By on June 13, 2018

In Monday’s QOTD (which garnered more comments than any other post in recent memory – for this, we thank you) I opined that a base Durango would be my selection given a sudden bank error of $34,000 in my favor and a command to buy something that’ll last me the next 10 years. I also enjoyed some of your selections, by the way.

Digging into the Durango’s build-and-price tool, I found more to like than expected. No, it’s not the best of its range (that honor is reserved for the gonzo 475 hp SRT version) but it certainly makes a case for itself compared to non-‘roided out Durango SUVs.

By the way, did you know the Chevy S-10 used to have a Durango trim level? This brain remembers the word splashed along the S-10 flanks in a fantastic font, shown below in all its ‘90s glory.

The modern Dodge Durango is one of the better-looking large SUVs out there, with the traditional gunsight grille and an appropriate selection of colors beyond the greyscale. Power is made by the proven Pentastar V6, cranking out as near as makes no difference 300 horsepower while hooked to an eight-speed automatic. This allows a towing capacity of 6,200 lbs, a figure that eclipses a Ram pickup equipped with the same engine and economy-minded rear end gears. One should pick up the $995 towing package if they plan to do heavy hauling.

Uconnect remains one of the better infotainment systems around, with a logical layout and rapid responses. FCA sees fit to endow the base Durango with a 7-inch unit, to which I say: why not simply install the 8.4-inch screen? I’m sure some bean counter in a stuffy, windowless conference room has a deck of PowerPoint slides to explain why. Nevertheless, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are on board.

Push button start, leather-wrapped wheel, and fog lamps are all evidence that the Ace of Base shopper can benefit from economies of scale. These items are generally reserved for higher-spec machinery, after all. Switch blanks inside a car are one thing. But sad black plastic covers the holes where fog lights are supposed to be? That’s advertising to the world you’re a cheapskate. Not kosher at all.

Base Durango machines have seating for five, binning the third-row and leaving real-world space for all of life’s flotsam and jetsam. A trio of vividly-named colors, something that’s become a hallmark at Dodge, are offered gratis in addition to the boring greyscale. Blu By You, Redline, and Octane Red Pearl are all nods’n’winks to folks who remember when the company slathered their hot rods with eye-popping paint.

Why select the Durango over its Grand Cherokee cousin? The GC also looks the part, and may even hang onto a few more dollars of value thanks to the residual glow from the Jeep brand, but I think the Dodge packages its interior better, particularly ahead of the gear lever. That’s one of the t-handle units, not a rotary dial.

It’s no 425 hp SRT, but a $29,995 Durango SXT puts forth enough kit and color to make the Ace of Base grade.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones that have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and is priced in Freedom Dollars. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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49 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2018 Dodge Durango SXT 4×2...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of Durangos that have appeared in my neighborhood. I think they are a good looking rig, not too big, but offer quite a bit of space inside. I have not driven one, so I can’t comment. Friends of ours traded in an Acura MDX for a R/T and have are quite happy with the decision.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      The GT is the sweet spot, whether with the V6 or upgraded to the V8.

      1) Get the tow package even if you don’t need it (resale value); it’s a bargain at $995. It also gives you a bunch of things that will improve idea polity/reliability of trans and radiator/cooling system even if you don’t tow anything.

      2) Get AWD even if you don’t think you need it (resale’value)

      Not only are these reliable, but they ride better, have better NVH, are roomier, have an outstanding 8-speed transmission, have incredibly rigid chassis (you’d have to test drive one over broken pavement or dirt at high speeds to appreciate how rigid they are), and are just better in many respects than full sized SUVs costing way more.

      3) Consider getting 2nd row captains chairs instead of full bench. It makes access to 3rd row much easier and the captains chairs are extremely comfortable. *Whoever made the comment that is a 5 person hauler is an imbecile, as that’s only the case with the DELETE 3RD ROW, and with the 3rd row, it has. Ore interior room for EVERYONE, including 3rd row passengers, than an Escalade or Expedition.

