Dodge Durango: All-new Dodge delivers Hemi power, 3 rows

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For enthusiasts of high-powered fun that falls directly into line with Dodge’s performance persona, the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) badge is far more than just a piece of metal designating a price point. For many, it represents a way of life.

Dodge SRT brands are renowned for their introduction of such newly minted household names such as Demon and Hellcat. However, the Durango has been a staple of the Dodge lineup for more than a decade, and the new SRT version of that three-row SUV brings the manufacturer’s high-performance expertise to a segment that is seeing more and more elevated horsepower. And with it – more popularity than ever.

New Breed of SUV

The Durango is not a lithe SUV, in fact it is quite heavy at 5,510 pounds of curb weight. Of course, getting all that weight up and going is Dodge’s niche expertise – and they manage to do it well with this new Durango SRT.

The 2018 Durango SRT is instantly the fastest three-row SUV out there. Fitted with an impressive 475-horsepower 6.4-liter (392 cubic-inch) Hemi V8 engine, the new Durango SRT accelerates from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds.

The all-new Durango SRT is for those who want to go fast whenever they feel the need for speed, and thanks to its size and standard all-wheel-drive system, the Durango SRT accommodates up to six passengers and can be driven in all four seasons, regardless of road conditions.

If more accolades are necessary, how about the extraordinary NHRA-certified quarter-mile time of 12.9 seconds.

With its muscular wide-body stance, SRT hood with functional center air-inlet ducts, 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels with P295/45ZR20 Pirelli Scorpion Verde (run-flat) tires and red Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers, there is little doubt that this three-row SUV does anything other than breathe performance.

Inside the Cabin

Enter the Durango SRT’s spacious cabin and you are greeted by ultra-supportive and stylish Nappa/suede seats with sliver accent stitching and embroidered SRT logo. Laguna leather upholstery with an embossed SRT logo and carbon-fiber trim is available.

The Durango SRT provides seating for two in each row. While there is plenty of head and leg room in the first two rows, the third row is best suited for children.

The cockpit is sporty and loaded with goodies like a leather-wrapped SRT flat-bottom performance steering wheel with SRT paddle shifters, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with access to SRT performance pages, navigation and BeatsAudio premium sound system.

All-Around Drivability

Mated to the Durango SRT’s powerful V8 engine is an equally distinct quick-reacting 8-speed automatic transmission. Depending on which driving mode is selected, the shifts occur almost imperceptibly, or more firmly. When downshifting manually, a “rev match” function pushes the throttle between shifts.

There are seven SRT drive modes (Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow, Valet and ECO) and a Launch Control system that helps any driver have consistent launches from a stop.

The Durango SRT utilizes a unique all-wheel-drive system that automatically splits the torque to the appropriate axles, or up to 70 percent to the rear wheels when Track mode is selected. Suspension systems noticeably tighten up in Sport mode, and slot in as aggressive in Track mode.

Auto mode makes the Durango SRT easy a daytime get-around-town SUV. I found it comfortable enough for everyday driving with steering that was effortless given the size of the SUV.

The all-new Dodge Durango SRT can be as aggressive as any mood that strikes you in the moment. It’s all about being capable of doing a lot more than the SUV next to you (or in front and in back of you).

This Dodge Durango SRT begins at $63,000. My tester came equipped with a dual-screen rear entertainment system ($1,995) and several other options, bringing its price to $72,365.

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