By on February 26, 2016

2016 Dodge Durango Limited Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

There sure has been a lot of talk about crossovers around here lately, hasn’t there? Regardless of your opinion on owning a CUV, it’s hard to deny the functionality that a three-row CUV offers the business and/or pleasure rental customer. The ability to carry an entire sales team to a meeting, as well as some presentation materials and suitcases? Useful. The capability to take a family of five to the beach, including assorted coolers and pool toys? Valuable.

Therefore, gents, if you absolutely must have a crossover for your rental or personal needs, well, you might as well have the manliest damn crossover money can buy. That honor goes to the 2016 Dodge Durango. Ladies, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy the big D, too. Allow me to share my thoughts with you from the week I spent in the ATL with FCA’s entry in the hotly-contested three-row segment.

2016 Dodge Durango Limited Badge, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

If you’re anything like me (and really, who isn’t?), you probably have a hard time remembering what the hell all of the various Dodge trim levels mean. My Durango was of the Limited RWD variety, meaning that it sits squarely in the middle of the lineup — below the pimpin-pimpin’ Citadel and HEMI-powered R/T, but above the SXT and SXT Plus. Except for the R/T, all Durangos are gifted with FCA’s ubiquitous 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which dishes out an impressive 290 horsepower in this particular application. You also get the placidly smooth eight-speed 845RE automatic transmission in all non-R/T models, which helps make the Pentastar even more delightful to pilot.

Stepping up to the Limited gets you a whole host of upgrades, including the uConnect 8.4-inch touchscreen, standard leather-trimmed heated seats in the first and second rows, a rearview camera, and the option to add a DVD entertainment system for your offspring. You also get a blingy badge that says “LIMITED” because Dodge just doesn’t employ a single designer that desires understated details.

2016 Dodge Durango uConnect, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

The uConnect 8.4 is reason enough to bump up those monthly payments a bit. While it’s not particularly user-friendly for the rental customer trying to figure out exactly how to lower the headrests in the third-row seats, the interface moves quickly and smoothly through the various menus. Nearly everything that you’d want to control as the driver — from music to climate controls — is handled through the uConnect interface. The Durango will even recognize cold exterior and interior temperatures upon start-up and immediately offer you the option to turn on the heated driver and passenger seats, as well as the heated steering wheel. That’s a feature I appreciated greatly during the unseasonably cold Atlanta mornings.

2016 Dodge Durango Steering Wheel, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Inexplicably, directly behind that sizzling steering wheel, Dodge saw fit to place some utterly useless paddle shifters. While there is something satisfying about manually ripping through eight gears, I quickly decided that it was a pointless exercise. The 845RE was much better than I was at selecting the right gear, and I just felt stupid shifting gears in a crossover that weighs 4,838 pounds. Maybe there’s an application for towing or something? I don’t tow a lot, but the D is rated for max towing at 7,400 lbs, which is pretty goddamn impressive.

2016 Dodge Durango Front Seats, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Yet despite this formidable strength and rugged exterior appearance, the Durango is not entirely unpleasant inside. While I find the Durango to be subpar in comparison to the nicer interiors in the class (think Toyota Highlander), it’s not as bad as some would have you believe. The seating is comfortable and supportive, and there is more than enough head and shoulder room in both the first and second row. I didn’t spend any time in the third row, because it should be for children and emotional support dogs.

However, there are a few areas where the Durango falls short of expectations, and the first is in the visibility department. The fifth-generation Camaro is a virtual Willis Tower Skydeck in comparison to the Durango. As someone who is right around the same height as your typical Durango driver (which is to say, slightly taller than most women and Jalopnik writers), I found it impossible to put myself in a seating position that enabled me to see clearly and safely in all directions. Changing lanes was a complete crapshoot; I mostly hoped that other drivers could see me and gave them suitable time to avoid the black behemoth headed in their general direction.

2016 Dodge Durango Rear 3/4, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

The second issue is in the realm of fuel economy. In the relatively flat Atlanta metropolitan area, and even though I didn’t drive during rush hour traffic, I wasn’t able to coax more than 17 mpg out of the Dodge, and that’s with the horrifically invasive and earth-shaking start/stop technology enabled. It’s the worst fuel economy I’ve ever experienced in a crossover, period. Hell, I used to get similar fuel economy in a Honda Pilot … while towing a Honda S2000 CR on a trailer behind it. Dodge claims a class-leading 27 mpg, and I just can’t understand how anybody could possibly get that number without a Ram truck pulling it downhill with a tow strap.

That being said, from a driver’s perspective, the Durango Limited is the most engaging and powerful crossover you can get for the money. It even sounds powerful, with an exhaust note that matches its masculine presence. If you can actually see the gaps in traffic from the driver’s seat, the Durango can shoot any of them. While the Pentastar does the job, it made me lust a bit for the Hemi-powered R/T Durango, because everybody knows what Baron Acton said about power.

The Durango is the crossover for the guy who doesn’t really want a crossover. It manages to do what the Explorer couldn’t quite, which is make the transition from body-on-frame SUV to CUV while maintaining a muscular visage and muscular performance. The Durango Limited, equipped as my rental was with navigation and power liftgate, retails for $38,885. It looks more money than that, it drives more money than that, and it feels solid as hell. In this segment, I’ve always been in favor of Flex Uber Alles, but if you can only have one vehicle, I’d pick the D.

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188 Comments on “2016 Dodge Durango Limited RWD Rental Review...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So how much cargo room with the third row in place? Got to ask that – for a three row CUV it should be at a min three carry-on roller bags standing upright or the space is useless.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Looks pretty good, would definitely do those roller bags.

      https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/765×765/28/-1861409139-1425510561128.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        ***Breaking***
        For those who put a lot of stock into Consumer Reports as being a fair arbiter of road tests of commuter vehicles such as these (not to mention having the best sample set and methodology to measure statistical reliability), the Durango is again their TOP RATED LARGE SUV (beating many vehicles that cost much, much more), while the Nissan Armada is their worst.

        p.s. The Cadillac Escalade is their WORST RATED LUXURY LARGE SUV by a WIDE MARGIN.

        http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/new-cars/consumer-reports-2016-car-issue-top-ten-picks-most-and-least-reliable-and-road-test-standouts/

  • avatar

    Since Dodge is the “performance” division, why don’t they do a SRT and Hellcat version of the Durango, instead of, or in addition to the Grand Cherokee? Never understood this.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      Consider that stepping from SRT to Hellcat (JGC) is probably easier than leapfrogging from R/T to Hellcat (Durango).

      I can’t argue with your brand logic though.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      There is an SRT Durango in the works. 6.4L, AWD. I think I will have to pay money for that.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        According to the dealer meeting in Vegas, which is not exactly a product announcement. They also talked about a Dart GLH, which is obviously hogwash since Sergio announced the death of the CUSW cars.

        That said, a Durango SRT would finally give me a Hi-Po option that serves both my vanity and my large family. Too bad I’d still be relegated to purchasing one used about 5 years after launch, since my paycheck can only serve one of the two aforementioned needs. And I’ll give you a hint which one it is…

    • 0 avatar

      As a Dodge Charger Hellcat owner…and a recent purchaser of yet another Jeep SRT, let me just say that the 6.4-L makes sense for the Durango, while the Hellcat 6.2 doesn’t. First of all, the price would EASILY top $100,000.

