By on January 30, 2019

2019 Dodge Durango SXT

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.

2019 Dodge Durango SXT

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

2019 Dodge Durango SXT

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.

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66 Comments on “Ace of Base: 2019 Dodge Durango SXT RWD...”


  • avatar
    arach

    The Pentastar is a great engine in this…

    We own one and had a lot of trouble finding the TOP trim (citadel) with the V6 (Pentastar).

    Its plenty of power for towing, passing, and moves the car just fine- I’d even say its oddly peppy. We pull a travel trailer, a race car trailer, and a boat.

    Not sure why anyone would take the fuel economy hit for the big V8 unless they just need to compensate for something… plus the pentastar is actually a more reliable engine… Maybe the v8 has more power, but reliability and maintenance seem to fit really well with the Pentastar!

    but that might also be an american thing. Everyone needs the big ol’ V8.

    Anyway, this is an impressive value. I totally agree with it being the Ace of Base, and you can’t go wrong with it compared to the competition.

    The only problem is its a dodge…

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      “Not sure why anyone would take the fuel economy hit for the big V8 unless they just need to compensate for something”

      ……ahhh you got me- I got the 5.7L in my Charger rather than the 3.6L due to my tiny shwantz! Nothing related to quicker acceleration and way better exhaust sounds.

      Oh and I have a V8 in my 4×4 SUV rather than a V6 because my boat is probably bigger than yours – analyze that!

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      Hemi or bust. The 3.6 is a good enough motor for the average consumer. Im a card carrying member of the Cult of the V8, and no V6 no matter how good will temt me to downgrade.

      The wrong people sure seem to be obsessed with the ‘equipment’ of guys who drive trucks. Unless you’re a single rocker/pinup/hairstylist type of girl, what I’m ‘packing’ will forever be a mystery to you.

      The ‘problem’ is it’s a Dodge? How is performance and an injection of testosterone into a segment dominated by bland fwd snooze mobiles a problem? Or are you still drinking that kool aid where FCA vehicles ‘supposedly’ aren’t as reliable?

      • 0 avatar
        MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

        What he said.

        I have a darn nice Lexus and some other sweet vehicles, but I usually _choose_ to drive the Hemi Charger.

      • 0 avatar
        RangerM

        I rented a Durango RT with the V8 last year.

        I don’t remember if it was 4wd or not, but while the V8 did have a pleasant sound, I found it slower (seat of my pants measurement) than my Ecoboost (3.5L) F150.

        I’ll keep my “downgrade”.

        • 0 avatar
          PM300

          Because it is slower than your F-150. I raced an R/T hemi durango with my pentastar 300S in Mexico from 0-90mph and neither of us gained an inch on each other. I spun a bit off the line too so I might have taken him. This means the hemi is a high 14 quarter truck and yours is low to mid 14s assuming it’s the newer aluminum body.

          I agree though for a people mover like this the pentastar is about perfect. I’d pass on the hemi and save it for a more fun car.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The Michigan State Police tested a Durango 5.7L 8A AWD (3.09) and a F-150 3.5EB 10A 4WD (3.55 rear end) this year. The Ford is about a tenth quicker to 60 and then the gap grows after that. The Durango was faster around the racetrack, if such things matter here.

          The big story was 3.0T Explorer, which was slightly quicker than the 5.7L 5A Chargers on hand. Hopefully that bodes well for the upcoming ST.

        • 0 avatar
          MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

          Ranger, keep in mind the Durango is nearly 5,000 pounds, while the newer (alum.) F series dropped hundreds of pounds. I have substantial seat time in both ecoboost 2.7L and 3.5L trucks, and they are no doubt QUICK. But that’s not the whole picture, and the long-term durability of the twin turbos is up in the air. I would not trade my fullsize GM SUVs for one of the Fords for a Milllion bucks. OK, so I would for $1M, because that would buy me more GMs :)

          • 0 avatar
            RangerM

            @MRITA

            My F150 is the older (heavier) version, but I’m only claiming it feels faster than the Durango I rented (since I don’t regularly carry testing equipment with me).

            At the time of my rental, I could only think to myself at how fast the truck sounded, but neither the speedometer nor the force I felt in the driver seat (when flooring the gas pedal) reflected this. A lot of “show” and no “go”.

            The long term reliability of the twin turbo V6 in my truck is yet to be seen (so far, so good), but it is an admittedly more complicated engine.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Even the AOB Durango isn’t far off of 5,000 lbs, the AWD V8 comes in at about 5,500. That’s every bit as heavy as a new Ram, and a full 400 pounds more than my aluminum Ford.

            The Ram is already the slowest half ton of the big three by quite a bit (which is pretty awesome), and keep in mind that the Hemi that goes in the SUVS and the cars doesn’t get the variable intake runners that the truck version does and consequently gives up about 35 horsepower.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        I wouldn’t call it “supposedly”… I’d call it fact with sufficient supporting evidence.

        Don’t get me wrong, A charger could very well be in my future, and I’ve got V8s in my stable too on SPORTS CARS… I’d totally go for the V8 Charger.

        I also think the V8 could make sense for people that tow.

        But really what I wanted to do instead of bashing the V8 is talk about how great the V6 Pentastar is in this thing. I don’t think most people give it a chance, but for the AVERAGE non-enthusiast, non-towing buyer… the V8 is wholly unnecessary.

        I’m a brodozing 1000 ft-lb diesel truck driving guy who tows more with his wife’s durango than his pickup truck… so i really don’t have much room to talk.

    • 0 avatar
      barkleyfan

      While it’s true (on a very flat terrain) the v6 offers noticeably better mileage, that gap closes quickly with any noticeable grade, as it doesn’t produce the torque necessary to hold top gear. The engine spins faster to maintain the same speed. I traded my V6 Grand Cherokee for the Hemi for this very reason. I actually gained 2 miles to the gallon for my commute. Being able to merge with traffic is a nice bonus.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Awesome! RWD wagon — what is not to like? I hope they are more reliable in this basic trim, too.

    I often see these discounted to low 20s on Autotrader.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I’m always surprised that these aren’t more popular then they are. A classic 3-row RWD SUV for a very reasonable price. I guess when they’re sitting on the showroom floor next to the Grand Cherokee it’s tough

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      The interiors are kind of tight (narrow) compared to a lot of the other big players in the three-row CUV class, and again many shoppers in the space are more concerned with more practical characteristics than RWD dynamics. Although by that same logic, you’d think a lot more 3-row-CUV intenders would then consider minivans.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        No, I would never think that a full size SUV shopper would ever consider a minivan

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I didn’t say they would. I’m saying the pragmatists poo-pooing the Durango in favor of roomier FWD-based crossovers would be wise to simply look at minivans if they are truly motivated by purely practical desires (roominess). And nor would I consider a Durango a full size SUV, it’s definitely midsize feeling on the inside.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I know, I was just kidding, but people who want a full size SUV or crossover rarely think in practical terms of maybe a minivan would be a better choice

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          We are cross shopping the Pacifica and Durango.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      They are very popular around here. The local dealers have a hard time keeping them on hand for very long.

  • avatar
    make_light

    I’d take this over just about any other 3 row SUV. Even its fuel economy isn’t horrible for what it is. A couple years back, a coworker of mine (middle aged mom) was test driving vehicles in this class. She loved the Durango and said it “drove like a luxury car” compared to the others. Alas, her husband was worried about the reliability and wouldn’t let them buy it. Now she has a Highlander instead, of course.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Alex Dykes bought a Hemi Durango as a tow vehicle. I wish he’d give us a “long term update” – I know it’s just a sample of “1” but I like hearing from actual owners.

  • avatar
    deanst

    This vehicle is so old it has bumpers and windows! Never noticed that the center stack does not align with the center consol – a bit odd.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, it’s a very old design. But the 5.7L V8 in this vehicle is awesome, IF this is the type of vehicle you’re looking for. Power-to-weight ratio is near perfect and much better than a Tahoe/Yukon.

      So maybe 2020 will bring updates, along with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, its platform mate.

      If you don’t need that third seat, the Grand Cherokee with the 5.7L V8 is a blast to drive, and only one notch below the SRT8.

      • 0 avatar
        barkleyfan

        The SRT8 requires premium to make all that power, which you RARELY get to use. My 5.7 Overland makes plenty of power for the rare occasion I need it, at much more reasonable fuel prices. Honestly I think the power output and fuel economy of the 4.7 was ideal for the suv segment, but they killed that of with the Dakota line, which was another questionable move imo.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yup. We have a 2012 JGC Overland Summit V6 and a 2012 JGC SRT8, which my son and I gave to his daughter as a wedding present in 2015.

          Both are still doing DD duties in and around Surprise, AZ.

          I believe my grand daughter’s husband puts Premium Unl in both vehicles when he fills up on Base.

      • 0 avatar
        barkleyfan

        The SRT8 requires premium to make all that power, which you RARELY get to use. My 5.7 Overland makes plenty of power for the rare occasion I need it, at much more reasonable fuel prices. Honestly I think the power output and fuel economy of the 4.7 was ideal for the suv segment, but they killed that of with the Dakota line, which was another questionable move imo.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Old but the 2014 and newer have much upgraded interiors and got the 8 speed transmission.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I didn’t know that this was available without the 3rd row, let alone that the base trim comes standard without it. Of course I assumed the Special Service Vehicle trims eliminated the 3rd row, but those don’t count.

