A big powerful ute, just a simple way to describe this fantastic machine. The 2018 Durango itself may not be the most impressive vehicle nor the vehicle of choice for some. As its mostly found at your local car rental services it may not stand out but what if you give it a big ole heart? While you can always get a Hemi 5.7L V8 with the Durango R/T, you weren’t able to get the bigger 6.4L from the SRT lineup. Luckily Dodge has decided to fill this void and created the most potent Durango ever by lifting the engine from the SRT Grand Cherokee and implanting it within this 3 row SUV.
From the outside, the SRT doesn’t look all that different from the R/T. A more aggressive front bumper, hood, and facial mark it as an SRT trim. Around back the SRT sports dual 4″ exhaust tips allowing one the best burbles from an SUV. Behind these massive 20″ wheels the SRT also gets massive six-pot Brembo brakes up front, not only do they fill the void within the wheel they also help stop this gigantic 5500lbs SUV in a hurry.
Moving inside, FCA vehicles have been known in the past for cheaper plastic trims and less than stellar fit and finish, I was pleasantly surprised to find none of that in here. The entire dash is fitted with beautiful leather with stitching that stretches across the dash. Even the door cards are filled with soft plush materials behind the leather giving the interior a soft and homey feel.
As the Durango is a 3 row SUV it generally accommodates 7, in the SRT trim the 2nd-row bench is replaced by two captain chairs limiting the overall seating to 6. The front row passengers get similar seats found in the SRT Charger, with full buckets that are not only soft but wide. For maximum comfort, they are also heated as well as ventilated for those long journeys. The 2nd row also gets heated surfaces and plenty of support. With the entertainment package, there are two monitors mounted behind the 1st-row seats allowing rear occupants to watch Blu-rays or even hook up their game console with the HDMI port on the side of the seats. The 3rd row like most SUVs of this class is a bit cramped, but it’s still survivable for taller adults. Sadly the 2nd row cannot move fore and aft to average out the interior space allowing for more comfort.
One of Dodge’s best is the infotainment system, the Uconnect. While in the Durango it was a bit more laggy than usual it was still a great system to use. With apps like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it’s just as up to date with the latest connectivity options. Better yet, the SRT adds Performance pages allowing the occupants to see in real time how much power and torque the vehicle is delivering at any given moment. For those who are thinking of going to the track, there are even performance gauges to show oil temperature, oil pressure, coolant temps, and even intake temps to see precisely how your Durango is performing.
Now, the engine. This 6.4L bruiser is one hell of a motor in the SRT family. Delivering 485hp and 475lb-ft of torque, there’s plenty of power for any situation. With launch control, the Durango can go from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds and can pass a quarter mile in 12.9 seconds. This is astonishing, for the weight! Straight line speed is one thing, the Durango can do some corners as well, with Sport or even Track mode, the suspension stiffens up to control the body weight. That said, even with the wide 295 when pushed the front end tends to push wide but all that power helps it catch right back up in the straights.
With this much power, there are some drawbacks namely fuel consumption. While rated 18.3L/100km in the city and 13L/100km on the highway it’s hard to get near those numbers. On the highway, 13L/100km is actually pretty easy to achieve but in the city, I’ve been getting close to 25L/100km mostly because of the audio sensation that’s released from the big V8. There really isn’t a way to keep the economy down when there’s just an amazing audio soundtrack just waiting to be unleashed.
Speaking of noise, one of the downfalls of the louder exhaust system. While it sounds great around town and gives the enthusiast something to smile about, it gets a bit loud on the highway. Especially for the 2nd and 3rd-row passengers the exhaust does drone more than liked and can make communication within the cabin a bit hard.
Overall the SRT Durango is a vehicle that’s hard not to love, the rhythmic audio from the big V8 is one of the key factors and the power delivery is just another. There’s no doubt this SUV is suitable for a small number of buyers but I’m still happy to see Dodge allowing for vehicles with Big v8s to be produced when fuel prices are as high as they are.