When it comes to three-row SUVs, most manufacturers highlight civility, practicality and economy. Not Dodge. For the 2017 Chicago Auto Show, Dodge rolled out a brash, in-your-face zag to everyone’s zig in the form of the 2017 Dodge Durango SRT. Dodge calls it “America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV,” and although we can list a few examples of SUVs that may bust that statement, we still can’t wait to get behind the wheel to test the claims.
With a 6.4-liter V8 producing 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, the Durango SRT can accelerate to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, according to Dodge. In other words, not only can this SUV seat six and tow up to 8,600 pounds, it can keep up with many a German sport sedan. Thank the new launch control feature for this feat. Like sports cars, the Durango SRT can optimize traction control and shift parameters to ensure the fastest acceleration possible. It has multiple drive modes that are capable of changing the calibration of everything from the suspension and stability control to the center-differential torque split and transmission shift parameters. Combined with stiffer rear damping, springs and anti-roll bars, the Durango SRT is bound to handle about as sporty as a gigantic three-row SUV can. Bringing the speed down are Brembo brake calipers and 15-inch brake rotors up front and 13.8-inch brake rotors on the rear axle.
On the outside, fender flares widen the body by about three-quarters of an inch and a Viper-inspired hood visually sets the SRT apart from the more pedestrian models. The new hood isn’t just about looks — it’s actually functional: Vents simultaneously shove cool air into the intake while extractor vents pull excess under-hood heat away from the engine compartment. There are “392” badges (the engine is 392 cubic inches in displacement) on the side, “SRT” badges on the front and back, and a SRT-only rear fascia with dual 4-inch exhaust tips that prominently announce you’ve got a little something extra under the hood.
Because the Durango SRT is a performance SUV, the controls have been enhanced as well. A SRT-specific, shift-paddle-equipped steering wheel and new electronic shifter give drivers multiple ways to choose their own gears. The electronic shifter will also be available on lesser Durangos as well. A new Laguna leather interior in contrasting colors, with carbon instrument bezels, SRT embroidered seats (vented and heated up front) and floor mats and suede-wrapped front roof pillars and headliners finish out the rest of the interior.