      I’ve driven almost all the vehicles in this class. These are excellent vehicles at an incredible value (especially if you know how to negotiate).

      Also,those claiming resale value on an AWD Durango is poor don’t know what they speak of. These hold resale value extremely well as a % of MSRP (let alone actual transaction values -‘which can easily be 8k to 9k under window sticker, and even 12k to 14k under window sticker in top level trim editions).

      There are no rust issues Sith the 2011+ Durango (Fordson/Moron speaks about prior gen, now 10 year old, completely different Durangos as in every single component).

      Why do I mount such a fervent pitch for these?’ Because they’re outstanding at an outstanding price, and they’re outstanding even if they costed significantly more, and are better than just about anything else in their segment for anyone needling a full size SUV that can haul up to 7 a$$es, tow up to 7,400 pounds, or with the 3rd row flat, haul a massive amount of stuff.

      The icing on the cake is that they are solid and quiet like a bank vault, ride like luxury vehicles, and are incredible values.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I don’t understand the difference between the “2nd row captains chairs” and the cheaper “2nd row arm rest” option, besides the captain chairs add a cupholder in place of the extra seat. Since that extra seat unbolts, I think the sweet spot is the “2nd row arm rest” option and then unbolt the center. Is there something I’m missing here? That saves like $800, and when your kids go off to college and you don’t need the 6 seater, you can convert it to a 5 seater with room for your dog ;)

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Not sure.

          The ones I’ve rented had the captain’s chairs most of the time, and they give 2nd row passengers TONS of leg/head/side room, along with a sturdy, comfortable, large armrest, along with overhead climate controls/vents – it’s like flying first class on Singapore, UAE or Korean Air, but with more room.

          I’ve never tried to take out the middle of the bench on the ones with the 2nd row bench.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Agreed DW – The Durango is a best in class vehicle that is a stellar value as well. This is definitely an Ace of Base – I would include both the Tow Package and AWD, and maybe toss in the Hemi V8. The Durango with the V8 is an absolute blast to drive and with “Eco” mode off, it takes off like a rocket. Even with 5 people on board.

  • avatar
    mankyman

    I came so close to getting one of these last summer. The V8 seems awesome, the towing numbers are very good and I love how they look.

    What ultimately made me choose a minivan instead was the reliability. These Durangos are supposedly quite unreliable. I didn’t need another VW-like product.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      What was unreliable? I mean the electrics are reliable, the engine is very reliable, the transmission is bullet proof, etc.

      They are very reliable SUVs..

    • 0 avatar
      OzCop

      I had one for 4 years…Zero issues other than normal maintenance…Mine was the Citadel awd hemi model, but the reliability should be the same. Prior to that, I owned two of the truck frame based second gen Durangos, both with Hemis, AWD, and tow packages. I logged 90 K miles on the first one, and 94K miles on the second. The only disappointment was the trade in value when I purchased the 2011 Citadel…

      • 0 avatar
        mankyman

        I don’t disagree with either of you. It was mainly a poor perception of Dodge quality. That, and the fact that I don’t feel comfortable towing heavy things with a unibody frame.

        As I noted, some of my previous car experience was with the B5 WV/Audis. With those, you are lucky if you only spend $2,000/year when a major component sh!ts the bed.

        Domestic cars are made a heck of a lot better than they used to be. Maybe I should have gotten a V8 durango instead.

  • avatar
    earthwateruser

    I would drive a Durango for 10 years…oh, wait. I appreciate a big and comfortable cruiser that can probably handle anything you throw at it. But what’s up w/ the $1,395 destination charge on these?!? That seems excessive. Can I arrange factory delivery?

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Despite its advanced age, the Durango is still one of the best SUVs on the market with an amazing range of engines and a modern compliment of features and options.

    It even does very well against the supposedly all new Expedition. And once you factor in price, it blows the “new” Expedition out of the water.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      One must have pretty specific needs (like “cheap”) for that to be the case.

