By on June 14, 2017

2017 Dodge Durango GT, Image © 2017 Corey Lewis/The Truth About Cars

This past week, your humble author spent three days on vacation with a rented 2017 Dodge Durango GT. The black wagon you see above is the result of terseness at the Enterprise counter, where I had a reservation for a “Standard, Buick Verano or similar” vehicle, but where a base model Elantra with 25,000 miles, stained seats, and wheel covers was presented by the Enterprise staff.

The Durango was equipped with the Navigation and Power Liftgate Group, bringing its price to around $42,000 before incentives. That’s far too much coin for the irritation this vehicle causes.

All things considered, the Elantra may have been less annoying to drive.

All seemed well when cruising on I-74 from my home base in Cincinnati to the Windy City. Road and wind noise was minimal at 85 miles per hour, and the ride on those low-profile tires was reasonable — but only after I let some air out of the over-inflated rubber bands. Enterprise saw fit to fill all four corners to 47 psi when the tire label affixed to the door jam indicated 33 front and 36 at the rear.

On I-65 north of Indianapolis, the smooth, serene ride gave way to tire noise and an echo chamber-like interior on grooved pavement. As we got closer to Chicago, the road surface deteriorated and traffic dropped our average speed figure. It was there the Durango’s true personality came to light.

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

See the row of buttons at the bottom of the center stack? From left to right: parking sensors, auto start-stop control, eco mode, sport mode, and traction control. The button FCA saw fit to place smack-dab in the middle of this arrangement is the biggest problem, and it put me in dangerous traffic situations more than once.

As I was approaching my exit and needed a quick lane change to the right, there were roughly three car lengths of open real estate in my vicinity — which were simultaneously coveted by the driver of an old Civic. With a reasonable amount of pressure to the pedal, the Durango’s eight-speed automatic went down from eighth to sixth, and my speed increased from about 55 to 58. Since that didn’t cut it, I buried my foot to the floor. This confused the transmission, and revs jumped way up as the transmission performed several successive downshifts. The Durango lurched forward, only for me to look right and see the light blue Civic resting comfortably in my desired destination. Opportunity missed, and I received a what-are-you-doing? glare from the Civic driver.

In an attempt to save fuel and slow global warming, the Durango stays in eco mode unless you shut it off. In light traffic and other easy-going situations, this likely wouldn’t be a problem. But the Chicago area — as noted above — is blessed with heavy traffic and aggressive drivers rivaling touring-car competitors without the talent.

After the Civic usurped my lane change, I switched off eco mode, which improved throttle response and gave me a bit more revs to play with. Also, eco mode stays off until you switch it on again. This is not the case for the automatic stop-start button sitting an inch to the left.

To align FCA’s large vehicles more closely with fuel economy standards, a stop-start system is installed on every V6 Durango. Imagine the following situation: You arrive at your destination and pull into a parking space. Engine shuts off to save fuel — good! But you’re still in drive, so you grab the shift thermostat and turn it to the left, selecting that P. This causes the engine to groan back to life. Having nowhere to go, you hit the start button and shut it down again. This quick cycling is fairly annoying, and I’d think not great for any internal combustion engine.

But that’s not the only issue with the Durango’s stop-start system; the implementation is not quiet, smooth, or seamless. At one light, the start up startled an elderly man in the next lane, who managed to hear it through closed windows and over the whisper of his running ES350. His perplexed look made me want to roll down my window and explain how I was saving the planet in my large SUV, but I didn’t have time — I was already late getting away from the green light.

You see, there is a delay as the engine starts back up, and to avoid the car jumping forward, my foot automatically hovered over the go pedal until the engine startup was finished. Gradually, I became used to the hesitation, but that didn’t mean I enjoyed it.

Another inconvenience is only obvious on warm days (which, being June in the Midwest, there were some). When the vehicle isn’t running, neither is the A/C compressor, and that means you get hot at every stop light. Off goes the start-stop button so one can arrive at a destination without being a sweaty mess. Just don’t tell Greenpeace.

One more button bothers me in the Durango. I kept looking at it and questioning why it was there, especially in light of its neighbors. Sport mode on an SUV of this size confuses the mission. It’s a seven-passenger family vehicle working to save the planet, turning itself off at every opportunity and strangling the V6 to make it act and drink like a four-cylinder. A vehicle with these goals does not need the opposite tertiary goal of “sport” added to its plate.

It’s not all bad though. After 700 miles in the Durango, through heavy traffic, A/C use, and highway speeds over 80, the Durango returned 24 miles per gallon. That’s a reasonable figure for an all-wheel-drive SUV of this size and engine displacement. The Uconnect system paired via Bluetooth for calls and music flawlessly — and within seconds. Factory navigation was concise and accurate, automatically routing the car around toll roads. The center gauges were reconfigurable to my liking, and there were many metrics from which to choose.

It feels reasonably well made, though improvements in leather quality and plastics (especially dash trim and vent surrounds) wouldn’t go unnoticed in these higher trim levels.

The Durango comes with discounts right from the Dodge corporate site, and your dealer should be willing to haggle. And I must give credit to Dodge where it’s due: Right now, in 2017, Dodge is making a V6 and V8 rear-wheel and all-wheel-drive wagon everyone around here says they want.

Pity about that eco mode though.

[Images: © Corey Lewis, Bark M.]

