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    Review: 2014 Dodge Dart SXT 2.4


    • The Dangers of First Drive-itus

    Automotive writers like myself suffer from a sickness sometimes called first drive-itus. Essentially first drive-itus is when an automotive has a different opinion on a vehicle than when they first drove it on a first drive event. No one is quite sure how first drive-itus manifests or where it comes from. There is a reason I’m telling you this because I think I had first drive-itus. A couple of years ago, I had the great fortune of heading down to Austin, Texas, to be one of the first people to check out the brand new Dodge Dart. At the time, I came away very impressed and said in my first drive that competitors should be watching their back. But recently, I spent a week with a 2014 Dodge Dart SXT and I came away somewhat disappointed. Read on to see why that is.

    The Dart in my eyes is still one of the best looking compact models on sale today. While the basic shape seems to mimic a number of compact models, Dodge’s designers took some elements from the larger Charger and Challenger to help make the Dart stand out. Those elements include the crosshair grille up front and long taillight in the back. On the SXT model, you get a set of seventeen-inch alloy wheels which add a nice touch of class to the Dart.

    2014 Dodge Dart SXT 2.4L 14

    Chrysler in general has been really stepping up their game with their interiors, in terms of design and quality. The Dart is an almost perfect example of this. While the interior design doesn’t have quite the same excitement of the exterior, it does feature impressive material and build quality. One feature I’m glad to see as option on this midlevel SXT is the 8.4-inch touchscreen with UConnect. I have praised this system before in previous Chrysler reviews and will do so once again. The system is easy to understand and use, and is very responsive when performing tasks.

    As for passengers, the front has more than enough space for anyone and the seats provide excellent support. The back seat doesn’t fair as well due to head and legroom being somewhat tight. At least the seats have good support.

    When I first drove the Dart, there was choice of three different engines; a 2.0L MulitAir four-cylinder, a 1.4L Turbocharged MultiAir four, and a 2.4L MultiAir. Since that time, the 2.0L is only available on the SE model, the 1.4T has been relegated to the Dart Aero model only, and the 2.4L has become the volume engine. The 2.4 makes 184 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. This can either be paired to a six-speed manual or my tester’s six-speed automatic. The 2.4 paired with Fiat’s Multiair tech got the Dart moving in a hurry. Power is available throughout the rev range, so you don’t feel like the vehicle is underpowered. Refinement is very much tops with NVH levels kept a minimum. The six-speed automatic provided very smooth shifts. On the fuel economy front, the EPA rates the Dart 2.4L at 23 City/35 Highway/27 Combined. I saw average of 27 MPG for the week.

    2014 Dodge Dart SXT 2.4L 11

    One of the high praises I gave the Dart when I drove it was how much fun it was to drive. This still holds true. When driving the Dart on some curvy roads, it felt poised with little hint of body roll. Steering was nicely weighted and provided good feedback I as drove along. A lot of this comes down to the CUSW platform the Dart rides on which was derived from the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. However when I was not driving along the back roads, I felt the engineers engineers forgot to make the suspension able to cope with road imperfections and potholes. Driving along Michigan’s ‘amazing’ roads, the Dart felt too stiff and made passengers feel like they were being jostled around. I actually wrote in my notes whether or not the Dart’s suspension was made out of concrete. On the plus side, wind and road noise were kept to minimum levels.

    When I concluded my first drive report on the Dart, I said that it could make the domestic and import competition a bit nervous. Now after spending a week in the Dart, I’m not sure about that statement. The Dart has a lot good things going for it such as amount technology available, unique design, an impressive engine, and fun to drive characteristics. But when you drive the Dart day to day on the road, the road quality problem rears its head and for many, is a huge turn off. The Dart is almost there, but it needs a bit more finishing work.

    Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Dart SXT, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Dodge

    Model: Dart

    Trim: SXT

    Engine: 2.4L Inline-Four with Multiair

    Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM: 184 @ 6,250

    Torque @ RPM: 171 @ 4,800

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/35/27

    Curb Weight: 3,348 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Belvidere, Illinois

    Base Price: $18,495.00

    As Tested Price: $22,025.00 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Six-Speed Powertech Automatic Transmission - $1,250

    8.4-inch UConnect Touchscreen Group - $595

    UConnect 8.4 FM/AM/NAV - $495

    SiriusXM Satellite Radio w/One-Year Subscription - $195

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Very good read. Thanks this helps gain a better understanding of the car.

     

    Now in comparison to other competitors, how does this line up? What cars would you list below it and which ones above it?

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    Good write up but I definitely do not find the exterior even remotely exciting.

    Curb weight 3348! Holy cow this thing weights as much as several mid size sedans!

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    Good write up but I definitely do not find the exterior even remotely exciting.

     

    I should say in the compact class

     

     

    Now in comparison to other competitors, how does this line up? What cars would you list below it and which ones above it?

     

    The Dart is somewhere in the middle, alongside the Cruze and the Civic. I think the new Corolla, Forte, and Mazda3 are my top three at the moment. (BTW: Corolla and Mazda3 reviews are incoming. Stay tuned.)

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    Actually, I think this is a fantastic looking car. Interior is very, very nice.  When they first came out I was turned off by a few cars that had been seemingly rushed down the production line with regards to interior quality.  However, once production got ramped up, i can honestly say that I think every interior that I have seen has been very well bolted together.

     

    Were I not a hot hatch/sport compact kind of a guy, this car would really be on my short list.  As it is, methinks a GTI would trump it, albeit at a higher (much higher) cost.

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    Seen a few on the roads here, actually, they look real nice...But 3,350 pounds? Seriously, that's crazy. At that weight, it ought to ride pretty nice.

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    Heavy too heavy, but even the cruze can get porky. Dart's major weaknesses are it's new era Neon looks, tight rear, confused power train options. The cruze and focus are killing this car as is the deeply discounted avengers and 200's within chrysler's own stable.

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    Passat is an order of magnitude nicer car IMHO. With the TDI, you get a car with amazing interior room and 45mpg...plus diesel tourque. Well worth a few thousand more over the Dart. Dart is still a nice car though.

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      Press Release is on Page 2


      Dodge Unleashes New 2018 Dodge Durango SRT: America’s Fastest, Most Powerful and Most Capable Three-Row SUV

      "Dodge Charger of the Full-size SUV Segment" Will Be First Shown at 2017 Chicago Auto Show on February 9
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      For the first time ever, SRT power is now available in the Dodge Durango. The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is powered by the potent 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8 engine with Fuel Saver Technology that delivers 475 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 470 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm – providing America’s best horsepower and torque ratings and making the new Dodge Durango SRT the fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV.
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      Assuring maximum performance under extreme conditions, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT has been validated through rigorous 24-hour track durability testing – a testing standard that every SRT vehicle adheres to.
       
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT provides enhanced shift quality and performance drivability, as well as optimized fuel economy through its TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. This proven transmission was specifically calibrated for the Dodge Durango SRT to optimize shift points and deliver maximum torque to all four wheels. For the ultimate driver-controlled experience, the transmission can be manually shifted using the performance-inspired steering wheel paddle controls on the exclusive SRT-lit flat-bottom steering wheel.
       
      The TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission takes into account variables, including engine torque gradients, kick-down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, grade changes, tire slip and downshift detection to determine the appropriate transmission shift map. The end result is a fully adaptable performance experience.
       
      Additional parameters integrated into the control strategy include vehicle speed control, electronic stability control interaction and temperature. The result is automatic shifting that is ideally attuned to the performance requirements of any performance-oriented driving demand.
       
      When the driver downshifts, the “rev match” function uses the engine controller to blip the throttle, which provides optimal transition between gears for improved performance and greater stability when downshifting at the traction limit.
       
      When placed in “Sport Mode,” the transmission reduces shift times by up to 50 percent versus Auto Mode and delivers 65 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels.
       
