Dec 042018

Most Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) accentuate the U in SUV to appeal to consumers. For the first time, Dodge accentuates the S with the Durango full-size SUV Street and Racing Technology (SRT) trim. Latino Traffic Report recently drove the 2018 Durango SRT during a weeklong test drive. While the appeal for this model is fairly specific, Dodge apparently believes that sport car enthusiasts with cargo and towing needs will give the Durango SRT a look-see. As an added incentive, all new customers will get to push the sporty SUV to its limits with a free full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.

The three-row SUV still offers the versatility of other SUVs with seating for six, 84.5 cu. ft. of cargo room with both rows folded flat, and has a best-in-class towing capability of 8,700 pounds. But what distinguishes this SUV is what’s under the hood, namely a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 475 horsepower and 470 lb.–ft. of torque that can accelerate from zero–60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds

This kind of power, however, does have one downside, namely fuel economy. Matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission, the V8 has an EPA city/highway fuel economy of 13/19 miles per gallon (mpg). On the test drive it averaged 12.9 mpg. Still, the buyer for this vehicle probably won’t be surprised by this news.

On the outside, the Durango SRT stands out among its siblings with a newly designed hood with a functional cold-air duct and heat extractors to cool the engine.

Adding to that is the new SRT seven-mode drive system that includes Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow, Valet, and ECO, giving the driver the ability to customize drive settings. ON the test drive along FM 2222 in west Austin, one of the curviest local roads, standard paddle shifters improved handling.

The Durango’s all-wheel drive system has been performance tuned and a new exhaust system offers the deep, high-performance exhaust note modeled after the Dodge Charger SRT.

On the plush side, the SRT is a top-of-the-line trim, which means it offers a bigger list of creature comforts to complement the power under the hood, including a hand-wrapped instrument panel with silver accent stitching, an SRT flat-bottom performance steering wheel, and heated and ventilated front and heated second-row captain’s chairs with embossed SRT logos.

The standard seven-inch thin-film-transistor screen in the instrument cluster has been redesigned and can be customized, the 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen returns with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, downloadable apps, and a five-year trial of SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic with a one-year trial subscription to SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Rounding out this list is the standard BeatsAudio premium sound system featuring nine speakers, subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier.

The test model also included the Technology Group ($2,495) that added forward collision warning with crash mitigation, adaptive cruise control with stop, and a blind-spot monitor and rear cross path detection.

Built in Detroit, pricing for the 2018 Dodge Durango starts at $61,900. The as-tested price came to $73,360.

Si: The Durango adds excitement to a fairly staid segment.

No: Low fuel economy is pretty unacceptable in this day and age, plus safety features at this price point should be more available if not standard.


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