Autonomy is Right Around the Corner, Yet Car Companies are Doubling Down on Driving Fun

Cars that drive themselves are coming to a roadway near you. So why are automakers so focused on fun?

Can a Toyota Camry legitimately be described as fun to drive? Toyota thinks so, and expects this to come to pass when the redesigned 2018 Camry arrives later this year.

The next-generation Camry is built on Toyota’s new global vehicle architecture, designed from the ground up to improve driving dynamism. Chairman Akio Toyoda, himself a fan of taking the long way home, has decreed that Toyotas and Lexuses must be more than just high-quality, dependable, and efficient vehicles. They must spark emotion, they must be enjoyable to drive, and they must be aspirational rather than an appliance.

Toyota is not alone. Multiple automakers are flexing their engineering muscles in order to appeal to people for whom the journey is just as much fun as the destination. Clearly, if you are a driving enthusiast, now is a great, if disconcerting, time to be alive.

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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.

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