      Many people wouldn’t ever pay $100,000 for a Dodge anything.

      #2 The Grand Cherokee doesn’t need the Hellcat either, but, because of AWD, it would vastly benefit from it so long as they could figure out a way to keep the engine from destroying the transmission on every launch.

      Driving a Hellcat in ice/snow is damn near impossible. Having it in a Jeep GC SRT means you’d be getting 9 MPG regularly regardless the terrain, regardless the situation. You MIGHT see 18mpg on the highway.

      Will Dodge do it? There are plenty of people who’d buy it, but how many could they sell realistically?

      The 6.4-L SRT Durango will do VERY WELL. SRT products don’t sit on dealer floors long here in NYC.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Many people wouldn’t ever pay $100,000 for a Dodge anything.”

        Just a few years ago no one would have believed Dodge could sell out of $70,000 Dodges. Anything can happen if you give people what they want.

  • avatar
    NoID

    Color me combative, but I really do question the pidgeonholing of the W-family (Durango, Grand Cherokee) into the CUV category. Sure, it’s unibody, but the base platform is still a longitudinal powertrain with a traditional 4×4 all wheel drive setup, coupled with actual ground clearance, fair to good off-road/trail chops, and towing capacities that creep into the light truck category.

    Can someone provide me TTAC’s working definition of CUV/crossover versus the bona fide SUV?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      For most (and for the simplicity of discussion and not have endless hairsplitting arguments) SUV is defined as BOF. That way when someone pops up to say “CUVs are unitbody pieces of crap” we can always point to the Durango and the Grand Cherokee and go – “Nuh uh.” :-)

      We could try to define it by the 6,000 GVWR that is used for a really stupid tax break but then we would find that the current Toyota Highlander actually qualifies for that Tax Break we think of as going to Suburbans and Escalades.

      • 0 avatar

        What he said.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        “That way when someone pops up to say “CUVs are unitbody pieces of crap” we can always point to the Durango and the Grand Cherokee and go – “Nuh uh.” :-)”

        http://www.truedelta.com/Jeep-Grand-Cherokee/reliability-144

        I don’t think being unitbody is the reason for the poor reliability, but the JGC certainly has other problems that will likely make them “pieces of crap” in the long term.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @Quentin… I was speaking of commenter HUMMER who believes that anything that isn’t BOF and has a big block engine along with true 4×4 is a piece of crap, even if it is Lexus reliable.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Where did that idea come from?
            I just don’t care to hear someone compare a SUV to a CUV, or a pine tree to a taco for that matter.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I’m basing it off of past comment threads. You’ve lamented RAM going to an AUTO 4×4 system, you’ve lamented the Suburban/Tahoe/Yukon loosing their massive chrome easily removable and replaceable bumpers…

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I dare say I understand what your getting at, the Ram clutch driven 4×4 is false advertising that can mean lost income or time, FCA should be in court for that scam. At least GM isn’t hiding the unsavory cheapening of their product. But again, none of this has to do with crossovers.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            So, this begs the question: What’s the difference between a pine tree and a taco?

            A: You can’t hang a tire swing from a taco, and a pine tree won’t fit through the drive-thru window.

            (Feel free to contribute your own punch lines, which will likely be much better than mine.)

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Actually, if you had a drive-thru Christmas tree farm, the second could be plausible.

            What’s the difference between a pine tree and a taco? Respighi didn’t write a symphonic poem called “Tacos of Rome.”

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I don’t think you’re combative, NoID; it’s a fair question. I have never seen a definitive dividing line between SUV and CUV. My sense is that marketers use the term that suits their needs.

      I’m not really sure why it matters. Plenty of ‘crossovers’ do just fine off road, better than some SUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “A crossover or crossover utility vehicle (CUV), is a vehicle built on a car platform and combining, in highly variable degrees, features of a sport utility vehicle (SUV) with features from a passenger vehicle, especially those of a station wagon or hatchback.”

        “A “sport utility vehicle” is “a rugged automotive vehicle similar to a station wagon but built on a light-truck chassis”.”
        ——————————————
        The differential is pickup based chassis versus car based chassis.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          Wow.

          Thought CUV was “compact” utility vehicle!
          And became “cute ” to those who really disliked them.

          Really thought it was a class difference.

          And BOF was the difference between real SUVs and crossovers..

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I can’t seem to find my combative crayon, maybe its a new color?

      Real off-road capability
      Real towing capability
      Real 4×4 which can be toggled on or off
      Longitudinal drive-train

      I think that covers it.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Define ‘real’

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Open for definition. Start with whatever the GMT800/Ford T1 trucks can do and measure against them.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            OK, but aren’t towing capacity and off road capability really just marketing numbers? Unless we keep it simple as “BOF”, we’ll find that running vehicles like the BMW X5 against them reveals some oddly defined SUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            Towing/hauling capacity are often at odds with off road ability. One version of the Raptor has a 900lb payload capacity but it is very offroad worthy. Your best tow vehicles have a long wheelbase and that is not good for off road because the breakover angles are terrible.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The problem with saying “BOF” is the quintessential SUV, XJ Cherokee, was unibody. Now does something like GMT800/900 have better towing capacity? Probably, but no one questions an XJ Cherokee’s off road prowess. I think its the fact you could tow something, actually go offroad, and DIY service it which sets XJ Cherokee apart from its Fiat sourced replacement grandchild. Generally speaking the CUV gives you all of the negatives of transverse FWD with none of the benefits of a true 4×4, there really is no good reason to own one if SUV/truck capability is on your list.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            28 cars the XJ/ZJ/WJ Jeeps are definitely what stand out in my mind as “what do you mean it isn’t an SUV” when someone tries to define SUVs as BOF-equipped. They had solid front axles for crying out loud! Another rugged standout is the Lada Niva, arguably the first vehicle of its kind back in 1977: fulltime 4wd with a comfortable IFS/solid rear axle sort-of car based suspension, with good clearance and a locking center diff and low range transfer case.

            I will also make the argument that even some of the original “soft roaders” like the gen 1 Rav4 should be given honorary SUV status despite their FWD-basis. A stock Rav4 with the optional rear LSD and center diff lock will run circles around this Durango offroad, so would something like a Jeep Patriot, especially with the Freedom Drive II option package checked. Most Durangos will have the lame duck single speed AWD configured, only the Hemis get a true 2 speed transfer case.

            So it’s not necessarily offroad capability, it’s not being BOF or having been derived from a pickup truck… what does that even leave?

            I think the form factor has something to do with it: longer hood, not too ‘van-ish,’ some pretense at at least one area of traditional SUV strengths: towing or offroading, but perhaps not always both. BOF automatically shuttles it into the SUV category, but lack of BOF does not exclude it. How’s that for a definition?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            The problem with calling the unibody SFA+SRA grand Cherokee an SUV, is that it still possesses the same downfalls of a traditional crossover. The bodily crack/stress damage on the uniframe is well documented and usually band-aided. Removing the doors and putting the body in stress is known to cause the door alignment to be lost and unfixable. These aren’t problems with BOF vehicles that don’t put as much stress on the cab and can be easily modified.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Hummer, the power train in the Grand Cherokee is positioned length-wise, traditionally like an SUV.

