Take a big, boring family SUV, strap a rocket pack to it, and you have yourself a Dodge Durango SRT. Three rows of seating and a big ol' Hemi V8 make it the muscle car of family SUVs, but based on aging architecture and with limited safety features found even on the options list, the Durango SRT could easily be trouble in the wrong hands. However, if you're a confident driver and want to give the kids a thrill on the daily commute to school, the V8 generating 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque will do the job. There are certainly more modern and practical family SUVs out there, like the Kia Telluride or Hyundai Palisade. They offer better-appointed interiors, a smoother ride, and much more modern tech, but they aren't nearly as unreasonably fun.
For 2020, the almost decade-old Durango SRT gets no notable updates. There are a few new exterior color customization choices, though, such as the Redline stripe aesthetic. The Black Appearance Package gives the SRT a Midnight Grey Metallic coating with Gloss Black exterior accents and 20-inch Matte Vapor wheels.
See trim levels and configurations:
6.4L V8 Gas
The Durango is not a graceful vehicle; it's basically a jet engine crammed into a six-seater SUV. There is more power on tap than any family vehicle could ever need, but all that power can be hard to control. Moving at anything more than a sedate crawl, the large crossover rolls and lurches around corners, requiring constant driver attention. That's not to say it can't be a fun drive, quite the opposite, but it can be unsettling in the hands of a novice.
Still, the roar of the V8 as you let it loose on the broad boulevards simply begs you to try taming the beast. Unfortunately, Dodge doesn't give you the tools to properly do so. The steering is accurate enough around town at lower speeds, but control becomes a lot stiffer in the almost five seconds it takes to hurtle past 60 mph. On the plus side, the brakes are quite capable, but stopping a two-and-a-half-ton SUV on a dime is quite impossible.
It's not just the steering that can be a little stiff, though. The suspension isn't as soft as we'd expect from such a large family cruiser, with bumps and road abrasions traveling through to the cabin. Luckily, the seats are comfortable and well-bolstered, helping to mitigate some of the discomfort. The cabin is also dampened from most exterior noise, but there's simply no keeping out the roar of the V8 when you apply the throttle - but, who would want to?
While it may boast practical passenger and cargo space, the Dodge Durango SRT is not a practical vehicle: it's a comically hilarious muscle SUV posing as a family hauler. But, sometimes, practicality is overrated, and in the traditional sense, it'ss still highly usable and can fit the kids, the dog, and the kitchen sink, while still pulling the caravan for a weekend away.
The inside of this ten-year-old car may not be that modern, but there are enough modern features like smartphone integration and rear-seat DVD players to give it the illusion of being more high-tech. It's also spacious enough to make up for any shortcomings in the features list, although the lacking driver-assistance features are a bit disconcerting in a family hauler. Nevertheless, the ample passenger space is complemented by a larger-than-average trunk for the segment and plenty of power to get you up even the most imposing of mountains on the way to your campsite.
Around town, the SRT has more power than it knows what to do with, making it a blustery attention-grabber, but it's hard to really enjoy the drive, and the clunky crossover isn't as nimble as some of its more modern, refined rivals. It's fuel economy figures certainly speak to a lack of refinement, too, and the interior is not as upscale as we'd like in this price bracket.
Based on the same platform as the Dodge Durango, the Jeep Grand Cherokee is no more a practical vehicle than its cousin. In fact, it's even less practical. Where the Dodge tries to blend family hauling and daily drivability with sheer power and a flair for fun, the Grand Cherokee says to hell with the former, and focuses purely on the latter. Both SRT models are powered by the same HEMI V8, so they get the same output, but the Jeep is smaller and more nimble. This does mean that there isn't as much passenger or cargo room to work with, though. However, the cabin is more plushly appointed than that of the Durango, and the Cherokee gets a lot more standard driver-assistance features, like forward collision avoidance, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Naturally, you'll have to pay up for the more premium interior and better tech. If you need a family SUV that can probably tow the whole house, too, then the Dodge is the better choice, as it can tow more than a 1,000 lbs over the Jeep's limit. However, the Grand Cherokee SRT is the more engaging driver, and a vastly more capable off-roader.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is the Cherokee SRT's gym-bunny big brother, packing a ridiculously overpowered supercharged V8 under the hood. With 707 hp and 645 lb-ft on hand, the Trackhawk leaves almost every other car on the road in its dust, accelerating to 60 mph from a standstill in a ludicrous 3.5 seconds. Like its SRT variant, the Trackhawk is smaller than the Durango, seating only five as standard, but it still manages to offer a fair amount of cargo space and plenty of standard tech. Inside, it is even more opulent than the SRT, but it also carries an almost $90k price tag. In terms of fun driving, the Jeep won't be beaten, but all that power doesn't make it any better at towing, so the Dodge still wins in that regard. If you can afford it, though, the Trackhawk is hard to pass on for its sheer unadulterated fun factor. But the Dodge Durango is still technically more practical.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Dodge Durango SRT: