2018 Dodge Durango SRT Mopar 18 Edition in Monroe Michigan


Mopar Limited Edition 2018 Dodge Durango SRT
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MSN AUTOS (06/16/2018)
Taking The Day Off With Dodge's Mopar Edition Durango SRT 392
There are some days that are ripe to play hooky, like Ferris Buehler, and get out of the office, even if one works from a home office. This past April presented just such an opportunity when FCA delivered, for my latest press loan/vehicle, a brand new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT 392 Mopar Edition.
And I wanted to do something different for the evaluation, a special road trip. I've lived in Southern California for 21 years and have driven most of its great driving roads. For this trip I decided to drive what I call the Ring Around the LA Basin; the Pines to Palms Highway, the Rim of the World Scenic Byway, and the iconic Angeles Crest Highway, a 290-mile adventure, one that can be done in a single day if one gets an early start.
The day started early with a trip east on Interstate 10 to Banning, west of Palm Springs. It allowed me to get more familiar with the Durango SRT 392, (base price $62,995, as tested $71,270, including options and destination charges) having driven the exact same vehicle back in March on a local FCA press event in advance of the Festival of LX show at the Pomona Fairplex.
Some things to know about the Durango SRT 392. First and foremost it is the least expensive three-row, six-passenger, high-performance SUV available in the US with a top speed in excess of 150 mph. While FCA has not announced an official top speed, off the record speaking with their representatives on the press event, its top speed is in excess of 160 mph and that can go from zero-60 in 4.4 seconds. You are probably saying the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 Trailhawk is faster, and it is. But the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk is a two-row SUV seating five. But what is really impressive about the Durango SRT 392 is its class-leading (and that includes all the high-dollar German SUVs) 8,700-pound towing capability. Think of it as the fastest way to tow your Viper race car or even a 24-foot Airstream. It's that brawny.
For people who don't think the regular Durango R/T or Durango SRT 392 sounds aggressive enough, Mopar is rolling out a performance exhaust system developed with the help of SRT engineers. The stainless steel exhaust system features four-inch tips and is available for the R/T ($1.595) and SRT 392 ($1,850).
Mopar also released a performance suspension spring kit ($325) for the Durango SRT 392 which drops the ride height by 0.6-inches, reducing squat during acceleration, brake dive, and body roll in corners. Like retro-styled stripes? For you Dodge has added dual-center exterior stripes to the factory options list for the Durango R/T and Durango SRT 392. The $1,195 stripe package is offered in five colors including bright blue, red, gunmetal, black and silver.
A new SRT interior appearance group will be offered on the Durango SRT adding a premium-wrapped dashboard, soft-touch headliner and real carbon fiber trim ($2,495). Our test vehicle was equipped with all these options.
Using the performance settings accessed through the 8.4-inch uConnect screen, we set the suspension for the stiffest setting. While the there was still some body roll owing to the Durango's almost 6,000-pound weight loaded, the handling was well-controlled on the switchbacks going up CA 242 from Banning to Idyllwild. After a short stop for coffee, we got back on the road for the short drive through the pines to Mountain Center to start the Pines to Palms Highway, an almost 40-mile stretch of challenging tarmac down the mountains to Palm Desert (part of which was used in he opening scenes of Stanley Kramer's 1963 epic comedy, "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,"). Approach Palm Desert, off to our left we spotted a half-dozen Bentley models being loaded into a transporter after concluding an owner participation event. Included was the Bentayga, a five-passenger SUV that does go 180 mph but costs a mere $160,000 more ($230,000) than a fully-equipped Durango SRT 392.
Driving through Palm Springs and passing by the the Sagauro Hotel and Pool (one of our favorite places to stay in the Palm Springs area owing to its Mid-Century vibe featuring what can only be called "Big Bad" colors of the era's muscle cars), we made a short run west on Interstate 10 designated the Sonny Bono Memorial Freeway for Palm Spring's former mayor (and one-time husband of Cher) we exited at Yucippa to pick up the southern end of the Rim of the World Scenic Byway, CA 38 north to Big Bear Lake City.
This stretch of CA 38 is one of the driving gems of Southern California, and on a weekday is almost completely devoid of motorcycles that make the road so dangerous on weekends. It was at that point, around 3PM and having been on the road since 9AM, we noticed how comfortable the Durango 392's seats were. Properly adjusted, we had no sense of fatigue and the red leather seating surfaces repelled a spilled 32-ounce Frappuccino picked up in Big Bear Lake.
Speaking of the interior, while not finished to quite the same standard as a $100,000+ luxury SUV, the Durango SRT 392, with its optional interior package, was well-finished, in keeping with its moderate relatively speaking sticker price. The leather surfaces were soft yet appeared durable and the stitched dashboard with carbon fiber fascia trim was the perfect combination of style and functionality.
Heading west we drove the entire 110-mile length of the Rim of the World Scenic Byway, at this point being signed CA 18, skirting the Inland Empire Valley and San Bernardino below the route, much of which was shrouded that day in smog, below 5,000 feet. Some things simply don't change. Approaching Interstate 15 and the famous Cajon Pass, one stretch of the highway, now signed CA 138, was flat with long straights. With an unrestricted sight line we resisted the temptation to air out the Durango 392 to see just how fast it would go. But from a standing start we did hit the go pedal a few times and had no doubt to believe that the Durango 392 could vault from zero-to-60 in just over four seconds.
Running against rush hour traffic exiting the LA basin, after turning left off of CA 138 on to CA 2 west, the start of the Angeles Crest Highway, our next stop was Wrightwood for a quick pit stop at Jensen's Supermarket to pick up a fresh deli-made gourmet sandwich, something to drink, and snack for the drive to Newcomb's Ranch, a kind of midpoint along the 66-mile-long Angeles Crest Highway. Driving towards a magnificent sunset, we arrived at the closed Newcomb's Ranch, greeted by two motorcyclists, also playing hooky. With the sun fading we grabbed a final few shots before hitting the road for the final 25 miles to La Caada Flintridge and the official end of our almost 300-mile drive over some of Southern California's best driver's roads.
On our day-long road trip, the Durango SRT 392 exceeded all our expectations. While its $71,000 price tag is not inconsequential, it's really in a class all by itself. With its combination of performance, pace, capabilities, space, and utility, it has no direct competitor. While often overshadowed by its platform mate, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, the Dodge Boys and the SRT team have imbued it with its own personality. If you have a family and want a performance SUV to tow up to 8,700 pounds, there's just one choice, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT 392. The Mopar upgrades make it even more desirable.

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