2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392 Review

The old warrior still packs a punch


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Impressive amounts of power, intimidating muscle-car look, spacious interior, Uconnect infotainment is a pleasure to use, not nearly as expensive or snooty as a BMW X5 M and only a little slower.
Negatives: Interior is bulky, jerky off-the-line, starting to look a little dated.
Bottom Line: Rumor has it that the 707-hp Durango Hellcat is coming, but the SRT 392 is more than enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone who gets in its way. Fast, big, comfortable, and pretty well priced for a premium performance SUV, the SRT 392 is still quite desirable.
There's no question the Durango is due for a redesign, but no one seems to have any clue as to when that will happen. It still holds its own as a 6-7 passenger SUV, and in SRT 392 performance trim, it's even more impressive. The big HEMI V8 is mean and potent, and it takes the regular Durango into sports car-like acceleration with the same utility. We took the 475-horsepower, all-wheel drive Durango SRT 392 out for a spin a couple of years after our first stint to see if it still leaves a good impression. Read on for our detailed review.
 

Driving Experience

9

 

We're just as stupefied driving this thing as we did the first time around. It's fast, manageable, and might make buyers wonder why they ever wanted a pricier German performance SUV.

Ride Quality: If it's a soft, compliant ride you're looking for, then go elsewhere. The SRT 392's ride is really firm, and you feel every undulation and gap. The vehicle's heft helps it feel less disrupted.

Acceleration: The SRT 392 has been clocked at 4.4 seconds to get from 0 to 60 mph, which is remarkably fast for something that weighs over 5K pounds.

Braking: Brembo brakes on this hulking mass of SUV work really well to bring it to a stop without fade. The pedal is properly firm without mushiness or grabbiness.

Steering: The SRT 392's steering has heft and good precision. It could use better feedback, but it's actually not bad for a vehicle this size.

Handling: The SRT 392 is heavy, but it corners remarkably well. The fat rubber and sport-tuned suspension, as well as the limited-slip rear diff, sure come in handy.

Technology

8.4

 

The Uconnect system is one of the better ones in the industry, but competitors are starting to catch up. It's time for a visual update soon. The system still works well, and the Performance Pages are a nice touch for those who want to push this beast and keep track of things.

Infotainment System: Uconnect 4C is responsive and pretty easy to use, and pairing with our smartphone was quick. Although we don't like all on-screen controls, this is a good system that's easy to navigate.

Controls: Physical controls are great. Large audio and climate control knobs make driving and operating functions easy. We just wish the seat heat/ventilation was performed with a switch or button and not via the screen.

Styling

8.8

 

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

 

There's a solid amount of legroom and headroom, bolstered by the excellent captain's chairs in row two. The seats are also large and accommodating. Family members will have no problem spending hours in here, unless you decide to drive it hard and nauseate everyone.

Front Seats: The front seats are supportive, well-cushioned, and grippy with the faux suede. The texture also adds some character to the cabin.

Rear Seats: The Captain's Chairs are a great place to pass the time. While not as large as the front row seats, they are great for passengers even though you lose capacity.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The SRT 392 feels solid, and no errant noises were apparent. The most instrusive (and welcomed) noise was the huge V8 rumble.

Visibility: The tall front and hood scoop make it tough to negotiate tight spaces. The sides are rear views, however, were pretty good.

Climate: The HVAC system worked quickly and powerfully, and the heated/cooled seats are also responsive.

Safety

6

 

The Durango gets some demerits when it comes to safety. While it may have good available safety features, it does not hold up to competitors like the Mazda CX-9 or the Kia Telluride in important crash tests. That said, neither of those automakers builds a high-performanc version of their 3-row SUVs.

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 but nothing in the way of accident avoidance tech.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with the Customer Preferred Package 27L that 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

 

We imagine a redesign to eliminate some of the interior bulk would result in better storage for front-row occupants. Still, the Durango has a lot to offer in terms of reachable cubbies and compartments. The cargo section is similarly capacious.

Storage Space: The front armrest is large, and there are two convenient open cubbies in the center console. Door pockets and seatback net pockets for row two also provide good storage options.

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 big and wide 84.5 cubic feet all-in.

Fuel Economy

5.3

 

The big V8 is a thirsty boy. Plus, the SRT 392's mere existence makes you want to push it hard all the time. The result is gas mileage that's significantly lower than the stock Durango.

Observed: 12.7 mpg

Distance Driven: 168 miles

Audio

9

 

Dodge switched from Beats to Harman Kardon, which was a good move. While the previous system was very good, we like the clarity of the HK system much better. Powerful bass, no distortion, and rich sound emanated from the system's 19 speakers.



Final Thoughts

There isn't another American three-row SUV that's this fast, comfortable, and spacious. While you might balk at a nearly $75K price, consider the fact that the German competitors cost tens of thousands more. Buyers who want gobs of space for the family and the simultaneous temptation to break the laws of physics (and of the state) should take a serious look at the SRT 392. We think the Hellcat would be too much trouble for mere mortals to tempt fate with. While it's time for the Durange to get redesigned, the SRT 392 still makes a strong case for the de facto muscle-car SUV.
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