      Acceleration and performance handling are enhanced by transfer case proportioning and dynamic controls for the AWD system when the vehicle is in Track Mode. When in Track Mode, maximum performance track driving is achieved with 160-millisecond shifts and up to 70 percent of the engine’s torque delivered to the rear wheels for the most pronounced rear-wheel-drive experience. Durango SRT drivers will also notice a vehicle that is more responsive from mid-corner to exit.
      The new driver-oriented electronic T-shifter provides the driver with intuitive gear selection and offers an Auto Stick selector gate for added control. Drive and Sport shifting can be selected with no effect on the chosen suspension, stability control and driveline torque split settings.
       
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT features launch control, which mimics a professional driver’s inputs to optimize performance by bringing engine, transmission, driveline, stability control and suspension together for an optimal launch and consistent straight-line acceleration.
       
      The new exhaust system has been tuned to offer an unmistakably deep, high-performance note that is distinctive to Dodge/SRT and provides a lasting impression. To achieve this iconic exhaust tone, engineers have replaced the rear mufflers with resonators to increase overall sound level and improve tone of the true performance 2.75-inch dual exhaust system.
      Ride and handling
      The Dodge Durango SRT rides on a short- and long-arm (SLA) independent front suspension with coil springs, specially tuned Bilstein adaptive damping suspension (ADS), upper- and lower-control arms (“A” arms) and a stabilizer bar. Additional changes include 3 percent stiffer front springs, 16 percent stiffer rear springs and an 18 percent stiffer rear sway bar to provide Durango SRT drivers with outstanding high-speed cornering capability.
       
      In the rear, a specially tuned multi-link suspension design has coil spring, Bilstein ADS, aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension and camber), plus a separate toe link, and a stabilizer bar.
       
      The 120-inch wheelbase allows for outstanding stability and consistency in high-speed cornering, while a new performance-tuned AWD system helps the Durango SRT set the world-class performance marks. 
       
      The Durango SRT also features the SRT seven-mode drive system, which provides the driver the ability to precisely adjust drive settings to maximize performance or comfort. Suspension, torque distribution, shift points, stability control and engine mapping are all controlled through this system. In addition to these parameters, suspension feel is controlled by a sophisticated Active Damping System that opens and closes the suspension’s damper valves according to the chosen drive mode, providing the driver with options for any driving style.
       
      The seven SRT drive modes include:
      Auto: activates automatically when starting the vehicle. Sets the suspension and steering to comfort setting and longer shift times for longer, relaxed driving conditions  Sport:  delivers increased vehicle performance capability over Auto Mode. Tightens up suspension damping and increased steering gradient feel for improved cornering response. In addition, shift speed increases 23 percent in 1-4 gears and electronic stability control (ESC) allows more yaw for spirited driving Track: delivers maximum vehicle performance capability on smooth, dry surfaces. Tightens up to full hard suspension damping and steering gradient feel for maximum cornering response. In addition, shift speed increases 50 percent in 1-4 gears from Auto mode and ESC allows maximum yaw Snow: sets ideal configuration for driving in snow by setting transmission to use second gear (rather than first gear) during launches to minimize wheel slippage; stability control is set to Full-on and AWD is set to 50/50 distribution Tow: sets ideal configuration to tow a trailer by using full stability control; AWD is set to 50/50 distribution and trailer sway control is enabled in the ESC system. In addition, the Active Noise Cancelation system is automatically engaged to reduce engine noise from the high-load towing condition   Valet: engine is remapped to mimic the Dodge Charger V-6 engine’s torque and horsepower settings; transmission locks out access to first gear and upshifts earlier than normal; traction, steering and suspension are set to their Auto settings; steering wheel paddle shifters are disabled; ESC is enabled to Full-on and launch control is disabled ECO: maximizes fuel economy with a revised shift schedule, second-gear starts and extended range of the Fuel Saver Technology Standard five-spoke 20-inch “Goliath” wheels with a new “Black Noise” finish ride on Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde all-season tires or available Pirelli P Zero three-season tires. Available, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels feature a new split five-spoke design also featuring the “Black Noise” finish.
      Benchmark braking
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT delivers excellent braking performance, requiring an estimated 115 feet to come to a full stop from 60 mph. Credit belongs to massive new Brembo high-performance six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) calipers, and vented rotors at all four corners measuring 15 inches (front-slotted) and 13.8 inches (rear).
       
      Aggressive, functional and luxurious inside and out 
      Along with its new ultimate performance capabilities, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT provides the same combination of uncompromised utility, advanced technology and aggressive styling its well known for.
       
      Inside the refreshed cabin of the Durango SRT, new appointments include a hand-wrapped dashboard with live silver accent stitch, SRT flat-bottom performance steering wheel with standard paddle shift, heated and ventilated front and heated second-row captain’s chairs with embossed SRT logos. Nappa leather with suede inserts and silver-stitched SRT logos are standard. Demonic Red Laguna leather interior with embossed SRT logos is optional.
       
      Other luxurious touches brought to Durango for the first time in the SRT model include new Light Black Chrome center stack, HVAC, full console and door handle bezels along with two choices of decorative bezels. Standard finish is Matte Reverse Chain, and for the first time on Durango a true carbon-fiber instrument panel and door bezels will be offered (late availability). Premium velour bound floor mats with embroidered SRT logo are standard. Adding to the impact of the hand-wrapped instrument panel, the headliner and A pillars are available in Dynamica suede. 
       
      A newly designed 7-inch, thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable digital instrument gauge cluster with 180-mph speedometer allows drivers to select from a multitude of layouts and information. The class-exclusive Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen media center houses the new SRT Performance Pages along with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, downloadable apps and 5-year trial of SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic. The standard BeatsAudio premium sound system features nine speakers, subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier.
       
      On the exterior, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT carries a SRT hood with functional center air-inlet ducts flanked by heat extractors that help to keep the engine bay cool by removing hot air from the engine compartment. A new front fascia and lower valence house the new cold-air duct and LED fog lamps. This new unique look will also include the SRT-inspired grille mesh pattern finish.
       
      New integrated wheel flares and body-color side rocker panels help provide an aggressive stance. The “392” badges flanking each fender with Bright Chrome and Metallic Grey accents differentiate the ultimate performance Durango.
       
      At the rear, a new SRT rear body-color lower fascia with Gloss Black accent surrounds the 4-inch dual round exhaust tips finished in Nickel Chrome. 
       
      The Durango SRT is also distinguished by new badging on the rear liftgate that denotes the new performance AWD system. 
       
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is available in 11 exterior colors, including Billet Clear Coat, Blu by Yu Pearl Coat, Bruiser Grey Clear Coat, Dark Black Clear Coat, Granite Clear Coat, Ocean Blue Pearl Coat, Octane Red Pearl Coat, Redline Pearl Coat, Sangria Metallica Clear Coat, White Knuckle Clear Coat and Vice White.  
      Safety and security
      The 2018 Dodge Durango offers consumers more than 60 available safety and security features, including standard all-speed traction control and ESC, which improve overall vehicle handling and performance both on- and off-road. Standard trailer-sway control enhances towing capabilities and keeps the vehicle and trailer aligned as the Durango travels down the road.
       
      Available safety and security features include forward collision warning with crash mitigation, adaptive cruise control with stop, Uconnect Access with 9-1-1 call and roadside assistance. Blind-spot Monitoring (BSM) and Rear Cross Path (RCP) detection, which aid drivers when changing lanes or in parking lot situations. In addition, standard front-row active head restraints, standard full-length three-row side-curtain air bags and standard front-seat-mounted side thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision. In total, Durango offers seven standard airbags.

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Dodge has gone mad in terms of power. Case in point is the 2018 Durango SRT that will be shown this week at the Chicago Auto show. 
      Under a new hood featuring a functional scoop is a 6.4L HEMI V8 producing 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. This is paired up with an eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. 0-60 mph is said to take 4.4 seconds and the quarter-mile takes 12.9 seconds. If you're interested, the Durango SRT is rated to tow a max of 8,600 pounds.
      The suspension gets revised springs, a stiffer rear sway bar, and adjustable dampers. Larger Brembo brakes are hidden by a set of 20-inch wheels finished in black. There will be the choice of two Pirelli tire choices. 
      Outside, the Durango SRT looks the part with a new front fascia with a reshaped grille, additional air vents, and a revised rear fascia with dual exhausts that have been tuned to sound like the Charger 392. The interior comes with six-passenger arrangement with heavily bolstered bucket seats for the front and second row. Optional will be a hand-stitched leather dash and carbon fiber trim.
      The Durango SRT will arrive during the fourth quarter of the year.
      Source: Dodge
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Dodge Unleashes New 2018 Dodge Durango SRT: America’s Fastest, Most Powerful and Most Capable Three-Row SUV

      "Dodge Charger of the Full-size SUV Segment" Will Be First Shown at 2017 Chicago Auto Show on February 9
      New 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is the most powerful three-row SUV with its 475-horsepower legendary 392-cubic-inch HEMI® V-8 engine Fastest and most capable three-row SUV with a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA)–certified quarter-mile time of 12.9 seconds and capable of 0-60 miles per hour (mph) acceleration in 4.4 seconds Durango SRT out-hauls every three-row SUV on the road with best-in-class towing capability of 8,600 pounds New exterior performance features include wide body exterior design and functional SRT hood with center air inlet duct flanked by heat extractors, as well as a new front fascia and lower valence to house new cold-air duct and LED fog lamps Standard leather and suede, available high-performance Demonic Red Laguna leather seating and new carbon-fiber trim distinguish Durango SRT’s performance interior All customers who buy a new Durango SRT will receive one full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving The new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT will start arriving in Dodge dealerships during fourth quarter 2017 February 7, 2017, CHICAGO - The Dodge and SRT brands are rocking the high-performance automotive world once again, bringing a huge burst of American power, acceleration and best-in-class tow capability to the three-row SUV segment with the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT – the fastest SUV in its class.
       
      With the proven 392-cubic-inch HEMI® V-8 under its new functional SRT hood, the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT delivers 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque, and a wicked fast time on the drag strip – from 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 4.4 seconds, covering the quarter mile in 12.9 seconds as certified by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).
      “The new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars Brands, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT – FCA North America. “This is what you get, when you take everything great about the Durango and combine it with the performance of the Charger SRT: a 12-second quarter mile, toy-hauling, three-row muscle car.”
       
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT will make its debut at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 9. Vehicles will start arriving in Dodge dealerships in the fourth quarter of 2017.
      The new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is loaded with performance features designed to make it America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV, including:
      Proven 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8 delivers 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque and 4.4 second 0-60 mph times New wide body exterior brings the Durango SRT together as a true performance SUV Newly designed SRT hood with a functional cold-air duct and heat extractors to cool the engine and improve overall performance Standard TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission specifically calibrated for the Dodge Durango SRT to optimize shift points and deliver maximum torque to all four wheels New driver-oriented electronic T-shifter, standard on all 2018 Durango models, provides the driver with intuitive gear selection and offers an Auto Stick selector gate for added control New SRT seven-mode drive system gives the driver the ability to precisely adjust drive settings to maximize performance or comfort New Sport Mode reduces shift times by up to 50 percent versus Auto Mode and delivers up to 65 percent of the 392 HEMI engine’s torque to the rear wheels New Track Mode delivers maximum performance track driving with 160-millisecond shifts and up to 70 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels for the most pronounced rear-wheel-drive experience New performance-tuned AWD system helps the Durango SRT set world-class performance marks Sophisticated Active Damping System opens and closes the Durango SRT’s suspension’s damper valves, according to which of the seven modes is chosen, giving the driver options for any driving style Stiffer front springs (3 percent), stiffer rear springs (16 percent) and stiffer rear sway bar (18 percent) give Durango SRT drivers outstanding high-speed cornering capability. New exhaust system tuned to offer an unmistakably deep, high-performance Dodge SRT exhaust note modeled after the Dodge Charger SRT Massive new Brembo high-performance six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) calipers and vented rotors at all four corners, measuring 15 inches (front-slotted) and 13.8 inches (rear) New Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde all-season tires or available Pirelli P Zero three-season tires New performance Laguna leather and carbon fiber trim offered for the first time in a Durango New interior appointments, including a hand-wrapped instrument panel with live silver accent stitch, SRT flat-bottom performance steering wheel with SRT paddle shifters, heated and ventilated front and heated second-row captain’s chairs with embossed SRT logos New 180-mph speedometer True carbon-fiber instrument panel and door bezels (late availability) Premium velour bound floor mats with embroidered SRT logo Suede-wrapped headliner and A pillars New SRT rear body-color lower fascia with Gloss Black accent surrounds the 4-inch dual round exhaust tips finished in Nickel Chrome New performance AWD badging on liftgate   Performance at its core
      For the first time ever, SRT power is now available in the Dodge Durango. The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is powered by the potent 392-cubic-inch HEMI V-8 engine with Fuel Saver Technology that delivers 475 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 470 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,300 rpm – providing America’s best horsepower and torque ratings and making the new Dodge Durango SRT the fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV.
      To keep the powertrain running cool and efficient in higher demand environments, a new cold-air duct provides cooler outside air into the engine. Testing has shown up to an 18-degree Fahrenheit improvement in intake air temperature, resulting in an engine that performs flawlessly on the street, racetrack or when towing a favorite trailer or toy. 
       
