2018 Dodge Durango SRT is the muscle car of SUVs

Dodge has built an SUV that can haul in every way imaginable.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT
The new 2018 Durango SRT is powered by a 475 hp 6.4-liter Hemi V8 shared with the Dodge Challenger. Like a muscle car, the all-wheel-drive Durango can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.4 sec. and run the quarter-mile in 12.9 sec.

With its widebody style, and a vented hood similar to the one used by the 707 hp Dodge Charger Hellcat, the Durango SRT is so hot that it comes with a voucher for a day at a Bob Bondurant driving school where you can learn to wring the most out of it. But this very sporty SUV still offers plenty of utility with an 8,600-pound tow rating that’s highest among three-row SUVs and well into full-size pickup territory.

The Durango SRT also gets a set of high performance Brembo brakes to help keep the speed in check, a stiffer suspension with computer-controlled adaptive dampers to better blend ride comfort and handling, deep bucket seats (even in the back rows) to hold you in place in the turns, and a beefy T-bar shifter for its 8-speed automatic transmission because it just feels right.

A new digital instrument cluster includes a 180 mph speedometer, although Dodge has not yet confirmed the Durango SRT’s top speed. The price hasn’t been announced, either, but the similarly-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT starts at around $68,000, so figure on the Durango SRT being in that range when it hits showrooms late this year.

The Dodge Durango SRT - the perfect SUV for muscle car fans

Whenever a new sports-tuned Dodge breaks cover, it must do so with a superlative in tow. And the 2018 Durango SRT is no exception.
2018 Dodge Durango SRT
Thanks to a 396-cubic-inch (6.5-liter) HEMI V8 under the hood this SUV can catapult its driver and six passengers from standstill to 60mph in 4.4 seconds. That figure, plus the engine's total output of 475hp) make this car America's fastest and most powerful three-row SUV.

Dodge has even gone to the trouble of getting the car's standing quarter mile time -- 12.9 seconds --independently certified by the National Hot Rod Association.

"This is what you get, when you take everything great about the Durango and combine it with the performance of the Charger SRT: a 12-second quarter mile, toy-hauling, three-row muscle car," said Tim Kuniskis, FCA's North America Head of the Dodge and SRT brands.

Putting so many cylinders and so much horsepower under the hood means that the SRT boasts a number of external differences when compared with a standard Durango. For example there's a hood scoop and heat extractors to help stop the engine overheating. The front valance is also lower to make room for a larger cold-air duct. The body is wider so that the wheel arches don't need to be overly flared in order to accommodate 20-inch wheels and huge Brembo brakes.

Inside, the speedometer goes up to 180mph, there's carbon fiber and leather trim; and the eight-speed TorqueFlite transmission has been overhauled so that it can blip the throttle on the downshift to ensure rev matching.

Thankfully, with so much power on tap, the SRT comes with all-wheel-drive as standard. The chassis and suspension have also been tuned to cope with the additional performance and to ensure the car doesn't roll in the corners.

Even the drive mode selector has been reprogrammed so that alongside familiar settings like snow, eco, towing and full auto for when long-range comfortable cruising is the order of the day, there's a track mode. Select this and the suspension becomes as stiff as it possibly can, gear changes get 50% faster and the stability control system backs off to the point where it will let the car "yaw" in the corners if it means being able to negotiate the bend without reducing speed.

The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT will make its debut at the Chicago Auto Show on February 9 and will appear in Dodge dealerships towards the end of 2017.