Calling it the “Dodge Charger of full size SUV’s” the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT made its debut with the soundtrack of Dodge performance cars spinning their tires in the back of McCormick Place at the Chicago Auto Show.
Packed with the same 475 horsepower, 392 cubic-inch or 6.4 liter HEMI V8 you can get in the Challenger and Charger, the all-wheel drive Durango SRT is destined to be the fastest three-row SUV available with a 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and quarter-mile ET of 12.9 seconds.
And those numbers have been certified by the NHRA in case you were doubting. Add this to the fact it’s a bonafide SUV and you also have the ability to tow 8,600 pounds which makes it almost sensible shoes to haul your track-day superstar to the raceway on weekends.
And it looks the part too. Thankfully Dodge went the extra mile to separate the SRT visually from the other Durangos. The first thing you notice is the new front fascia and bumper with additional air intake space for better cooling.
A new hood has both a function air-duct inlet and heat extractors to really add some visual punch that’s backed up with real world functionality. Added are wheel arch extenders that Dodge is calling the wide-body treatment, but do work well to better house its larger rolling stock.
That would be its standard 20-inch “Goliath” wheels in black mounted with Pirelli 295/45ZR20 tires. You can also option an additional 20-inch wheel with a split five-spoke design. Through them you can larger brakes by way of Brembo. Those are 15-inch rotors up front and 13.8-inches at the rear.
At the rear are dual 4-inch exhaust tips spread side-by-side which is an improvement over the center exhaust we’ve seen on the SRT Grand Cherokee’s of the past as it makes outfitting it for towing a lot easier.
Suspension of course is dialed up to a new level over the Durango R/T. The fully independent suspension gets springs stiffer at 3% up front and 16% at the rear, stiffer anti-roll bars and uniquely tuned Bilstein adjustable dampers.
There are seven drive modes that allow for near infinite settings for the suspension, steering and drivetrain behavior. These include the standard array of preset tunes that affect the entire picture to allowing you to custom set each parameter to your own liking – the best one in my opinion. And yes for the ninnies out there, there is still and ECO mode. Feels good doesn’t it?
One of the best changes to the interior is the new T-shifter, standard I’ll point out on ll 2018 Durangos. The rotary dial is gone for good, proof the guys at Dodge to sometimes listen to owners and journalists alike. That was just a bad idea from the start.
Heated and ventilated leather sport seats are next up in a variety of choices wild to wilder including the Demonic Red you see here. The dash is wrapped and stitched as is the SRT flat-bottom steering wheel which of course has paddle shifters for the 8-speed sport tuned automatic transmission.
There’s a 180-mph speedometer, sueded headliner and A-pillars and you will be able to option genuine carbon-fiber trims across the dash and door panels – that will come a little later in the year though.
Surprisingly, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is available in nearly the entire color palette of the Durango but also a a couple unique ones as well. It will be available late this year with pricing to come closer to launch, expect it to cost a lot and don’t complain. At least it comes with a complimentary driving school session at Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving.