Ace of Base: 2019 Dodge Durango SXT RWD

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

America. It’s generally thought of as the country where everything is bigger and customers get a lot more for a lot less. Take the price of fuel, for example, or the portions at any all-you-can-eat buffet.

Viewed in that light, this base model Durango should have an American flag on the hood and pictures of bald eagles stitched into the seats. This is a lot of truck for less than $30,000.

First things first – just like the rest of Dodge’s lineup, this thing is older than Methuselah. Appearing in the last Ice Age 2011, the current Durango showed up a couple of years after Chrysler’s embarrassing sojourn through bankruptcy. Built alongside the Grand Cherokee in Detroit’s Jefferson North plant, this is a big machine. Dodge says it measures 201.2 inches in length, standing about 76 inches wide and 71 inches tall.

For comparison, the present Ford Explorer is about three inches shorter and a couple thousand bucks more expensive. It is also based on a front-drive platform, and front-wheel drive is for the feeble. The next Explorer will be rear-drive, of course, just like the Durango shown here.

The 2019 Durango is a five-passenger affair at its base price of $29,995. A third row of seats can be added to the SXT trim for an extra charge, but most buyers are better off using that back-back space for cargo, anyway. From a practicality standpoint, the Durango’s centre console and storage cubbies are more useful and logically laid out than in its GC brother. My sole complaint is the low-rent 7-inch Uconnect screen. Thanks to economies of scale, however, even the base model gets tri-zone climate control

Externally, the Durango looks every bit an SUV, not some sort of anemic crossover. Base SXTs still receive fog lights and a chrome cow-catcher gunsight grille standing in front of the cheap-to-maintain Pentastar V6. Racetrack-style taillights adorn the rear and look just as good on the Durango as they do on my Charger. The color shown here, Octane Red, is a no-charge option. So’s a purpley In-Violet hue, if you’re so inclined.

Big portions, bold styling, small price. Sounds like America to me.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which 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 selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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2 of 66 comments
  • Maui_zaui Maui_zaui on Jan 30, 2019

    I rented a Durango GT on a recent trip and was pleasantly surprised. I would love to try the RT and of course the SRT, but I do agree the V6 was 'good enough'. In terms of features, content, and looks, the GT trim is the sweet spot for me. Hopefully, the good thing about it being on an old platform means they've worked out any big problem or issues.

  • AdamOfAus AdamOfAus on Jan 30, 2019

    I wish the Australian market got the Durango over the "Holden" Arcadia.

  • EBFlex At the summer property putting boats in the water, leveling boat lifts, cleaning the lots for summer, etc. Typical cabin stuff in the most beautiful place on the planet
  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.