2018 Dodge Durango SRT 392
Class: Large SUV
Miles driven: 172
Fuel used: 15.6 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 11.0 mpg
Driving mix: 80% city, 20% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 13/19/15 (city, highway, combined)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||B+|
|Power and Performance||A|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Base price: $62,995 (not including $1095 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: High Performance Laguna Leather Seats ($1595), Customer Preferred Package 27L ($2495; includes adaptive cruise control, brake assist, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-path alert, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning), Rear DVD Entertainment Center ($1995), Trailer Tow Group IV ($995), SRT Interior Appearance Group ($1500), Second Row Console w/ Armrest and Storage ($495; includes USB charging port, 12-volt auxiliary power outlet, third-row full console floor mat, and illuminated rear cupholders), Power Sunroof ($1195), 20-inch Low-Gloss Black Wheels ($595)
Price as tested: $74,955
The great: Thrilling acceleration; impressive braking power
The good: Comfortable, well-finished cabin
The not so good: Fuel economy; ride quality
Consumer Guide recently named the 2018 Dodge Durango to its Best Buy list, which marks the sixth consecutive year the Durango has achieved this honor. We chose the Durango yet again because this smartly sized crossover/SUV is a well-crafted machine, and it deftly splits the size gap between midsize crossovers and large SUVs. (You can check out all of the 2018 Consumer Guide Best Buy picks here.)
However, size alone does not account for our fondness for this versatile Dodge. The Durango is a refined vehicle, boasting smooth power delivery, luxury-level ride quality and cabin quietness, and a classy interior with plenty of space for people and cargo.
We generally recommend the standard 3.6-liter V6 engine to Durango shoppers, because it offers an excellent blend of power and fuel economy. Folks looking to do some serious towing and/or hauling may be better served by the 360-horsepower “Hemi” V8, but we regard it as largely unnecessary otherwise.
Though probably not the first vehicle shoppers consider when looking for a sporty ride, Durango is now available in three performance-oriented trim levels, the most extreme of which is new for 2018–and is the subject of this Quick Spin. Let’s look at how they compare:
Starting at $37,795, the GT is mostly a cosmetic package. It includes special exterior trim elements, 20-inch black alloy wheels, and suede cabin trim. The GT can be had in rear-wheel-drive or AWD configurations, but only with the 295-horsepower 3.6-liter V6.
Starting at $43,695, the R/T includes the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, sport-tuned suspension, specific leather cabin trim, and unique front and rear fasciae. It’s also available with rear- or all-wheel drive.
Durango SRT 392:
Starting at $62,995, the new SRT 392 represents the highest order of Durango performance. Exclusive to the SRT is a 475-horsepower 6.4-liter Hemi V8. All SRTs are AWD and come standard with Brembo-brand high-performance brakes and unique exterior trim. Cabin décor is also SRT-exclusive, as is the Performance Pages infotainment-system supplement. The Performance Pages software can be used to display and record data on acceleration, braking, and track performance.
Consumer Guide recently spent a week with the Durango SRT and came away with mixed feelings. While the performance upgrades do indeed convert the otherwise stealthy Durango into a serious muscle machine, they do so at the expense of the quietness and refinement we appreciate this truck for.
Naturally, we found power delivery to be both immediate and satisfying, though some low-speed downshifts were punctuated by a pronounced “thud”–a phenomenon we’ve not experienced in other Durangos. That said, this is a seriously fast utility vehicle.
It’s the other tradeoffs Dodge made to bring the Durango up to SRT levels of performance that trouble us the most. Most Durango models excel in the areas of ride quality and cabin quietness, and both of those attributes are critically compromised here.
While we find the SRT’s exhaust note sporty and appropriate relative to the power delivered, the novelty of the macho soundtrack wears out quickly–yet that basso burble is ever present, even when cruising at highway speed.
Likewise, ride quality suffers considerably in the name of improved handling prowess. While other Durangos make easy work of rough road surfaces, the SRT pounds aggressively over tough stuff, resulting in a choppy ride and additional road noise.
We have no complaints regarding the massive brakes augmented by Brembo-brand calipers. Stops are sure and short, and pedal feel is excellent.
For most performance-minded crossover shoppers, we recommend the excellent R/T with its better-sorted ride and handling, and quieter cabin. It’s a fun vehicle to drive that gives up little of the core Durango’s general refinement.
Hard-core performance enthusiasts willing to trade comfort for performance will likely find the SRT’s exhilarating acceleration and excellent brakes a reasonable swap, but we recommend a long test drive before making that commitment.
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