Are You Up for a Double-Espresso Ride? The Dodge Durango SRT Brings the Heat

by Kristin Shaw

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Heart of a Lioness

Do you like to sneak up on people in your vehicle? Do you like a nice, quiet engine?

Then the Dodge Durango SRT is not for you.

My everyday driver is a British SUV. It’s classic, streamlined, and elegant. Even with a V8, it purrs rather than call attention to itself with something as coarse as unrefined as an audible vroom. It’s paid off, and that’s a beautiful thing. It feels as though I should have a fancy cup of tea in my left hand as I drive.

The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT, however, roars like a protective lioness. It has an appearance of motion – and with a wide swath of racing stripe painted from nose to tail, even more so – and it jumps off the line like a sprinter. If my personal SUV brings to mind English Breakfast tea, the Durango evokes a sudden craving for Red Bull. Straight up.

She can roar your face off: the Durango’s animal equivalent. (Photo by Marisa Bennett for Unsplash)

She can roar your face off: the Durango’s animal equivalent. (Photo by Marisa Bennett for Unsplash)

The Fastest Three-Row Vehicle on the Market

Someone asked me recently which vehicle was the most difficult to give back at the end of my testing week. A few come to mind, and the Durango SRT is definitely in the top three. It’s loud and obnoxious – which, to me, is fun… to my husband, not so much – and it’s also packed with safety features and Alpine speakers. If I could travel back in time to my senior year of high school and roar into the parking lot with this, it might have increased my cool factor forever. As it was, I contented myself with going to prom with a boy who drove a 1966 Ford Mustang with glasspacks.

Dodge says the Durango SRT is the most powerful three-row SUV, and it also claims the fastest ¼ mile for any three-row SUV. It performs, zipping from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds.

The SRT in the name of this SUV stands for Street and Racing Technology, and it includes a racing pedigree. SRT began with the development of the Dodge Viper, and the team later merged with the developers of the Plymouth Prowler. The group renamed itself SRT in 2004, and hasn’t looked back.

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Packed with Performance

The engine is a smoking 6.4L V8 SRT HEMI with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It cranks out 475 horsepower, easy. If you need to tow a boat, trailer, or camper, the Durango can tackle up to 8,700 pounds.

What is a HEMI, anyway? CNET explains it well:

Choose from seven drive modes, including street, sport, track, snow, tow, valet, and eco; valet being the mode you want to prevent Ferris Bueller-style joyriding in this beautiful beast.

Standard equipment on the 2019 Durango SRT includes a myriad of safety features like front air bags and side airbags in all rows, ParkView rear back-up camera, and ParkSense front and rear park assist. Apple CarPlay is standard, and so is Android Auto. A 4G Wi-Fi hotpot is built in, along with USB ports. Heated and ventilated seats make your ride more comfortable, and both the driver and passenger seats are powered up with memory. Even your passengers in the second row get heated seats.

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Is the Durango Right for You?

If you need more cowbell – or bass, or whatever – to pound the pavement, opt for the Harmon Kardon amplified speakers with subwoofer and 825 watt amplifier for $995 more. The Technology Group adds adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, full-speed forward collision warning, and lane departure warning plus for $2395. And I’d highly recommend the high-performance Brembo brakes and red seat belts, because they look cool.

The speedometer tops out at 180 on the Durango SRT, but unless you’re on a track, it is not advisable to drive it that fast. Nor would I give this car to a brand-new teenage driver. This vehicle is for someone who loves to drive and craves performance but also needs to shuttle kids from place to place. It’s for the driver who appreciates performance and power and also wants all of the creature comforts.

Grab a double espresso and drive a Durango SRT. On the other hand, maybe a cup of decaf would be the right balance – the vehicle provides all the energy you need.

Model highlights:

  • Performance-Turned All-Wheel Drive

  • Brembo Six-Piston High-Performance Brakes

  • Bilstein® Active-Damping High-Performance Suspension

  • 20x10-Inch Goliath Wheels with Black Noise Finish

  • SRT® Flat-Bottom Performance Steering Wheel with SRT Paddle Shifters

  • Active Noise Cancellation System

  • SRT® Performance Pages and SRT Drive Modes

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Kristin Shaw