2021 Dodge Durango SRT 392 AWD Review – The Goldilocks V8 Durango


2021 Dodge Durango 392. Tim Healey/TTAC

2021 Dodge Durango SRT 392 AWD Fast Facts

6.4-liter V8 (475 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm; 470 lb-ft @ 4,300 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

13 city / 19 highway / 15 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

18.3 city, 12.2 highway, 15.6 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $62,995 (U.S) / $81,260 (Canada)

As Tested: $72,660 (U.S.) / $89,258 (Canada)

Prices include $1,495 destination charge in the United States and $1,895 to $2,795 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

If you want a large SUV and want performance, Dodge is happy to oblige. I mean, the brand even built a Hellcat Durango, fer chrissake.

Of course, not everyone wants the insanity that is a Hellcat, yet some buyers still want performance that goes above and beyond the norm.

Enter the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT 392.

Offering up 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque from its 6.4-liter Hemi V8, the Durango has guts enough. And an old-school V8 rumble which can turn into a roar under enough throttle.

You’ll never want for passing power, although you will cringe when you think about how much fuel is being sucked down. Best not to think of it.

Indeed, there’s enough power on tap here that the Hellcat seems superfluous, a machine only for the truly insane, as well as those who simply must have the most expensive and/or desirable toy.

2021 Dodge Durango 392. Tim Healey/TTAC

Let the Mopar-addled convince themselves they need, if not want, the Hellcat. The SRT will provide the passing punch that brings grins, and at a lower price.

It will also give you handling  that while still far from the realm of a true sporting machine, is at least admirable for a vehicle of this size. It’s no corner carver, and body roll will be a mild issue, but the Durang SRT is still enjoyable to drive in situations other than a straight line, thanks to well-weighted steering that mostly avoids feeling too numb and the SRT-tuned short- and long-arm independent front suspension with aluminum lower control arms, coil springs, Bilstein adaptive damping shocks, and hollow stabilizer bar.

The rear suspension setup is SRT-tuned multi-link with Bilstein adaptive damping, coil springs, aluminum lower control arm, and stabilizer bar.

Ride isn’t sacrificed – while the SRT seems a bit stiffer than its less-powerful brethren, it’s still quite comfortable when driven gently.

2021 Dodge Durango 392. Tim Healey/TTAC

Which, let’s face it, is probably how most drivers will use their Durangos. The big honkin’ V8 is nice, but this a family hauler, not a race car. So that power will likely be most often tapped for passing and towing, not blazing the straightaway at one’s local run what ya brung night.

Speaking of towing, you need to opt for the towing package, and if you do, maximum capacity with the 6.4 is 8,700 pounds.

2021 Dodge Durango 392. Tim Healey/TTAC

Power doesn’t come cheap, and the base price for this all-wheel-drive test unit was over $62K. That price of entry includes Brembo brakes with SRT pads and red-painted calipers, the adaptive suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential for the rear axle, performance exhaust, sport-tuned steering, configurable drive modes, power liftgate, keyless entry and starting, Uconnect infotainment, navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SRT Performance Pages, satellite radio, wireless cell-phone charger, in-car Wi-Fi, heated front seats, cooled front seats, heated second-row seats, LED fog lamps, LED headlights, 20-inch wheels, and Pirelli all-season tires.

The optional Technology Group ($2,395) added advance brake assist, lane-departure warning plus, full-speed collision-warning plus, and adaptive cruise control with stop. $1,195 is what it took to add the Trailer-Tow Group IV, which included a compact spare tire and 20-inch wheel, trailer-brake controller, and Class IV receiver hitch. For $2,495, one can add the Premium Interior Group, which includes a suede headliner, upgraded instrument panel, and forged carbon-fiber interior accents. Harmon Kardon audio runs another $995 and three-season Pirelli tires replace the standard all-seasons for $595. Finally, blind-spot detection and rear cross-path detection add $495.

2021 Dodge Durango 392. Tim Healey/TTAC

With the $1,495 destination charge, the total as-tested price was $72,660.

The cabin is familiar by now, following the usual Dodge formula of large knobs/easy-to-use buttons. Uconnect remains one of the best infotainment systems out there, and the Performance Pages are fun to play with. The interior design isn’t sexy, but it is functional, and that almost certainly matters more to buyers in this class.

If you don’t need a high-performance large SUV – and few do – you can save some coin by going downmarket with your Durango. You can still even get a V8. But should you have the horsepower bug, this version of the Durango is more livable and less expensive than the Hellcat.

2021 Dodge Durango 392. Tim Healey/TTAC

It’s not necessarily the Goldilocks of all Durangos – this particular V8 version is still a bit bonkers. It’s still a bit too performance-focused for the masses. But if you want a Durango and eight cylinders, the 392 might be just right.

It offers more power and performance than the 5.7 without treading into the crazy zone that the Hellcat occupies. It’s pricey, sure, but not as eye-popping as the Hellcat.

Yes, I know, the Goldilocks comp is a bit overused. But I can’t help it – when it comes to this Durango, it just fits.

[Images © 2021 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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