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392 Review – Loud, Crude, Large, Americana...”


  • avatar
    R Henry

    Not a single syallable about politics. Thanks Tim, keep it up!

    • 0 avatar

      No, he said crude, rude, brash, overweight and American. You know who he is talking about and it is not “Basement” Joe.

      • 0 avatar
        Tim Healey

        It really was a reference to a negative stereotype of American tourists. Not Trump.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          I haven’t travelled abroad much but those I know who travel extensively told me that I should go out of my way to show that I’m Canadian and not American.

          Ironically, when I was in Greece I heard than sighted a rather obnoxious fellow who was” crude, rude, brash”. He spotted the Canadian flag on my ball cap and bullied his way through the crowd and came up to me. He bellowed, ” Are you really Canadian or an American pretending to be Canadian?” He went on a rant about hating Americans who hide that fact. He was the epitome of that stereotype.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    “You think you hate it now, but just wait until you drive it.”

  • avatar

    Shame the ride is bad. When test driving three row vehicles this spring we drove a couple Durangos and found the ride to be one of the best features, much better then the Highlander or Pilot.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Interesting vehicle. Personally I think I’d stick with the 392 Charger. If I definitely needed a 3rd row and towing capacity then I’d probably lean towards an RT or Explorer ST and keeping $20K in my pocket. But that just means I’m too poor.

  • avatar
    statikboy

    What’s with the chin dimple Tim?

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice piece.

    “$73,060”

    Surly you jest, FCA.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      It’ll be 25 grand in 3 years coming off lease, and a fun rig to have.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I think you are over-estimating the depreciation. A 2017 Grand Cherokee SRT with about 30K miles is still asking about $50K. A 2017 Charger 392 (which is much less staring out) is asking about $33K with 30K miles. So I’m guessing a 3 year old one will be somewhere in the $40K range.

        • 0 avatar
          indi500fan

          Current prices are based on 1.XX per gallon fuel, which will be more like 4.XX per gallon in 2024.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          40K for ridden-hard-and-put-away-wet-for-three-years FCA goodness?

          I think I’d pass.

          I bet you could get a pretty good deal on a new one, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Roberto Esponja

            FreedMike, you’d be surprised. I work for a multi-franchise dealer group and have noticed that the great majority of SRT vehicles we get in trade are well cared for and have low miles. Think about it: most of the people that buy them are older and well-off, and that’s a demographic that normally does not abuse their vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The rare/performance editions never fell hard, really for any make or model.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Nice piece.

      “$73,060”

      Surely you jest, FCA.”

      You can option an Explorer Sanitary Towel (ST) up to $65K and for that outrageous price you’re getting a puny, gas-guzzling V6, soccer mom styling, an awful transmission, and you’re not even guaranteed that your vehicle wasn’t shipped to another factory immediately after being built to undergo extensive repairs.

      I’d take the proper SRT Durango any day as I do not want to spend my days at the dealer getting my vehicle repaired.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        (…passes on a Ford for a Dodge for reliability reasons…)

        I just deposited a noseful of coffee on my keyboard reading that.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          In your case, I guess ignorance really is bliss.

          Shall we talk about the Explorer? Or should I just let Jim Farley tell you:

          “Our warranty coverages in the last few years is up $1 billion to $2 billion depending on the year, and that is not okay,” Farley said during a recent analyst call. “So, although it moderated in the (third) quarter and we have taken a lot of actions on craftsmanship, long-term durability, we have a much bigger ambition to improve the quality of our vehicles. We have taken a lot of countermeasures. They will take time.”

          In a nutshell, Ford “quality” is a misnomer. Ford vehicles do not have anything resembling quality. Over a year later and the Explorer and MKExplorer are still complete garbage. Meanwhile, the HEMI and the ZF 8-speed are as reliable as the sunrise and uConnect is also one of the best infotainment systems on the market.

        • 0 avatar
          nrd515

          I’ve had 4 FCA/Mopar vehicles over the last 17+ years, and the worst of them, my ’10 Challenger, which had repeated Evap system leaks, that seemed unsolvable until the dealer I traded it to somehow found and fixed the issue, were/are better than any of the Ford products my friends have, including 2 F150’s that have both had electrical and, as usual, turbo issues on the EgoBoost engines. How much did my ’10 Challenger’s issues bother me? Not much, as I bought an ’18 scat Pack, 2+ years of totally trouble free driving, though I’m betting the potholes do enough damage this year to make some front end work necessary. Not the car’s fault. If I wanted a pickup now, it would be a Ram 1500 with the 5.7, for sure.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “ 2 F150’s that have both had electrical and, as usual, turbo issues on the EgoBoost engines.”

            Yeah that’s pretty common. The EgoBust engines are junk. I’ve had friends and coworkers have turbo issues on there “built Ford tough” F150s at 80-100k. It’s insane people are so stupid as to still buy them. And the new Explorer continues to be a disaster. This from a Ford tech when asked about the problems he’s still seeing:

            “ Water leaks. Hose Clamps not installed. Broken/misinstalled panels. Connector assembly issues. There is nothing that is “commonplace” other than cameras, trans coolers and “A” clutch problems. Seriously. Avoid.”