      Assuring maximum performance under extreme conditions, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT has been validated through rigorous 24-hour track durability testing – a testing standard that every SRT vehicle adheres to.
       
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT provides enhanced shift quality and performance drivability, as well as optimized fuel economy through its TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission. This proven transmission was specifically calibrated for the Dodge Durango SRT to optimize shift points and deliver maximum torque to all four wheels. For the ultimate driver-controlled experience, the transmission can be manually shifted using the performance-inspired steering wheel paddle controls on the exclusive SRT-lit flat-bottom steering wheel.
       
      The TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission takes into account variables, including engine torque gradients, kick-down events, longitudinal and lateral acceleration, grade changes, tire slip and downshift detection to determine the appropriate transmission shift map. The end result is a fully adaptable performance experience.
       
      Additional parameters integrated into the control strategy include vehicle speed control, electronic stability control interaction and temperature. The result is automatic shifting that is ideally attuned to the performance requirements of any performance-oriented driving demand.
       
      When the driver downshifts, the “rev match” function uses the engine controller to blip the throttle, which provides optimal transition between gears for improved performance and greater stability when downshifting at the traction limit.
       
      When placed in “Sport Mode,” the transmission reduces shift times by up to 50 percent versus Auto Mode and delivers 65 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels.
       
      Acceleration and performance handling are enhanced by transfer case proportioning and dynamic controls for the AWD system when the vehicle is in Track Mode. When in Track Mode, maximum performance track driving is achieved with 160-millisecond shifts and up to 70 percent of the engine’s torque delivered to the rear wheels for the most pronounced rear-wheel-drive experience. Durango SRT drivers will also notice a vehicle that is more responsive from mid-corner to exit.
      The new driver-oriented electronic T-shifter provides the driver with intuitive gear selection and offers an Auto Stick selector gate for added control. Drive and Sport shifting can be selected with no effect on the chosen suspension, stability control and driveline torque split settings.
       
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT features launch control, which mimics a professional driver’s inputs to optimize performance by bringing engine, transmission, driveline, stability control and suspension together for an optimal launch and consistent straight-line acceleration.
       
      The new exhaust system has been tuned to offer an unmistakably deep, high-performance note that is distinctive to Dodge/SRT and provides a lasting impression. To achieve this iconic exhaust tone, engineers have replaced the rear mufflers with resonators to increase overall sound level and improve tone of the true performance 2.75-inch dual exhaust system.
      Ride and handling
      The Dodge Durango SRT rides on a short- and long-arm (SLA) independent front suspension with coil springs, specially tuned Bilstein adaptive damping suspension (ADS), upper- and lower-control arms (“A” arms) and a stabilizer bar. Additional changes include 3 percent stiffer front springs, 16 percent stiffer rear springs and an 18 percent stiffer rear sway bar to provide Durango SRT drivers with outstanding high-speed cornering capability.
       
