Unveiled at last February’s Chicago Auto Show, the looks of the updated Dodge Durango SRT resonated so well with show-goers that Dodge intends to extend elements of the styling to R/T versions of its biggest SUV.

SRT—for Street and Racing Technology—is where the various divisions of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) send certain products to make them go faster, and the Durango is the biggest of its achievements. Biggest, that is, in terms of mass—about 5500 pounds, depending on trim. Propelled by FCA’s 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 (475 horsepower, 470 pound-feet of torque), the SRT Durango is capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, according to Dodge. And that hustle is balanced by robust brakes—six-piston Brembo calipers on 15.1-inch two-piece front rotors—as well as adaptive dampers.

New styling cues

Cosmetic touches distinguishing that Chicago SRT debutante include LED fog lamps, a more aggressive front fascia, LED fog lamps, and a pair of hood-mounted heat extractors. A cold air duct is fared into the front fascia, just above the driver-side fog lamp, and the heat extractors flank a functional air scoop.

The SRT styling elements will also be standard on R/T Durangos for 2018, and optional on Durango GTs with Blacktop or Brass Monkey appearance packages, so named for trim elements, including wheel colors.

In addition to the SRT’s 6.4-liter V-8, 2018 Durango engine choices once again include FCA’s 3.6-liter V-6 (295 hp, 260 lb-ft) as standard equipment and an optional 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 (369 hp, 390 lb-ft). Both are paired with the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission, and all but the basic SXT Durango are equipped with paddle shifters.

Also: Get your first look at the new and redesigned cars of 2018

Pulling power

Towing capabilities are 6,200 pounds with the V-6; 7,400 pounds for the 5.7-liter Hemi; and 8,600 pounds for the Durango SRT. Dodge characterizes the Durango’s towing as best in class, among 3-row utes, noting that the comparison is with SUVs like the Ford Explorer, rather than big 3-row haulers such as Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition.

There will be five Durango trim levels for 2018. In addition to the SXT the list includes, in ascending order, GT, Citadel, R/T, and SRT. FCA is taking dealer orders for 2018 Durangos now, with sales due to begin in September. Predictably, pricing won’t be announced until then. The 2017 Durango pricing ladder goes from just over $31,000 to almost $46,000. That range does not include the SRT version, which is new for 2018.


 

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