      I mean, the Durango is a two-row five-seater, and the Expedition is a three-row eight-seater.

      They’re not even in the same *segment*…?

      That’s kinda like saying a Civic coupe blows a Charger SRT out of the water, because it’s so much less expensive, eh? Both may be excellent vehicles, but they’re *not even competing*.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        (I mean, the low-trim Durango.

        Shoving in a third row on higher trims … raises the price.

        And it’s shoved into a smaller package than the Expedition, with less passenger room, according to Edmunds.

        So … compelling?)

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        They are both full size SUVs…….

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          They are, but the Durango (despite being RWD-based and available with a V8) really just competes with other family-sized three-row crossovers, which encompasses midsizers like the Sorento, Santa Fe, Explorer, and Highlander…and other full-size crossovers like the Pilot, Atlas, and Traverse. This is especially the case in terms of price. A Durango generally won’t touch the price of an Expedition unless it’s an SRT or something.

  • avatar
    asphaltcowboy

    You should be able to get a significant discount (at least -5k) off MSRP, too – due to the Durango’s poor sales. Enough to add an extended warranty – remember Dodge’s start falling apart after 5 years!

    My company stopped buying their POS RAM trucks after trialing them for 5 years – too many repairs and RAM cost per mile was the highest in our fleet. That’s even with 20% discounts of MSRP! (they have to give their trucks away) – which brings us to Dodge resale values – LOL!

    LOL dodge LOL!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      asphaltcowboy

      “The starting MSRP of a base model Dodge Durango SXT RWD is $30,495. The 4WD models cost considerably more. This SUV depreciates rather quickly too. According to Forbes magazine, the two year value for the Durango is 44%. After five years of ownership, the vehicle depreciates 76%. That leaves a five year value of just $7,300.”

      You should buy a two year old one – that’s a better value! But it appears most people are smart enough not to buy used Dodge’s. Loses 76%!

      • 0 avatar

        I went to see what an off-lease Durango is running right now. My Quick search on AutoTrader showed that nobody wants the NEW models either. There are still 2016 model year Durangos sitting on dealer lots.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I’m not sure where Forbes gets their data, but you aren’t buying a clean title, 12k mile/yr 2013 Durango for $7,300, and the Edmunds trade-in value on a 2013 base Durango with 60K is $11,116.

        That’s not great, but it isn’t 76% either.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          And how about we consider transaction price vs. MSRP?

          If the MSRP was $40K, the dealer sells it for $35K and I get $20K in trade a few years later I’m not going to calculate my personal depreciation rate from MSRP.

          That’s the issue I have with most organizations that try to rank “highest depreciation” and “BEST RESIDUAL VALUE”.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            This is why I love RAM trucks.

            I bought mine 14k under MSRP NEW.

            Traded it in 2 years later for 18K under MSRP.

            You could say I got “hosed” with “awful” depreciation, but I lost $4k to drive a truck for 2 years? biiiig whoop.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        5 year old Durangos in good shape for 7300 and a 2 year old one for 13k?

        I guess Forbes office still provides free cocaine to its automotive bureau.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    10 years? Must not live anywhere they use road salt. In Western New York I have never seen a Durango over 7 years old that didn’t have rust-through in multiple areas.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      If it actually has rust through, then its under warranty, no?

      My porsche was rusting TERRIBLY after only 7 years. made me mad that they wouldn’t do anything about it because it wasn’t rusted THROUGH.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If you’re into hauling trailers, it may make sense, but if you’re hauling people, a minivan would be a far better buy.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    And full-sized Plymouth wagons were called Suburbans and Sport Suburbans – for decades.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    BASE RWD NO 3RD ROW? I’ll pass.

    I think the real value is SXT Plus or GT package model with AWD and tow package. SXT plus gets you the third row automatically and buying a vehicle with that large of a footprint minus a 3rd row just seems silly.

    That less than $1000 tow package is a great value with load leveling, additional coolers, full size spare, Class IV hitch, wiring, and 180 amp alternator.

