Dodge gives aging Durango SUV new life as performance hauler

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With the Durango SRT, Brauer said the three rows suggest “hyperutility,” but it also has “horsepower numbers that suggest hyperperformance. That’s pretty unique.”

The Durango, he said, has the same spirit as the Challenger and Charger with its rwd layout and V-8 power. The trio share the same engines and eight-speed transmission. The available racing stripes on the SRT and R/T, Brauer added, let the public further know what type of image Dodge wants to project with the Durango.

A brand spokeswoman said the vehicles have been developed by the same engineering teams, “whether it’s a Challenger Redeye or Durango SRT.”

The Durango’s SRT variant continues FCA’s penchant for packing elite horsepower into its utility vehicles, joining the 707-hp Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 Hellcat engine and the SRT version that came before it.

Brian Heney, COO of Kelly Automotive Group in Danvers, Mass., said the Durango SXT and GT models at the lower end are the volume players, but the pricey SRT draws showroom attention even though few are sold. Kelly Jeep-Chrysler-Dodge-Ram in Methuen, Mass., sells 50 to 60 Durangos annually, with around four of those being SRTs.

Heney said the persona Dodge has created for the Durango works.

“People definitely go up and check it out, and the ones that know about it will talk to you about it,” Heney said of the Durango SRT. “But then when you get into the vehicle they’re looking at, usually when it comes down to it, it’s like a $20,000 swing — at least from the GT, and you can go even lower than that.”

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