If you are in the market for a seven-passenger SUV, there are lots of choices. But what if you wanted something that can run the quarter-mile in under 13 seconds? Oh and you also want to be able to tow 8,700 pounds and of course it has to be affordable. Well, you can. This is not fantasy. Just head to your local Dodge dealership and your dreams will come true in the form of a Dodge Durango SRT.

The Durango SRT starts off as a Durango first. This means that you get the utility and comfort of a standard Durango. You will get the roomy interior and the huge cargo space that you would get in a base Durango. The size of the Durango is also perfect for everyday driving. Most other large SUVs feel huge and are awkward to drive in tight cities and shopping malls. The Durango is at a just-right point where it is neither too big nor too small.

Inside the cabin of the Durango SRT, there are several upgrades including a hand-wrapped dashboard with silver accent stitching, SRT flat-bottom performance steering wheel with standard paddle shift, heated and ventilated front and heated second-row captain’s chairs with embossed SRT logos. Nappa leather with suede inserts and silver-stitched SRT logos are standard. Our car also had a true carbon-fiber instrument panel and door bezels. Premium velour bound floor mats with embroidered SRT logo are also standard with a suede headliner adding to the luxury feel.

A newly designed 7-inch, customizable digital instrument gauge cluster with 180-mph speedometer allows the driver to select from a multitude of layouts and information. The Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen media center houses the new SRT Performance Pages along with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, downloadable apps and five-year trial of SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic. The standard Beats Audio premium sound system features nine speakers, subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier. The Dodge infotainment system is one of the best out there at any price, and it’s very easy to figure out. Most functions are so easy to figure out that you never need to read the manual. After seeing the huge 12-inch on the new Ram trucks, we are spoiled and wish that the Durango also had the larger display though.

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On the exterior, Durango carries an SRT hood with functional center air-inlet ducts flanked by heat extractors that help to keep the engine bay cool by removing hot air from the engine compartment. A new front fascia and lower valance house the new cold-air duct and LED fog lamps and integrated wheel flares and body-color side rocker panels help provide an aggressive stance. The exterior bodywork is tasteful and subtle. It looks muscular and tells your neighbors that this is no ordinary Durango. They will also know that this is no ordinary Durango is when you push the start button and the 392-cubic-inch V8 comes to life.

That 392 V8 delivers 475 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 470 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm, making the Dodge Durango SRT the fastest and most powerful three-row SUV, according to Dodge. To keep the powertrain running cool and efficient in higher-demand environments, a new cold-air duct provides cooler outside air into the engine. Testing has shown up to an 18-degree Fahrenheit improvement in intake air temperature, resulting in an engine that performs well on the street, racetrack or when towing a favorite trailer or toy. The engine breathes through dual 2.75-inch exhaust pipes and tuned mufflers to deliver a wicked exhaust note at full throttle. Of course, the Durango SRT features launch control, which is fully adjustable. Just set your desired launch rpm, hold the brake pedal and floor it. If you followed the instructions correctly, you should be able to hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and 12.9 seconds to cover the quarter mile.

The standard eight-speed automatic transmission takes into account variables, including engine torque gradients, kick-down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, grade changes, tire slip and downshift detection to determine the appropriate transmission shift map. The end result is a fully adaptable performance experience. When the driver downshifts, the “rev match” function uses the engine controller to blip the throttle, which sounds great. When placed in sport mode, the transmission reduces shift times by up to 50 percent and delivers 65 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels. When in track mode, the transmission performs 160-millisecond shifts and up to 70 percent of the engine’s torque delivered to the rear wheels for the most pronounced rear-wheel-drive experience.

The Dodge Durango SRT rides on a short- and long-arm independent front suspension with coil springs that are 3 percent stiffer in the front and 16 percent stiffer in the rear. Custom tuned Bilstein dampers and stiffer anti-roll bars help improve handling.

While most of the talk will inevitably center around the 475-horsepower engine, the impressive feature has to be the suspension. It is absolutely incredible what the SRT engineers have done with the suspension to allow the Durango to handle so well. Take the Durango to a racetrack near you and you can play with sports cars. The Durango is actually tossable, which is amazing.

One of the best features of the Durango is that it is affordable and it is hard to beat a base price of $62,995. Our car had several options such as the Technology package (adaptive cruise control, brake assist, forward collision) for $2,395, rear DVD entertainment system for $1,995, Premium interior (hand-wrapped dashboard and carbon fiber accents) for $2,495, plus a bunch more which brought the total to $78,535. That is still a great deal but most of the options on our car were not necessary. The basic $62,995 car is pretty well equipped and gives you everything you need. That is an amazing bargain for a vehicle with this level of performance.

Specifications 

Engine:6.4-liter Hemi V8
Horsepower:475 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque:470 @ 4,300 rpm
Front Suspension:Short- and long-arm independent (SLA), coil springs, gas-charged, twin-tube coil-over shock absorbers
Rear Suspension:Independent, multi-link rear suspension, coil spring, twin tube shocks
Transmission:8HP70 TORQUEFLITE AUTOMATIC, EIGHT-SPEED OVERDRIVE
Axle Ratio:3.70:1
Curb Weight:5,510 lbs.
Base MSRP:$62,995
Image courtesy of FCA Automobiles

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