      In the rear, a specially tuned multi-link suspension design has coil spring, Bilstein ADS, aluminum lower control arm, independent upper links (tension and camber), plus a separate toe link, and a stabilizer bar.
       
      The 120-inch wheelbase allows for outstanding stability and consistency in high-speed cornering, while a new performance-tuned AWD system helps the Durango SRT set the world-class performance marks. 
       
      The Durango SRT also features the SRT seven-mode drive system, which provides the driver the ability to precisely adjust drive settings to maximize performance or comfort. Suspension, torque distribution, shift points, stability control and engine mapping are all controlled through this system. In addition to these parameters, suspension feel is controlled by a sophisticated Active Damping System that opens and closes the suspension’s damper valves according to the chosen drive mode, providing the driver with options for any driving style.
       
      The seven SRT drive modes include:
      Auto: activates automatically when starting the vehicle. Sets the suspension and steering to comfort setting and longer shift times for longer, relaxed driving conditions  Sport:  delivers increased vehicle performance capability over Auto Mode. Tightens up suspension damping and increased steering gradient feel for improved cornering response. In addition, shift speed increases 23 percent in 1-4 gears and electronic stability control (ESC) allows more yaw for spirited driving Track: delivers maximum vehicle performance capability on smooth, dry surfaces. Tightens up to full hard suspension damping and steering gradient feel for maximum cornering response. In addition, shift speed increases 50 percent in 1-4 gears from Auto mode and ESC allows maximum yaw Snow: sets ideal configuration for driving in snow by setting transmission to use second gear (rather than first gear) during launches to minimize wheel slippage; stability control is set to Full-on and AWD is set to 50/50 distribution Tow: sets ideal configuration to tow a trailer by using full stability control; AWD is set to 50/50 distribution and trailer sway control is enabled in the ESC system. In addition, the Active Noise Cancelation system is automatically engaged to reduce engine noise from the high-load towing condition   Valet: engine is remapped to mimic the Dodge Charger V-6 engine’s torque and horsepower settings; transmission locks out access to first gear and upshifts earlier than normal; traction, steering and suspension are set to their Auto settings; steering wheel paddle shifters are disabled; ESC is enabled to Full-on and launch control is disabled ECO: maximizes fuel economy with a revised shift schedule, second-gear starts and extended range of the Fuel Saver Technology Standard five-spoke 20-inch “Goliath” wheels with a new “Black Noise” finish ride on Pirelli 295/45ZR20 Scorpion Verde all-season tires or available Pirelli P Zero three-season tires. Available, 20-inch forged aluminum wheels feature a new split five-spoke design also featuring the “Black Noise” finish.
      Benchmark braking
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT delivers excellent braking performance, requiring an estimated 115 feet to come to a full stop from 60 mph. Credit belongs to massive new Brembo high-performance six-piston (front) and four-piston (rear) calipers, and vented rotors at all four corners measuring 15 inches (front-slotted) and 13.8 inches (rear).
       
      Aggressive, functional and luxurious inside and out 
      Along with its new ultimate performance capabilities, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT provides the same combination of uncompromised utility, advanced technology and aggressive styling its well known for.
       
      Inside the refreshed cabin of the Durango SRT, new appointments include a hand-wrapped dashboard with live silver accent stitch, SRT flat-bottom performance steering wheel with standard paddle shift, heated and ventilated front and heated second-row captain’s chairs with embossed SRT logos. Nappa leather with suede inserts and silver-stitched SRT logos are standard. Demonic Red Laguna leather interior with embossed SRT logos is optional.
       
