By on November 10, 2017

2017 Dodge Durango GT

2017 Dodge Durango GT AWD

3.6-liter V6 (295 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm; 260 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive

18 city / 25 highway / 21 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

12.7 city, 9.6 highway, 11.3 combined. (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

Base Price: $41,190 (U.S) / $51,290 (Canada)

As Tested: $49,360 (U.S.) / $59,455 (Canada)

Prices include $1,095 destination charge in the United States and $1,795 (up to $2,495) for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.

If you’re over a certain age – say 30, or 35 for sure – you remember the large sedans of the ‘90s. Comfortable, quiet, and roomy, those LeSabres and Park Avenues weren’t fun for enthusiasts, but they moved five or six people across town with relaxed ease.

That’s now the purpose of lots of crossovers, including the Dodge Durango pictured here. They’re built to haul families and cargo in comfort, and if they’re even a little bit fun to drive, well, that’s gravy.

That means, on balance, I tend to look askew at this category of vehicles, no matter how well they’re built or how well they do their assigned job. I like cars that are fun to drive, and I prefer sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks. Which means I am not the average consumer.

For the average buyer – the one that counts for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – the priorities are different, and not so different from that of the large, front-wheel-drive sedans that once roamed suburbia before demands for utility and a higher seating position collided with the proliferation of unibody architecture, causing demand for crossovers of all sizes to explode.

All this rambling means that there’s more than one way to judge vehicles. Do you judge them based on how fun they are to drive and how they resonate with your enthusiast tendencies, or do you judge them based on how well they do their intended job, or some combination of both?

Full disclosure: FCA paid the shipping costs to return sunglasses I had left inside the vehicle, despite my protestation that doing so wasn’t necessary.

For me, for most reviews, I try to judge on a combination of how well a vehicle executes its given duties and how much it taps into my enthusiast side. The Durango is great at the former and so-so at the latter.

Let’s start with the 3.6-liter V6 under hood. Thanks to the all-wheel drive setup and a curb weight just shy of 5,000 pounds, acceleration from the 295 horsepower/260 lb-ft of torque mill isn’t quite as stout as it might be, but there’s still enough punch for passing and merging. You just need a little patience to let the eight-speed automatic transmission do its work. If you want more power, your local Dodge store has a Hemi V8 or an SRT version of the Durango to sell you.

2017 Dodge Durango GT

At least the automatic fades into the background, with no evidence of hard shifts.

Dodge has blessed the Durango with well-weighted steering that tightens nicely in Sport mode – the Durango continues to have steering that is far less distant than that of its competition. That doesn’t make it “sporty,” per se, but at least you feel engaged with what the wheels are doing, which is somewhat of a rarity among family-hauling crossovers.

When the press-fleet employee dropped the Durango off outside my building, he remarked that the Durango was one nice-riding vehicle, and he wasn’t wrong. I schlepped myself to the suburbs three times while in possession of the Durango and found it to be plenty comfortable even on the Chicago area’s not-so-well maintained expressways and tollways.

Inside, the Durango offers plenty of knobs for radio and HVAC (yes!) controls, and UConnect remains one of the better infotainment systems out there, but some things disappoint. I was frustrated by the lack of buttons for the seat heaters and heated steering wheel. I shouldn’t have to hunt through touch-screen menus to activate them, and nor should you. Yes, the icons are shown on the screen during startup, but one must be quick before they fade.

2017 Dodge Durango

Ease of use aside, UConnect was occasionally slow to come to life and switch menus after startup. Maybe infotainment systems are like engines – they need to warm up.

I also was dismayed by the presence of cheap plastic in a $50,000 vehicle. Most of these plastic bits were lower on the center stack or dash, and not easily seen, nor were they major touchpoints, but Dodge is one among many automakers that still seems to cut corners a bit when it comes to trim. You get the good-looking and good-feeling materials up high, but look about and you’ll see signs of dollars saved. Dodge isn’t the only make to do this, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.

Room isn’t an issue – legroom and headroom are plentiful in this thing. The second-row captain’s chairs sit opposite personal DVD screens. That’s great for silencing children but the remote cut deeply into center-console room, eating up most of the space in the shallow unit.

