If you're the kind of person who has a family but still craves American muscle in their chosen mode of transportation, something like the Dodge Durango SRT 392 could be right up your alley. It's more than your average crossover as it seats six people and also comes with a 6.4-liter V8 that produces 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. There are certainly better options out there when it comes to technology and space, but few of them come with such an impressive towing capacity of 8,700 pounds. Still, is the aging Durango SRT worthy of your selection when vehicles like the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade are genuinely modern, despite their power deficit? Or, should you go for something smaller like the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT, or more luxurious like a BMW X5 M? Read on to find out.
Some new updates have arrived for the new Durango SRT, now known as the Durango SRT 392. The name change is to differentiate it from the 2021-only Durango SRT Hellcat, reviewed separately. That's not all that changes, however, as the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT also features redesigned rear and front fascias, with the latter now housing slimmer LED headlights - a useful improvement to last year's outdated high-intensity headlamps. At the back, the SRT 392 boasts a new rear spoiler. There's also a restyled dashboard that houses a new 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
6.4L V8 Gas
The exterior of the Durango has been lightly refreshed with sportier bumpers on either end, the front of which houses LED headlights with DRLs and LED fog lights, while the rear also gets LED taillights. You also get an aggressive vented hood up front and a faux diffuser at the rear with dual exhaust outlets. Looking at the profile, you'll see 20-inch wheels and aggressive Brembo brake calipers. You can also see a subtle roof spoiler, while the top of the SUV can be upgraded with a power sunroof.
The dimensions of the 2021 Durango SRT 392 have changed a little for the 2021 model year, but length remains the same at 201.2 inches, an expansive measurement that can't be truly appreciated from images alone. Ground clearance is pretty good though, at 8.1 inches, while approach, departure, and break-over angles of 18.5, 20.2, and 16.3 degrees respectively. Width has increased from 75.8 inches on lesser Durangos to 76.4 while height is pegged at 72.1 inches. The wheelbase is also unchanged at 119.8 inches while curb weight remains a hefty 5,378 pounds. By comparison, the Kia Telluride weighs just 4,112 lbs in its lightest trim level while its lardiest model still starts at only 4,482 lbs.
The Durango SRT SUV is available in a number of colors, but only Vice White costs extra, with a charge of $595. Other choices that give you plenty of variety are F8 Green, Octane Red Pearl, Destroyer Gray, Billet, DB Black, Reactor Blue Pearl, Redline 2 Coat Pearl, Granite, and White Knuckle. If you want your SRT 392 to stand out even further, you can spec dual stripes over the vehicle in Flame Red, Bright Blue, Redline Red/Black, Low-Gloss Gunmetal, or Sterling Silver - each goes for $1,195.
The performance of the Durango SRT may now be overshadowed by that of the new Hellcat variant, but it's respectable nonetheless, thanks to a 6.4-liter V8 producing 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. Despite its massive weight figure, the AWD 6-seater SUV can get from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and will cross the quarter-mile in a scant 12.9 seconds. While that is impressive, we suspect that the Durango SRT's top speed figure isn't quite as special, since Dodge has declined to publish this figure. Nevertheless, with big Brembo brakes and plenty of traction, you can have a lot of fun with the SRT 392 - at least until you get to a corner. There's no getting away from that heft, and the Durango will pitch and lean as you take corners with enthusiasm. Still, the sound of a V8 is hard to get bored of, and the SRT 392 pulls its own weight and more with a best-in-class towing capacity rating of 8,700 lbs. By contrast, Kia's Telluride can only manage 5,000 lbs.
Just one engine is offered with the 2021 SRT 392 and it's a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that generates an impressive 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque - the same figures you get in the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Due to the fact that there's no turbocharger or other means of forced induction here, throttle response is impressively sharp, and the Durango SRT will pull away from the lights without much trouble at all. The 8HP70 TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission does a good job of selecting the correct ratios whenever they're needed, and this helps you to overtake with ease too. The changes between ratios are smooth and swift, but if you'd rather have a say in when the 'box changes up or down, you can always take control via the steering-mounted paddles. Responses in this mode are sharp too, helping maintain the overall positive quality of the powertrain. However, there's no hiding from that mass, and you can feel that this engine and gearbox combination feels a lot better in the lighter Jeep.
As we've just mentioned, the weight of the Durango is its biggest downfall, no matter which of its configurations you drive, and this becomes all the more apparent when you stray from the straight and narrow by trying out some corners. Every fast turn is met with tire squeal and clear understeer, while anything faster than a mild cruise will see the suspension struggle to keep the body from leaning, a job at which it fails miserably. Speaking of the suspension, thanks to this vehicle's sporting intentions, it's rather stiff. While it does little to prevent body roll, it certainly plays its part in minimizing comfort over small and big bumps alike. For a family vehicle, that's not ideal, but at least the seats are fairly comfy and help counter the jarring springs. That's not to say that driving this SUV is without excitement though, especially when you get that V8 to roar. The steering is accurate although a bit too aggressively weighted, and the brakes are impressive too. However, there's only so much that Brembo braking can do, and emergency stops aren't maneuvers that you'll look forward to performing.
