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This Three-Row SUV has Penchant for Racing

*See images of the Durango SRT in the gallery below

The Dodge Durango SRT is the fastest SUV in its class, the company claims. And it may be right—with the 392-cubic-inch HEMI V8 under its SRT hood, the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT delivers 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. The vehicle even clocked a zero-to-60 mph time of 4.4 seconds, as well as covering the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds as certified by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).

Not bad, according to soccer moms everywhere.

“The new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of passenger cars brands, dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT for FCA North America. “This is what you get, when you take everything great about the Durango and combine it with the performance of the Charger SRT: a 12-second quarter mile, toy-hauling, three-row muscle car.”

The company is so serious about selling the Durango SRT on its performance attributes that it’s offering customers who buy the van one full-day session of high-performance driving with professional instruction and time on the track at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, Arizona.

The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT will make its debut Thursday at the Chicago Auto Show. Vehicles will start arriving in Dodge dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Performance at its Core

For the first time ever, SRT power is now available in the Dodge Durango. The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is powered by the potent 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8 engine with Fuel Saver Technology that delivers 475 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 470 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm.

To keep the powertrain running cool and efficient in higher demand environments, a new cold-air duct provides cooler outside air into the engine. Testing has shown up to an 18-degree Fahrenheit improvement in intake air temperature, resulting in an engine that performs flawlessly on the street, racetrack or when towing a favorite trailer or toy, according to Dodge. 

The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT provides enhanced shift quality and performance drivability, as well as optimized fuel economy through its TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. This transmission was specifically calibrated for the Dodge Durango SRT to optimize shift points and deliver maximum torque to all four wheels, according to the company. The transmission can be manually shifted using the performance-inspired steering wheel paddle controls on the exclusive SRT-lit flat-bottom steering wheel.

The TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission takes into account variables, including engine torque gradients, kick-down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, grade changes, tire slip and downshift detection to determine the appropriate transmission shift map. 

Additional parameters integrated into the control strategy include vehicle speed control, electronic stability control interaction and temperature. The result is automatic shifting that is ideally attuned to the performance requirements of any performance-oriented driving demand, according to Dodge.

When the driver downshifts, the rev match function uses the engine controller to blip the throttle, which provides optimal transition between gears for improved performance and greater stability when downshifting at the traction limit.

When placed in Sport Mode the transmission reduces shift times by up to 50 percent versus Auto Mode and delivers 65 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels.

Acceleration and performance handling are enhanced by transfer case proportioning and dynamic controls for the AWD system when the vehicle is in Track Mode. When in Track Mode, maximum performance track driving is achieved with 160-millisecond shifts and up to 70 percent of the engine’s torque delivered to the rear wheels for the most pronounced rear-wheel-drive experience. Durango SRT drivers will also notice a vehicle that is more responsive from mid-corner to exit.

The new electronic T-shifter provides the driver with intuitive gear selection and offers an Auto Stick selector gate for added control. Drive and Sport shifting can be selected with no effect on the chosen suspension, stability control and driveline torque split settings.

The Durango SRT features launch control, which mimics a professional driver’s inputs to optimize performance by bringing engine, transmission, driveline, stability control and suspension together for an optimal launch and consistent straight-line acceleration.

The new exhaust system has been tuned to offer a deep, high-performance note that is distinctive to Dodge/SRT, according to Dodge. To achieve this iconic exhaust tone, engineers replaced the rear mufflers with resonators to increase overall sound level and improve tone of the true performance 2.75-inch dual exhaust system. 

Ride and Handling

The Dodge Durango SRT rides on a short- and long-arm (SLA) independent front suspension with coil springs, specially tuned Bilstein adaptive damping suspension (ADS), upper- and lower-control arms (A arms) and a stabilizer bar. 

Additional changes include 3-percent stiffer front springs, 16-percent stiffer rear springs and an 18-percent stiffer rear sway bar to provide Durango SRT drivers with outstanding high-speed cornering capability.

In the rear, a specially tuned multi-link suspension design has coil spring, Bilstein ADS, aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension and camber), plus a separate toe link, and a stabilizer bar. 

The 120-inch wheelbase allows for stability and consistency in high-speed cornering, while a new performance-tuned AWD system helps the Durango SRT set the world-class performance marks, according to Dodge.

The Durango SRT also features the SRT seven-mode drive system, which provides the driver the ability to precisely adjust drive settings to maximize performance or comfort. Suspension, torque distribution, shift points, stability control and engine mapping are all controlled through this system. In addition to these parameters, suspension feel is controlled by a sophisticated Active Damping System that opens and closes the suspension’s damper valves according to the chosen drive mode, providing the driver with options for any driving style, according to Dodge.

