It’s a shame about the 2014 Dodge Durango. Every car eventually gets wound down, but the Durango will be going out in its prime. If the way a vehicle drives is a high priority for you, it’s hard not to adore the Durango’s comportment. More tragic, the Durango has been the quiet way to get Grand Cherokee goodness with some bonus wheelbase and space for exceptionally-aggressive Dodge pricing. That’s going to be over soon.
If the Durango is so good, and Chrysler even bothered to update it this year, why is it going away? The answer: Because it’s a Dodge.
But the Durango won’t be gone for long.
Car shopping used to be so simple: you could buy a truck or a car. Then came the wagon, minivan, sport utility and the latest craze: the crossover. There’s just one problem with the crossover for me however: it’s not a crossover. With a name like that you’d assume that a modern crossover blended the lines between a truck/SUV with a car/minivan. The reality of course is that the modern three-row crossover is just a front-driving minivan that doesn’t handle as well or haul as much stuff. In this sea of transverse minivans in SUV clothing lies just one mass-market vehicle that I can honestly call a three-row crossover: the Dodge Durango. Instead of a car that’s been turned into an AWD minivan with a longer hood, the Dodge uses drivetrains out of the RAM 1500 combined with a car-like unibody. While rumors swirled that the Durango would be canceled in favor of a 7-seat Jeep, Dodge was working a substantial makeover for 2014. (Read More…)
TTAC Commentator flipper35 writes:
We have a 2000 Dodge Durango 2WD with rear abs (hub assembly is different than if the front had abs if it matters) and 165k miles. It has been a pretty good truck with few issues but we do have an annoying one that came up. The truck isn’t a commuter for me, just for the occasional errand that my wife needs to run or when the whole family goes somewhere so it gets driven a couple times a week just a few miles on the highway into town and back. The issue is the brakes. (Read More…)
Sajeev and Steve,
I think it’s time to replace my wife’s 2005 Honda Odyssey EX-L. It’s got 48,000 on the clock and has developed a few problems over the years. Power side doors that get wonky on really cold days, a slow leak in the AC system, a leak somewhere around the windshield, and an intermittent airbag light most recently, to name a few. None of these things is that big a deal, but considering that my wife has held a grudge against me for convincing her to buy a minivan in the first place, they are just mounting evidence in her case to replace the Ody.
The Chevrolet TrailBlazer and its many sibs are extinct. The Ford Explorer nameplate survives, but it’s now attached to a car-based crossover. Only one family of domestic midsize conventional SUVs remains—and, quite ironically, it’s based on a Mercedes platform. We’ve examined the five-seat Jeep Grand Cherokee before. For those more focused on people hauling than rock crawling Chrysler more recently introduced the seven-seat Dodge Durango. Is the all-new 2011 Durango only for people who need the dependable towing capacity of a conventional SUV? Or can it compete with the transverse-engined competition on their own terms?
Jeep’s Grand Cherokee has earned consistently positive reviews by maintaining its off-road capability and nailing one of the few untouched crossover market positions between mass-market minivan replacements and high-end luxury SUVs. Does that mean the Dodge version, which will bear the Durango nameplate, will be similarly received? Not necessarily. Expected to be less off-road capable than its Jeep cousin, the Durango will compete head-to-head with the new Ford Explorer, GM’s Lambda juggernaut, and a pack of established mid-large CUV competitors. The Durango will also be the toughest trial yet for the tortured relationship between Dodge and the ostensibly spun-off Ram brand, as the Durango has traditionally resembled the Ram off which it used to be based (need proof? Dodge is calling the Durango a “three-row performance SUV”). On the positive side of the Durango’s balance sheet: an optional Hemi engine. Sure, the Grand Cherokee offers that too, but the Jeep brand doesn’t get to call it a Hemi. Now that’s what you call differentiation!
Via Twitter comes this, the first shot yet of the Dodge version of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee. Dodge won’t confirm whether the badly battered Durango name will grace its version of the JGC, but at least it’s clear that the brand is getting away from its truck-alike styling dependence. But with the new Grand Cherokee earning strong reviews, will Dodge’s (likely) decontented version be a letdown? It had better not be, because another big name from the SUV era is going to stake a claim in the mid-full CUV segment starting on Monday: Ford’s 2011 Explorer.
Carscoop dug up these drawings from a Chrysler patent filing for the Dodge-branded version of the forthcoming 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Autoblog figures Dodge will drop the Durango name in favor of resurrecting the Magnum moniker, though given that model’s distinct lack of success, that would be a questionable strategy. On the other hand, the Durango name doesn’t have a lot of tread left on it either… but then what Chrysler Group nameplate does? [UPDATE: Grand Cherokee pricing/trim levels apparently leaked here, with prices reportedly ranging from $31,480 to $45,770 ]