            CUV powertrains are based on FWD sedan-pans and mounted cross-wise.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            I realize how the drivetrain is oriented, so far I’ve yet to find a vehicle that tricked me on that distinction. But that doesn’t change anything in my comment about the stress on the uniframe.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I understand. And bolting a 5.7L or 6.4L V8 power module to that unibody pan no doubt presented a challenge since stresses would not be contained by a frame, but spread over the entire unibody instead.

          • 0 avatar

            Hummer there is truth that the unibodys jeeps have issues but really no more then many other vehicles. Older GM’s crack the frame at the power steering box. Your lucky to close the door on a lifted ford from the 70’s or 80’s on anything other then a level parking lot. My toyota pickup bent a frame cross member under the bed articulated over a boulder in a small river.

            I wheeled a XJ cherokee with a 4″ lift for several years never had any real issues that would make me buy body on frame over one.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        “Real 4×4 which can be toggled on or off”

        Not sure about that one.

        By your definition, an automatic FJ Cruiser is an SUV, but a manual FJ isn’t, because it has full-time 4WD (and locking diffs and a low range). That’s splitting hairs.

        The Land Rover LR4 also gets disqualified on this technicality, as do the to bigger Range Rovers.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree its tough to define. I should be able to switch it on an off because running all four wheels all the time simply wastes gas and is unnecessary. Land Rover not offering this feature is lazy on their part.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            They use a Torsen center diff, which doesn’t waste much gas, or wear-out very fast. I’m not sure about calling them lazy for using more a expensive, and proven-reliable technology. If anything, companies that offer part-time 4WD to save a few bucks are lazy.

            The other question that your rules raise is “what do we call 2WD versions of SUVs?” Are they wagons?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            28 & HH, this full-time 4×4 system used in this and other Fiatsler products only delivers twist to the front wheels when the rear wheels overtake it in rotation.

            Fiastler has several 4×4 systems, some that can be electronically shut off, like the SelectTracII we had in our 2012 Grand Cherokee. Ref: QuadraDrive I and II, QuadraTrac I & II.

            The one in this Durango is the same one as in the JGC SRT8. It only powers the front wheels when the rear wheels slip.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            HDC, we were discussing full-time Torsen center diffs, as used on manual FJ Cruisers, and on most Land Rover products.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I read the thread and MY understanding is that this Quadra-DriveI system is based off the Torsen system developed decades ago by Volvo, IIRC.

            I could be wrong. Feel free to correct me. I won’t be offended.

            My interpretation of automotive history is that the mother of all 4-wheel drive systems was developed by the Overland Jeep Company and used in WWII-era Jeeps, regardless of manufacturer.

            Everything else, including the Torsen system, was basically a refinement and improvement thereof.

            Tangentially related was Rolls-Royce refinement of GM’s THM350, an improvement of the original.

            Maybe I should have expounded before jumping in. But it is an excellent thread, compelling me to comment.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            HDC, I agree, it’s a good thread.

            From what I can tell, both generations of Jeep’s Quadra Drive use clutches. The beauty of Torsen diffs is that they use gears. This also leads to their down-side: they are very expensive to manufacture.

            The basic principle is simple: some gears transfer torque better in one direction than the other. In a worm gear, the screw can turn the wheel, but the wheel has a harder time turning the screw. This feature is used to limit the torque split between the two differential output shafts.

          • 0 avatar
            NoID

            @highdesertcat:

            You are incorrect, the system used on the JGC SRT does not default to 2WD. It is a permanent split, active system in SRT guise.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            NoID, we have both a 2012 SRT8 and a 2012 Overland Summit in our family, now both owned by our grand daughter since she got married in Jun 2015.

            The SRT8 belonged to her dad, my #1 son. The Overland Summit belonged to my wife, her grand mother.

            The newly weds needed wheels. That’s what we gave them. Used cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @HH

            That’s a good question, I’m not sure. I suppose you could make the requirement a RWD or 4WD one.

            I’m not terribly familiar with Land Rover technology, but the whole point of 4×4 is that it is part time because there is no need to spin four wheels continually. If Land Rover wants to offer me something better, great, but I still want the option to turn it off because luxury -to me- is having options.

          • 0 avatar
            NoID

            HDC, I can assure you that the SRT8 Grand Cherokee has a full time system.

            Owning something doesn’t necessarily mean you know how it works. Case in point, this newfangled computerizer I’m typing on right now…I push buttons, electrons fly about, and just like magic my opinions pop up on the screen. That’s about as deep as my understanding goes in that respect.

            But I absolutely know how the AWD system on the JGC SRT works. We’ll just leave it at that…

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            NoID, I know the SRT8 has a full-time system. It has the QuadraDriveI system.

          • 0 avatar
            NoID

            I guess I misinterpreted your comment above, where you said that the Durango and the SRT8 have the same AWD system that only powers the front wheels when the rear wheels slip.

            No harm, no foul.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Our Overland Summit had the QuadraTracII system and was rated Trail Ready.

            That little round knob on the center console allowed a selection of several drive modes.

            There was so much flexibility in the QuadraTracII system, most of which we never used since we left it on “Auto”.

            Jeep Grand Cherokee offers 4 different types of 4×4 systems in addition to the RWD-only system.

            I don’t know if Dodge Durango offers the same 5 drive systems.

            If you Google QuadraDrive there is a nifty video on how the system works, (I use DuckDuckGo).

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          When I was looking for definitions I found this from wheels.ca
          SUV OR CUV?
          “It can be confusing, because manufacturers use terms as it suits them”

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “It can be confusing, because manufacturers use terms as it suits them”

            This right here. Let’s not read too much into this. Case: Ford markets the Escape as an SUV.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            danio3834 – true. I buy based upon what I need/want as opposed to vehicle class designation.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        28-Cars-Later, to me the defining feature of a SUV vs. a CUV is that a SUV is built from the RWD truck parts bin. The pickup truck based Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe are 100% SUV even though many are sold without 4×4 or off-road capability. What the Suburban and Tahoe have is the ability to tow just about anything a full size half-ton pickup truck can tow all day long without destroying the automatic transmission. In contrast, a FWD CUV built from the car parts bin, especially the automatic transmission, can’t survive truck levels of abuse while towing. That and sometimes FWD vehicles have difficulty pulling a boat out of the lake and up the boat ramp.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          @George

          This isn’t entirely true as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and current Dodge Durango are not parts bin vehicles. The previous Durangos were but the previous JGC rode on dedicated platforms.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            28-Cars-Later, my thought is if a unibody vehicle gets a longitudinal engine and transmission primarily used in trucks, can haul heavy cargo, and can tow all day long without destroying itself, it’s a SUV.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          George B – agree. The “pure” definition is light pickup based or car based platform.

          • 0 avatar

            But what do you call vehicles on their own platform neither car or truck based.
            Jeep Wrangler?
            MB GL
            Land Cruiser
            Or the subject Durango for that matter.

