Consider the Durango SRT 392 as an Further Giant Charger.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

In idea, there is not a lot that is truly new within the Detroit-built Dodge Durango. Barring a light face-lift in and out, the second refresh on this SUV’s third technology, the 2021 mannequin, is a continuation of the one which’s been kicking round since 2011. The 6.4-liter Hemi V8 that carries the 392 designation has been in Chargers and Challengers since 2015. But, in combining the 2, Dodge has created its personal distinctive beast, one providing quick, family-friendly performance. What’s extra, some latest quality-of-life updates make this a surprisingly well-rounded and really compelling three-row SUV.

Like

Easy motive forceLoads of long-range comfortExcellent cabin tech

Do not Like

Sensitive fuel pedalAbsolute thirst machineNeeds extra commonplace security tech

The Durango’s form must be fairly acquainted, given its age. However for the 2021 mannequin 12 months, there are a couple of new aesthetic tips up this mannequin’s sleeve. The headlights are a bit extra aggressive because of a rejiggering and the SRT 392 picks up a chin spoiler for a little bit further sporting disposition. Whether or not you go for the Durango’s commonplace V6 or one thing a little bit spicier, this SUV seems to be huge and difficult, its proportions not too far off from the burly Charger sedan.

2021 additionally graced the Dodge Durango with a pointy new inside. Most of its oldest-looking bits are gone, with a brand new dashboard that higher integrates its infotainment display screen. Although there’s full climate-control performance constructed into the show, I actually recognize the complete complement of bodily buttons simply beneath the display screen, offering easy accessibility to HVAC settings in addition to the heated seats and steering wheel. My tester feels only a bit fancier because of comfortable and supportive Laguna leather-based seats ($1,595) and the Premium Inside Group package deal ($2,495), which provides a suede headliner, fancier supplies on the instrument panel and a few cool-looking carbon inside accents. The revised middle console is swell, too, with more room for a wi-fi machine charger, a decently sized under-armrest cubby and 4 USB ports (two USB-A, two USB-C).

The beltline is a little bit on the excessive facet, so the 2021 Durango can often really feel a bit visually constricting, however there’s truly a great deal of house inside. Sitting within the second-row captain’s chairs, I am not left wanting for headroom or legroom, and the $595 second-row console possibility provides some good creature comforts together with illuminated cup holders and an additional USB charging port, along with the pair offered commonplace. If two rows is not sufficient, a fast elevate of a facet deal with vaults the center row ahead, providing entry to a 3rd row that is surprisingly roomy for a 6-foot-tall grownup, even with a barely raised ground. That non-compulsory console has a reverse hinge that enables way-back occupants to entry what’s inside, which is a correctly intelligent contact. Regardless of the row, each seat is snug sufficient to absorb many, many miles.

That is a very good factor, as a result of the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT is constructed for cruising. Simply choose a course, wrangle this sufficiently massive brute onto any native on-ramp and sit again and calm down. The Durango eats up miles and returns consolation in spades, thanks partially to an adaptive suspension that, in its most snug Auto mode, roughly eliminates any nastiness underfoot. The steering is simply direct sufficient for a light-weight contact to take care of heading, though in blustery situations, this slab-sided machine could require a couple of extra minor course corrections. The fuel pedal is solely too sensitive, even at its most muted, sending heads bobbing a bit greater than I might like in around-town driving, however the brake pedal is improbable in its modulation. For an additional $1,295, you possibly can slap on some SRT efficiency entrance brakes with two-piece rotors that can scrub pace at a formidable charge, which may spell the distinction between overcooking a nook and popping out the opposite facet all squeaky-clean like.

Usually, I would not a lot as point out corner-carving in a three-row household hauler overview, however that is no pedestrian sport-ute. The 2021 Durango SRT’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 produces 475 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, which is shipped to all 4 wheels by means of a smooth-shifting eight-speed automated transmission. That is rather less than what the engine makes within the Challenger and Charger kinds of the identical identify, however make no mistake, that is loads of driver. Chilly begins will most likely irk the neighbors. The sound that permeates the cabin is addictive; it is sufficient to make you need to goose the throttle at each alternative, and the sound and fury that outcomes solely reinforces that call as the suitable one. If, for some purpose, this isn’t sufficient energy to sate your needs, there is a limited-edition 710-hp Hellcat variant, too. However the joke’s on you, as a result of that one’s already bought out.