Exterior styling remains bold, and for lack of a better word, “masculine.” Definitely truck-like, and still attractive despite the fact that this generation Durango has been around a while. I didn’t dig the blackout wheels on my tester, but to each his (or her) own.

2017 Dodge Durango

No one expects great fuel-economy from a full-size crossover, but the Durango showed a range of over 500 miles when full, and I saw around 20 mpg on the trip computer. That range is no doubt helped by a fuel tank that holds nearly 25 gallons.

Available features included a power liftgate, blind-spot monitoring, cross-path detection, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, the aforementioned rear-seat DVD, sunroof, heated second-row seats, and a trailer-towing package. Among those, the blind-spot monitoring system stands out for its intrusive override of the premium audio system, while the power liftgate confounds the impatient. If you try to lift it manually, it gets mad and shuts.

2017 Dodge Durango

I found myself becoming more and more charmed by the Durango as time went by. It performs just well enough to engage the driver, it has enough guts for around-town driving without prodigiously sucking fuel, and it delivers comfort and room in spades. Its controls are easy to use, with minor exceptions.

Downsides include its heft and overall size, along with some touches of cheapness. A few electronic systems have annoying quirks. And 20 mpg is nothing to write home about (thought not awful given the Durango’s size), impressive range aside.

Personally, I don’t have much love for large crossovers or SUVs (regardless of frame type) but I understand why lots of buyers do. The Durango does what it’s supposed to, and that’s not too much to ask.

[Images: © 2017 Tim Healey/The Truth About Cars]

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82 Comments on “2017 Dodge Durango GT AWD Review – Modernity Meets the Large Cruiser...”


  • avatar
    Etothen89

    “3.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder”

    lol I didn’t hear about this one, please tell us more! this is the one they will put in the challenger right?!?!?!

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Editing error, now fixed. My brain went into weekend mode too soon.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        ironically this thing would do well with a turbocharger or two

        the 3.6 is actually a very good motor but its like getting onto 10yrs old?

        if they actually got off their rear ends and made their own ecoboost verison you’d be onto something…

        • 0 avatar
          ahintofpepperjack

          The 3.6L engine’s age is a good thing. No turbochargers, and no direct injection means simple reliability. It runs on 87 octane and still manages 300hp and 30mpg in the LX cars. Backed by Zf’s 8 speed, I think it may be the best powertrain package available today.

          • 0 avatar
            jpolicke

            Actually the Pentastar got some revisions in 2016 under the PSU upgrade. They are using it in the Grand Cherokee so I would expect its sister vehicle here to use it as well.

  • avatar
    kkop

    Such a balanced review, thank you. Pleasantly devoid of irrational truck/suv hate. Unfortunately, I’m sure the B&B will correct that ‘oversight’ very soon.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      What’s irrational? They are wasteful (20 mpg from a 6 cylinder with modern tech is awful) and 5,000 pounds is an unnecessary waste of materials and that mass is dangerous to smaller cars. The dislike for these pigs seems pretty rational to me.

    • 0 avatar
      bienville

      It’s a balanced review if balanced = pointless like every other TTAC review. What’s the cargo capacity compared to the rest of the class? Do the seats fold flat into the floor? How is car seat ingress/egress? Does it have the third row seating? Is the third row comfortable? Is the second row comfortable? What’s the road noise like? What’s the tow rating? And a million other questions. TTAC reviews every single car like it’s a Miata, regardless of the actual intent of the car. But what do you expect when the author spends more time talking about himself than the actual vehicle?

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      Superdessucke: not sure if you’re serious or sarcastic. Sad thing is you may actually be serious?

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      I’ve been asked a few times “why do you need a truck that big”. To which I answer I don’t need one. I want one. Speaking of which, why do you need that $1100 iphone when a $50 flip phone is sufficient?

      That usually shuts them up pretty quickly.

  • avatar

    And the unmentioned and awful stop-start and Eco modes.

    #neverforget

    I managed better on the fuel economy front, at 24 in the summer, with AC.

    • 0 avatar
      Tim Healey

      Bah! I meant to mention the stop/start, it’s not smooth. As far as Eco mode, I hardly used it.

