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2019 Dodge Durango SRT First Drive and Review

The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT is the latest addition to the Horsepower Garage. Since it was introduced in late 2017, it’s been on our radar. There aren’t many American-made performance SUVs out there so we couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel and see if it lived up to the SRT name.

The definition of a muscle car has evolved greatly in the last decade. Since SUVs started eating into sales of coupes and sedans, this change was bound to happen. And it seems the folks at Dodge got the memo. The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT is living proof that the muscle car isn’t dead, it’s just evolved. Hey, change is good!

What Is It?

The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT is the quickest and most powerful three-row SUV on the market.

Sit Down, Shut Up, Hold On

Whether commuting to work or running errands around town, the Durango SRT is a hoot to drive. Hit the throttle and you’re instantly pinned against the back of your seat. The power is immediate and comes on strong until you hit the 6,400-rpm redline. The Durango SRT also features seven driving distinct modes: Auto, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow, Valet, and Eco. Auto mode comes on automatically when starting the vehicle. The transmission, stability control, and all-wheel drive system are set up for a more comfortable and laidback driving experience. Sport and Track modes beef up the suspension, increase shift speed, and improve steering responsiveness. The other modes are pretty self-explanatory so we won’t bore you with the details.

You Want Peformance? You Got It!

The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT includes a host of performance equipment. A beefier suspension includes components such as Bilstein adaptive damping suspension, 3 percent stiffer front springs, 16 percent stiffer rear springs, and an 18 percent stiffer rear sway bar. Bringing it all to a stop is Brembo six-piston brakes up front and four-piston rear calipers in back. 20-inch wheels with Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde all-season tires are sure footed and keep this brute firmly planted on the road.

We were surprised to discover the Durango SRT is equipped with launch control. This feature works by teaming the engine and transmission, along with stability control, suspension, and driveline, for quicker straight-line takeoffs. What’s even more surprising is the Durango SRT also comes with Performance Pages. This application is accessible through the touchscreen and measures several performance criteria such as engine power, engine torque, steering angle, and g-force. It also keeps track of your 0 to 60 times, quarter mile runs, and braking distance. It’s amazing how much performance data this system collects and stores.

Form Meets Function

A walkaround of the Durango SRT reveals styling cues not found on the regular Durango. The hood features a functional center air duct and dual heat extractors that keep the engine bay cool. The black mesh pattern upper and lower grille, along with rear accents in Gloss Black, add some contrasting color to the Durango SRT’s Billett paint. Also, the integrated wheel flares and body-color rocker panels give the SUV some antagonistic flare.

Climb inside and you’ll find plenty of features you’d expect to find in a performance SUV. A flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters, 180-mph speedometer, and an instrument panel with silver accent striping are just a few of the amenities. Our Durango SRT was also outfitted with the optional Demonic Red Laguna seats. These seats are quite comfy and are wide enough so that the bolsters aren’t squeezing your ribcage too tightly. They’re heated and ventilated up front and passengers in the second-row captain’s chairs are treated to heated seats.

Technological Déjà Vu

The Uconnect system is one of our favorite features in the Durango SRT. It’s come with several Chrysler products we’ve driven and we feel it’s one of the best infotainment systems we’ve used. The Uconnect system in the Durango SRT comes with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, which is pretty intuitive and pretty easy to use. Programming a destination into the system only takes a few seconds once you get the hang of it. The Uconnect system also includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXm Travel Link and Traffic.

The Numbers

The only snag to driving the Durango SRT is its fuel economy. Or lack thereof. It has quite an insatiable appetite for dead dinosaurs. A recent road trip netted between 17.5 and 19.0 mpg on the highway. That’s pretty good considering you’re driving a two and a half ton SUV at 75 mph down the interstate. However, that number drops to 13.6 mpg in combined city/highway driving. The 24.6-gallon tank is good for around 400 miles of highway driving

What Does It Cost?

Base price for our Billet Silver Durango SRT is $63,245. The Demonic Red Laguna leather seats add on another $1,595. The Technology Group, which includes adaptive cruise control, brake assist, forward collision warning, and lane departure, tacks on $2,395. The second-row console with armrest and storage compartment comes in at $595. The power sunroof lights up the cabin for $1,295. The 19-speaker with subwoofer Harman Kardon sound system is music to our ears for $995. The blind-spot and cross-path detection system tacks on an additional $395. And with a destination charge of $1,495, the sticker price of our Durango SRT comes in at $72,010.

The Verdict

At first glance, the 2019 Dodge Durango SRT may seem like an impractical choice for those considering an SUV. But for the individual that wants a performance vehicle, yet needs something that can accommodate up to six passengers, tow a trailer, or haul up to 68.3 cubic-feet of cargo, it starts to make perfect sense. Granted, it’s a bit pricey, but when you compare it to other performance SUVs from the other side of the pond, the Durango SRT starts to look pretty good.

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