Entry price: $62,245
Price as tested $76,450
This week, we’re behind the wheel of the powerful, sporty Dodge Durango SRT 392, the 392 referring to the famous Hemi in cubic-inches that preceded the 426 Hemi. When an SRT logo appears on anything from Chrysler, be it Jeep or Dodge, you know beforehand you’re dealing with serious performance.
From a 707-horsepower Dodge Charger Hellcat all the way up to the supercharged 840-horsepower Challenger Demon, SRT models have delivered unbelievable performance in street legal trims for years. Our family-oriented, three-row of seating Durango is no different, as the 6.4-liter 392 Hemi sitting under the hood delivers 475 horses and 470 lb. ft of torque. By the way, SRT stands for Street & Racing Technology in the Chrysler dictionary.
Unlike its first and second generation models which were built on the Dodge Dakota full truck chassis from 1997 to 2009, the current generation Durango is built on a Jeep Grand Cherokee car-like unibody chassis available in either rear or AWD formats.
However, if you choose the SRT 392, they all come with Quadra-Trac Active On-demand AWD as standard fare. And, although Durango is now in its ninth year of its third generation, Dodge has been proactive in keeping the styles fresh and delivering one of the best looking SUV to grace the highways.
Contrasting from its fellow supercharged 700 to 800-plus horsepower Challenger and Charger siblings, the fuel injected naturally aspirated 392 still gives a distinctive exhaust growl, and when you drop the hammer you can expect zero to 60 in about 4.5 seconds. The quarter-mile result is an NHRA certified 12.9 seconds, which is excellent for a vehicle this size.
Towing you ask? The SRT delivers 8,600 pounds of pull, not surprising as even the entry level rear-drive V6 powered Durango can haul 6,200 pounds (these “normal” Durangos start at $30,445). If you plan to tow, a recommended $1,195 Trailer Tow Group adds the trailer brake controller, Class IV receiver-hitch and a compact spare tire on a 20-inch aluminum wheel.
Aesthetically, Durango SRT shares front-end design cues with R/T and GT models, but then takes everything a step further. SRT features a more aggressive front mesh grille, air inlet performance hood scoops, performance exhaust, great looking red 392 fender badges and 20-inch Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season run flat tires on of SRT specific alloy “black noise” wheels. Our SRT, however, came with optional $995 Brass Monkey Bronze wheels making it really stand out.
All of the SRT performance additions feed through an eight-speed automatic that offers paddle-shifter control with rev-matching downshifts. As we learned long ago with high performance automatics, sometimes allowing the transmission to shift itself results in better acceleration numbers. However, when you’re having fun impressing everyone at your dragstrip’s test and tune event, manually shifting via the paddle shifter is still high on my performance-fun-factor checklist.
If there’s one big SRT Achilles heel, it’s fuel mileage. When you’re moving three tons worth of vehicle including a passenger and some cargo, don’t expect much in the economy category. Matter of fact; don’t expect much even if you’re the only one in the Durango. Although the official EPA numbers are 13 city and 19 highway, if you enjoy the performance attributes of the SRT as much as I do, you won’t come close to those EPA estimates.
Notables include seven selectable drive modes, including Track, Sport, Custom, Auto, Snow, Valet and Tow. Although Track Mode is not recommended for everyday driving, it gives the maximum performance a muscle car enthusiast desires. From launch control with RPM settings to ride comfort options, you’ll appreciate what Dodge offers to those who seek top class performance. The Track and Sport modes result in stiffer rides, so choosing Custom (you’re input) or Auto may be best for longer trips. On the roadways, this big SUV did better than expected in cornering thanks to Bilstein shocks with performance dampers, tunable suspension settings and then large Brembo red caliper disc brakes that stop the SRT with ease.
SRT’s cabin is special, featuring stitched leather front buckets with suede inserts, 180 mph speedometer and an overall great layout. An optional $2,495 hand-wrapped leather dashboard and real carbon fiber inserts augment everything while all three rows of seating feature SRT stitching. The third row is notable in that it offers more room than expected.
Other interior notables include 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, Sirius/XM satellite, Apple/Android compatibility, Uconnect services, ParkView backup camera, ParkSense front and rear parking sensors, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel and heated second row seating. Advanced features like a $2,395 Tech group adds adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, full speed forward collision warning and lane departure warning.
As for entertainment, for $995 more a 19-speaker Harman Kardon amplified speaker upgrade with 825 watt amplifier sure enhances the $1,995 rear entertainment DVD game/movie system, which would normally pipe sound through a nine-speaker Alpine unit. With all of the entertainment possibilities awaiting second and third row passengers, any major trips with youngsters will surely be more accommodating. Standard are five USB ports, three 12-volt outlets, rear seat entertainment options and individual headphones that make the SRT cabin an envious design.
A Power Sunroof for $1,295 is nice while the final option is a $595 second row console/storage unit with USB, 12-volt outlet and third row full console floor mat. Add $1,495 for delivery, and the final tally comes in at $76,450.
Important numbers include a wheelbase of 119.8-inches, 5,510 lb. curb weight, 24.6 gallon fuel tank, from 17.2 to 85.1 cu. ft. of cargo space, 37.1 ft. turn radius and an 8.1-inch ground clearance.
Still assembled in Detroit, Michigan, the SRT Durango awaits your visit and dealers are ready to answer all inquiries and explain current special discounts and incentives.
In summary, few if any AWD three-row SUVs built today can compare with Durango SRT, which is built exclusively for consumers who still seek American-built high performance. Clearly, the 1960 decade of MOPAR muscle car domination ala Hemi Road Runners, Six-Pack Super Bees and 440 GTXs have been reinvented into these modern-day marvels that carry the SRT logo.
Likes: Unreal performance, overall motif, muscle car in SUV clothing.
Dislikes: Very expensive options, high SRT entry price, EPA fuel mileage probably unattainable.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.
Test Drive: 2019 Dodge Durango SRT 392
Entry price: $62,245