Performance SUVs and crossovers from non-luxury brands are still in a nascent stage of development. Models like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, BMW X5 M and others are on subsequent generations of their high-performance high-riding machines. Meanwhile, the 2019 Dodge Durango SRT is still refreshingly new.
Despite the Dodge being far cheaper than other big, high performance luxury SUVs out there, it still isn’t cheap. The SRT has a base price of $64,490. Ours stickers for a much higher $78,235. Unsurprisingly, Dodge makes you pay the big bucks for most of the luxury features and customization options. A $2,395 Technology Group adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and forward collision avoidance systems.
FCA could slot its 6.4-liter V8 into nearly anything and I’d love it, so it was no surprise that I enjoyed it thrashing it about in this behemoth of an SUV. Traction off the line was one major benefit in the Durango over the Charger and Challenger. Matt the throttle and it just leaps forward, similar to the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT. Squirming about with glee is great fun in the rear-wheel drive Dodges, but being able to translate all that power into forward momentum with all-wheel drive is also a riot. Each shift of the ZF eight-speed is like a small firecracker going off with nary a break in forward thrust. It doesn’t feel as brutally quick as a Challenger or Charger Scat Pack, but it’s mighty fast for the size of vehicle.
One slightly frustrating thing about the Durango we had, though, was the addition of a second-row center console. While it might be nice for human passengers, it sits high enough that my dog didn’t fit comfortably back there. She likes to have space to lie down. As a result, I ended up creating a little extended platform in front of one of the seats with some blankets so she had a comfortable spot for the ride. So if you’re carrying medium to large dogs on a semi-regular basis, you might want to skip that console option.