2018 Dodge Durango SRT 392 Review

Power and size delivered whole hog


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Monster acceleration at any speed, racy interior with ample three-row space, excellent infotainment system, head-turning looks for a family vehicle.
Negatives: Drinks gas like it's free, off-the-line acceleration can be jerky.
Bottom Line: The Durango SRT 392 is a muscled beast of the best kind. Easily outpacing some sports cars, coupled with a burly exhaust note, it's intimidating and intoxicating all at once. If you can get past the excessive fuel consumption, this is the SUV you'll want to thrill the entire family. There's also ample room, great tech, and some seriously good seats.
Whoever thought that you had to buy an X5 M or a AMG G-Wagen to get performance SUV thrills was gravely mistaken. The Durango SRT 392 is the FCA version of a high-powered SUV that delivers the powerhouse goods at a fraction of the price of competitors. Plus, it has three usable rows and real-word daily functionality inside. But make no mistake. This thing is really about shock and awe. We drove the 475-horsepower, all-wheel drive Durango for a few days just to see how good it really was. Read on for the full review.
 

Driving Experience

9.5

 

Getting behind the wheel of the SRT is quite an experience. You can feel the power under your backside, and you can hear it plainly at idle. Setting this thing loose on quiet suburban roads is like releasing a panther in pastry shop. It's just mayhem. But it is oh so good.

Ride Quality: Harsh, jarring, and everything you expect from something this powerful and performance oriented.

Acceleration: 0-60 in 4.7 seconds makes it almost as fast as the Porsche 911 Carrera or the VW Golf R we just drove. The 8-speed automatic transmission's paddle shifters fire off changes very quickly, too.

Braking: The powerful Brembos bring this heavy 5,369-lb behemoth to a stop very quickly, making it one of the best in the performance SUV category.

Steering: Steering effort and feedback are excellent for a vehicle this size. It's communicative and well-weighted.

Handling: An impressive 0.87g on the skidpad means this thing corners better than many sports cars. Body roll is minimal, shocking for something this tall. The Adaptive Suspension works wonderfully.

Technology

9

 

FCA might not have the corner market on anything in the audo industry these days, but their Uconnect system is superb and just keeps getting better and better. The in-car tech is a breeze to use, and everything looks great and operates easily.

Infotainment System: Uconnect 4C is vivid, responsive, and the large screen is wonderful. The pairing was easy, and the music playback was seamless, unlike so many other systems. We didn't get to use the optional rear entertainment system, but the screens were big with a nice folding feature.

Controls: Physical controls are big and easy to use while driving, especially audio and climate controls. We just wish the heated/ventilated seat controls had physical buttons instead of being buried in the screen menus.

Styling

8.9

 

The base Durango looks fantastic, as it is. Add big black wheels, black mesh grilles, a small animal sucking hood scoop, and big red brakes, and you have a recipe for an SUV that looks like a tall muscle car.

Front: We love the fact that there isn't a hint of chrome on the front end. The dark mesh upper and lower grilles are tasteful but menacing. Even the hood scoop is thin but still noticeable.

Rear: Other than the SRT badging and the black lower portion, the rear looks the same as other Durango trims. It definitely looks taller from the back than it does from the front.

Profile: In white, this thing looks positively huge, but the black wheels add sportiness. The D-pillars are noticeably thick from this angle. Again, the lack of chrome is welcomed.

Cabin: The typically dark interiors of Dodges is nicely interrupted with Demon Red leather seats, which are quite attractive. The dash might be on the bulky side, but everything is purposeful. We wish the chrome trim all over the inside would go away, though.

Comfort

9.2

 

Our tester came with 2nd row captains chairs that reduce the capacity by one passenger. Overall, there's a great amount of space for a family, and the level of comfort is remarkable for a high-powered SUV.

Front Seats: The upgraded Performance Laguna Leather sport seats are supportive and well-cushioned. The leaher looks and feels great, too. The legroom isn't the biggest in the segment at a little over 40 inches, but it's plenty big for six-footers.

Rear Seats: The rear seasts are almost as good as the front seats, and we like the Captain's chair configuration.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The SRT is well built and as solid as a rock. The noise level comes from the boisterous engine, which is a welcomed sound but might disrupt the neighborhood.

Visibility: Out the front, the bulging hood scoop makes it harder to place than the standard Durango. Despite large pillars in back, the big windows help rear sightlines.

Climate: The system blows cold air quickly out of the large vents, and the heated/cooled seats fire up almost immediately. It's a comfortable place for the whole family.

Safety

6.2

 

The Durango on which the SRT is based does well in a number of crash tests, but less so in others. The bright side is that it scores above average overall and provides a solid set of safety features that help mitigate the likelihood of an accident.

IIHS Rating: The Durango misses top ratings due to a "marginal" score for the driver small overlap crash, an important detail. It also nets "marginal" for headlights but nails "superior" for front crash prevention tech.

NHTSA Rating: The Durango scores 4-stars in government crash testing.

Standard Tech: There's a standard backup camera in addition to the ABS, traction/stability control, and airbags but not much else as standard equipment.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with the Customer Preferred Package 27L that comes with a robust set of safety tech that includes Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Advanced Brake Assist, Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection, Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus, and Lane Departure Warning Plus.

Storage/Cargo

9.2

 

The interior of the Durango is spacious, and there's also plenty of storage space for smaller items that occupants will, no doubt, expect for a sport-utility vehicle of this size.

Storage Space: Our SRT had the rear seat entertainment, which uses the center armest for the Blu-ray player, but there are still plenty of spaces for gear right in front of the shifter and aft. We especially liked the large one below the center stack, which is plenty deep and wide for phones and keys.

Cargo Room: The Durango has 17.2 cubic feet of space behind the third row, 47.7 cubic feet with the third row folded flat, and a huge 84.5 cubic feet with all the seats folded. There's plenty of space for all of your gear.

Fuel Economy

4.8

 

To call it fuel economy is a bit of a misnomer since the SRT like to guzzle it like there's no tomorrow. We didn't even drive it that hard for fear of getting arrested.

Observed: 12.3 mpg

Distance Driven: 207 miles

Driving Factors: We drove it for just a few days, only opening it up on the highway. We remained reserved on local roads.

Audio

8.3

 

The Beats premium audio system is a very good one, and it's performance we pretty much the same in the SRT as it was in our 2016 Durango Citadel tester. The nine speakers and subwoofer are loud and clear with plenty of strong bass.



Final Thoughts

If it's power, size, and prominence you want, the Durango SRT is hard to beat. No one will say it's sophisticated, but it can surely hold its own in terms of space and comfort that the Europeans deliver. What it does better than most is deliver a muscle car experience in the shape of a large SUV. The $75K price might seem steep, but it's far less than the Mercedes GLS that costs $126K and is only a hair faster. We can easily say that the SRT is actually easier to use, nearly as spacious, and actually better looking than the ballistic Merc. We loved our brief stint in the SRT 392, and we're thrilled it exists. Just don't bother recycling or buying organic produce since this nuclear SUV thumbs its nose at anything resembling conservation.
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