        • 0 avatar
          OzCop

          I purchased a new CUV Durango when they first appeared in 2011…Citadel, AWD, with Hemi and tow package. Without a doubt, one of the best tow vehicles I ever owned with the exception of my Duramax diesel 2500. The tow package included load leveling suspension in the rear, and I could connect my Feather Lite open car trailer to it and haul my C6 Corvette anywere without issue…granted, it got only 15 or 16mpg towing, but it would tow the load very well without the tranny hunting and pecking to find the right gear. I made several trips between central KY and DFW, not towing, and averaged 22 mpg overall in both directions…not bad for a hemi, AWD vehicle. I kept it 3.5 years and wanted to get a new 2015 model of the same type with the 8 speed tranny. I searched the DFW area dealerships for two months and was not able to find one that had it all. I could find various combinations, but very few hemi models, except for the RT, but the RT’s did not have a tow pkg…the option was available through order, but no one had one. I finally settled for a Longhorn model 1500 AWD…I don’t know what kind of mileage the 8 speed Durango would have pulled, but I have gotten as much as 24mpg from the Ram on several trips, the most recent from DFW to Lincoln, NE and back…I will buy another Durango if it is still available when I finish with the Ram..

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        And the towing is hindered by the unwanted reaction the rear suspension creates under load, that can cause stability issues and excessive suspension + tire wear.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      traditional 4×4 all wheel drive setup ->low range available only on the V8s
      coupled with actual ground clearance -> Nope.
      Fair to good off-road/trail chops -> Nope.
      towing capacities that creep into the light truck category-> Yes.

      At the end of the day I’d be inclined to call it an SUV for the form factor and longitudinal layout that gives it such good towing numbers. But it is absolutely hopeless in terms of offroad capability compared to the gen 1 trucks and even the bulbous gen 2.

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        In my defense, I said “Fair to good.” off-road capability. I didn’t say we should slap a Trail Rated badge on it.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I’d never call it ‘good,’ more like poor to fair perhaps.

          linkhttp://www.fourwheeler.com/vehicle-reviews/1402-2014-four-wheeler-of-the-year/

          “We had to devise a ramp to get the Durango on the RTI ramp without damaging the air dam due to the rig’s low 16.3-degree approach angle. The Durango climbed 18.5 inches up the RTI ramp, which earned it a lowly score of 154 points.”

          “When we first looked at the Durango’s specifcations it was clear that it would be at a disadvantage off-road. With low approach, departure, and break over angles, as well as low ground clearance, we figured we’d be strapping it over and through obstacles. Compounding our worries was that there were no front tow hooks and the rear hitch was covered by a removable panel. All of this could combine to create lengthy recoveries. Lucky for us, the Durango never got stuck, though sometimes we had to be creative to keep it moving. In the sand and silt the low front air dam acted like a plow and in the rocks we had to choose our line carefully to avoid damage. Our testers decent 39.6:1 crawl ratio helped to make slow-speed wheeling more predictable. When we polled the judges on their thoughts about off-roading the Durango, one judge noted that the suspension worked well in the dirt, but stated the obvious by saying the vehicle “just needs more ground clearance.” Another questioned whether the electronic traction control was working as the vehicle sat planted and spun its tires.”

          I’d like to see a Durango go head to head with something like a Forester or Crosstrek XV, I think my money would be on the Subies.

      • 0 avatar
        Driver8

        You could also go by what it is not: a raised FWD hatchback with the AWD tacked on.

    • 0 avatar
      ezeolla

      I personally think the SUV/Crossover divide comes down to two things. Does it share its platform/chassis with a car? Does it have a transverse engine? If you can answer yes to either, then it is a crossover

      So I consider the Grand Cherokee and Durango SUVs. This also allows the XJ Cherokee to be an SUV and not a crossover

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I know it when I see it?

      Seriously though, I am always confused as the where the line is. I generally use size and drivetrain, but that’s just my laymans version.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        I think we are trying to draw a false distinction. Criteria to define an SUV vs. a CUV will not allow you to characterize which vehicles are masculine and which are feminine.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      Its hard to define an SUV versus a crossover. I think one of the easiest is

      CUV – shares its platform with a car or minivan.

      SUV – purpose built platform or shared with a BOF pickup truck.

      I don’t think any specific 4×4 system is a requirement, after all nobody would say a 2WD Tahoe or 4-runner isn’t an SUV. My preference is for a part time 4×4 (settings for 2HI, 4HI, 4LO, and no center diff).

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Frylock350 – Up to 2011 4×2 and 4×4 SUV’s counted as light trucks. It appears that after that only 4×4’s count as a light truck.

        The regulations are confusing because there are different classifications for each based upon emissions, fuel economy rules, and safety regulations. Add to that the fact that local licensing and traffic enforcement regulations vary from state to state.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    But could a real man drive this CUV?

    Apparently so!

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I’ve heard DeadWeight make some totally Norm-like claims about the fuel economy of these rigs on here before (something like 26 mpg while cruising at 80mph), so it’s nice to hear some actual numbers that are more grounded in reality. Given it’s big cross section and blunt nose, and enormous weight, what did anyone expect?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’ve gotten these a lot, including one for an 8 day bro-cation (with 3 friends and a mix of work & recreation), and 31 mpg was accomplished on long stretches of Henderson, NV and AZ highways cruising between 75 and 78 (economy dipped a bit when going over 80) – and that was a. AWD V6.

      I helped an in-law into one of these in AWD w/the V6 (2014, first year with 8 speed and redesigned interior), and her lifetime average is 19 mpg over a so-far 32,000 or 33,000 mile service span.

      Bark did not do a very thorough job discussing how almost unbelievably quiet the interior is on these at even high speeds, how road noise is pretty much absent, how the suspension smothers nearly every road imperfection, how the body/frame of the Durango has – by far – the best rigidity of any large SUV out there (I’ve driven many, and the Durango, based on the same architecture as the Mercedes GLK, is as solid as flex/twist/creak free as a bank vault).

      This vehicle is best in class, and this is even more impressive given that it’s superior to large SUV competitors in interior comfort and driving/motor/suspension/refinement characteristics that cost much, much more.

      Very poor and INCOMPLETE review, Bark.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        But YOUR review is incomplete, eschewing as it does any mention of the atrocious, faux-Pontiac orange instrument gauge cluster.

        You’re slipping, DW!

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          The gauge cluster is modern, highly readable, and actually a bit better than many competitors as the toggle function allows for a quick way to get to a pre-structured one that will give 95% of drivers all the info they specifically care about on one screen.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          FCA buyers like brashness, red/orange, and being a bit tacky. The designers know this well.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Even though Cadillac ATSs and CTSs are supposed to be BMW hunters (only GM, if anyone, knows what a XTS is supposed to beP, and the Durango is a large SUV:

            Cadillac BMW Killers: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/12/review-2014-cadillac-cts-2-0t-with-video/2013-cadillac-ats-3-6-awd-010-2/

            Dodge Durango: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/0142.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          To more accurate, I should’ve written that “[t]his review is poor BECAUSE it is INCOMPLETE in terms of specific (but important) details, *IMO*.

          Someone like Jack will figure out that these (along with others in this class) are the new, American luxury vehicles, just like JdN fell down and broke his pride when finally realizing that the Escalade is Cadillac’s only raison d’être.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Deadweight’s wrath has been invoked! Must we burn an effigy of Johan de Nysschen to calm thy rage, or is it sufficient to humbly point out that this review was largely positive and ended with this note:

        “It looks more money than that, it drives more money than that, and it feels solid as hell. In this segment, I’ve always been in favor of Flex Uber Alles, but if you can only have one vehicle, I’d pick the D.”

