Dodge Durango SRT. Photo: FCA

Over the long holiday weekend, my family and I were tooling around the New Hampshire Lakes region in a white Dodge Durango SRT with bright blue racing stripes and black wheels.

What they're saying: The consensus of family and friends: it's one of the ugliest cars they'd ever seen (though it's not hard to see that my family is not the target audience for this vehicle.)

  • The Durango SRT is a hot-rod version of a family-hauling SUV, with a 475-horsepower HEMI V-8 engine — maybe a way to appease Dad when Mom wants a minivan.

Driver assistance technology is an afterthought: You have to pay $2,395 extra to add adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning and lane departure warning.

One feature that really helps drivers but is often overlooked in any car are the headlights.

  • The Durango SRT's excellent automatic high-beams were a big help at night spotting deer and a bear on the winding backwoods roads.
  • They come with an auto-leveling system that adjusts the beams based on the pitch of the car and automatically dim when they detect an oncoming car.

The bottom line: At $76,645, however — the kind of money you'd spend on a Volvo equipped with more safety and driver-assistance technology — there are probably more practical choices than a tricked-out Durango.

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