With the SRT mode swap set to Sport, physique roll diminishes whereas steering and suspension stiffen, and the throttle response will get much more delicate. Once I’m deep in forest roads, it feels simply as snug to manhandle as a equally outfitted Charger — simply, you recognize, a little bit taller. There is a Monitor mode, too, but it surely turns off the traction management, which most likely is not the best thought when it is 32 levels Fahrenheit and the automobile is sporting 295/45ZR20 Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season tires. It will additionally tow 8,700 kilos proper out of the field, which is, frankly, nuts. That is sufficient for some bigger journey trailers, a decently sized horse trailer — or, hell, one other Durango SRT.

If you’re in a Durango, chances are you’ll or could not resemble your native constabulary’s freeway patrol, so anticipate loads of drivers to cede their lane place as you cruise by.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

After all, there’s all the time a disadvantage — past the $64,490 window sticker — and on this case, it is gas economic system. The 5,378-pound Durango SRT 392 is a thirsty fellow, reaching a paltry EPA-estimated 13 miles per gallon metropolis and 19 mpg freeway. When you’ve got even a distant enjoyment of what the fuel pedal does, and you are not continuously swapping over to Eco mode, good luck ever reaching these figures. My metropolis economic system in end-stage winter is pushing nearer to single digits, with freeway mileage pegged out round 17ish. Even with its 24.6-gallon gas tank (with a theoretical max vary of about 465 miles in the event you by no means depart the freeway), you will watch the Durango’s needle transfer in close to actual time in the event you’re not delicate on the go-pedal.

The 2021 Dodge Durango additionally picks up some welcome cabin-tech upgrades. At its coronary heart is the Uconnect 5 infotainment system, Stellantis’ newest. Along with slick graphics and keen responses, the show (reaching as much as 10.1 inches on larger fashions like this one) is loaded with options, together with commonplace wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, together with satellite tv for pc radio, over-the-air updates, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Alexa integration. Uconnect has all the time been a very good system, and its freshest iteration solely will get higher. Six USB ports are commonplace between the primary two rows, with a seventh on supply in the event you go for the second-row middle console improve.

Uconnect 5 runs on the Android Automotive platform now, however sadly, you do not get entry to any cool baked-in Google apps such as you do with different AA programs, akin to Polestar’s.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

On the security entrance, issues are a little bit sparse to start out with: The Durango 392’s commonplace security equipment simply consists of the federally mandated backup digital camera plus entrance and rear parking sensors with automated low-speed emergency braking. For $495 you possibly can add blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, whereas one other $2,395 brings the remainder of the accessible options, together with superior automated emergency braking, full-speed adaptive cruise management and lane-departure warning.

Whereas the better Durango household has loads of opponents, none can fairly match what the SRT brings to the desk. The Ford Explorer ST is sort of the hustler, but it surely solely (“solely”) makes 400 hp and 415 lb-ft — then once more, its beginning worth is a few $10,000 decrease, too. The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride lack efficiency variants, however they will pile on the fashion and luxurious a bit greater than the Dodge does. The present-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee has its personal SRT variant, but it surely’s solely two rows, and with a more recent and far more superior technology on the horizon, I might say it is price holding out to see how the 2021 mannequin stacks up. If you need more room than the Durango SRT supplies, the Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon exist, however they do not have street-performance-oriented fashions.

The 2021 Dodge Durango, then, is in fairly a candy spot. Throwing a potent V8 into an already stable three-row household SUV creates a particular form of machine that’s simply flat-out enjoyable on a regular basis, full cease. You will like it and your children will like it, however your poorly packed groceries now scattered everywhere in the trunk may need a distinct opinion.

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