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        The Durango is one hell of an SUV! However its interior is a bit cramped compared to a Suburban or Expedition or a full-size crew cab truck (which its priced competitively with). What the Durango really neads it like 5″ of additional width; then it’d be perfect.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      So not only can they get 31 mpg at a steady 75+ mph, that Pentastar with, like, 260-270 lb./ft. of torque really moves this 4,800+ baby with authority.

      It’s going to Make FCA So Great Again that you won’t even believe it. You’re going to get sick of how great it is…

      Right now Edmunds is testing a 9-speed Pilot, with a powertrain very similar to the Durango’s, but weighing over 500 lb. less, and with just over 8000 miles on it the Pilot has done a best-tank-fill of 25.8 mpg, with just the driver inside and sticking “religiously” to the posted speed limits.

      Whatever their other faults, Hondas generally lead vehicle classes in fuel economy.

      Now that FCA has discovered the secret of perpetual motion, we should expect them to improve their market share.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Let me put it to you this way:

        I’ve personally observed in the 30s while on flat highways. This was not a long-term average over dozens or hundreds of miles, but I would bet that if I were even SEMI (not fully) OCD/fuel-economy anal, I could get a steady HIGH 20s to 30 mpg average on a flat-terrain, highway jaunt at 75mph over 60 miles or so, in a Durango with the 8 speed trans and AWD (which the tested vehicle lacked, btw), BECAUSE I’VE DONE IT.

        Driving like I don’t care yields 25mpg all day long on the freeway at 80+.

        The Durango, contrary to Bark’s one-off anecdote, is like a Prius compared to an Escalade, Tahoe, Armada (those pigs are lucky to get 12 mpg under the same conditions and I’ve gotten them 3 times in Vegas), or many other large SUVs.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          LoL nice try on the Tahoe. So the Durango gets over 30 on the highway but the current Tahoe can only muster 12. Not only does that differ from every test I have read but also our own experiences. That FCA Kool-aid must be really strong stuff!

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        He did say he was in the Soutwest… perhaps near Area 51? IE Norm’s stomping grounds.

        It all makes sense now. NormSV650 had the Durango hooked up behind his turbo Saab and was towing it (achieving 40mpg in the process).

        *Dons tinfoil hat*

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          DeadWeight –
          “I’ve personally observed in the 30s while on flat highways.”

          Question:

          Is that based off the vehicle’s dash display?

          There is a reason why people refer to the onboard mpg display as “Lie-O-meters”.

          I can honestly say I’ve seen 30 mpg on the display on my 5.4 powered F150 SuperCrew with 10 ply all terrains.

          The math at the gas station tells a completely different story.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Torque isn’t as big a deal as it used to be in the days of 3-speed transmissions. An 8-speed can keep you near the torque peak over a much wider range of ground speed. Used to be you needed big-block torque because the gears were so far apart.

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        Edmunds tests their cars in SoCal, and seem to underachieve in MPGs except for hybrids of course.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          This was a highway and farm road trip. So 65 on the highways and 50-60 on the farm roads. He said he was practically hypermiling.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Hey Fordson, guess what?

            The Pilot is a pig, and surprisingly, many Japanese large V6 & V8 (especially) SUVs are andnhistorically have been.

            I’ll go further; Dodge/Chrysler are at the top of fuel economy chart in large vehicles with their V6 Pentastar/8 speed transmission pairing, and I can’t think of a single large, Japanese SUV with anywhere near the size, cargo room, power, etc., that can even come within 20% of them in terms of fuel economy (especially highway).

            Pilot = pig
            Armada = pig
            4runner = Pig
            Highlander = pig
            Landcruiser = Pig

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I’ll take a hit on mpg before I’ll take a hit on durability ratings.

            The FCA lineup isn’t going to save me enough gas money to offset the increased cost of repairs.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Sorry DW but physics are calling your bluff.

            What about the Durango allow it to escape basic principles of physics? It is at least 400lb (and up) heavier than the Pilot, I can’t imagine its aerodynamics being any better. The EPA estimates seem to reflect this, with the 2016 Pilot edging out the Durango in city and highway mpg slightly. I don’t know if the onboard computer is simply extremely optimistic or what. Like I mentioned in the beginning, your claims are taking on Norm-like levels of absurdity.

            A 5000lb gas SUV getting 31 mpg at 75 mph? Just sit there and think about that for a bit.

            Your relative’s lifetime average of 19mpg is much more believable, again throw in some overly optimistic calculation by the car’s onboard computer and we’re in the realm of reality.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            DW is the New Norm-al. Ha a pun!

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      I have a 2015 Grand Cherokee Overland V6 with more than 20k miles on it and I have yet to crack 20 mpg on the highway. BTW, 90% of those miles are highway miles too.

    • 0 avatar

      On fuelly the hemi is about 18mpg and the v6 about 21 mpg.

  • avatar
    01 Deville

    “Ladies, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy the big D”

    Intentional, no?

  • avatar
    JimZ

    in “defense” of the interior, it hasn’t been meaningfully updated since 2011 apart from the steering wheel and putting the big screen in the center stack. It’s in dire need of a refresh, but apparently Alfa Romeo is more important.

    if you can find one, I recommend you sit in a previous-gen Durango (2005-2009) with the gray interior. It’s so miserable and depressing that within 5 minutes you’ll comb your hair over your face and sit in the corner cutting yourself while listening to Bring Me The Horizon.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yo ho, maties!

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The interior is fine, and ore than class competitive with Honda, Nissan or Toyota’s players in this space (even Toyota & Nissan ones that cost way more aren’t in any way special or premium feeling – quite the opposite).

      A Limited V6 AWD with the 2nd row captain chairs is by far the most capability AND refinement offered in this segment for anything near the $$$ or even quite a bit more $.

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        Agree with you on this one. I went shopping for a new tow vehicle in 2014 and was surprised at how mediocre the interiors were in the $30-40k price class. The Durango was great from a capability and driving standpoint, but only the Grand Cherokee stood out for interior quality/design.

        I’d been hoping to negotiate down below $30k, new, for something that had >7200lb towing capacity and was nice enough for daily-driver use. Not possible, as it turns out. Ended up fixing the electrical glitches on our old GMC Envoy. Not a cheap repair, but cheaper than a new truck. If/when the Envoy fails catastrophically, I’ll definitely look at used Durangos but would most likely go for a GMT900 Tahoe or Suburban.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      My issue with the Durango (like the 300) has always been how they age. Not well, not well at all. Couple years go by and they get ratty.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I know the late Daimler-era Chryslers were bad about that, AFAIK they costed out a lot of the UV stabilization in the trim so it degraded fairly rapidly. it’s why nearly every JR Sebring out there has a grille which has faded to a light gray. I’d hope the FCA-era products are better.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I know I’ve seen 2011+ restyle 300s looking pretty rat, and a Durango or two though they are fairly uncommon here in Ohio. The new 200 isn’t old enough yet, and I won’t put it up against the final version old 200 or Avenger because that’s not fair.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Oh, AND Ajla has an FCA Charger and it has been an awful mess of build quality and reliability and he hates it.

      • 0 avatar
        energetik9

        “My issue with the Durango (like the 300) has always been how they age. Not well, not well at all. Couple years go by and they get ratty.”