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146 Comments on “Road Trip Rage: The Dodge Durango GT, All Buttoned Up and Going Nowhere Fast...”


  • avatar
    EX35

    I had a V8 Durango all speced out online and ready for purchase. The only thing that was needed was a test drive, but I assumed from everything I read that it would go well. After all, it’s “based” on an MB chassis. Unfortunately, the test drive proved this was no MB and even worse, not what a $50k+ vehicle should feel like. Browsing the Dodge forums solidified my decision not to buy after reading horror story after horror story about quality concerns. We spent a bit more and bought the new 2017 Armada (Patrol). Couldn’t be happier.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The Armada is one of he worst vehicles I’ve ever rented, but the last one I experienced was back in 2010, because they’re thin on rental lots – so not sure if any major revisions were made to it since then.

      One I had was equipped with the big V8 that I swear got 12mpg, the suspension was atrocious, and the interior plastics were on par with a Versa.

      Hopefully, they made big improvements to it in all ways since then.

      • 0 avatar
        EX35

        HAHA someone’s a little butt hurt I see for pointing out flaws in the Durango ;)

        The 2017 Armada is the Nissan Patrol (Infiniti QX80). A Japanese-built tank of a truck, completely different than prior Armadas (which were built off the Nissan Titan chassis). It’s not cheap for sure and more than I wanted to spend, but the quality, drive, and NVH difference between it and the Durango was literally night and day.

        We have a fleet of Land Cruisers at work (J200) that I routinely drive and I would say the Patrol/Armada is 7/8th the truck the LC is. And that’s saying a lot because the LC is quite simply the best vehicle i’ve ever driven.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          No butthurt.

          I just looked it up; the one I rented with some company was the 1st gen (2003–2015) built in Canton, Mississippi.

          It was truly wretched.

          Yours is apparently completely new (2016+), and now made in Japan on a modified platform, so I hope it’s much better now:

          “On February 10, 2016, Nissan unveiled the second generation Armada at the Chicago Auto Show, and went on sale in August 2016 as a 2017 model. This version is based on the Nissan Patrol and Infiniti QX80, and is assembled in Japan, except for the Endurance V8 engine, which is assembled in Decherd, Tennessee. The Armada grew in length and width, but the wheelbase and height were moderately reduced. In addition to the Endurance V8, a seven-speed transmission was introduced to improve fuel economy, acceleration and torque, along with an increase in horsepower from 317 to 390 hp at 5,200 rpm. The exterior moderately differs from the updated Patrol, that was introduced in early 2014. As with the previous generation, the Armada continued to offer 2WD and 4WD and available in SV, SL, and Platinum trims.[3][4]”

          • 0 avatar
            EX35

            actually, I believe the Patrol/Armada/QX80 is a completely different platform from the 2013-2015 Titan-based Armada. I don’t believe it’s modified or even related to the Titan platform.

            We like it so far.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            That would make sense.

            I’m not familiar with Nissan’s biggest offerings.

            All I know is the model year of the one I rented, and that it had the 5.7 liter (I believe).

            It was a land barge in the truest sense of the word and had an extremely cheap interior, even by Nissan standards.

            But the AC worked well.

          • 0 avatar
            EX35

            to be fair, I won’t buy USA made Nissan/Infiniti’s. The difference between the Japanese and USA made ones is so huge it’s almost like they were made by two different companies.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “so you grab the shift thermostat”

    “the implementation is not quiet, smooth, or seamless”

    “there is a delay as the engine starts back up”

    That’s some decent TTAC-ing Corey.

  • avatar
    Coopdeville

    I feel your pain. Spent a few days in NYC with a wheezing, permanently-stuck-in-eco-mode rental Murano, closing my eyes and hoping for the best every time our native NY colleague pulled some maneuver that the car seriously objected to. It’s bad when a city bus can close the gap faster than you can.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      If there was some way to teach people to not drive foot to the floor every second, “ECO” buttons wouldn’t be a thing. Smart driving is more efficacious and efficient than fast driving.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenn

        The ECO button is “a thing” that nobody needs or has asked for, accomplishing nothing more useful than being a feature a car company can point to, to “prove” they are economy-minded (while degrading the vehicle’s performance in an unsafe way).

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, other than that, how was the trip?

    At least the eco mode and the start-stop can be turned off. I suppose that’s something. But that’d be annoying as hell to do every time you start the car up, and particularly annoying in a car that’s this expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Traffic was awful all around town, construction.
      The weather was great.
      Giordano’s deep dish was great.
      Crowded.
      Good FLW buildings to experience!

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Chicago has some neat stuff to offer, if you can deal with the traffic, the crowds, and the incredibly rude drivers (told this story many times on this site, but I once got tailgated in a freakin’ CEMETERY there).

        By the way, I’m proud as hell of the way the Reds trolled Cubs fans a few weeks ago. Well played.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Compared to NYC I always thought Chicago traffic and its drivers were downright mellow. Definitely a lot of cool stuff to see, but boy do they need to get their violent crime in the non-wealthy/safe areas figured out, the statistics are crazy.

          • 0 avatar

            Yeah NYC traffic is worse based on the times I have been to Chicago. I ate at Ginos East last time it was good but not the best deep dish I’ve had.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        Traffic is constantly awful, because there is never a moment without construction. Also, Giordano’s is easily the worst deep dish in the city, so please come back again!

