Dodge Durango SRT 392: Does Anyone Really Need It?

 by Michael Satterfield
Photos by Reginald Ganious

Dodge Durango SRT 392 is an odd vehicle, a full-size SUV, with three rows, that can haul all the kids to school, then haul ass. With a 0-60 time of just 4.4 seconds and a National Hot Rod Association certified 12.9-second quart-mile time, it can run with most modern performance cars. It's low to the ground, has performance Pirelli tires, and even though it is AWD, it's not really an off-roader, the Durango SRT fails every major traditional SUV test...and that is what makes it so much fun.

Admittedly no one needs a Dodge Durango SRT, when it comes to space, practicality, or price, there are a lot of options in the crowded three-row SUV category. But this six-passenger hotrod is really built for the driver, with an electronic rear limited-slip differential, adaptive dampers, firmer springs, and bigger antiroll bar the 5,500-pound Durango is surprisingly responsive. To reign in the 6.4-liter 475 horsepower V8, Dodge has installed six-piston front and four-piston rear Brembo brakes under the 20x10-Inch "Goliath Wheels."

Gas mileage fell just shy of the EPA-estimated 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway, which is mostly due to me driving around in Sport Mode at all times, but if you put it ECO Mode, which changes the transmission shifting points and maximizes fuel economy, you can average 14-15mpg. But don't buy an SRT Durango because you want to be economical, buy it for the sound of the performance exhaust and the pure joy of having an SUV that is .2 seconds faster 0-60 than that Mustang Bullitt your neighbor paid way over sticker for.

Driving the Durango was a pleasant surprise, fast and smooth on the highway, confident and composed on the backcountry roads, and it still has the best towing capacity in its class at 8,700 pounds. Plus it looks good with the hood scoop, fender flares, and optional stripes. I took the Durango to a local Cars & Coffee event, and it attracted a lot of attention and questions, one gentleman was excited to sit in it and check it out as he had just purchased a Challenger Hellcat Redeye for himself after giving his son his Dodge Charger Scat Pack as a graduation gift, the Durango SRT would be for his wife. That is a lot of passion for the SRT brand, I asked him why he was so loyal to Dodge and their SRT line, he replied: "They are the only ones still building real muscle cars, V8s, fast, loud, fun, like the cars I grew up with." I have to agree, the Dodge SRT vehicles do feel like a bit of a throwback, but as much as I miss my own 60s muscle cars, during these hot Central Texas summer, ventilated seats are a quick reminder of why modern cars are so much better to drive.

Inside the SRT Durango is a nice place to be, with heated and ventilated front seats and heated second-row captain's chairs, an adult size third-row, SRT exclusive flat-bottom performance steering wheel with paddle shifters, and the familiar Uconnect 8.4 NAV with an 8.4-inch infotainment system paired to a Harman Kardon audio system. The fit and finish of the interior is excellent with lots of leather, aluminum, and carbon fiber giving it a luxurious yet sporty feel.

Starting at $63,245 the Durango SRT is priced in line with the new class of performance SUVs that are hitting the market, and well under many other luxury SUVs with similar equipment. But while many competitors are focusing on smaller V6 and Turbocharged drivetrains vehicles like the Chevrolet Blazer RS still come up nearly 170hp short than the naturally aspirated SRT 392 V8.

On paper, the Durango SRT 392 seems like a vehicle that should never have been built, something that would be rolled out at an auto show to drum up interest in the standard model, but Dodge is a different automotive brand, they build what others won't, wildly impractical muscle cars, and the Durango SRT 392 is simply that, a six-passenger, All-Wheel-Drive, muscle car... that can still tow a boat.

For more on the Durango visit