    • 0 avatar
      Hydromatic

      I rented one earlier this year – the Citadel model with RWD. It could get out of its own way, but the Pentastar didn’t have much oomph for anything else – at least not when it’s hauling 5,100 lbs worth of SUV. If you get one of these, definitely go with the HEMI.

      I will say that I saw 25 mpg highway on a 200-mile stretch of road, but that involved a lot of throttle eggshelling. Otherwise, 19 to 21 mpg was the norm. Not bad for a big three-row SUV.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I also was dismayed by the presence of cheap plastic in a $50,000 vehicle. Most of these plastic bits were lower on the center stack or dash, and not easily seen, nor were they major touchpoints, but Dodge is one among many automakers that still seems to cut corners a bit when it comes to trim.

    “One among many” – try almost everybody.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    But did this have the “Brass Monkey” appearance package? Or the “Anodized Platinum” trim?

    Seriously, Dodge…seriously…

    I want to like this vehicle, and I want to like Dodge, but their marketing folks need to move on from their sophomore year in high school already.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      I am extremely unlikely to buy a dodge, but the fact they still have silly names for things like that is one of my favourite things about them, way better than the actual products.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    My only real disappointment (kvetching, really), is that while this is generally a solid platform, if you want 3 rows, you’re stuck with the 4-wheeled NASCAR jacket Durango instead of being allowed a Jeep option. I don’t know if we have the Commander to blame for that, or the perpetually 2 years out Grand Wagoneer, but it’s unfortunate (even if I’m not even close to a potential buyer).

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    Tim, the insert with quick vehicle facts mistakenly identifies the engine as a turbocharged four cylinder – perhaps a remainder from a different article.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    These are cropping up in my hood’ more and more. Two cases in fact, the buyer/leasor (don’t know how the vehicle was purchased) the Durango replaced an Acura MDX. It is not everyday you see a Honda product swapped out for a FCA product. The friends of ours who dropped the Acura really liked the size and she insisted on the R/T so F.E is not a concern for her. Her hubs liked the rebate and the fact that he could order it exactly how he wanted it.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Fiatsler has some damn great discounts on these, and the Grand Cherokees. They want to move all that metal on to happy campers.

      The Durango has been widely adopted by various Law Enforcement agencies.

      IMO, the one to get is the 5.7L Durango 4×4. Likewise the 5.7L Grand Cherokee 4×4. In both, the middle-V8 seems to provide the perfect balance in power-to-weight ratio.

      The 3.6L PentaStar is barely adequate and the 6.4L is just a thirsty BEAST.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Doesn’t the 5.7 have a pretty stout tow rating as well? More Tahoe than typical crossover?

        That said, the Pentastar/8 speed combo is still, after all these years, powertrain heaven for light use larger cars/trucks. It’s great in the Ram 1500, and in the Durango as well. Perhaps FCA has found a genuinely useful niche: Ridiculously (compared to the rest) slow update cycles, allowing them to sell good kit for deep discounts; rather than having to constantly recoup cost of ever more frequent redesigns…..

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          stuki, I rented a Caravan this summer to complete a move, and drove it 300 miles. Not only did it swallow stuff like nobody’s business, but it was genuinely faster than I expected, easy to drive, and genuinely more economical than I expected – and I hammered that thing up and down aggressive highways from western NY to southern Maryland. I believe it has that powertrain. I’d genuinely buy that vehicle… very capable, very well sorted.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            I have rented several Ram 1500 with either the Hemi or the Pentastar. Generally I fly in and then have to highway drive; I have found the Hemi to return similar highway mileage to the Pentastar. Even in the 1500 I don’t find the Pentastar to be underpowered, I have found the Hemi to be a bit of a pain to drive when it is raining or damp. It wants to burn the rear tires off with even the slightest of throttle input from a stop. Of course, since I rent I burn the tires down with abandon.

  • avatar
    MLS

    While the lack of physical buttons for the heated/ventilated seats and heated wheel affects much of Chrysler’s lineup, the Uconnect system can be set to activate those elements automatically at engine start, based on ambient temperature. I believe seat and wheel heat turns on under 40°F, and seat ventilation over 80°F. Can also be programmed to coincide with either remote starts or all starts.

