By: Jag Dhatt
When most manufacturers are moving towards fuel efficient and electrified trucks and SUVs, it’s good to know that there are still some choices for those of us who want a good ‘ol fashioned muscle vehicle. And if you have a bigger family and need up to six seats, then the Durango SRT may be just the muscle SUV for you.
For all intents and purposes, the Durango SRT is as family friendly as the regular Durango; again, I say for the MOST part. But the 392 and SRT badging clearly define it as anything but regular. With the SRT, not only can you get seating for 6, but bragging rights as the quickest 6-passenger SUV.
The Durango 392 SRT shares the same body shape and styling with the regular Durango. It’s a large SUV and looks even bulkier and more brash with the 392 package. Larger tires and wheels show off the Brembo brakes which you’ll definitely need to stop this beast. Up front, the lower bumper and hood scoops clearly show this Durango means business. And with the Octane Red Pearl paint scheme, complete with racing stripes, the 392 looks as fast as it is.
From the rear angle, two large exhaust pipes adorn the rear bumper. From all angles, the 392 SRT looks brutish compared to the regular Durango, which is what you want.
Interior and Space:
Once again, the Durango SRT is just as spacious as the regular Durango. It has large comfortable seats and plenty of space in all three rows; the third row is better suited for smaller adults or children. To note is that with the regular Durango, the second row can be had with a bench seat; however, with the SRT only captain seats are in the second row (thus, a six-passenger).
Standard features in the 392 SRT include leather seats all around, heated and ventilated front seats, flat bottom steering wheel, paddle shifters, SRT badging, and of course, SRT drive mode buttons clearly labeled.
As a full-size SUV, the Durango SRT has a very good amount of cargo space. While not class leading, it will hold a family’s luggage for any weekend getaway.
I’ve raved about the U-Connect system many times before; it’s simple and just works very well. The new upgraded U-Connect system, complete with a 10.1” screen, is crisp, clear and responsive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard and wireless. Some of the control and settings are slightly hidden in menus, but overall, the U-Connect system is wonderful.
The 392 SRT package adds some additional pages to the screen, mostly to analyze and review performance such as horsepower, g-forces, and even launch accelerations.
Power and Fuel Economy:
The heart of the SRT Durango is the 6.4L throaty V-8 that pushes out 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the 392 SRT can get to 60 mph in a blistering 4.1 seconds. Considering this Durango weighs almost 5500 pounds, it’s hella fast. Anytime you press that accelerator, the Durango 392 lurches forward, making you feel like you’re in a race, with 5 additional passengers.
Yeah, it’s quick, but we revert to what was said before; this SUV can also do family and can tow up to 8700 pounds and do so while staying firmly planted on the pavement, or if needed, on dirt roads. So, hook up that trailer or boat without any hesitation.
With a 6.4L, I wasn’t expecting amazing fuel economy; let’s face it, when buying a muscle vehicle, fuel economy shouldn’t come into the equation. Regardless, it does when dealing with these high gas prices. I tried to drive the Durango SRT in a “normal” manner, yet did find myself pushing the throttle more than I should have. At the end of my week, I averaged about 18.3 L/100 km, or just under 13 mpg, with about 65% city driving.
Driving the 392 SRT Durango:
Fire up the 392 SRT Durango and you immediately feel that it’s got muscle. With electric and hybrid vehicles being ultra-quiet, this is completely the opposite. The rumbling exhaust can be heard down the street and for some, it’s music to the ears.
For a big SUV, the Durango is actually easy to drive; it’s no sub-compact but is quite forgiving when trying park in our busy urban areas. At lower speeds, steering is still soft enough to turn those massive 20” tires.
On open roads, the 392 SRT drives exceptionally well. Steering is quick and communicative, stiffer at higher speeds. The suspension is stiff, to be expected for this vehicle, but I didn’t feel like I was getting a massage either. Over rough roads the stiff suspension became much more apparent; so, don’t try to drink that hot cup of coffee while going on rough logging roads.
The Durango SRT’s drive modes will radically change the way the vehicle behaves. In Auto mode, the drive, steering, suspension and exhaust are all on “comfort” mode. In Eco mode, you really have to push the pedal for the vehicle to move, but hey, you’re saving fuel. On the opposite extreme, Sport and Track modes bring out the beast in this vehicle. In Track mode, the vehicle lurches forward at the slight press of the accelerator. Suspension is stiff as is steering. Boy, does this SUV move!
The one gripe I do have with the 392 SRT Durango is something that’s nice when you first get it but may get annoying after a while. Unlike some other performance trucks and SUVs, this Durango’s exhaust note can get annoying at times. It’s just constant. I wish that there was something like Ford’s “Good Neighbour” mode that tunes down the exhaust if needed.
Priced at close to $100K the 392 SRT Durango isn’t easy on the pockets. But what this SUV offers is what many drivers miss; muscle, power and a rumbling exhaust, all the while being able to pull a boat and do family.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Durango 392 SRT. It’s a great family SUV that ticks almost all the boxes. For this price range, you’d be hard pressed to find another muscle SUV that can comfortably carry 6 passengers.