FCA readies another hot-rod SUV with Dodge Durango SRT

For consumers torn between an SUV and a muscle car, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has a new 475-hp solution.

At the Chicago Auto Show this week, the automaker is billing the Dodge Durango SRT as the world's most powerful three-row SUV, with a zero-to-60 miles per hour time of 4.4 seconds. The Durango SRT will join a hot-rod version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV already sold under the Street & Racing Technology line.

"This takes everything that's great about the Durango and everything that's awesome about the Charger SRT and puts it together in one bad-ass SUV," Tim Kuniskis, the head of the Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat brands for FCA North America, told reporters last week at a briefing in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Fiat Chrysler's addition of another high-performance SUV to the lineup reflects the auto industry's confidence that lower gasoline prices will help sustain booming demand for larger and less fuel-efficient models. Deliveries of light trucks, which also include pickups, exceeded 60 percent of the U.S. auto market last year for the first time ever, according to researcher Autodata Corp.

The Durango SRT will boast 8,600 pounds of towing capacity, exceeding any other full-size SUV, according to Fiat Chrysler. Buyers will receive a full day of instruction at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Arizona to learn proper handling of such a large and powerful vehicle, the company said.

You can reach Jamie Butters at jbutters@crain.com

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