      Other luxurious touches brought to Durango for the first time in the SRT model include new Light Black Chrome center stack, HVAC, full console and door handle bezels along with two choices of decorative bezels. Standard finish is Matte Reverse Chain, and for the first time on Durango a true carbon-fiber instrument panel and door bezels will be offered (late availability). Premium velour bound floor mats with embroidered SRT logo are standard. Adding to the impact of the hand-wrapped instrument panel, the headliner and A pillars are available in Dynamica suede. 
       
      A newly designed 7-inch, thin-film transistor (TFT) customizable digital instrument gauge cluster with 180-mph speedometer allows drivers to select from a multitude of layouts and information. The class-exclusive Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen media center houses the new SRT Performance Pages along with navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, HD radio, downloadable apps and 5-year trial of SiriusXM Travel Link and Traffic. The standard BeatsAudio premium sound system features nine speakers, subwoofer and 506-watt amplifier.
       
      On the exterior, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT carries a SRT hood with functional center air-inlet ducts flanked by heat extractors that help to keep the engine bay cool by removing hot air from the engine compartment. A new front fascia and lower valence house the new cold-air duct and LED fog lamps. This new unique look will also include the SRT-inspired grille mesh pattern finish.
       
      New integrated wheel flares and body-color side rocker panels help provide an aggressive stance. The “392” badges flanking each fender with Bright Chrome and Metallic Grey accents differentiate the ultimate performance Durango.
       
      At the rear, a new SRT rear body-color lower fascia with Gloss Black accent surrounds the 4-inch dual round exhaust tips finished in Nickel Chrome. 
       
      The Durango SRT is also distinguished by new badging on the rear liftgate that denotes the new performance AWD system. 
       
      The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is available in 11 exterior colors, including Billet Clear Coat, Blu by Yu Pearl Coat, Bruiser Grey Clear Coat, Dark Black Clear Coat, Granite Clear Coat, Ocean Blue Pearl Coat, Octane Red Pearl Coat, Redline Pearl Coat, Sangria Metallica Clear Coat, White Knuckle Clear Coat and Vice White.  
      Safety and security
      The 2018 Dodge Durango offers consumers more than 60 available safety and security features, including standard all-speed traction control and ESC, which improve overall vehicle handling and performance both on- and off-road. Standard trailer-sway control enhances towing capabilities and keeps the vehicle and trailer aligned as the Durango travels down the road.
       
      Available safety and security features include forward collision warning with crash mitigation, adaptive cruise control with stop, Uconnect Access with 9-1-1 call and roadside assistance. Blind-spot Monitoring (BSM) and Rear Cross Path (RCP) detection, which aid drivers when changing lanes or in parking lot situations. In addition, standard front-row active head restraints, standard full-length three-row side-curtain air bags and standard front-seat-mounted side thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision. In total, Durango offers seven standard airbags.
    • By William Maley
      The relaunch of Alfa Romeo has cost Fiat Chrysler Automobiles dearly. Speaking with analysts during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Sergio Marchionne said the relaunch cost "in excess" of 2.5 billion euros (about $2.7 billion) so far. Back in 2014, FCA said it would invest 5 billion euros through 2018 to relaunch Alfa, though the timeframe has been pushed back to 2020. Alfa Romeo has also been losing money and will continue to do so until the full benefit of the Giulia and Stelvio hit.
      To help curb costs, Marchionne told analysts that Alfa's Giorgio platform will be shared with other FCA brands; primarily Dodge, Jeep, and Maserati. 
      "The investment in Alfa Romeo and certainly the technical investment in the architecture was something that was designed to benefit more than Alfa. I'm happy that we have finally found clarity of thought in the extension of these architectures well beyond Alfa," said Marchionne.
      Marchionne said Giorgio would underpin "the whole Maserati development beyond 2018," along with large Jeeps and the next-generation of Dodge's rear-drive models. As we have we reported previously, Giorgio will underpin the next-generation Charger and Challenger. Automotive News learned from a source that the platform will underpin the next Journey and Durango crossovers, and possibly a new midsize sedan. No information was given about Jeep, but it seems the next-generation Grand Cherokee is a safe bet.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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