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2018 Dodge Durango SRT 392 First Test: Flying Brick

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One of the most important lessons my father ever taught me and my two younger brothers was about self-sacrifice. When it comes to putting others' needs before your own, my dad is the resident authority. What's this have to do with cars? Well, why else would he have gotten us a dowdy minivan as our family's first car?

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It used to be that you had to sacrifice style, drivability, and a little bit of personal dignity in order to meet the vehicular needs of your family. True with minivans, but also true with more than a few SUVs. But as the new fire-breathing 2018 Dodge Durango SRT proves, it is possible to have a family hauler that doesn't sacrifice the basic human desire for excitement behind the wheel.

Related Video: The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is a 475 horsepower muscle ute(Provided by Roadshow)

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It's kind of amazing that it took Dodge eight years to make a true high-performance Durango, but it's worth the wait. The performance goody list is long—anchored by a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 churning out 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of twist mated to an eight-speed automatic and rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. Other add-ons include a stiffened and lowered suspension, Brembo brakes at all four corners, three-season tires, and seven driver-customizable drive modes to help make the most of the Durango SRT in any given condition. Dodge rounds out the Durango SRT package with a wide-body kit, a leather- and suede-finished interior, and a performance exhaust system to ensure the whole neighborhood hears you coming.

The Durango SRT is just as much go as it is show. With launch control engaged—really just a rev limiter—this seven-seat Dodge rockets from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.6 seconds and blows through the quarter mile in 13.2 seconds at 103.5 mph. Our test team thinks the Durango could be quicker still to 60 mph, but the launch control won't allow any adjustments above 3,500 rpm. Throttle response from the 475 hp feels a bit artificially aggressive, but it fits the Durango's character just fine, as does the exhaust's upshift burp that serves as a reward for staying at wide-open throttle.

a red car parked in a parking lot© Motor Trend Staff

Speaking of shifting, the transmission shifts staggeringly quick and never seems to be in the wrong gear. Thankfully the Durango SRT stops just as well as it goes, needing just 110 feet to stop in our 60 0 braking test.

This Dodge can handle a corner or two, too. The Durango SRT laps our figure eight in 25.5 seconds at 0.75 g average, and it averaged 0.89 g on the skidpad. Steering is quick, accurate, and talkative, even while nearing the Durango's performance limits, and the electronically damped shocks eliminate body roll, helping ensure not one of the Dodge's 475 horses are wasted.

a truck driving down a street next to a car© Motor Trend Staff

It might be tough to make a case for the Durango SRT to frugal parents such as my dad because of its $64,090 starting and $73,360 as-tested price. But really, it is a performance bargain. The only other true high-zoot seven-passenger SUV on the market is one that this Dodge shares its platform with—the Mercedes-AMG GLS63. The GLS63 is just a few tenths quicker in a straight line and ties the Durango SRT around the figure eight, but it starts at more than $125,000.

My dad has since moved on from his minivan days in favor of high-performance five-seaters, and although his lesson made quite an impact on me, the Durango SRT has me thinking that self-sacrifice doesn't always have to be so hard.

a car parked in front of a building© Motor Trend Staff
2018 Dodge Durango 4 SRT
BASE PRICE $64,090
PRICE AS TESTED $73,360
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 6-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 6.4L/475-hp/470-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 5,502 lb (52/48%)
WHEELBASE 119.8 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 201.2 x 77.1 x 71.9 in
0-60 MPH 4.6 sec
QUARTER MILE 13.2 sec @ 103.5 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 110 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.89 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.5 sec @ 0.75 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 13/19/15 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 259/177 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 1.28 lb/mile


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