    That would still get me under your $36K price ceiling from yesterday. Having to add running boards (for my 5’3″ wife) gets me a little over that but any Dodge dealer with a pulse is going to let you negotiate an out-the-door price less than that.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    As a Mopar owner for many, many years, I have failed to see the issues several respondent have mentioned. I trust my own experience much more than I would trust a magazine, or any entity’s projections on reliability and value. When I traded in my 2011 Citadel for the 2014 Longhorn, I received over70% of purchase price, considering purchase deal for purchase purchase price between the two.

    In contrast, I purchased a new, top of the line, 4WD 99 GMC Suburban and at 68 K miles, decided to trade it in on a new Duramax Chevy PU in 2004, I was shocked to learn the value of my Suburban, according to the dealer(s) at that time was barely 11 K dollars. I had already purchased a 24′ enclosed car trailer and needed the 3/4 ton truck, and walked from the first dealer. The second dealer finally offered me a thousand dollars more for my Suburban, so I took the deal, but had settled for a two wheel drive truck.

    Depreciation or trade in values vary between dealers, and of course the condition of the trade in comes in to play. Real world experience will vary for most of us…

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    As I said in the $36,000 question thread, I would get whatever was the closest thing to a Suburban that I could get for $36K, and this would fit the bill nicely.
    If it ever needed it, BTW, my local Jeep/Dodge/Chrysler/Ram dealer has a very good service department, so I would sleep well at night with this decision.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Nice vehicle,certainly a good value, but a perusal of crash test article a few articles down this site would give me pause. Well, at least for anyone riding in the passenger seat.

  • avatar
    maui_zaui

    I rented a Durango in the GT trim for my family of 4 recently and was pleasantly surprised. Massive cargo room with the 3rd row down, nice interior, and decent power to get around. Love the looks in the GT guise with the dark wheels and grill. It really hones in on the ‘muscle car’ aesthetic. I didn’t enjoy the start/stop system, but that can be deactivated with the press of a button. The GT trim is the sweet spot if you’re looking for one of these. Just the right amount of kit and it’s got the looks. You can find used 2018’s for well below $34k on Carmax, so I’m sure you can do even better on the open market.

  • avatar
    arach

    Dodge should pay you.

    I didn’t realize the durango still existed. It looks like a dang VAN on the back… BUT…

    We contacted a dealer after reading your post about it, and I think there’s a great chance we might buy it unless we hate something about it.

    They have some real unique value propositions. In our case, we need an SUV that can tow our boat. Odd how hard it is to find that combo with all the CUVs expanding into SUV territory and a 2000-3500 weight limit. We want AWD for the boat ramps. we don’t need a bunch of features, but there are a few things we really want. Many cars, like the Hyundai Santa Fe that were our leading contenders, require you to buy EVERYTHING to get a few of the things you want. Memory seats and dual zone climate control for example…

    So we end up with an AWD, SXT Plus (7 seats) with Popular Equipment group, sunroof, and Trailer Tow Group.

  • avatar
    kevin512

    I purchased a 2014 Durango SXT+ AWD (added popular equipment group, and towing package) in 2014 for $32,xxx. What a great value. I was worried about the reliability of a Dodge, but it has been rock solid. My only “repair” has been one $5 turn signal bulb after four years and 79K miles. Still has original brake pads. My only complaint about the vehicle was the terrible OEM tires (Kumho Solus), but that was easy to fix.

    The other vehicles that I considered were the Explorer, Pilot, & Highlander, but the Durango was easily my favorite and also the least expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      ddr777

      The nice people at Alamo SFO gave me a Durango Citadel for a 3 day trip, it was insanely good! I never thought I would say anything like that on a Dodge!
      Unfortunately, 3 weeks ago, I went to Vegas, ordered the same level “Standard SUV” and got a Hyundai Santa Fe, what a disappointment !!!

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Given that my wife and I are torn between the Santa Fe and the Durango, Can you weigh in?