        Concur on that one. Not sure where to pin it though. Materials and build?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I drove a Citadel yesterday and could find nothing objectionable about the interior at all. Even compared to the “best” in the class.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    One thing I never understood about Dodges…what is it with the gauge clusters? They look like the scoreboard on “American Gladiators”.

    On Chryslers, it’s the weird blue glow, like Loki’s scepter.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Well, if you want to retain some butch image, compromise fewer manly virtues on your crossover purchase, and have a studly company name on the tailgate, Durango is your huckleberry. It appears lower, longer, meaner than some others like the Traverse or Pilot that look like they were overinflated by 20psi or so. But the Pilot will blow the doors off this Durango from the stoplight.

    I am genuinely glad I don’t need a vehicle this large or even a third row, because aside from the 3.5 Ecoboost Flex or maybe R/T version of the D, I find this class both boring and rather expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      True, and if you’re looking for a crossover not based on a FWD sedan, it just gets pricier from here. Next step up would be a Mercedes ML or BMW X5 if I’m not mistaken.

      In that light the Durango is probably something of a bargain, particularly if you buy it lightly used (assuming you’re ballsy enough to buy a used FCA product).

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Used yep, the value falls right off a cliff on these. They are widely available with quite low mileage.

        They are generally an OK value for this size of vehicle, assuming you can deal with the potential of poor reliability later and the V8-like fuel economy.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          These with the two package and AWD hold their value surprisingly well in Michigan.

          There are few vehicles offering this level of refinement, solidity, all-weather traction, interior/cargo space and towing capability anywhere near the Durango’s price that can do what it does as well as it does in Boat & Great Lake Country.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ha, I think Michigan is almost like an exemption from the normal US market. People buy lots of Durangos, and MKTs. The cars are made there so there are more American brands on the road. Special deals abound. And the state contains Detroit, an arbiter of good automotive taste.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            it is. If you just looked at SE Michigan and assumed it was representative of the country as a whole, you’d think the Detroit 3 had 90% marketshare. in L.A. you can usually assume a domestic car which isn’t an Escalade is a rental.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I obviously meant “tow” and not “two” package (or “tupac” package) above, which you you understood.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I always tell people who don’t travel intra-country that if you’re in the Midwest (especially MI, OH, IN, IL, WI, MN), and you’re on a freeway, every 6 to 8 vehicles will be domestic (at least the badge will represent an alleged made-in-U.S. brand).

            But if you’re almost anywhere else, and especially out west (CA, WA, AZ, NM, OR, UT, CO, etc.) or the eastern coast, or almost anywhere else, just the opposite is true.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I don’t doubt it’s a good vehicle, but I think a lot of people have trouble spending that kind of money for a Dodge that isn’t a Muscle/Performance vehicle. A Jeep, sure. But a Dodge? No way.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      That really is it.

      If you aren’t looking for mini-van comparable space, why would I pick this over a Grand Cherokee? I wouldn’t. I sure don’t see numbers in any significance driving around.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        The main advantage is that the price of the Dodge Durango is low relative to the Jeep and Mercedes vehicles built on the same platform. Sharing the platform with higher brands forces levels of refinement and attention to detail that the lower brand doesn’t normally achieve while the lower brand badge forces a discount price.

  • avatar
    chaunceyjb

    I do use the paddle shifters a fair amount when driving my daugher’s Durango. The top gear is really only usuable at higher speeds, and with so many gears, it tends to hunt and peck at slower speeds, in hills, into a headwind or pulling a load. So the paddle shifters are an easy way to keep it in a gear that fits the environment.

    Beyond that, I would say the Durango is a top notch vehicle. I particularly like the technology package with the accident avoidance and adaptive cruise. Although that may only be available on the Citadel.

  • avatar
    This Is Dawg

    I don’t like any vehicle of this size, but I have to commend Dodge on proportioning this thing so well:

    http://newcrossoversuv2015.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2016-Dodge-Durango-side.jpg

    That steering wheel reminds me: am I the only one who dislikes having dedicated cruise control buttons on the wheel? I use CC so rarely, even on multi-hundred mile trips, that I wish that half of the wheel was used for pretty much any other purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It is smoothly styled from the side, but the rear panel area always makes me think “van.” Not a fan of the “race track” lamps either, they look odd here. And while I like full-width lamps on things, they are just awkward on SUVs. Don’t work on Navigator, either.

      http://image.automobilemag.com/f/87485254+w660+h440+q80+re0+cr1+ar0+st0/2015-lincoln-navigator-rear-three-quarter-view.jpg

      I get the van-style feeling with the Lambda crossovers as well. Only the Enclave is curvy enough to hide it a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        We rented a 2013 for a trip to Florida…current bodystyle but old transmission. I think it might have been an issue with this particular one, but I had a horrible time keeping it in its lane on I-75, it just wandered all over the place and followed crowns in the road. The engine also had no torque and didn’t like climbing hills in the Smokies in TN. The unfinished edge of the headliner at the top of the windshield didn’t impress me either. On a more positive note, the leather seats were comfy and the leather felt nice, and the A/C reminded me of a 1970s Cadillac in its ability to freeze me out.
        I do think it can be attractive in black with big wheels, but in typical FCA fashion, these seem to age poorly.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          if you were on asphalt, it could have been grooved and the Durango was just tramlining.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          CincyDavid – what kind of tires were on it? My square edged 10 ply Generals make the truck feel a bit loose on grooved asphalt. The stock tires didn’t have that tendency.

          • 0 avatar
            CincyDavid

            It had whatever highway-friendly tires that it came with from the factory…it wasn’t tramlining, it just needed constant correction to keep it in the lane.

            I wonder if 5 people and luggage made it nose-high enough that air flow was making it squirrely. The funeral home I worked at in the 80s had Cadillac limousines with load leveling that were OK on the highway, but also had a stretched Buick LeSabre, of all things, with plain old coil springs and no self-leveling…if you loaded that one up with people, the back would sag just enough that it felt really unsettled at highway speeds.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        Oof. That is one old looking butt. I’d believe you if you said that was a 2005 Navigator rear end. Agreed on the Durango’s posterior as well. It went from cheap looking on the old durangos, to “Soccer Mom who still totally has it goin on you guys!” styling.

        I actually think the Buick looks as swollen as the Traverse. Maybe it’s the silly slanted bottom of the window. To me, the GMC hides it best.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I will add RE: David’s comment, that my dad’s Ram trucks have always had excellent freeze-you AC, so that’s something they do well. Their cars and vans, not so much. Every Chrysler passenger car my parents owned saw the AC fail in short order.

          I’ll give the Acadia a win for that rear panel. The Traverse is the most offensive with that huge, flat expanse of nothing back there, and a window that looks like it got shrunk.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I prefer to call it a Charger Wagon.

    As far as fuel economy goes, the 27 mpg highway rating is real. I’ve achieved that in a 4×4 JGC with the non upgraded Pentastar. I have noticed fuel economy to be notably worse on vehicles with very low mileage. After a few thousand miles, it seems to improve.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    “Therefore, gents,…”

    Reading the TTAC Mark’s banning article, I saw we have at least ONE female car person here.

    I am selling out. I am giving up the pursuit for the cool SUV do everything/I Am Strong Man vehicle. As far as all these SUVs/CUVs discussed here these past months…I guess my latest favorite is the next Town/Country…the Pacifica.

