Packing 475hp, the 2018 Durango SRT is the family hauler with an attitude

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is taking its SRT performance lineup in a new and interesting direction at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.

Jeep has offered a Grand Cherokee SRT hot-rod SUV for several years, but there has never been an SRT version of the related Dodge Durango. Now, after months of hints and rumors, Dodge has finally unveiled one. The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is the family hauler from hell.

The Durango SRT packs a 6.4-liter Hemi V8, the same engine used in the “SRT 392” versions of the Dodge Challenger and Charger, as well as the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. It produces the same 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque as the Jeep. Dodge says the Durango SRT will do 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and run the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds, a time it says was certified by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Dodge did not quote a top speed, but the Durango SRT’s speedometer goes to 180 mph.

The Hemi is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. The SRT model also gets stiffer suspension with Bilstein adaptive dampers, launch control, upgraded brakes from Brembo, and seven driving modes: Street, Sport, Track, Snow, Tow, Valet, and Eco. Track mode is the most aggressive, dialing up suspension stiffness, dialing down stability control, quickening shifts, and sending 70 percent of power to the rear wheels. Valet mode puts a muzzle on the V8, deploying a software map that mimics a Dodge Charger V6’s power settings.

The exterior also gets an aggressive makeover, with a new front fascia and hood that visually tie the Durango to the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, plus wheel flares, side skirts, and 4-inch dual exhaust tips. The interior features heated and ventilated front seats and second row captain’s chairs, all trimmed in nappa leather and suede. The Durango SRT also gets the high-end version of FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system, with an 8.4-inch touchscreen, navigation, SRT Performance Pages, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date. As with all new SRT models, a one-day driving class at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving will be included in the Durango’s purchase price.