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Dodge Brings More Power to More People with the 2018 Durango SRT

Meet the three-row SUV packing a 475-horsepower “Hemi” V8.

Seeking speed? Meet the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT, which takes just 4.4 seconds to reach 60 mph and covers the quarter-mile in 12.9 seconds flat. Don’t take my word for it. The National Hot Rod Association certified those numbers for Dodge.

Equipped with a 475-horsepower, 6.4-liter “Hemi” V8 engine, the Durango SRT supplies seating for six, up to 84.5 cubic-feet of cargo space, and delivers impressive muscle at a relative bargain compared to luxury-branded high-performance SUVs.

This is more than just a straight-line acceleration tool. Dodge fortifies the Durango SRT with an 8-speed automatic with downshift rev matching, a performance all-wheel-drive system, a launch control system, an adaptive damping suspension, and seven SRT-tuned driving modes including one labeled “Track.” Brembo brake calipers clamp oversized ventilated discs (slotted up front to better dissipate heat), and a performance exhaust bellows from 4-inch outlets tucked under the rear bumper.

Dodge even provides Durango SRT owners with a free one-day session at the fabled Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. You just need to get yourself to Phoenix.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? There’s just one problem.

Dodge hasn’t redesigned the Durango since 2011. That means it is nearing its expiration date, a fact reflected in its “Marginal” small overlap frontal-impact rating in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash testing. The feds also downgrade frontal impact crashworthiness, giving the Durango 4-star ratings for the driver and front passenger.

On a positive note, your kids will be safe in this SUV. Both the NHTSA and the IIHS give the Durango top marks for side-impact testing.

Aside from this rather sketchy IIHS crash-test result, the Durango is appealing despite its age. The SRT version is loaded with equipment, and the seats are wrapped in standard Nappa leather with Dinamica suede inserts. They’re heated and ventilated, and the Durango SRT is equipped with a heated performance steering wheel. As options, buyers can upgrade to Demonic Red ultra-premium Laguna leather with genuine carbon fiber cabin trim.

2018 Dodge Durango Demonic Red Laguna leather
The 2018 Durango SRT is available with this Demonic Red premium leather upholstery.

Several driver assistance, collision avoidance, and infotainment technologies are designed to keep you safe, secure, and entertained.

Highlights include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, and a Uconnect infotainment system offering emergency 911 calling, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a Beats Audio premium sound system.

An SRT Performance Pages feature even allows you to record and track vehicle performance data, when your family isn’t along for the ride, of course.

Design changes are both functional and cosmetic in nature. The front styling is unique to the Durango SRT, complete with scoops and vents and flares. Swollen sills and 20-inch wheels with a “Black Noise” finish give the Durango SRT a properly aggressive look, and if you look closely you might even spot a little negative camber up front. Around back, the Corey Hart LED taillights continue to glow in the shape of sunglasses at night.

2018 Dodge Durango SRT White
After dark, the Durango SRT’s oversized taillights spark memories of 1980s pop music.

Speedy Daddy Says…

If you can look past the “Marginal” crash-test rating from the IIHS, and a price tag likely to start in the mid-$60,000 range doesn’t bother you, rest assured that you’re not going to find another three-row SUV that delivers the power and performance provided by the new 2018 Durango SRT.

Not at this price, anyway.

Photos provided by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for media use only.

By Christian Wardlaw

A driving enthusiast and father of four, I've got 25 years of experience working in automotive journalism. Currently, I contribute content to CarGurus, J.D. Power Cars and Kelley Blue Book. When I'm not working, I'm doing something fun with my family, preferably in Hawaii.

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