Dodge unveiled its latest high-performance muscle car on Wednesday last week, just in time for the 2017 Chicago Auto Show. The muscle car is actually the 2018 Durango SRT three-row SUV with a 475-horsepower HEMI V-8 engine.
Why make a high-performance family hauler capable of hitting 60 mph in 4.4 seconds? Because Dodge can, of course.
Sometimes you just need to peel away from the PTA watchdogs during school drop off into something a little less civilized.
Even though the third-generation Durango was introduced for model year 2011 and facelifted for 2014, it’s overdue for a full redesign. The 2018 Durango SRT has enough styling differences to make it look unlike any other Durango.
The SRT hood, with a center scoop flanked by heat vents, sends an unmistakable message in the rear view mirrors of anyone driving slow in the passing lane. Visually, the front looks lower and wider, and the split grille has an expression of surprise. It comes standard with blacked out 20-inch wheels.
Dodge is calling the 475-horsepower Durango SRT the fastest, most powerful and capable three-row SUV. The Tesla Model X P100D is quicker to 60 mph, but we don’t expect buyers of either to be cross-shopping the other.
The 392 cubic-inch (Dodge is American old school like that – in liters it’s 6.4) HEMI V-8 generates 470 pound-feet of torque, which far exceeds the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 generating 390 pound-feet (637 Newton-meters) of torque available on the rear-wheel-drive 2017 Durango R/T, which used to be the three-row powerhouse in the family. It gets the familiar 8-speed automatic transmission, though Dodge says it will be specially calibrated for more performance-minded driving.
It’s all-wheel drive with each axle splitting the load in towing and snow settings, but the sport mode sends 65 percent of engine torque to the rear axle. Drift away.
The Durango SRT can tow 8,600 pounds, up from 7,400 on the 2017 R/T.
Arriving late this year and with a steep price tag, which will likely be less than half of the Model X, is expected to be in the $60,000–$70,000 range. The 2017 R/T with all-wheel drive starts just under $45,000. The price includes one-day driving experience at a high-performance driving school.