Unsurprisingly, the Durango SRT 392 is very thirsty and won't return great gas mileage. Official EPA ratings for the SUV are 13/19/15 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. With a 24.6-gallon gas tank, you can expect 369 miles of range with mixed driving. In the Kia Telluride, you can keep going for nearly 400 miles despite its smaller tank since that model's figures on the same cycles are rated at 19/24/21 mpg in AWD guise. The AWD Hyundai Palisade achieves identical figures to the Kia.
The interior of the Durango SRT 392 is certainly not on the level of something like an Audi Q7, but it tries its best. Thanks to a redesigned dash, the Durango feels more spacious than before, and the standard 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment display certainly helps add to that feeling. However, certain elements still feel outdated, like the shifter for the auto 'box. Still, at least you get suede and leather upholstery with contrast stitching, and standard features include heated and ventilated power front seats. There's also three-zone automatic climate control, a digital driver display, and captain's chairs for those in the second row.
The Durango SRT 392 seats six individuals in the cabin, which is something that we must applaud Dodge for. Seven or eight seats could have been squeezed in, but then everyone but those in the first row would feel claustrophobically cramped. With this layout, all passengers get respectable headroom and legroom, and getting to the third row isn't too difficult. Fortunately, it doesn't matter where you sit as all adults can be comfortable even on long drives, but obviously, those in the second row will be more relaxed than those in the third. For those up front, eight-way power-adjustable seats are standard with the driver getting memory functions too. Front seats are heated and ventilated while those in the second row are simply heated.
As a performance vehicle, it's unlikely that tan or cream-colored seats would be offered, but something more than just black would be nice. Fortunately, while the standard Nappa leather and suede are acceptable, you can get a more lavish upholstery finish by spending extra on Laguna leather for $1,595, with this leather dyed Demonic Red. Sadly, the rest of the cabin isn't as nice as the panels covered in leather, with most surfaces finished in imitation aluminum and cheap, hard plastics. However, carbon fiber trim accents, red seatbelts, and a suede headliner are also available. Black velour floor mats with the SRT logo are standard.
As a vehicle with three rows of seating, it's no surprise that cargo space behind the last row is rather poor with just 17.2 cubic feet of volume. Still, the third row is unlikely to always be occupied, so you can fold those two seats down if you need to store more than a few shopping bags, thus opening up 43.3 cubes of volume. If that's still not enough, you can always fold down the second-row captain's chairs too, creating an area of 85.1 cubic feet.
In the cabin, things are similarly impressive. Each door pocket has a recess for a drinks bottle while the glove box is reasonably sized and is joined by a large center armrest bin in front. The second-row armrest also gets an adequate bin if you specify it, and each row gets a pair of cupholders too. An overhead storage compartment with space for a pair of sunglasses is fitted.
As standard, the Durango SRT 392 is generously equipped with LED headlights, a power liftgate for easy cargo loading, heated wing mirrors, three-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and cruise control. You also get power front seats with both heating and ventilation, second-row seats with just heating, and three 12-volt DC power outlets. Both the front and rear bumpers boast parking sensors to complement the rearview camera while how much safety you get is determined by your budget, with options including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, and a power sunroof.
The infotainment system in the Dodge Durango SRT 392 has been updated for 2021 and now boasts the Uconnect 5 software, along with a larger 10.1-inch touchscreen display. This system features Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and HD Radio with SiriusXM satellite radio. Wireless smartphone charging is also standard along with an aux jack and USB ports, allowing you to play your favorite tunes through the nine-speaker Alpine sound system - no matter where those songs are stored. If you want the ultimate entertainment experience possible in a stock Durango, you can spec a 19-speaker sound system from Harman Kardon and a rear-seat entertainment setup with dual rear screens and Blu-Ray playback.
Thus far, the 2021 Durango range has been totally free of recalls. However, Durangos from 2020 did suffer a solitary recall in April of 2020 for a rearview image that may remain on the display and cause driver distraction. That's nothing major though, so your peace of mind should remain intact.
If you are concerned about reliability, the Durango SRT 392 is covered by a comprehensive warranty that includes coverage for the powertrain for the first five years or 60,000 miles, while other components are covered by a limited warranty for the first three years/36,000 miles. However, these warranties lag behind what you get from Kia, with its Telluride covered by a 100,000-mile/10-year powertrain warranty.
