Family-friendly utility gets a serious shot in the arm this year as the Dodge Durango gains a high-performance SRT trim for the first time.
The SRT and its 6.4L V8 (475 hp/470 lb-ft of torque) are the top of a long list of updates for 2018, which also includes a widebody exterior for R/T and SRT models; the latest version of the Uconnect infotainment system, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality with seven-inch (SXT and GT) and 8.4-inch (R/T, Citadel and SRT) touchscreens and a new steering wheel and an electronic shifter with manual shift gate.
There is also a raft of new options available in various trims, and a new suite of security and connectivity features from Sirius XM.
SXT, GT and Citadel trims come with a 3.6L Pentastar V6 that makes up to 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Next up is a 5.7L V8 (360 hp/390 lb-ft) that’s standard in the R/T and optional in GT and Citadel, and the SRT gets exclusive use of that 6.4L V8.
All models get an eight-speed automatic transmission; AWD is standard too, but only models with the 5.7L engine get a two-speed transfer case, while the V6 and SRT use a full-time, single-speed system.
The SRT finally gives Dodge a high-performance utility that can run with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, including upgraded suspension and brakes designed to handle its significant uptick in power and acceleration. While we are fans of the Grand Cherokee SRT, we would argue Dodge’s reputation as a builder of performance cars would have made it more fitting as the first home for a fast SUV in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ family.
Size-wise, the Durango is larger than the Grand Cherokee and uses its extra space to pack in seven-passenger seating. However, this is not a full-size SUV; instead, it’s a closer competitor for big mid-size vehicles like the Ford Explorer.
Durango comes standard with a number of features that lend it an upscale feel, like a digital gauge cluster display, three-zone automatic air conditioning, 18-inch wheels and a backup camera with rear park assist.
All that appears to be missing from that base spec are heated front seats, which Dodge doesn’t list until the GT trim, where heated rear seats are also standard, along with power driver and front passenger seat adjustments, a power tailgate and remote engine start.
R/T gains a number of exterior styling tweaks to speak to its standard V8 performance, along with a power steering column adjustment, fog lights, rain-sensing wipers and a load-levelling rear suspension.
The Citadel model boasts auto-levelling HID headlights, front park assist, sunroof and Nappa leather-faced seating with ventilation for driver and front passenger; the SRT’s enhancements are all performance-based items, including a limited slip rear differential with a higher final drive gear ratio.
With the Durango’s wide variety of engines come equally diverse fuel consumption ratings. Six-cylinder models are estimated at 12.7/9.6 L/100 km (city/highway), the 5.7L’s figures are 16.6/10.9 and the SRT is rated at 18.3/12.2 L/100 km.