    If nothing else, the touchscreen-based controls save lower-end trims from the scourge of button blanks.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      “the Uconnect system can be set to activate those elements automatically at engine start, based on ambient temperature”

      Yep. Combined it with remote start and you get into a nice toasty vehicle with the seats and steering wheel warmed up. My evil gaz guzzling, baby seal annihilating Ram 1500 has that and I discovered it by accident. Pffft who read the manuals? UConnect is actually pretty damn cool, well designed and easy to use. About 1000X better than the system in my wife’s MB. I know that is setting a low bar, but going between her car and my Ram is like night and day in terms of ease of use for controls.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I definitely like these things, an honest to God fully competitive entry in a red hot market segment from Chrysler. I have not driven one or ridden in one, but a lot of what I read about the driving manners sounds a lot like the 3.6/8A Charger SXT I test drove a while back. Very good ride/handling balance, very solid feeling, 3.6/8A are a very smooth operating pair. In a perfect world I’d be able to get some sort of off-road-ish variant with a bit more clearance and a more tucked up front bumper, and the 2 speed transfer case from the v8 version. Basically a longer Grand Cherokee.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    ” I was frustrated by the lack of buttons for the seat heaters and heated steering wheel. I shouldn’t have to hunt through touch-screen menus to activate them, and nor should you. ”

    The buttons at the bottom of the screen are customizable for this reason. If you want the heated seat and steering wheel button to always appear in the tray at the bottom, you can drag and drop the icons there from the APPS screen.

  • avatar

    The opening bit of this article is ridiculous.

  • avatar
    Null Set

    Spending $50k on *anything* made by FCA is gross stupidity. The reliability, dealer service, and resale value will be nothing less than horrifying.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The three-row Jeep version can’t come soon enough. The Durango name has never recovered from the demographic that the first-gen version appealed to. And the godawfully tacky LED silhouette taillight just reinforces the perceived trashiness.

    A shame, as substantively it’s a pretty solid entry, if 400 pounds heavier than it should be for no good reason.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “The Durango name has never recovered from the demographic that the first-gen version appealed to.”

      I mean, when new, I think they were bought by the same fairly affluent people that were dropping $33-35k (in 1990s money) on Tahoes, Explorers, etc. The same demographic you’re alluding to likewise has gotten ahold of Tahoes, Explorers, etc en masse now as older used examples.

      I’d actually love to have a clean 1st gen Durango in my garage. The trouble is finding a non-rotten totally used up one.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Perceived trashiness”.

      Hey, fancy PNW lawyer man. I’ll have you know us Dodge owners are *legit* trashy. There is no mere perception involved.

    • 0 avatar
      Roberto Esponja

      Agreeing with gtem. I sold cars at Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge-Jeep store when the 1st generation Durango came out and, if anything, that first generation model attracted customers of a very solid demographic. The second generation was the one that ruined that, in my opinion. The first generation Durango was better-looking and right-sized. I still see a lot of them around, and well cared for too.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Awful review from someone who clearly knows next to nothing, has driven few vehicles in this segment and price point, and has no clue that these transact at prices with pallets of cash on the hood, yet are better than anything from the competition from the Japanese, domestics, or Europeans that cost even 20 grand more.

    You won’t find vehicles in this segment that

    -‘are as quiet

    – are as solid (chassis and structure)

    -‘ride nearly as well

    – have nearly as good transmissions

    – are as fuel efficient given HP and curb weight

    – have interiors as solidly screwed together

    – with hassle free warranties (that can be extended for many years/miles inexpensively)

    I’m now out for some libations while I group ponder how a 36 year old law school graduate/blogger who never argued a motion in his life or even conducted a deposition, let alone tried a single case, and at least suggested Sandy Hook was some form of conspiracy, could be approved as Trump’s (Drumpf’s) nominee for a lifetime appointment as a federal court judge.

    Idiocracy is the mockumentary that’s COME TRUE!

    • 0 avatar
      Yay_Cars

      Did you miss the part where he liked the car?

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Nissan Armada.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        The new Armadas are definitely vastly undervalued vehicles as far as what you’re getting for the money. It’s my somewhat-realistic future family vehicle that I aspire to at the moment.