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          I was going to say, if he had some tacky deep dish but missed out on a Ricobene’s king-size breaded steak sandwich, that’s an unsuccessful trip to Chicago in my book.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Bartoli’s or Bella Bacino’s have the best deep dish our in Chi-town, in my opinion.

          The usual chains like Gino’s, Giordano’s, Malnati’s, Uno’s etc are very ho-hum.

          But Chicago is really a beef mecca, and edges out NYC when it comes to steak, and the best steak I’ve ever had was at Bavette’s – better than anything in New York City or Vegas (Vegas does have some good steakhouses, contrary to foodie popular opinion) by a significant margin.

          Eat steak in Chicago.

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            I was there recently mostly for food tourism. I have some hang-ups with steakhouses* so I did not try any, but let my fixer guide me to some fabulous Chicago dogs, cheeseburgers, rotisserie duck, Mexican brunch, and other unexpected treats. It seems the average meal in that city would be excellent anywhere else.

            When you say Chicago is a beef mecca, I think of a big wet Italian beef sand-a-wich and agree.

            *Despite this, if you know of a good one in Vegas I would like to know…

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I tried Al’s a few years ago (maybe 5?) and jt was meh.

            Bari Foods is this little Italian grocery that my buddy (attorney at Sidley) took me to, and their Italian beef sandwich blows Al’s out of the water.

            In Vegas, I’m partial to Del Frisco’s. There’s been an explosion of gimmicky steak houses by celebrity chefs in Vegas especially in the era of Food TV/Travel Channel/VICE/Cooking Network/Hipster-Neckbeard Everything, but the New York Strip at Del Frisco’s along with their awesome blue point oysters can’t be beat.

          • 0 avatar

            I liked Triple George when I was in Vegas the last time, great steak. It’s right off the Fremont strip.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          So I planned to go to Pequod’s, but the traffic limited time for dinner that day, and there was not time to head back downtown to go get it.

          Giordano’s was out west where I stayed, in a crime-free area.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    “When the vehicle isn’t running, neither is the A/C compressor, and that means you get hot at every stop light.”

    Amazing that either the AC doesn’t disable stop/start or that they haven’t switched to a 12V powered compressor.

    Either one sounds much better than just cutting the air off.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Yeah, you hear it cut out, and then the air gets that damp feeling immediately. Imagine it in downtown stop and go, during 85 degree weather.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      That’s the nice thing about hybrids. None of the accessories are coupled to the engine.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Not entirely. The pre -’09 Prius and Escape Hybrids had a belt driven a/c compressor. My Escape has an “eco” button. It relates only to a/c operation, not performance. With eco off, the engine almost never shuts off so a/c operation is continuous. With eco engaged, the compressor is inactive when the engine shuts off. Cabin temperature increase is then immediate, but less so if you put it on recirculate and use the air already cooled. This makes sense anyway rather than continuously replacing cooled air with hot outside air – as long as it’s dry enough to not fog up the windows.

      • 0 avatar

        Insights have an issue where it runs off a belt and dies at stop lights. I gather you have to override eco and put it in sport mode every time to get it to stop.

        • 0 avatar
          brandloyalty

          “Insights have an issue where it runs off a belt and dies at stop lights. I gather you have to override eco and put it in sport mode every time to get it to stop.”

          The Escape Hybrid stays in whatever setting you choose, even through ignition off/on. Choosing any defrost mode forces “eco” off and so runs the engine as much as is needed to meet demand from the hvac.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      You’d think a car costing this much would have a better solution.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        Showed my mom the car.

        Asked “How much do you think this costs?”

        She goes “Hmm…”

        I said “FORTY-TWO thousand.”

        *mouth drops open*

        • 0 avatar
          MLS

          I realize that people love to feign disbelief at new car MSRPs on the internet, but is “FORTY-TWO thousand” really that much in the age of $36K+ Honda CR-Vs? The average new car transaction price is something like $35K these days, so $42K (before incentives) seems more than fair for a large-ish, well-equipped SUV.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Not really, because Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I once picked up a then-new Chevrolet Cruze from Hertz whose tires were inflated to 60 PSI, in the summer. I just happened to notice the readout on the DIC. I liked the car, so rather than take it back to the store—since I was right there—I just sorted it myself.

    Also, due to a bent tire gauge, I once accidentally overinflated the tires on the Golf SportWagen to 81 PSI. Oops. I bought a digital one after that.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      After looking it up, it seems the burst pressure of a car tire is about 200 psi. That Sportwagen should have handled like a Lotus for a while.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Over inflated rental car tires are usually due to a poor PDI process. Vehicles ship from the factory with over inflated tires to prevent flat spotting due to lot rot. It’s part of the PDI to air them down to spec. A lot of big rental agencies are allowed to do their own PDIs so they sometimes aren’t done to the standard of a dealer.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “When the vehicle isn’t running, neither is the A/C compressor, and that means you get hot at every stop light.”

    Do all start-stop systems work this way? How terrible. Hybrids and EVs solved this years ago with electric A/C compressors.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      If the A/C is on and the cabin temp hasn’t reached the desired temperature, the engine will stay running. He either didn’t have the A/C on or is exaggerating.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I rented one of these beasts in March, in San Diego. The AC will never reach it’s desired temperature on a car this size with the sun shining, and yet the engine WILL turn off unless you manually turn off the start-stop. Maybe it’s different on another make, but not the Durango.