    I will give in and join the other old folks around Florida and move BACK into the minivan segment. And I like the looks and the hybrid city freedom.

    I have to say this monster leaves me wondering why anybody would buy this when the Caravan is there next to it in the showroom. It sucks at everything except machoism.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      You don’t get it because you clearly haven’t experienced it.

      That’s not a personal insult.

      I know that you like Lexus, so let me try this –

      – The Durango is as quiet (road, wind and all outside noise), as powerful (in V6 and especially V8 forms), and as luxurious riding as any Lexus.

      As a bonus, it is a remarkably solid, torsionally rigid vehicle, that probably has a greater nm/degree than many late 1990s and even 2000s supercars.

      I realize you think that’s a crazy claim. But it’s actually true.

      IOW, if one is NOT looking at g/skidpad numbers, which traditional Lexi don’t excel at anyways (i.e. except the dedicated performance coupes and sedans), the Durango is a proper luxury vehicle with capabilities luxury vehicles can’t match, to boot.

      And that Caravan next to the Durango is the Camry next to a Lexus LS460 in terms of ride, quietness and solidity.

      The Durango (especially with 2nd row captains chairs) is more luxurious than 85% of “luxury cars.”

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      You can read as much masculinity into this as you wish.

      In the end, I will never ever buy a mini van. I can’t stand them now. I have this continual image of a slow moving, mommy-mobile, lumbering around. I followed one home last night in my sports car at 4 MPH under the speed limit for a miles, until finally my opportunity came to get around it. I am deliberate when I drive and this van was not even close.

      Now, as to how I really feel….

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        “slow moving, mommy-mobile”

        I guess I can read some masculinity into the remark.

        Me? I like the minivan. I had maybe 4. I raised a few kids in them and transported hundreds of team players around in them.
        Never did I feel I was slow. I never felt I was in a sports car, but then again I NEVER felt that in any SUV I have owned. I and I owned a few.
        And never did I feel like a mommy. I was…a dad.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          TrailerTrash – I find that there isn’t much out there that is as versatile as a minivan. Some say they are huge but they aren’t much bigger than a mid-sized CUV.
          Minivans have been hurt by image. The “popular” herd has moved to CUV’s. We will continue to have one in the driveway until we don’t need one.

          @energetik9 – I got stuck behind a guy in a Corvette when I was on the highway. He drove me nuts.
          To extrapolate your comment, ” I have this continual image of a slow moving, old fart c0ck-mobile lumbering around”.

          Is that a fair characterization?

          No it isn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The first minivans (SWB) were about the length and width of current mid-size CUVs. After LWB versions became available and everybody switched to those, there wasn’t much appreciable growth made in any dimension except width. And as we’ve covered before, the reason minivans had to get wider was because child seats got larger.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            LouBC

            truthfully…I see the minis sitting next to the explorers and mrx and soooo many more SUV/Crossovers that are supposedly the new cool do everythings.
            Except they don’t do everything and they are larger. They sit higher and they have poor cargo specs compared to a minivan.

            I am especially sensitive to the size of these. The reason? Well, I am one of those idiots that hand washes my cars and do polishings 2X year. I get angry when I have to use the stool to get my Klasse off the roof. And yes, I DO wax the roof.

            So I always make mental notes of the sizes and height of these in parking lots.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “I am deliberate when I drive and this van was not even close.”

        That phrasing is perfect. Friends and family have poked that I am an “aggressive” driver because the type of brainless driving behavior you describe above irritates me.

        The proper term is “deliberate”. I know my lane position, the speed limit, the position of cars around me, the traffic light cycle, and conditions on the road ahead of me. When you do this, you’ll find your patience badly taxed by other drivers who pay no attention and therefore cannot maintain speed, lane position, accelerate properly, etc.

        The last two anti-deliberate vehicles I was trapped behind were a bright red new Golf TDI and a red new Mazda3 hatchback. So much for “Drivers Wanted” and “Zoom Zoom”.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “So much for “Drivers Wanted” and “Zoom Zoom”.”

          I know, right. What’s America coming to?

          Why just the other day I saw an “Ultimate Driver” using his turn signal!

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      Towing capacity. Caravan only tows 3600 lbs vs. the Hemi Durango’s 7400 lbs. Not everybody needs that, but if you do, no minivan is rated for it.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Well, I have given up on he-man cars/truck, etc…picked up my wife’s 2016 Honda CRV last evening…EX, AWD, silver with charcoal cloth. I really preferred the look of the Rogue but the Honda lease was cheaper and the Rogue at a similar price point had no sunroof. The CRV is pretty effeminate, as these things go, but so be it.

    We didn’t even look at FCA products…figured the Cherokee was the closest equivalent and I’m afraid of the transmission issues…a Durango would be too big and too expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Now I’m curious. Your wife has a CRV. What vehicle(s) are you looking at for yourself?

      • 0 avatar
        CincyDavid

        hubcap, my wife and kids drive newer cars, I am perfectly content with a 1997 Volvo V90…black with taupe leather, 203,000 miles, going strong. Next big repairs should be at 260k, when it’ll need another timing belt and 4 tires, and I’ll have to decide if it’s worth spending the money.

        There are very few new cars that I find enticing…I like big windows, low belt line and narrow pillars. If/and when my Volvo craps out, I’ll likely look for another older Volvo. I have enjoyed owning old MBs and BMWs too, wish I could find a non-rusty classic Saab 900 but they seem to be extinct around here.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The Durango has not yet recovered from the audience that loved the first generation. It’s a great SUV (I reject the BOF definition and prefer one based on the nature of available AWD/4WD systems), but it still says either “meth” or “Jager shots” to everyone in the school pickup line. That by itself explains why it sells many fewer copies than the JGC despite being more useful.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Ok let me see, drinks fuel like a sailor on leave, can not see out of it, is almost 40K has the known FCA quality tranny and overall quality question mark. No thanks If I had to go this type of ride sign me up for a Honda Pilot Ex-L in black forest pearl.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      You do know which other vehicles the Durango shares it’s transmission and chassis architecture with– right?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      except the Pilot offers the same ZF 9HP transaxle Chrysler uses.

      Your move.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        Jim Z,

        The honda I spec to be close to price vs this has the 6 speed tranny and I would trust Honda a lot more than FCA in building my vehicle to last the long haul.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @JimZ: The lousy ZF 9-speed transmission shared by Honda and FCA is only used on FWD vehicles.

        The Durango, Charger, 300, and Challenger get the excellent 8-speed transmission for RWD cars.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          and, if I understand correctly from other reviews, the 9 speed works slightly differently maker to maker.
          I believe auto manufacturers have them calibrated differently or to their specs. and for their cars/trucks.
          And perhaps the tranny itself is getting improved.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Except the Honda/Acura vehicles using the 9HP are garnering the same complaints as the FCA vehicles using it. Probably too ambitious to cram 9 forward ratios into a transaxle.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            JimZ

            Except others are getting better reviews. I am struggling to remember as I read tons of reviews. Perhaps it is the Volvo or some other.
            But it is doing much better.
            I do agree that 9 is seemingly the new limit.
            Then again…Ford working on a 10 seems a bit over the top as well.
            Perhaps not a transaxle…but still seems like a lot.