    • 0 avatar
      Arminius

      Not unlike nominating a Treasury Secretary who doesn’t pay their income taxes.

    • 0 avatar
      I_like_stuff

      @DeadWeight

      You mad bro?

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      DW, we know you own one. Is their evidence for any of your claims? More quiet than a? As solid as a? Rides better than? Transmission is better than? Better fuel economy than? Better screwed together interior? (I’d like to see the criteria for that). Warranties? My local MOPAR/Jeep dealer makes the KIA dealer look classy. Real bottom feeder/mouth breeder territory.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I drive a 5 year old Mercedes E350.

        WTF are you trippin’ on?

        The Chrysler 300/Jeep Grand Cherokee/Durango are all among the best vehicles in their respective segments – easily – and even, better than many similarly sized and purposed vehicles costing significantly more.

        IN FACT, if I had to replace my car tomorrow, either the 300 or Jeep Grand Cherokee would be contenders (I don’t need the extra size of the Durango so the 2-row JGC works).

        TTAC is full of imbeciles who spout off about vehicles they have no real experience with.

        Neither Kia nor Hyundai can tune a suspension properly, even after all these decades, if their Korean-government subsidized lives depended on doing so, and majority of their dealership interiors are covered from floor to ceiling in a parasitic, foul-smelling primordial ooze.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          “Neither Kia nor Hyundai can tune a suspension properly”

          I’ve seen you trot this out multiple times before, and I think you’re stuck in 5 years ago when this was still true. I used to complain about the exact same thing, but they have really turned things around in that regard.

      • 0 avatar
        MLS

        Mouth breeders? Like cichlids?

  • avatar
    Yay_Cars

    Good review.

    To answer the question – i usually convince myself to emphasize practicality, but unless I have something fun to drive it’s only a matter of time till my eye starts to wander. (This, I think, is why I’ve had a WRX hatch for twice as long as I’ve ever owned another car).

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Great review but the bit about the transmission I take issue with.

    This *should be* the exact same ZF 8-speed in my HEMI Grand Cherokee. If so, it’s, without a shadow of a doubt, the best transmission on the market. Shifts are undetectable, it never hunts, it’s quick to react in “drive”, and is amazingly fast to shift in “sport” mode.

    There isn’t a better transmission out there.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “There isn’t a better transmission out there.”

      Huh? You are referring to a Chrysler product, aren’t you? Are you sure?

      Somehow, “Better” and Chrysler products don’t add up! I wish I was wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        ZF is a German maker of auto parts. Definitely not a Chrysler (FCA) product.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “ZF is a German maker of auto parts. Definitely not a Chrysler (FCA) product.”

          FCA purchased the license to the design. For many applications, it has since been fundamentally altered and is calibrated for each application by FCA engineers. The high volume versions are manufactured by FCA while some versions are still supplied by ZF.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “There isn’t a better transmission out there.”

        Huh? You are referring to a Chrysler product, aren’t you? Are you sure?

        Somehow, “Better” and Chrysler products don’t add up! I wish I was wrong.”

        Wow the ignorance is strong…..

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “Fun to drive” to me means driving something I actually WANT to drive. As far as performance goes, I’ve always been a cruiser, not caring a bit how many horsepower a car has.

    My current ride has 300 hp – the fastest, most powerful car I have ever owned. Do I use those horses? Once in awhile on the highway when traveling, but around town? Rarely, unless I have to get out of somebody’s way or to avoid being hit by some idiot I actually see coming.

    I contemplate replacing my Impala with something, but who knows what? Wifey and I would like a “fun car”, but an MX5 is much too small. A Camaro or Mustang convertible would suffice, perhaps, but it most likely will turn out to be just a fantasy, being retired and on a serious budget, already having one car payment and can’t afford two.

    Oh well – back to the Velocity Channel and dream of all the classic cars I will never own again…

    At least dreams are still free!

  • avatar
    kosmo

    OK, here’s a picky nit, having seriously shopped this vehicle:

    Why oh why can’t I order the R/T version with factory roof rails?!