            When asked to elaborate on the A clutch issue and the fix he said:

            “ Trans has to come out, and the front support replaced. It pays between 7.4 and 9.7 hours depending on engine and 2 or 4wd which, typical of Ford and their cuts, is too low. ”

            Ford’s 10-speed is junk. And the new Explorer is absolute garbage.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            All of the people I know driving F150’s have had zero problems with turbo’s and some of those trucks are fleet units.
            If one looks at durability statistics, Ford still rates better than Ram. Chevy took a hit with the new Silverado but up until that point they rated better than Ford. I rarely ever see a Ram 1500 company truck. Ford and Ram outsell Chevy easily in the HD ranks.
            Besides, I’m not about to believe anything EBcluck says.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I will say, one bit I miss about the 300S I had briefly was the ZF8. I do not, however, miss the irritating buzzing from the UConnect system that could never be properly sorted which led me to experience the craptastic ZF9-equipped 200. I daresay my Mazda would be that much better with the ZF8; sometimes the 6 speed gets a bit confused, if I’m being totally honest.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      There is no better traditional transmission on the market than the ZF 8-Speed. It is worth it’s weight in gold

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I’m not sure which (recent) Mazda you have, but the ZF 8-speed is for longitude (RWD-based) applications. So unless you have a Miata—which I doubt, because you wouldn’t want to get anything other than the 6MT that it already comes with—it’s not compatible with your Mazda.

      As for the ZF 8-speed, I agree that it’s good. I currently have it in two vehicles, a 2015 Grand Cherokee Overland, and a 2016 535i xDrive M Sport.

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        You’re right, Kyree, I have a Mazda3 AWD. If the ZF8 could be reconfigured to be mounted to a front wheel drive biased system it would be great. I recognize that redoing the chassis to take a longitudinally mounted engine and transmission would not be possible, but that transmission was one of the smoothest I can recall.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    $73k for an overgrown station wagon. Whatever.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Aside from possibly the Land Cruiser, and if you absolutely need the space an Expedition or Suburban (all of which are technically SUV’s, not CUVs come to think of it…), this is the only one of it’s kind which may just about be worth it.

      It’s got a “specialness” about it that neither an Urus nor a Bentayga nor any number of dullified rocket wagons from Germany can hope to match, in their quest for what their respective salesguys will, no doubt and no different from porn peddlers, attempt passing off as increased “sophistication.”

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “$73k for an overgrown station wagon. Whatever.”

      Yeah you don’t get it. It’s ok.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “The eight-speed behaves better than FCA’s accursed nine-speed gearbox. ”

    Probably the best traditional transmission on the market today and all you can come up with is “well it’s better than a FWD 9-speed”

    Yikes…

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      I can’t even think of a single thing the ZF 8-Speed could do better than it does already. They don’t seem to break, they shift at warp speed in “sport” mode, they are smooth as glass the rest of the time, so what’s not to love?

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        TRUTH!

        There’s a reason that transmission goes into Bentleys and Audis. I love how it shifts in sport mode. FCA did an amazing job programming that transmission and throttle mapping in sport mode. I will only look for vehicles that have that transmission. It’s that good. In fact, most honest reviews say it’s still a better transmission than the Ford 10-speed. And that’s before you factor in all of the quality issues with the 10-speed.

  • avatar

    I think Lincoln Navigator is more Americana than this one. It is like saying that FIAT 500 represents European character – small, tiny, cute, powerless, crude. unruly and unreliable. Easy prey for Russia.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    That towing package gives it the best towing in class by a fair margin.

    I wonder how this compares to the Hellcat Durango other than the power deficit.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    My neighbor has one of these, in white, and I can’t decide which is sexier – his wife or that engine note. I’m torn.

    Anything with that 392 sounds SO damn good.

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    I can understand sacrificing ride for handling in a sport car but why on a three row suv ?

  • avatar
    legacygt

    This review references Fiat ownership which is true but Fiat has virtually nothing to do with this car. In fact, this car has a lot more to do with Mercedes (and even more to do with Jeep, but that’s more obvious). Yes, the Durango (and Grand Cherokee) is that old. It shares quite a bit with the previous Mercedess ML and GL.

    I drive a pedestrian V6 Durango and can sing the platform’s virtues. It does hold up against the competition in most ways (at least the interior is only 6 years old) but it shows its age in others.

    I’ll share one issue with this model and another with Dodge/Jeep leadership with respect to these cars. For some reason, the Durango SRT doesn’t come as a 7 seater. It comes as a 6 seater (2+2+2) and a 5-seater (2+3+0) but not 7. This is so odd. Wouldn’t there be customers who value the maximum number of seats? Anyone who only cares about speed could get a Charger or Challenger. Durango buyers want utility and, for some, that means seats. Wouldn’t this car will some passengers+power title if they maximized both?

    My other gripe is that the Durango hasn’t been updated in forever (save the impressive packages that have been added like this one) and Jeep still doesn’t have a 3-row vehicle in its fleet. These are huge oversights in competitive segments. Executives should be fired for this.

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