Thus far, the NHTSA has not carried out full reviews of the 2021 Durango's crashworthiness, but its side crash rating of five stars and its rollover rating of four stars is respectable. Last year, the 2020 Durango received an overall safety rating of four stars. Over at the IIHS, the regular Dodge Durango SRT underwent review and received a Good rating for most of the crashworthiness tests it has been subjected to, although it only managed a Marginal score for the small overlap test on the driver's side.
While truly modern rivals have moved ahead in terms of safety features and will provide numerous standard features, the Durango SRT 392 is less impressive. Still, at least you get the usual anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control systems, and multiple airbags including dual frontal, side-impact, curtain, and driver's knee bags. You also get a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and the option of blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Other options that should be included as standard on a luxury family SUV are forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist. Still, at this price point, we can forgive Fiat-Chrysler for skimping on some items.
The Dodge Durango SRT 392 has plenty of faults, but we honestly feel that many of them are balanced by its positive features. The issues we have are these: the suspension is too stiff yet does not keep the body stable at any sort of decent speed, the interior materials and build quality are less than exemplary, the engine is ridiculously thirsty, and there's a lack of advanced safety features as standard. However, the Durango can be redeemed in the minds of many for its fantastic towing capacity, spacious and comfortable cabin, and yes, because it has a V8. In addition, its price is not all that expensive for the output and speed you get in comparison to many competitors, most of which can't hold a candle to this SUV in terms of pulling power or performance. It's a conflicted and inherently flawed machine, but if you take it on a test drive and it makes you smile, then go for it.
The base price of the Durango SRT 392 in the USA is unchanged from that of the 2020 variant, which is commendable considering that it has a few notable updates. It carries an MSRP of $62,995 before a $1,495 destination charge. However, if you spec enough features to upgrade it from the standard base model you'll find yourself forking out around $80,000 for a fully loaded model. However, far less powerful competition from the Kia Telluride makes the Durango SRT price look seriously high, with the Korean starting at a cost just under $32,000.
The Durango SRT 392 is a standalone model, with the SRT Hellcat considered separately. It comes with just one power plant - a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 producing 475 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque. This is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission from TorqueFlite that helps distribute power to all four wheels. As a result, traction off the line is not an issue for this bulky brute. Other highlights for the SRT 392 include an interior swathed in leather and suede, as well as a newly-revised infotainment system running FCA's Uconnect 5 operating system. This is controlled via voice control or a dash-mounted 10.1-inch touchscreen display that features both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as SiriusXM satellite radio, HD Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, and a pair of USB ports. Other advantages include heated and ventilated power front seats and heated second-row captain's chairs. A power tailgate is also standard, as are front and rear parking sensors and wireless charging.
Various packages are offered for the new Durango SRT in the US, and among them is one that improves cabin quality by adding a sueded headliner, genuine carbon fiber trim accents, and a leather-wrapped instrument panel. It's called the Premium Interior Group and costs $2,495. For the more practically inclined among us, the $2,395 Technology Group package adds adaptive cruise control, forward collision detection with autonomous emergency braking, and lane departure warning. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert is a standalone option at $495 while unlocking the SRT 392's maximum towing capacity is also possible through Trailer-Tow Group IV for $1,195. Alternatively, you can delete the rearmost seats at no cost.
The Durango SRT 392 is nearly fully equipped with decent specs as standard and is already fairly expensive as a family car, but we'd recommend adding the Technology group package with its advanced driver aids for peace of mind. Since the Durango seats six and could be used on long journeys, we'd also consider adding the rear-seat entertainment system, but other than that, we'd be happy to leave the vehicle as is.
Powered by the same engine as the one under the hood of the Dodge Durango SRT 392, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT produces the same output. It also gets an eight-speed automatic and AWD, but due to its smaller size, it's less spacious inside and can carry only five occupants. That said, smaller sizing leads to an advantage in terms of sporting performance with quicker acceleration times and better handling ability. That said, the Jeep is only a tenth of a second quicker to 60 mph. The Jeep brand also stands for exceptionalism off-road, so the Grand Cherokee SRT is more capable when you go off the beaten path. It's more expensive with a base price approaching 70 grand and is aging just as much as the Durango, but it'd be our pick due to its improved handling, arguably better looks, and fancier interior.
If you're willing to spend big, and potentially breach the six-figure mark with enough options, you can have the Hellcat-powered Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. Like a regular Grand Cherokee SRT but more powerful, the Trackhawk boasts a monstrous 707 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque, making it capable of draining your bank account with fuel bills just as quickly as it can embarrass sportscar owners at the drag strip. This stupendous power output has the ability to cloud your judgment and overlook all of its negative facets, but on balance, we'd have to recommend the Durango SRT 392 instead. It's more practical while still offering plenty of fun and still has an aurally pleasing soundtrack, even if it's not as raucous as that of the Trackhawk. The biggest factor behind our reasoning, however, is the price. If you're spending that almost 90 grand, you could get a proper sports car and a cheap SUV instead.