    I gotta have a rack on occasion, while my wife has to pull a 5,000 pound trailer on occasion.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    I purchased a new Citadel model with all the bells and whistles available in 2011, hemi, all wheel drive, deluxe tow package with self leveling feature, the crash sensing, self braking feature, lane warning, etc. I drove it for 3 years and 40K plus miles, towed a race car and aluminum trailer for probably half those miles. Indeed, one of the best SUV’s I had ever owned, including a GMC Suburban, Honda Pilot, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Hiway driving, non towing could exceed 23 mpg, and highway towing hovered between 16 and 18, terrain and wind dependent.It had a sticker price of just over 48 K, and I paid just under 43 K. 40 K trouble free miles later it still had original tires, and the only expense during those 3 plus years was routine service, always demanding Mobil 1 oil changes. It had plenty of power for highway driving, towing or not, and towed very well for a unibody vehicle.
    I recall the evening I traded it off for my current Longhorn edition Ram, equipped nearly the same with 4 WD and all the bells and whistles, I almost took it back the next day to retrieve my Durango. My mother in law lives with us and at the time she was 85 years old, and could enter and exit the Durango just fine, but not so much with the Ram. I was considering an enclosed car trailer was one of the main reason’s for trading off the Durango. My wife talked me out of taking it back and again, Fiat owned or not, one of the best pickup trucks I have ever owned, including a new Chevy Duamax crew cab back in 2004.
    I am not sure why Chrysler products are always demeaned by so many people, and have to think obviously, these people have never owned or driven one enough to know what they are talking about. I have owned many during my nearly 75 year life time, and NEVER experienced the negatives that so many tend to complain about. My Dodge and Plymouth police cruisers during my nearly 30 year police career were some of the best and most reliable I had assingned, including Fords and Chevy’s, although I can’t complain much about the Fords…Chevy’s were a slightly different matter. My current stable includes my wife’s 2013 Titanium edition Ford Escape, a 2005 SRT 4 with only 70 K miles, a Ford F 450 chassis Class C RV, and a 2017 Ford Focus ST, which doubles as a daily driver and track day/autocross car. I have no bias for or against Fiat Chrysler, Ford, or GM. I am merely relaying my own experience with Fiat Chrysler…

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      I’d help if that wall of text had some additional white space.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “I am not sure why Chrysler products are always demeaned by so many people,”

      Because their brand with poorly designed door handles and all are apparently so much better

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Pull on a locked FCA exterior door handle and give it a nice jiggle. You’ll break it.

        The last nice door handle (to my mind) was fitted to the 2010 Chrysler PT Cruiser. Now *those* were door handles. Secured to the door, with a big chunky pushbutton and a separate lock cylinder– plastic core, covered in actual chrome.

        The things were even cold when one would grasp them in the winter. Very high-quality.

        • 0 avatar
          OzCop

          Owned many of them, old and new over the years…have NEVER broken a door handle…my son has owned several new and old as well, never experienced anything like that…calling BS unless you have something to back that up…

          • 0 avatar
            CincyDavid

            Only car I ever broke an outside handle on was my dad’s 78 Dodge Omni…bought it new and VERY quickly 3 of the 4 handles quit working from outside…it was a known defect apparently.

            Not much of a MoPar fan but the Durango seems to be a nice package without being too damn enormous.

  • avatar
    thx_zetec

    For modern cars part of the challenge of providing comfortable, quiet ride is dealing with big wheels + shorter sidewalls. I think if you let the suspension engineers choose tires and wheels for best handling / comfort / durability you’d see small wheels and more side-wall. The big-wheel thing is largely for styling, people paying 50k see big wheels as providing premium appearance.

  • avatar
    carguy

    It’s a nice SUV for sure but at $50K, the depreciation on any domestic SUV will be savage. You may as well get the V8 as gas will be least of your costs.

    The other deal-breaker for me is that FCA can’t seem to manage its quality problems.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    My daughter took her Touareg buyback money and ordered herself a Durango RT. After living with diesel torque the V6 wouldn’t cut it. It had to be ordered because the dealers only order them with rear buckets, and the bench works better with child seats. She loves this truck. You can program the wheel and seat heaters to automatically come on at a certain temperature, and the memory function will retain your climate preferences and your individual radio stations. They are incredibly popular here on Long Island.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Needs more HELLCAT!!!!