        Otherwise, I LIKED the car, and went so far as to question a mechanic about permanently turning off the start stop and the eco (the planet can fend for itself), as well as installing a keyed ignition, but he was equivocal in his answer, telling me to check with an auto electric outfit that “knows the regulations”.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        So if the AC is on and the cabin temp has reached the desired temperature the engine will stop?

        Is there a discernible change in the interior temperature or humidity when this occurs, vs if the engine just continued to run and the compressor cycled as normal?

        Given the cycle rate of most automotive AC compressors it’s hard to believe that occupant comfort doesn’t suffer to a noticeable degree.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        It was hot out, about 82 degrees.
        The AC was set to LO.
        It kicked off at every light. I am not exaggerating.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I drove my daughter’s 2016 Malibu Classic with the stop/start system this past weekend. In Western Michigan it was a toasty 86 degrees Fahrenheit, but the A/C stayed on most of the time with the Malibu’s stop/start system enabled. It seems it’s based on cabin temperature in her car.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged Miata Man

    I rented a comparably-equipped Durango on a business trip to Orlando in late 2014. Despite a general aversion to all-things Fiasler (then and now) I was pleasantly surprised/amazed with how much I liked navigating the clumsy, mildly underpowered dreadnought.

    Only the woeful interior materials and a loud buzz from the sunroof belied its origins. Of course, that vehicle had neither “Eco” mode nor start/stop.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “To align FCA’s large vehicles more closely with fuel economy standards, a stop-start system is installed on every Durango.”

    V8 equipped models don’t have it.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Durango is a really excellent vehicle – ride quality, power, towing capability, transmission (turn eco mode off), interior, NVH, fuel economy are all excellent, as is the solid-as-granite chassis – see other reviews on TTAC, including the Baruth brothers.

    Icing on cake is these are a steal at real world transaction prices if one is willing to negotiate even remotely with gusto.

    Stop/Start on ANY vehicle is awful and idiotic. Turn it off.

    Corey turned in one awful review of a great vehicle, because the (admittedly stupid) start/stop feature and eco-mode butt hurt him.

    • 0 avatar
      EX35

      I know you troll for the Durango all the time and that was partially why I was planning on buying it. That is, until I drove it. The chassis felt sloppy and most definitely not “granite”-like, the NVH from the Hemi, especially at start up, was atrocious (including an awful ticking sound that never went away). And it may have been the weight, but the Durango felt pretty slow for 365HP. Combine that with the literally hundreds of threads on Dodge forums bashing the QC and reliability concerns, and it was an easy decision to avoid. I wanted to like it, but it had too many strikes against it.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        The one you tested must have been in a wreck and repaired.

        They’re fantastic vehicles (just like the 300) that I’d put up against competition costing much, much more, in their respective segments, and they’d still #WIN on most counts, despite costing less.

        I take Jeep GCs, Durangos and 300s every chance I get as rentals for the same reasons Jack & Mark do (they’re just solid 360 degrees).

        I once did a sustained 85mph sometimes touching triple digits on a long straight road between Vegas and Bullhead City, AZ in a V6 Durango and it was easypeasy all the way in up to 116 degree heat.

        • 0 avatar
          EX35

          I drove 2 brand new ones at two different dealers.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            They were both repaired wrecks. Total fluke. Never happened. You lie. Durango wins. Thanks for playing.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          And I heard it got 30mpg at those speeds!

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The V6 gets 26 to 31mph at speeds up to 76ish mph, depending on conditions and the terrain (flat tarmac).

            It gets worse mileage at speeds above 80mph, or oddly, below 70mph.

            It weighs Curb weight: 4,800 to 5,331 lbs and is a true 7 seater.

            I’ve yet to drive as big a vehicle that gets anything within 15% of those figures at such speeds.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “The V6 gets 26 to 31mph at speeds up to 76ish mph, depending on conditions and the terrain (flat tarmac).”…

            should obviously read “The V6 gets 26 to 31 *mpg* at speeds up to 76ish mph, depending on conditions and the terrain (flat tarmac).”

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          /s?

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “the NVH from the Hemi, especially at start up, was atrocious.”

        That’s a feature not a bug.

        • 0 avatar
          EX35

          oh, I love me a v8 rumble, but the Hemi in the Durango sounded and felt awful. Plus, the incessant ticking sound was annoying. I googled it and there must be 1000s of people complaining about it dating back to 2011. The fact that Dodge wouldn’t fix something so obvious was concerning to me.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “but the Hemi in the Durango sounded and felt awful. Plus, the incessant ticking sound was annoying.”

            That is one thing my Charger definitely does not have an issue with. My engine is a sweetheart. For what it is, the performance is quite good. Lots of electric and fit/finish trouble though. If it wasn’t for the car’s entertainment level I would have driven it off a cliff by now. It’s a Kmart 550i.

