Ace of Base: 2020 Dodge Durango SXT

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2020 dodge durango sxt

Let it be known that, in calendar year 2019, one is able to buy a large purple rear-drive SUV with near-as-makes-no-difference 300 horsepower for about the same starting price as a Camry Hybrid. It shares showroom space and DNA with psychotic coupes bearing 800 horsepower and, in a fit of brilliant marketing, is the recipient of Power Dollars.

Anyone who says the golden age of automobiles is any time other than right friggin’ now needs to have their head examined.

For 2020, the Durango SXT serves as that model’s base trim, starting at half a rent payment over thirty grand. The truck is rear-drive at this price, with all-wheel drive a $2,600 option. The base Durango seats five and is powered by the they-put-that-in-everything Pentastar V6. Your author has been running this too-common engine for seven years in a Dodge Charger and can report cheap maintenance and easy 30 mpg highway cruising mileage.

Eighteen-inch wheels are wrapped in 265/60 rubber and the door handles are body color, both of which hide your penny-pinching decision to scoop an SXT. Projector fog lamps fill those fascia buckets instead of leaving them sad and blank like so many other base vehicles. The bright LED “racetrack” tail lamps continue to amuse, many years after their introduction. It is a tremendous styling flourish that must have taken several attempts to get past the wretched beancounters.

Air conditioning is of the three-zone variety, a boon to family harmony. Pedals aren’t adjustable for the driver but the steering wheel is, as you’d expect. Infotainment is handled by the smaller of the three Uconnect units available, this one spanning seven inches instead of the 8.4 found elsewhere. Ram’s jumbotron remains a dream. At least it isn’t flanked by sad-looking buttons.

Push-button start and keyless entry is also standard, something I normally wouldn’t mention except for the fact that I dearly miss that feature on my own 2018 Sierra SLE 4×4 (GM found wiring hard back then, I guess). It is a bit of a faff to mess with keys all day, especially when one’s hands are full. Yes, first world problems and all that.

Today’s post comes with a caveat, of course, because the SXT is only an Ace of Base pick if one ignores the SRT trim. Packing a 6.4-liter Hemi making 475 horsepower and scampering to 60 mph from rest in just 4.4 seconds, that one is clearly the Durango to have if you’re part of the money-no-object crowd. But for the rest of us, this SXT is the best of its lot.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler]

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 and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

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4 of 48 comments
  • Gtem Gtem on Sep 19, 2019

    Anyone do any towing of about 5000-6000lb with one of these? Curiuous to hear how the rear IRS does with it in terms of squat and handling loaded up.

    • See 1 previous
    • NoID NoID on Sep 19, 2019

      I've ridden shotgun in a Durango SRT towing 7000+ pounds and it didn't squat excessively or feel squirrely, but that was with load-leveling bars. Pulled like a champ, but 475 hearse purrs and a 3.70 axle ratio makes for easy pulling.

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Sep 19, 2019

    I've only ridden but not driven in a Hellcat and mid level v6 300S. I get it.This a legitimately solid platform, I've owned a 2nd gen ML. Even if the only thing they did to the platform was shorten the wheelbase on the Chally they'd have my business.

  • Jeanbaptiste Any variant of “pizza” flavored combos. I only eat these on car trips and they are just my special gut wrenching treat.
  • Nrd515 Usually for me it's been Arby's for pretty much forever, except when the one near my house dosed me with food poisoning twice in about a year. Both times were horrible, but the second time was just so terrible it's up near the top of my medical horror stories, and I have a few of those. Obviously, I never went to that one again. I'm still pissed at Arby's for dropping Potato Cakes, and Culver's is truly better anyway. It will be Arby's fish for my "cheat day", when I eat what I want. No tartar sauce and no lettuce on mine, please. And if I get a fish and a French Dip & Swiss? Keep the Swiss, and the dip, too salty. Just the meat and the bread for me, thanks. The odds are about 25% that they will screw one or both of them up and I will have to drive through again to get replacement sandwiches. Culver's seems to get my order right many times in a row, but if I hurry and don't check my order, that's when it's screwed up and garbage to me. My best friend lives on Starbucks coffee. I don't understand coffee's appeal at all. Both my sister and I hate anything it's in. It's like green peppers, they ruin everything they touch. About the only things I hate more than coffee are most condiments, ranked from most hated to..who cares..[list=1][*]Tartar sauce. Just thinking about it makes me smell it in my head. A nod to Ranch here too. Disgusting. [/*][*]Mayo. JEEEEZUS! WTF?[/*][*]Ketchup. Sweet puke tasting sludge. On my fries? Salt. [/*][*]Mustard. Yikes. Brown, yellow, whatever, it's just awful.[/*][*]Pickles. Just ruin it from the pickle juice. No. [/*][*]Horsey, Secret, whatever sauce. Gross. [/*][*]American Cheese. American Sleeze. Any cheese, I don't want it.[/*][*]Shredded lettuce. I don't hate it, but it's warm and what's the point?[/*][*]Raw onion. Totally OK, but not something I really want. Grilled onions is a whole nother thing, I WANT those on a burger.[/*][*]Any of that "juice" that Subway and other sandwich places want to put on. NO, HELL NO! Actually, move this up to #5. [/*][/list=1]
  • SPPPP It seems like a really nice car that's just still trying to find its customer.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird I owned an 87 Thunderbird aka the second generation aero bird. It was a fine driving comfortable and very reliable car. Quite underrated compared to the GM G-body mid sized coupes since unlike them they had rack and pinion steering and struts on all four wheels plus fuel injection which GM was a bit late to the game on their mid and full sized cars. When I sold it I considered a Mark VII LSC which like many had its trouble prone air suspension deleted and replaced with coils and struts. Instead I went for a MN-12 Thunderbird.
  • SCE to AUX Somebody got the bill of material mixed up and never caught it.Maybe the stud was for a different version (like the 4xe) which might use a different fuel tank.