    You learn something new every day.

    Now if only they’d offer the SRT variant with the optional 2nd row bench so I could fit my whole family.

    • 0 avatar
      d4rksabre

      In my experience it’s really hard to find them on the lot without the 3rd row. Dealers mostly order the package that has the 3rd row.

      I actually quite like them with the 3rd row delete. And they tend to be marked down pretty low too. Good no-nonsense SUV for the money.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Most dealers stock the SXT Plus trim with the 3rd row thrown in and few other minor interior upgrades.

    Personally my “base” model would be SXT Plus 4×4 with towing package – the towing package is under $1000 and adds hitch, wiring, cooling and electrical upgrades, with auto leveling rear suspension.

    I’ve toyed with this as a next vehicle but
    a.) Having a 3rd row turns you into a shuttle bus driver whenever the relatives come calling.
    b.) The local Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep dealer has as a reputation for taking people for “a ride” on the sales and service side if they think you’re an easy target. (Which too many people in this impoverished county are.)

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      ALL dealers will take an uneducated or uninformed customer for “a ride”. Not just CJD. Unfortunate but true.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Some have worse reputation than others.

        As an example there are 2 dealers that I can think of locally that might try to get you to pay MSRP if they think you’re stupid, or undervalue your trade. But those same dealers will be upfront about an out the door price when asked AND don’t perform unnecessary service work when diagnosing something.

        Although the shadiest dealer in town is probably the Nissan Dealer.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    In my opinion this vehicle has aged very well from a design standpoint and I think, for example, looks much better than the Kia Sorrento and Honda Passport featured yesterday (among many others as well).

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Just a station wagon at this level, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I could live with cloth seats and some blank buttons on the wheel, but I would need three (3) additions to base level to work for me- Hemi, 4WD and the bigger screen. I assume just those 3 things would push it past 40 Grand of course.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      When it comes to advertised prices dealers seem far more willing to deal on the V6 models as opposed to the V8. Same story as the Grand Cherokee. It’s a damn shame really because it makes the V6 model look like a bargain and the V8 seem just a little too dear in price.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        As far as the Grand Cherokee, most of the V8 models (and EcoDiesels as well) tend to be the loaded-up Summit grade, which is the highest you can go before you get into SRT territory. And there’s just not a lot of bargaining on the Summit.

      • 0 avatar
        Ashy Larry

        V8 models are overpriced, for sure. But I live in SUV country and even here dealers regularly take $5-8k off MSRP on the R/T models.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    The Pentastar is such a great engine – and illustrates just how important Powertrain remains to FCA’s continued viability. All of those V6-powered vehicles recycled over and over through BHPH lots to a rotating door of folks with 550 beacon scores are a testament to durability.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I remember being highly skeptical of the 3.6L when it came out in 2011, and there were indeed a few head-casting related issues that lead to valve/misfire problems on the first 2 years or so. Since then, by all accounts they seem rock solid. Smooth, powerful, surprisingly efficient. I felt confident enough to plunk down money on one myself in the form of a Town and Country. In that case, I’m much more worried about the car built around the powertrain.

  • avatar
    syncro87

    The only problem with this AOB is RWD. A sales killer (and resale destroyer) north of approximately 35 degrees longitude. Probably a non-issue, though, for folks in the southern third of the US.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      Yep. You gotta think about resale down the line when you buy. I have had several Suburbans, love em, and somewhere in the middle of the run I found a killer deal on the front row of the local BMW dealer. People had moved here (the midwest) from Dallas, and traded their very nice but 2WD Suburban in on a new X5. The thing was so mint I had to have it, but a couple years later when I had the urge to upgrade, it took a lot longer than normal for me to find a buyer. And they ended up being from farther south LOL

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        @Miata-

        2WD with LSD is the magic bargain point in my .02 in the truck market.

        LSD doesn’t add much if any value on the resale market, but its night and day in limited slip situations like snow, boat ramps, etc. The 4 WD holds its value a lot more, so the 2WD with LSD is often 30% cheaper.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        I’m figuring that out for my 2015 Grand Cherokee Overland RWD. The vast majority of Grand Cherokees I see that aren’t base Laredo trims are AWD. And this is in Oklahoma, where a RWD vehicle is totally fine.

        Of course, I also paid a lot less for mine than I would have for one with AWD, so it’ll probably be a wash.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      I’d say the same thing about the 3rd row seat.

      Deleting it doesn’t get you much more space, but I see the resale about 4k less on non-3 row Durangos.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I believe what you’re saying, but carrying all that extra weight of a third row if you’re never going to use it just bothers me

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          On the Highlander forums (yes there are such things) a few 2nd gen owners figured out how to remove their 3rd row seat and build a cargo organizer in that space.