          • 0 avatar
            EX35

            I can see where the Hemi in a Charger would be fun. But in something as heavy and sloppy as the Durango, it wasn’t very enjoyable.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Yea, the extra weight and blockier profile blunts performance on the Durango a noticeable amount compared to the sedans.

            caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-charger-r-t-hemi-test-review

            caranddriver.com/reviews/2014-dodge-durango-r-t-hemi-rwd-test-review

            caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-chrysler-300-v-8-test-review

            There is a 6.4L version of the Durango coming out soon, but it will likely start over $65K.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Apparently it’s an issue with the thermal expansion properties of the exhaust manifolds/gaskets/block interface. A little bit of exhaust leaking by causing the ‘tick’ as the motor warms up. Not a serious issue like a ‘tick’ in the valvetrain might be, but annoying nonetheless to have your nice new truck/SUV sound like a 200k mile Ford 5.4 Mod with a cracked manifold.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Apparently it’s an issue with the thermal expansion properties of the exhaust manifolds/gaskets/block interface.”

            I wonder if my being in Southern Florida helps me out with that somehow? If EX35 was hearing it on new Durangos then it doesn’t seem to be high-mileage based (not that I’m planning to keep my Dodge long enough to find out).

            The only “Hemi Tick” I’ve ever personally heard was on a 2500 6.4L. And I thought that might have just been from the truck sitting for a little over a month.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I heard it on a 2014 Ram 1500 with about 28k miles on the clock that I test drove. Not sure if people are getting this taken care of under powertrain warranty if they bring it up to the dealer.

          • 0 avatar
            ponchoman49

            We had a rental 2016 Ram pickup with the Hemi V8. It was ticking within 5 minutes of running it and was very annoying. The quality control was questionable too. The transfer case howled at 55-60 MPH. The touch screen locked up several times. And there were several annoying interior rattles with but 6K miles on the odometer.

            Funny thing is that not one of the various GM rentals we had including a 2017 GMC Yukon with 19K miles, several 2015-2016 Malibu’s, a 2016 Silverado and a Cadillac XTS ever exhibited any of these traits.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Kmart 550i”

            Only in ‘Murica.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            Direct injection injectors? I have heard those ticking away on other brands. Is that the case here?

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I wouldn’t think a 0-60 in just over 6 seconds would feel slow.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      It’s not a review, more of a rant. I mentioned this was not a review in the opening paragraph, and linked to Bark’s prior Rental Review. This was edited out.

      I also mentioned the positive aspects, but in my opinion they do *not* make up for the irritating eco, stop-start and slapdash interior quality at the price point. Now used, at $25K is a different discussion.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I didn’t/don’t see a link.

        Jack loved the Durango even when it had the old (worse) transmission, and UConnect wasn’t nearly as good.

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/review-2011-dodge-durango-rt/

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          “…and linked to Bark’s prior Rental Review. This was edited out.”

          I don’t do the editing.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Well, you could just NOT say that there is a link embedded when it’s clearly not there.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Okay, please *chill* and read what I initially said. Several more times if need be, you’ve not read it correctly yet.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Cory, the Durango was AWESOME, clearly you’re just not sophisticated enough to appreciate such a wonderful, faultless machine.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        This is far better than most reviews, as it quickly and clearly informed me as to whether I would want to even test drive this vehicle. The answer is no.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Corey’s lengthy and comprehensive “review” is an OCD rant about eco-mode and start/stop, and is clearly the minority view about the merits of the Durango:

          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/02/2016-dodge-durango-limited-rwd-rental-review/

          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/01/review-2014-dodge-durango-limited-v8-with-video/

          http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/12/review-2011-dodge-durango-rt/

          Based on Corey’s “review,” you clearly should buy a worse vehicle for 10k to even 25k more.

          Go get a $55k eco-burst Explorer or a Land Rover Evoque (Victoria Beckam [Posh Spice] Trim).

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            I’m well into the OCPD spectrum myself, and nothing makes me want to put my fist through the dash more than overbearing electronics that could have just as easily been made unintrusive. I don’t care about the vehicle’s merits if it feels like the vehicle is saying “I know better than you, so go @#$% yourself” every time I drive it.

            Modern vehicles are intentionally being made worse than they could be. I want a review to highlight any details about how they’re accomplishing that.

  • avatar
    dror

    Back in October 2016, I ordered a rental from Costco, the lowest price was for a “standard suv”, I spent only 3 days in SFO so I did not care much about fuel economy, the only car available in the parking garage was a Durango Citadel !
    I just loved it!
    It almost made me lease one, the only problem I have is that I live in NYC and this thing would not fit my parking space.

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    The stop/start function is the first thing I turn off when I get a loaner while the BMW is in for an oil change. I hate it. The fact that FCA hasn’t seen fit to offer a ‘turn off’ function is BS.

    I have no issues leaving a vehicle in Eco mode, though. Generally, most don’t need more than that for most types of driving. But, then again, I’ve never had a vehicle behave like that when trying to accelerate for a pass or merge.

    This is a shame to read, because I actually like the way the Durango looks, particularly the Citadel and R/T packages, and would buy one to replace my current ride if it still exists in some form by then. The R/T has very good towing capability specs. But I would not look at it with such a stupid auto stop function.

    Question for Corey: I see no USB, Aux jack, or CD/DVD input in the infotainment area. Are any/all of these in the center console or the glove box?

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      You know, no CD player but I didn’t notice that.

      https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/00/09/eb/0009eb6598ab11641d2ea5b91f4c77c7.jpg

      There’s a power outlet, AUX in, USB, and SD slot below. There’s another power outlet in the center console box, and another for the middle-row passengers along with twin USB ports. Plenty of ports, and they *do* charge the phone well, even when using GPS and the like. The ports in here are superior to those in the Challenger.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        OK, thanks. I thought it was odd that FCA would have been so out there as to assume that everyone has some kind of streaming/connected mobile device and a plan to support unlimited streaming.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “The fact that FCA hasnt seen fit to offer a turn off function is BS.”