  • avatar
    cipher512

    I had to create an account to profess my admiration for the Durango after lurking here for a few years.

    Purchased my 2014 SXT+ for $32.7K about 3.5 years ago. Thought I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Dodge, but the Durango was clearly the best mid size SUV in my opinion after driving all the usual suspects in this category. Dodge Journey = awful, Dodge Durango = awesome.

    After 67K miles, my only “repair” has been a $5 turn signal bulb.

    As for MPG, it gradually improves after the break-in period. I am averaging 24 in mixed driving that includes Minnesota winters. Not great, but respectable.

    I am a tall driver (6’6″) with a son who is approaching my height. The Durango is one of the few SUVs that can accommodate long legs in both the front and back seats concurrently.

    I highly recommend the Durango. If you don’t go crazy with the options it won’t cost $50K.

  • avatar
    Reino

    I may have missed it, but does the V6 in this vehicle sit longitudinal or transverse? This is an important note required in any car review, as the midsize SUV segment now varies (4Runner sits longitudinal, while Explorer is transverse)

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Longitudinal, owing to the RWD-based setup. It is however a unibody with IRS. On that same note, I personally wouldn’t even call the Explorer a “midsize SUV,” if the Durango is kind of a fence sitter in terms of classification, the Explorer is now solidly in the crossover realm owning to the FWD-car derived platform.

    • 0 avatar
      legacygt

      Longitudinal. A rarity in the segment. But I think it’s more of a carryover from the donor vehicles (Grand Cherokee, Mercedes whatever they’re called now) than a manifestation of the Durango’s priorities. You probably see some advantages relating to reduced turning radius and front/back weight distribution. But you have to move up to the V8 to get any of the 4WD goodies. (Note that the Grand Cherokee offers the higher end 4WD with the V6 but on the Durango you need to go to the V8 to get this stuff.)

  • avatar
    legacygt

    I drive a 2015 Durango Limited (the GT seems to have replaced the Limited trim). This review is pretty much on the mark. I’d add a few comments although few will disagree with what’s written in the review.

    I find the 3.6L to be excellent. It has plenty of power and acceleration. It’s no the V8 but it’s fine and smooth and works well with the transmission. Performance and efficiency are class competitive while refinement is probably toward the top of the class.

    Interior materials are fine. There are some bits that feel cheap like the interior “chrome” trim and the sunglasses compartment. But there are other parts that feel rock solid like the wiper stalks and shift paddles (those paddles feel like they could be in a $100K+ car). But most of the car feels like just about everything else in the class…mostly good but not extraordinary. But what’s missing from the assessment of specific materials/components is the overall sense of solidity that you don’t really see elsewhere in this class.

    That power liftgate drives me crazy too. Wish it was manual.

    The ride is very quiet. I would say it’s best in class unless you start throwing in some luxury makes. Handling is pretty good for a car this size but it was a step down from my prior car (Mazda CX-9 which I would say is the class leader for handling, steering, engagement, etc.)

  • avatar
    PwrdbyM

    Any infotainment system in cars these days is going to have a bit of a learning curve. The uconnect is one of the most user friendly, yet writers who live with the car for a few days gripe about the usability. In this case he had to “hunt” for the seat climate controls. I lived with a unconnect for 3 years and it was two quick taps accomplsihed in 1 second to select heated/cooled seat functions, actually much easier than multiple buttons low on the dash.

    This was another “I don’t know why people buy SUVs; I don’t need one or understand them, but I guess this one’s ok” review that really didn’t say much of anything useful.

    • 0 avatar
      legacygt

      I’m not going to bash uconnect for this but I’m not going to say it’s perfect either. Hunting for controls is annoying. But even after you know where they are, extra taps on the screen are annoying too. Yes, it’s two quick taps to turn on the heated seat. But then you switch radio or nav or whatever. And then you want to turn the heated seat off. Well it’s another two taps (or three if the heater was on high) and then another tap back to whatever screen you were on. Is this terrible? No. But it’s distracting and a little dangerous. And a dedicated button would be better. It’s a trade-off. With more things to control and adjust, you can’t add buttons for everything.

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