  • avatar
    Big Wheel

    I don’t view this as a CUV. When I see these, I think SUV.

    And when you really need something with three rows to comfortably seat people, with some cargo (suitcase, other stuff), get a minivan.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    But none of what I comment isn’t to say that this is not, in fact a great vehicle at what it does, it’s a tall V8 car, I have nothing wrong with that, the AMC esque 4×4 is actually pretty cool. If you want a lap dog you can buy a poodle, but don’t buy a poodle to go hunting Ducks.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Funny you should bring that up: the poodle was originally bred as a water retriever–for hunting ducks. The original German name is Pudelhund.

      “Traditionally the Standard Poodle, the largest of the subtypes, was a retriever or gun dog, used in particular for duck hunting and sometimes upland bird hunting. The breed has been used for fowl hunting in US and Canada since the early 1990s, in and out of hunting tests. The modern Standard retains many of the traits prized by their original owners: a keen working intelligence that makes the dog easy to command, webbed feet that make it an agile swimmer (all of the poodle’s ancestors and descendants had or share the love of water) athletic stamina, and a moisture-resistant, curly coat that acts like a wool jumper in damp conditions.”

      Miniature poodles were bred for truffle hunting.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I actually thought about that comparison for 2-3 minutes, I guess I imagined a miniature poodle in my head and the thought of that running through a swamp seemed funny enough. The large poodles are so rare (in my experience) I just don’t think of them when I hear the word.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          That bizarre haircut poodles get isn’t to show the chic style of their owners, it’s actually designed to help them retain buoyancy when they are swimming.

          If only the facial hair styles of duck hunting humans were similarly rational.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Ya see, the hair provides better camo than the bare face. Jus’ like every duck can see Godwin’s bald head a mile away.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I have a professional acquaintance who is a standard poodle breeder on the side. After a few dinners at the same table as her I wish profoundly that I could return to your state of blissful ignorance.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The Standard poodle was bred as a hunting dog. I know a few people with them and they do not fit the “Ken and Barbie” image of poodles. They tend to be a bit temperamental (at least the one’s I’ve encountered.)

        The typical image of the standard poodle is the poofy chest, tail and leggings with the rest shaved. http://elelur.com/dog-breeds/standard-poodle.html#photo_7

        I was at a traffic light once with my black lab (my avatar). She was a big 80lb female “British” style dog. I’m in an old F250 reg cab truck covered in mud. Next to me a Mercedes GL pulls up with “Ken and frikkin’ Barbie” in the front and the poofty poodle in the back.
        My dog and I looked over. I could sense the vibe, “don’t make eye contact with the rednecks”. All three looked like the cover of a GQ shoot.
        I always get a chuckle when I think about that.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    It’s nice to see an interior that isn’t all black for once from FCA. With that said I really wish we could have a Dodge style normal shift lever instead of that stupid asinine knob which several folks at the car show laughed at while looking inside the Chrysler products. My friend has rented several Grand Cherokee’s with the same exact 3.6/8 speed power train combos and has yet to break more than 25 on the open road and that was in the warmer Summer months. Typical average MPG is close to what is reported here or in the 17-18 range.

  • avatar
    Timtoolman

    The only way I see the Durango getting 27 MPG is if you stuck a diesel in it. My Hemi truck would get 15.5 all-around (Atlanta- including rush hour)and maybe 17 on the road. The Pentastar V-6 in my boxy Wrangler gets 20-21 every day, all day, in mixed driving. Problem is, it’s rated at 17/21. I get nearly 21 every fill-up in mixed conditions, but probably only 19-20 HWY because of the (NON) aerodynamics, and 80 mph speeds. That Durango is pretty, but don’t expect more than 20-21 mpg out of it.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The V6 Pentastar coupled with the 8 speed ZF-modeled transmission makes for legitimately good fuel economy on highway jaunts.

      I’ve driven the 2014+ edition Durango a lot.

      I’ve got an in-law relative who purchased one (2014). She has gotten slightly under 20 mpg lifetime average over 33,000 miles – better than the 2012 3.6 liter, much smaller Cadillac SRX it replaced.

      It’s LEGITIMATELY good, and actually great given that the AWD versions of the vehicle Mark tested weighs closer to 5000 lbs plus.

  • avatar
    kevin512

    Been lurking here for a while, but finally decided to register and chime in here.

    I bought a 2014 Durango SXT+ AWD V6 about 18 months ago. I’ve been tracking MPG on fuelly (google “kevin512 durango” to find my MPG stats). I’m averaging 21.7 over the life of the vehicle, with a few 26+ highway trips. Never seen anything below 18 even during a cold Minnesota Blizzard. The MPG computer does lie (adds about 2 MPG), but these numbers were all hand calculated. Certainly don’t doubt that the RWD version is going to be 28+ on the highway.

    A Durango wasn’t even on my radar when I started my SUV shopping, but it was an easy choice after comparing it to the Explorer, Pilot, Highlander, and Acadia. This coming from a Ford guy who drove an ’02 Exploder to 208K miles.

    I still feel nervous using Dodge and reliable in same sentence, but I’ve had zero issues.

    Pro: Handling, MPG, towing, UConnect system, leg room, AWD capability, and very quiet.

    Cons: Visibility and lousy OEM tires (Kumho Solus) needed almost immediate replacement.

  • avatar

    How about dodge dart srt4? i really waiting for this car

  • avatar
    Jeff Zekas

    Having driven a Flex (your preferred ride) for a year, I find it less than satisfying. Constant glitches in the computer system, average gas mileage, and tight rear seating (unless you are a Japanese exchange student) makes it a vehicle that I would borrow occasionally, but never own. And Dodge? I am still recovering from driving Dodge “Fall Apart” trucks from the 1980’s. Oh, and I owned a K car, which tied with the Yugo for poor quality, inside and out. “Once bitten, twice shy”.

  • avatar
    davewg

    I’m with Kevin512 and DW.

    We’ve had a ’14 Durango (ordered/purchased late 2013) now with a tick over 30k miles and we’ve really had no issues.

    We had one UConnect failure that occurred during a software update, a dead rear USB port and one minor recall.

    Other than that its been routine maintenance. Gas mileage on long highway trips easily averages 26-27mpg and about ~20 around town/short trips.

    We like it enough that we’re actually considering a second one to replace my recently departed 11.5 year old Yukon XL Denali.

  • avatar
    kevin512

    A couple more comments about MPG on our ’14 Durango.

    1) MPG gradually improved with age

    2) My best three tanks were 26.7, 26.6, and 26.4. Those were 99% highway miles through Wisconsin roads that had a 55 MPH speed limit (kept my speed around 60). Those were family trips with 4 people + dog and a week’s worth of luggage, not a light load.

    3) My three worst tanks were 18.2, 19.0, and 19.4. Those were all with our lousy winter blend fuel mix and during terrible snowstorm commutes in the Minneapolis, MN area.

    The sweet spot for bang-for-buck in the Durango line-up is the AWD SXT+ (add 8.4 Uconnect and towing if needed). Paid $32.7K before tax, title, license.

    As a tall driver with tall kids, the Durango had the best leg room in the mid sized SUVs.

  • avatar
    KTF

    Just me who got the Mingus joke then…

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mingus&defid=19780


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