      The button second from the left in the bottom row turns it off.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        Let me clarify:

        The fact that you can’t disable it once and have it stay that way seems to odd. If cars have programmable seats and can remember other settings, they should remember this one too. Otherwise, its not really off, its more like sleep mode.

        Otherwise, I like the look, size, and specs of the Durango…..but I fear this would drive me as nuts as it drove Corey.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “The fact that you can’t disable it once and have it stay that way seems to odd.”

          In order to get decent CAFE credit for the system, it has to default on. Even more credit is given if it’s not defeatable, but as evidenced by the feedback here, that’s not acceptable.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “The fact that FCA hasnt seen fit to offer a turn off function is BS.”

      It does have a button on the center panel to turn it off for the ignition cycle. Unfortunately you have to hit it on every new ignition cycle because it defaults to ESS mode.

      GM is the one that gives you no off button for their stop/start.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      The R/T comes only with the V8 so no start/stop function.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Is the JGC any better in terms of QC, ride, and reliability? Because with th current pricing, you can get a hell of a deal. I saw a v8 Limited w/ tech pack listed for $34k. You’d have to spend $50k+ to get the same features in a comparable real 4wd suv/pickup.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Stop/Start is a funny feature. There’s really no consumer demand (more like disdain), but the amount of CAFE credit given to these systems is too much to ignore.

    To get an idea:

    www dot nrdc dot org/experts/roland-hwang/innovative-cycle-credits-give-stop-start-systems-other-new-technologies-big

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      To what degree is it the OEM’s responsibility to implement a technology such as stop/start well; or at least at well as possible within the limits of the legislation?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Is that a rhetorical question?

        The obvious answer would be as much or as well as possible. As far as FCA’s systems go, they benchmark pretty well with the competition. Customers still generally hate the sensation of their vehicle shutting off on it’s own.

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          Does the competition sacrifice AC performance in favor of stop/start?

          I’m sure some don’t. Hybrids with 12V compressors, for example.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Hybrids are completely different. The system is bench-marked to other straight ICE off cycle systems which perform similarly. The system developed on the 2.4L MultiAir engine beats the competition for NVH and start time as the valves can be commanded to open and reduce compression until needed. Pretty slick.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “One more button bothers me in the Durango. I kept looking at it and questioning why it was there, especially in light of its neighbors. Sport mode on an SUV of this size confuses the mission.”

    It’s there to firm up shifts, hold gears and increase throttle response to accommodate the aggressive driving you were talking about earlier in the article.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      To do that, the sport mode might have to automatically shut off both eco and start-stop. Could that be the permanent solution to having to repeatedly turn off start-stop? Unfortunately, the fuel economy will suffer with the V6. I wonder what it does to the cylinder deactivation in the V8? I suspect the answer is “nothing”.

  • avatar

    Corey could be worse I got a focus last week at enterprise. Console dug into my leg the whole time. Mixed feelings on the power shift, its both entertaining and annoying I think long term it would just be annoying.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Corey has legitimate complaints about the Durango.

      The one he had had way over-inflated tires, and both eco-mode and star/stop that irritated him (that could have been turned off, had he known how).

      Also, it’s a real gas pig, being a 5,000 pound SUV that returned 24mpg in mixed driving with a lot of time spent in rush hour and stop and go traffic in one of the busiest and biggest traffic rings in the U.S.

      /SARC & SNARK

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    danio3834: Stop/Start is a funny feature. There’s really no consumer demand (more like disdain), but the amount of CAFE credit given to these systems is too much to ignore.”

    DeadWeight: “Stop/Start on ANY vehicle is awful and idiotic.”

    I assume Stop/start as implemented on hybrids was overlooked here.

    Ess is great to have in traffic jams. As set up on hybrids anyway. I notice it on new Mercedes beside me at stop lights and on them it sounds ridiculous. They crank up when the driver takes their foot off the brake. The hybrid’s engine runs the instant a certain level of power is demanded. No cranking. Obtrusive? My passengers never notice it unless I point it out to them.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      This. The way the hybrids do it is nearly seamless. As much as I don’t like the Prius, the way it did it’s job was fairly consistent and smooth. Stop/start without a hybrid is intrusive.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Yep. Hybrids are completely different as they have electric motors to get the vehicle rolling with the ICE off and use that motive power to seamlessly start the ICE. It’s really the fundamental thing that makes them hybrid.

      The off cycle systems people hate and that I’m talking about are those that have proliferated on straight ICE powertrains purely for the CAFE credit gains.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I HATE stop /start systems, though that might be because I’ve only experienced them in GM products. One was a Cruze and the other an Envision. So annoying and rather abrupt on restart, not smooth either. It could not be defeated in the Envision, didn’t have the Cruze long enough to care, but I don’t think you can. Awful.