The seven SRT drive modes include:

  • Auto—Activates automatically when starting the vehicle. Sets the suspension and steering to comfort setting and longer shift times for longer, relaxed driving conditions 
  • Sport—Delivers increased vehicle performance capability over Auto Mode. Tightens up suspension damping and increased steering gradient feel for improved cornering response. In addition, shift speed increases 23 percent in 1-4 gears and electronic stability control (ESC) allows more yaw for spirited driving
  • Track—Provides maximum vehicle performance capability on smooth, dry surfaces. Tightens up to full hard suspension damping and steering gradient feel for maximum cornering response. In addition, shift speed increases 50 percent in 1-4 gears from Auto mode and ESC allows maximum yaw
  • Snow—Sets ideal configuration for driving in snow by setting transmission to use second gear (rather than first gear) during launches to minimize wheel slippage; stability control is set to Full-on and AWD is set to 50/50 distribution
  • Tow:—Sets ideal configuration to tow a trailer by using full stability control; AWD is set to 50/50 distribution and trailer sway control is enabled in the ESC system. In addition, the Active Noise Cancelation system is automatically engaged to reduce engine noise from the high-load towing condition  
  • Valet—engine is remapped to mimic the Dodge Charger V-6 engine’s torque and horsepower settings; transmission locks out access to first gear and upshifts earlier than normal; traction, steering and suspension are set to their Auto settings; steering wheel paddle shifters are disabled; ESC is enabled to Full-on and launch control is disabled
  • ECO—maximizes fuel economy with a revised shift schedule, second-gear starts and extended range of the Fuel Saver Technology

Standard five-spoke 20-inch Goliath wheels with a new Black Noise finish ride on Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde all-season tires or available Pirelli P Zero three-season tires. Available, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels feature a new split five-spoke design also featuring the Black Noise finish.

The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT delivers excellent braking performance, requiring an estimated 115 feet to come to a full stop from 60 mph, according to Dodge. Credit belongs to massive new Brembo high-performance six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) calipers, and vented rotors at all four corners measuring 15 inches (front-slotted) and 13.8 inches (rear).

Aggressive Inside and Out 

Inside the refreshed cabin of the Durango SRT, new appointments include a hand-wrapped dashboard with live silver accent stitch, SRT flat-bottom performance steering wheel with standard paddle shift, heated and ventilated front and heated second-row captain’s chairs with embossed SRT logos. Nappa leather with suede inserts and silver-stitched SRT logos are standard. Demonic Red Laguna leather interior with embossed SRT logos is optional.

 Other luxurious touches brought to Durango for the first time in the SRT model include new Light Black Chrome center stack, HVAC, full console and door handle bezels along with two choices of decorative bezels. Standard finish is Matte Reverse Chain, and for the first time on Durango a true carbon-fiber instrument panel and door bezels will be offered (late availability). 

Premium velour bound floor mats with embroidered SRT logo are standard. Adding to the impact of the hand-wrapped instrument panel, the headliner and A pillars are available in Dynamica suede. 

 A newly designed 7-inch, thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable digital instrument gauge cluster with 180-mph speedometer allows drivers to select from a multitude of layouts and information. The class-exclusive Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen media center houses the new SRT Performance Pages along with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, downloadable apps and five-year trial of SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic. The standard BeatsAudio premium sound system features nine speakers, subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier.

On the exterior, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT carries a SRT hood with functional center air-inlet ducts flanked by heat extractors that help to keep the engine bay cool by removing hot air from the engine compartment. A new front fascia and lower valence house the new cold-air duct and LED fog lamps. This new unique look will also include the SRT-inspired grille mesh pattern finish.

New integrated wheel flares and body-color side rocker panels help provide an aggressive stance. The “392” badges flanking each fender with Bright Chrome and Metallic Grey accents differentiate the ultimate performance Durango.

At the rear, a new SRT rear body-color lower fascia with Gloss Black accent surrounds the 4-inch dual round exhaust tips finished in Nickel Chrome. 

The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is available in 11 exterior colors, including Billet Clear Coat, Blu by Yu Pearl Coat, Bruiser Grey Clear Coat, Dark Black Clear Coat, Granite Clear Coat, Ocean Blue Pearl Coat, Octane Red Pearl Coat, Redline Pearl Coat, Sangria Metallica Clear Coat, White Knuckle Clear Coat and Vice White.