          They did this because although theoretically the Highlander was available minus a 3rd row, few actually showed up on dealer lots.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I could see me actually doing something like that, but now you’ve got this heavy third seat that you have to store somewhere, not always an easy thing to do. I had an Aerostar that I removed the third row, fortunately they had a warehouse where I worked and I was able to store it there, but man what a pain moving that big heavy third row about. It’s about equal to a living room loveseat

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Funny thing is, most people here don’t need AWD. Living in the upper midwest I have only owned one 4WD vehicle and the only reason I got that was to go off-roading. I have gotten stuck in the snow exactly 0 times with winter tires and RWD Durango. Unless you have a job where you have to be to work in a blizzard (if that is true, buy a Unimog) AWD really comes out a wash. You get a little better traction starting off, but your fuel mileage suffers and you pay more upfront and I am not sure the extra you pay in gas is less than the difference in resale between the two.

      I will say all the marketing works wonders though about how you need AWD to survive the winters.

      RE: The article on the Caddy commercial, our truck would have made it through that just fine also.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Don’t discount the usability of the 3rd row. While I haven’t driven/ridden in a Durango I was able to plunk my 6′-3 nearasdammit 300lb self into the 3rd row at a car show and actually found it comfortable. Getting out was tricky but I chalk that up to unfamiliarity with the 2nd row seat latch.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Wonder how old “little Joey” is these days?

    https://www.youtube dot com/watch?v=J4EXfrySjI4

  • avatar
    PM300

    My coworker has a 2012 with the pentastar and old 5 speed slushbox. It has about 100k miles on it and is holding up really well minus some electrical issues. The rear A/C went out last summer and cost over a grand to fix it. The 3rd row is actually really comfortable for me and I’m 6’2. The newer ZF 8 speeds would be a perfect people mover. I’m always impressed with how well this and the Grand Cherokee have held up against the competition after all these years.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      My Grand Cherokee (2015 Overland/V6/8-speed/RWD) is going to the dealership today because it only puts out the correct amount of cabin heat when I’m accelerating. Otherwise, the air is lukewarm or cold, even in the “HI” setting. It could be anything from a cracked heater core, to a cracked hose that’s letting air in, to a faulty thermostat.

      Sadly, the electronics architecture in these—and owner reviews will confirm this—doesn’t seem any less delicate than what you’d find in a similarly-sized European car (X5, GLE-Class, Range Rover Sport).

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Kyree the Grand Cherokees still used the old holdover “TIPM” which sends shudders down the spines of anyone in the diagnostics field. Good luck getting your heat fixed. My new-to-me Town and Country has disabled its remote start due to the cold causing the battery to read a smidge low (starts the van just fine mind you). But it fails the pre-check so it starts and then stops the van 5 seconds later. I knew what I was getting into, but jeez I’m only into my 4th day of ownership!

        • 0 avatar
          PM300

          Sorry to hear that about your GC, Kyree. My wife’s 2016 Cherokee (3.2 pentastar) had a failed master cylinder over the summer so I understand the FCA reliability issues. No issues with my 300S; however, after 32k miles aside from a creaking dash that I havent brought in for inspection.

          Gtem – that sounds like counterproductive programming by FCA. If the battery can fire it up, you would think the computer would want to keep it running and the battery charging if it was reading “low” voltage.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            My thoughts exactly PM300. Uh, it’s started and running, why turn it off over concerns about the battery? Just plain stupid. FWIW the temperature rising from -8 to -3 F and the car sitting in the sun seems to have been enough to push my battery back over the threshold, remote start worked just fine in the afternoon.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        “My Grand Cherokee … only puts out the correct amount of cabin heat when I’m accelerating. Otherwise, the air is lukewarm or cold, even in the “HI” setting. It could be anything from a cracked heater core, to a cracked hose that’s letting air in, to a faulty thermostat.”

        … To a bad blend door actuator, to a worn-out water pump, to a blown head gasket. I hope it’s on the cheaper end of things for you.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Electronics (and fit/finsh, although that might be better with the GC) were really the turds in the punchbowl when it came to my Charger.

        Otherwise, really fun car.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          till used the old holdover “TIPM” which sends shudders down the spines of anyone in the diagnostics field

          Sergio said: “Our cars have too many electronic “fail” points.” I see that wasn’t really rectified.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Some of the cores have an issue with getting plugged up. It may only need to be flushed.

  • avatar
    maui_zaui

    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.

  • avatar
    AdamOfAus

    I wish the Australian market got the Durango over the “Holden” Arcadia.


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