    Not a huge fan of Eco mode either, as the hills around my home are not conducive to Eco anything, but will confuse any transmission with 6 gears or more with an Eco mode.. Our ’17 Sienna SE (possibly all Toyotas) default to Eco mode. But Toyota hides the “ECT Power” mode in the menus and I’ve yet to find a way to keep it in power mode, as it defaults to Eco on restart.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The stop start system in both Malibu rentals we had was a little annoying at first until you got used to it and figured out the ways around it like lifting your foot off the brake slightly at the stop light which starts the engine back up and keeps it running as an example. It was much smoother than the last BMW we drove which was comically noisy and rough in its engagement.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        Since you’re given to defending anything built by GM, I’ll take your criticism of BMW stop/start with a grain of salt until I experience it. I’m not a fan of the concept in general.

        If you’re going to put stop/start in a vehicle, I want the ability to disable it without an aftermarket accessory or “hack”. Everything has screens now, just put a warning message in. ” Disabling this feature will affect your fuel mileage and vehicles emissions score”.

  • avatar
    dwford

    You averaged 24 mpg in mixed driving in a 300hp 4800lb SUV??? That sounds like a new investigation opening into FCA’s optimistic trip computer.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I think Corey’s qualms are very real, and I’m sitting here laughing at the epic fit DW is throwing over all this. Having said that, I do see a lot of merit in the Durango as a sleek on-road cruiser (like a Charger Wagon more so than an SUV, the Durango is quite poor offroad). Alex Dykes really likes them, and if it’s at all like the ’15 3.6 8A Charger I test drove, there’s a lot to like. I found the engine/transmission seamless, the ride/handling was really composed and head and shoulders above FWD-based platforms.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      I think when considered a wagon, and as used option, the outlook is much brighter.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Yeah this is a case where Chrysler’s epic depreciation is to be taken advantage of.

        • 0 avatar

          I have been casually looking for a replacement for my first gen Durango. There are some deals out there. The only trouble so far is most of the ones I have looked at locally were lower end models with cloth interiors and leather and heated seats are my wifes only 2 requirements (well and that it’s a Durango).
          Looking at dealer inventory locally it seems the stock lots of lower trim durangos and lots of high trim Grand Cherokees. Different markets I guess.

  • avatar
    Menloguy

    I haven’t read all the comments to see if someone had already mentioned this, but the constant engine shut off and restart cycle in the ECO mode must place a heavy burden on the battery. I am curious to know if the battery life on engine stop/start equipped vehicles in general is reduced due to the constant starting of the engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      I thought of an unlikely situation to go with this, but in theory possible.

      Stop-start is activated, and you’re using nav and the blower motor, let’s say no AC as it’s cool. This is running down the battery.

      Is there a time limit built in where it will kick the car back on to keep the battery charged? Or if you sat there for two hours with your foot on the brake, would it just die eventually?

      • 0 avatar
        Menloguy

        Those are perplexing but good questions. I wonder if stop/start equipped vehicles are equipped with heavy-duty batteries with more cranking amps to cope with the demand placed by a constant stop/start cycle while the electrical accessories are on…

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        On Ford’s version of s/s the vehicle will boot back up after a minute or so.

        Also, if AC or defrost is on, the s/s will not engage.

        Finally, someone figured out that by sticking a $15 trailer-light adapter from Amazon into the plug on the bumper, the truck thinks it’s in “tow mode” and disables s/s altogether.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        Prior to engine shut down, the system will check many safety and comfort conditions to see if they are fulfilled. Detailed information about the operation of the Stop/Start system may be viewed in the instrument cluster display Stop/Start Screen. In the following situations, the engine will not stop:
        • Driver’s seat belt is not buckled.
        • Driver’s door is not closed.
        • Battery temperature is too warm or cold.
        • Battery charge is low.
        • The vehicle is on a steep grade.
        • Cabin heating or cooling is in process and an acceptable cabin temperature has not been achieved.
        • HVAC is set to full defrost mode at a high blower speed.
        • HVAC set to MAX A/C.
        • Engine has not reached normal operating temperature.
        • The transmission is not in a forward gear.
        • Hood is open.
        • Brake pedal is not pressed with sufficient pressure.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    My only experience with a Durango was in 2013…rented one for a summer trip to Orlando from Cincinnati…white Citadel with tan leather, V6 with the old transmission. It had a terrible time keeping up speed on I-75 in hilly areas…downshifted several gears to climb hills at 75-78 MPH and sounded like it was going to go ***kaboom***. The directional stability was awful too, but that could have been an alignment issue with the particular unit we had. We had 5 people and luggage on board, and it was marginal at best.

    The build quality was pretty good, with the exception of the headliner…there was an exposed edge at the top of the windshield with raw foam exposed…I would have expected the headliner to wrap up where the edge of the fabric was not exposed.

    Not a fan, and couldn’t believe that an SUV with so much HP had that much trouble climbing hills…it needed about 75 more Lbs of torque.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    Ha, sounds similar to my Fiat 500 X trekking Plus.

    I drove a Abarth for 5 years and loved that cars performance but the seats were ABUSIVE and the wife hated it so since I’d had no real trouble with the car I thought maybe the X would be as good. The X is an enjoyable but troubled vehicle. I was very lucky that I found a buyer for my Abarth at $10,000 as the dealer offered me $3500 for a car with 43k miles and near perfect condition.

    It’s a love hate thing with the X. The 9 speed trans sucks though some days it works quite well but never perfect. Sometimes it lurches and hunts for gears and sometimes it doesn’t react at all? Any RPM below 2000 gives it fits. Sport mode has the trans acting decent and responsive but 1st and 2nd gears are way too aggressive and jerky and… it sucks all the MPG outta the car, like you can watch it your MPG vanish. Manual shifting is also way better than drive mode but why did I buy an automatic car???? Where’s the BEEF… no Paddles??? Really???

