Who is a fast SUV for?
I just want to start off by saying, how cool is it that there is a fast SUV on the market. I was lucky enough to have an SRT engineer riding shotgun in the car with me when I got to drive it. Before we even started talking about the car or driving specifics, I straight up asked him, “Who did you build this Durango for, who is your target market?” I was really curious as to what the answer might be, and in particular, if it would be geared towards males or females. The reply I got, was “don’t know, we just built it”. Very much a ‘because we can’ attitude. I commend that and I wish more car manufacturers would think like that. Just because it’s an SUV, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun or look good.
2018 Durango SRT Specs:
- AWD SUV with 3rd row seating
- 470lb-ft torque
- 392 cubic inch HEMI® V-8
- 1/4 mile time 12.9 seconds
- 0-60 in 4.4 seconds
- Best in class towing at 8,700lbs
The interior of the Durango SRT is very similar if not the same as other SRT models in the line up such as the Challenger Hellcat. Even though it’s an SUV, it’s still got that muscle car feel. The front seats are a luxury suede and Laguna leather mix that are wide and bolstered. The steering wheel is also wide and similar to other SRT models. Quick access to information and/or features are available at the touch of a button the steering wheel. Gear changes are also accessible with paddle shifters located at the back of the steering wheel. the paddle shifters were easy to use and a big enough not to miss. For regular automatic shifting, the gear lever (yes a lever, not a rotary dial) is within easy reach in front of the glovebox.
A thin-film transistor makes up the digital instrument cluster, which is customizable and shows up to 180mph on the speedometer. The main 8.4″ Uconnect touch screen gives access to the SRT performance pages, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, climate controls, backup camera, HD radio, downloadable apps, and more. The car also comes standard with the BeatsAudio premium sound system. I didn’t try out the sound system, I was too amused by the exhaust notes.
It was difficult not have fun in this SUV. Granted the exhaust note might have spurred me on a little, I did have the window cracked so I could hear it more. The SRT engineer told me that they put a lot of work into sound dampening inside the vehicle due to it being a family car. Perfect, so you don’t need to worry about the kids in the 3rd row going deaf. When the kids aren’t in the back, open the window a little, put it in track mode and you’ll be smiling at the deep V8 cackle before you know it.
I mentioned track mode already but there are actually 7 different drive modes;
‘Sport’ mode was the first mode I tried, and within a few miles I got used to the handling and acceleration. I then switched to ‘Track’ mode and oh… my. Leaving the transmission in auto, accelerating hard, I was soon being thrown around my seat. The gear shifts in track mode are violent and aggressive. The most aggressive I’ve ever experienced in an auto (160 milliseconds to be precise). The Durango SRT has an 8-speed TorqueFlight transmission which is specifically calibrated for the vehicle. Shift points are designed to give the maximum torque to all four wheels. In track mode, 70 percent of that torque is sent to the rear wheels.
On this note, I did ask how the vehicle performed in the snow with so much power. It does have a snow mode, which will reduce power and it’s also AWD. With a good set of snow tires, I’ll be interested to see how it performs.
I didn’t have time to try out ECO mode, however, if you are worried about fuel consumption on this vehicle, it’s probably not for you.
Where and when?
They are available to order as we speak. The Durango SRT is not going to be a vehicle that readily available on the lot, although there is one to be arriving in Wyoming in the next few weeks. For more info, click here for contact details.
Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. She has driven hundreds of vehicles, not only new cars but beaters without heaters, fast cars on fire, slow cars in snow, off-road trucks in the mucks, and old pickups with pups. She’s driven heaps of Jeeps, miles in muscle and once took her gran in a car from Japan.