Now in its third generation, the Dodge Durango is a three-row unibody SUV that shares its platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the last generation of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class. It stretches 202.1 inches long, 75.8 inches wide and 70.9 inches tall.
Up front, the Durango wears Dodge's signature crosshair grille and each trim level features its own mesh texture. The grille is slanted, giving the SUV an aggressive look that it shares with other members of the Dodge lineup and the Ram pickup family.
The SUV's back end is fitted with racetrack-style tail lamps inspired by the ones found on the Dart and the Charger. They made up of no less than 192 individual LED lamps.
Four-wheel independent suspension, a near 50/50 weight distribution and electro-hydraulic power steering create a sure-footed driving experience around both on and off the road.
The Durango boasts 17.2 cubic feet of trunk space with the third row of seats left up, 47.7 cubic feet with the third row removed and 84.5 cubic feet with the second and third row folded flat.
As mentioned earlier, the Durango offers three rows of seats that can be configured in a wide variety of ways, making it possible to go from carrying seven passengers to hauling a trunk-load of plywood in mere minutes.
All Durangos come standard with a seven-inch TFT screen mounted in the instrument cluster that can be fully customized by using buttons on the three-spoke multi-function steering wheel. SXT models come with a five-inch touch screen that lets the passengers control the audio, climate and phone functions.
Limited, R/T and Citadel models come standard with Chrysler's UConnect Access infotainment system. Generally considered one of the more user-friendly infotainment setups on the market, UConnect Access integrates most of the Durango's audio, navigation and climate control functions into one unit. An 8.4-inch touch screen mounted on the dashboard is the central component of the system, but buttons and knobs for climate and audio settings are also included.
UConnect Access features a voice command that allows the driver to place phone calls, use the sound system, input navigation destination and more without taking his or her hands off the wheel. Other notable aspects include the ability to function as a Wi-Fi hotspot over a 3G network - for an additional monthly fee - and downloadable applications such as Bing search, iHeartradio and Pandora.
Under the hood
SXT, Limited and Citadel Durangos are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 290 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. Rallye models benefit from a five-horsepower bump. The six-cylinder enables the SUV to tow up to 6,200 pounds.
R/T models can tow up to 7,400 pounds thanks to a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that churns out 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft. of torque. The V8 comes with cylinder deactivation system that cuts fuel to four of the cylinders when extra power is not needed, and with Chrysler's interactive deceleration fuel shut-off (IDFSO) which completely halts fuel delivery when coasting.
The V8 is available as an option on Limited and Citadel trim levels.
V6-powered Durangos come with 3-inch exhaust tips, while V8-powered versions feature larger 3.5-inch openings.
Regardless of what lies under the hood, all Durangos are equipped with a ZF-developed eight-speed automatic transmission that features shift paddles mounted behind the steering wheel. Two-wheel drive comes standard, and four-wheel drive is available at an extra cost on all models.
To save fuel, the Durango is offered with an Eco mode changes the throttle's settings and the transmission shift points. The Eco mode is turned on automatically when the engine is started up, and it can be disconnected by simply pushing a button on the center stack.
Trim level breakdown
The Durango is offered in five trim levels: SXT, Rallye, Limited, R/T and Citadel.
Billed as the entry-level trim, SXT comes standard with 18-inch wheels, a tri-zone temperature control setup, an overhead front console with LED reading lights and a six-speaker audio system. Cloth seats and a tilt steering wheel finish off the package.
Rallye packs all of the SXT goodies and adds dark-tinted headlight bezels, body-colored front and rear lower fascias and LED daytime running lights. Inside, Rallye models come with a black headliner, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a complimentary one-year subscription to SiriusXM Radio.
Limited features model-specific badges, power multifunction mirrors, Capri leather seats and a six-way adjustable passenger seat. Remote start, a tire pressure monitoring display, a Home Link universal transceiver and Park Sense rear park assist linked to a rear view camera are part of the deal. A vehicle security alarm is included for extra peace of mind.
Citadel is recognizable as the most luxurious trim thanks to 20-inch polished aluminum wheels and bi-xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights. The passengers are treated to black and tan two-tone leather seats, a one-year subscription to Sirius Travel Link and a premium Alpine audio system with nine seats. An eight-way adjustable passenger seat, a power tailgate, rain-sensing wipers and auto-dimming headlights wrap up the list.
The sport-oriented R/T trim packs HID lights and 20-inch black aluminum wheels and a suspension that is lower and stiffer than in the other models. Inside, R/T Durangos sport black seats with red accent stitching and a Beats by Dr. Dre audio system.
All models can be ordered with a CD player that takes the place of the storage compartment that is built into the front armrest.
The main options include second row captain's chairs, a second-row console that includes USB ports, a Blu-Ray rear entertainment system with flip-up nine-inch high-definition screens mounted in the front seatbacks and HDMI inputs. Several option bundles ranging from a towing package, a Mopar appearance package, skid plates and a tech group are also available.
SXT and Limited buyers who want the R/T's sporty look can opt for the Rallye Appearance Package. It adds monochromatic exterior trim, 20-inch hyper black aluminum wheels, dual exhaust pipes and black upholstery.
The Blacktop Package adds a gloss black radiator grille, 20-inch aluminum wheels, dual exhaust pipes and Blacktop-specific trim all around. The Blacktop Package is only offered on SXT, Limited and R/T models.
All Durangos include with electronic stability control, trailer-sway control, seven airbags and active head restraints up front.
A forward collision warning system with crash mitigation, an adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitoring (BSM) system and rear cross path (RCP) detection are available as options.
The Durango fights in the same arena as the Chevrolet Traverse, the Ford Explorer, the GMC Acadia, the Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander.