It's a three-row showdown of speed.
Yes, the SUV segment is growing by leaps and bounds in all directions. Still, three-row people movers aren’t typically the subject of side-by-side drag racing. The primary mission for these vehicles is to move more than five passengers, and while performance SUVs are certainly a thing, it’s typically relegated to the two-row variety.
The Dodge Durango SRT and Ford Explorer ST challenge that paradigm, and the folks at The Fast Lane Car took that challenge to Pageland Dragway in South Carolina for a side-by-side comparison. Actually, this is a side-by-side-by-side comparo, as a tweaked Explorer ST from 5 Star Tuning joined a stock version to battle the Durango. If comparing a stock Dodge to a modified Ford seems ridiculously unfair, you’re right. However, we do see method behind that madness. More on that in a bit.
First off, here’s what you need to know. The Dodge Durango SRT is the horsepower hero in this three-row showdown, at least in stock trim. Its 6.4-liter Hemi V8 doles out 475 horsepower (354 kilowatts) and 470 pound-feet (637 Newton-meters) of twist, compared to 400 hp (298 kW) and 415 lb-ft (637 Nm) from the Explorer’s twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6. It sounds like a stacked deck from the get-go, but the Explorer does have a 10-speed auto versus the 8-speed in the Dodge, so gearing could be better at this short 1/8-mile drag strip.
Also, the Explorer is no lightweight at around 4,700 pounds, but at nearly three tons the Durango is a veritable pig stuffed with extra ballast for good measure. Suddenly, that 75-hp Mopar advantage seems rather small.
Gallery: Ford Explorer ST Vs Dodge Durango SRT Drag Race
Who wins the stock showdown? The weight difference is significant, but so is the power and to that end, the Durango takes the prize. It’s relatively close, however; we’ll let the video show how close and instead toss the Blue Oval ringer into the mix. Specifically, it’s a second Explorer ST brandishing nothing more than an ECM tune, but it’s said to add no less than 100 hp and 155 lb-ft of twist to the wheels. There’s a catch though – it requires a special blend of 93 octane pump gas and E85 to create an E50 mixture. Ordinarily, we like to leave something to the imagination on videos like this, but let’s be realistic. If the stock ST was pretty close to the Durango, this modified example leaves it for dead. For. Dead.
We can already hear the Dodge faithful crying foul on this apples-to-oranges comparison, and you’re not wrong. However, we mention this because the Durango SRT starts at around $64,000 with destination included. Meanwhile, the Explorer ST is nearly $10,000 cheaper, and according to the video, the ECM tune is approximately $600. It would likely void any Ford warranty, but unbalanced comparison aside, this is tough to ignore if you’re seeking speed in a three-row SUV.