    Trim and Gaps are poor in some areas like the hood and hatch. I find the Comfort level of the front seats very nice but I had to sit in the back once and those seats totally suck. Also I find the dash area quite nice.

    Cabin noise can be abusive. Funny thing about your tire pressure comments… I was having problems with the cars sluggish heavy, leaden steering response but then a buddy suggested raising the pressure in the front tires to 40 psi from 34 psi and the steering is lighter and more responsive now though it still wanders on those grooved roads.

    As far a general controls go, I find those to be quite nice and simple in the X. I do find the gauges and info center pretty crappy as far as functions go. The U Connect sucks, I wish CarPlay was available.

    Let’s see, you have a digital speedo and a regular speedo, no clock other than the one in the info center which is so small you can’t really read it unless you tap the APP button but then you can’t see the map. Because of the crappy trans the Cruise Control hunts and lurches.

    I do like some of the features within the info center, you can control a lot of things thru the info center though it took a few days to learn it.

    This review is starting to look like a Jack Baruth verbal diarrhea novellete, Sorry Jack, that’s something you do so much better. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Any words of advice on the Abarth (seriously). I’ve got limited time in a GQ Cabrio (which I should have bought,natch) but I find myself smitten with the thing. I don’t drive much or far usually, so out and out comfort isn’t key.

      I just like the novelty of the car, especially the Abarth cabrio It’s hard to justify new, considering the epic depreciation of these cars but also to get a new car (and the warranty) isn’t terrible. I know, an Abarth cabrio new is Mustang money, but I don’t want a Mustang or anything like that. Two year old cars can be found for nearly half their cost new with under 3k miles on them.

      Thoughts? Issues? Thanks for anything you can give.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        FWIW I went to look at a W140 S320 Benzo and the guy selling it had an Abarth as his daily driver. He said he had 110k miles on it, never any serious problems. Unrelated, he also had an F355 in the garage :O

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          I would also like used XC70 buying advice (gen2).

          • 0 avatar

            Corey, I have an XC70. Nice car (mine is an 2001) drives great quiet comfortable. Bit of pain to fix when things go wrong. Avoid the 01-03 cars transmission and fly by wire issues (mine has survived to 150k so far with out these coming up)
            The HVAC system is hugely complicated but fairly reliable. That said if you find one with HVAC problems I would avoid unless it is a simple fix like the common AC clutch issue.

            Windows like to come off their tracks a couple of 10$ clips and an hour to fix.

            Lots of rubber bushings in the suspension and engine mounts that have a tendency to wear prematurely, these cause more driving issues then I have experienced with similar failures in many different cars. The transmission torque mount for instance has been known to fail in under 50k miles.

            Wheel bearings start going around 100k same with coil packs. (you may get more out of them but this seems common on mine and forums.)

            The biggest issue in my mind is the PCV issue. Volvo has a overly complicated system that needs cleaning and or replacement every 80-100k miles, this involves removing the intake and sometimes the oil pane. I did not do mine and ended up blowing the cam seals to the tune of around $1,200.

            All in all not a bad car but expect only slightly better then average European reliability.

            Look up a site howards volvo
            http://www.freewebs.com/howardsvolvos/
            Or XC forums lots of info.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            Thank you! Turns out I meant gen 3, the 08+ ones. I forgot the gen 1 counts, as it was the “Cross Country” one.

            That Pontiac interior, BLEH.

            But I am thinking of Tahoe replacement, because the rust it has is not repairable. I have always admired the XC70 and this seems as good a time as any. Depreciation has increased since cancellation and announcement of the V90.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I wonder if the previous V70 would be slightly better on the wallet.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Disregard Volvo: acquire beautiful low-mile Grand Prix in 90s green with lacy-gold alloys.

            indianapolis.craigslist.org/cto/6174901905.html

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            The Church compels one of its followers to purchase this.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I always preferred W126.

          complex.com/sports/2012/10/30-best-mercedes-benzes-of-all-time/

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            So the story on the W140 was that the guy bought it sight unseen on Ebay from a Florida dealership, 1 previous owner, 90k easy miles. Truck unloads it and he goes for a drive, massive coolant leak. I went and looked at it, supposedly could have just been some heater core tubing in between the ‘double firewall’ setup which is a bit of a pain but not expensive or too hard to DIY. I had the Maxima at the time, decided I just didn’t want to get into all that. The guy had listed it for $3600 and was willing to take a lot less. I later saw the Benz pop back up in a different part of town, for closer to $6000 with the coolant leak fix I assume.

            28 cars the W140 just has a 1990s Russian Wild-West mobster aura to it that is irresistible to me. The S320 is pleb tier compared to the big daddy S600 or even the S500, but still has all the right looks in black, and is much easier to work on and puts less stress on the transmission supposedly.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    I had the Durango Limited as a rental for a week. Mid level equipment. The thing that bothered ne the most was the old fashioned suspension tuning. It was firm and not compliant, a 7th grade math class did the damper tuning. I often rent Grand Cherokees because I travel quite a bit. Why does the GC Limited feel so much better than the Durango? Nicer interior and quieter, a suspension that does feel like it is a cousin of a Mercedes. Come on Dodge, you can do better.


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