Some of the fastest and coolest cars came out of the 60s muscle car era, with the Pontiac GTO, Chevy Chevelle, and Ford Mustang dominating the scene. Dodge put out its fair share of muscle cars, producing an impressive fleet that included the Dart 426 Hemi, Coronet Super Bee, and Charger. Today, the Dodge Challenger is the only remaining model with an actual muscle car designation, having a body style and layout that upholds its iconic past.
In 1974, automakers moved away from building vehicles with big-block engines, embracing the changing times and making way for a new car class to end the muscle car wars. Now, 50 years later, Dodge plans to halt production of gas-powered Charger and Challenger vehicles by 2024, replacing them with electric models.
Despite having a catalog that was once more varied, the current Dodge lineup has now been cut and specialized into a brand that prioritizes American muscle once again. The Durango is attempting to join the Charger and Challenger categorization, but is the Dodge Durango a muscle car, or is it simply an SUV?
‘Muscle car attitude’
The 2022 Dodge Durango has an MSRP of $37,760, with a fully-loaded SRT 392 trim going for $70,555. Dodge boasts on its website that the SUV is “fast, loud & proud,” with the Durango SRT 392 being the “most capable American three-row SUV.”
The Durango offers three engine variants, including the naturally aspirated 6.4-liter HEMI V8 engine that can hit 0 to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 160 mph and 475 hp of pavement-pounding action. The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is equally impressive, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission to generate 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 boasts 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, with a fuel economy rating of 26 mpg highway.
The roomy SUV comfortably seats seven passengers, offering a multitude of seating configurations. With all seats folded, the Durango provides a cavernous 85.1 maximum cu-ft of cargo space. The 2022 Dodge Durango also has a class-leading towing capacity of up to 8,700 pounds.
According to Dodge Garage, the 2022 Durango will be available in a HEMI Orange color. Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand CEO, said, “The Durango has a muscle-car attitude, and the eye-catching HEMI Orange appearance embraces the Dodge performance DNA that is our foundation.”
Does the Durango have enough muscle?
CarFax describes muscle cars as “rear-wheel-drive, two-door American production cars that are equipped with a large V8 engine, wide tires, flared fenders, and large hood scoops.” Wonderopolis defines them as capable of traveling “in excess of 120 miles per hour” and going from “0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 10 seconds.”
Despite not having a two-door coupe build or engine size placement of previous muscle cars, the 2022 Dodge Durango certainly meets performance metrics. The modern four-door Dodge Charger sedan also does not meet the 1960s classification but is, without a doubt, a modern-day muscle car. So, is the Dodge Durango a muscle SUV?
Pamplin Media calls the Durango the “Muscle Car of SUVs,” saying it is “one of the few V8s today that can trace its heritage back to the Glory Days of early Detroit performance cars.”
The future of Dodge muscle cars
Dodge likes its muscle, as evidenced by its brief availability of the 2021 SRT Durango Hellcat model that offered 710 hp for even more performance and power, attempting to make the Durango fit better into the Dodge brand of muscle cars.
Consumer Reports says, “The Durango is a luxurious, refined, and functional SUV that rates near the top of its category.” The “smooth, effortless acceleration” from the Hemi® V8 is backed by a “nice exhaust burble” for muscle car performance traits. Car and Driver claim the “muscle car mystique” of the Durango shines in everyday use, managing to “deliver a comfortable ride, making it a family-friendly SUV that’s both fun to drive and easy to live with.”
Meanwhile, The Drive reported that the next-generation model of the Durango has been in its current form for the past decade and may be susceptible to significant changes as part of the upcoming “Dodge renaissance.” So, if you are looking for a muscle car with the comforts of an SUV, it may be a good time to check out the 2022 Dodge Durango.