        The Santa Fe seems way nicer, more options, more reliable, and safer

        The Durango is a lot cheaper with a better tow rating, and way better fuel economy.

        We are leaning towards the Santa Fe because Hyundais are so well built and reliable. I was thoroughly surprised to hear you say a santa fe was a disappointment?

        the only things I don’t like about them is how expensive they are and the fact they have the big V6 instead of the turbo4. Hyundais 2.0t is a great motor, and the v6 gets awful fuel economy. (The Santa Fe with 3rd row is about 42k, and the dealers take off about 2-3k right now, so you are at 39. A similarly equipped Dodge Durango is 38k and the dealers take off about 3-4k, so your around 34k.

        Thats a $5,000 price difference, and we can’t decide if the Santa Fe is worth $5000 more.

        • 0 avatar
          arach

          Since this is and old post, I’m subscribing and hoping @ddr777 can get back to me.

          Side note, I don’t know what DDR777 stands for, but I can’t help but think you are claiming to be the Dance Dance Revolution God.

        • 0 avatar
          kevin512

          Arach — I suspect fuel economy between the Santa Fe and V6 Durango will be nearly identical. My lifetime average with my V6 Durango is 23.1 (50/50 highway & city driving).

          ’18 Santa Fe AWD 2.0: 19/22/26
          ’18 Durango AWD 3.6: 18/21/25

          I wouldn’t base your decision on fuel economy, because they will be nearly equal.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            Kevin-

            The Santa Fe doesn’t come with a 2.0t, it conly comes with the 3.3l… and the 3.3 gets 17 / 19 / 22

            The Santa Fe Sport is where your getting your fuel economy number from, and that is a much smaller car with a smaller engine and only 2 rows.

            The Durango gets 18 / 21/ 25 according to fuel economy.gov as you state.

            2 MPG doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up, especially when the durango is already a lot cheaper. 2 MPG on these = $2000 or so in savings.

            Not only is the durango getting better fuel economy, but on the forums it looks like the Santa Fe doesn’t like towing near capacity, and sees even bigger drops under a similar load. We tow a small camper and a boat.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          !) The Durango is safer (check out NIHS 5 star rating) and better assembled than the Hyundai – it’s not even close.

          The Santa Fe is ok, but it’s weaker in trans, motor, and way weaker in towing capacity and torsional rigidity.

          2) The Durango is going to have better NVH (particularly ride and quiet) than the Santa Fe in all but the high performance versions. You need to drive them back to back to fully appreciate this.

          3) You should be able to get 20% off sticker on the Durango all day long (my cottage neighbor in northern Michigan got new 2015 Durango SXT AWD that .stickered for 40k for 33k total as in everything including sales tax and title and destination BS blah blah – I did not run numbers, but that’s prob closer to 23% off sticker). If the dealer doesn’t come close to this, just walk without further interaction and go to the the next dealer (do not go to the dealer but call the internet sales managers first and see if they have one in stock you want -‘if so, tell them what you will pay which will be MSRP minus 16% to 20% depending on how hard you want to drive the bargain). You may have to drive further than you want to get that 20% off (or fly in to Detroit metro area and drive it home).

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            arach – response above was to arach re pricing and comparison to Santa Fe.

          • 0 avatar
            arach

            Safer? The Santa Fe is an IIHS Top Safety Pick + and is considered one of the safest cars on the road. The Durango gets low marks for both headlights and the small-overlap front and isn’t recommended. Hyundai definitely wins the safety rating. I couldn’t even find something called “NIHS”.

            20% off sticker? lol… maybe I need to look around more.

            I like the durango because its so much cheaper, but the Santa Fe is safer, and more reliable based on all the researdch I’ve done.

  • avatar
    arach

    Since this is and old post, I’m subscribing and hoping @ddr777 can get back to me.

    Side note, I don’t know what DDR777 stands for, but I can’t help but think you are claiming to be the Dance Dance Revolution God… haha. I’m sure there’s no way thats possible.


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