Report: Dodge Durango Mild Hybrid to Manifest in 2020

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
report dodge durango mild hybrid to manifest in 2020

Despite the current-generation Dodge Durango seemingly having been put into production immediately after the solar protoplanetary disk focused enough cosmic debris to assemble our humble little planet, it still moves in decent volumes in the United States. Officially in service since MY2011 (a little more recent than previously stated), sales of the 3rd-gen Durango are still going strong near the end of its life cycle. Deliveries run about 65,000 per year. That’s roughly the same annual volume it’s had since a mild refresh in 2014, and rather impressive considering the model has gone largely unchanged — save for a few performance-focused updates in its later years.

Unfortunately, this heavyweight doesn’t offer idyllic fuel economy. It’s decent for a vehicle with a curb weight between 4,500 and 5,500 pounds, and I’m routinely impressed with the highway miles Dodge manages to eek out from its big V8s, but it’s not ambitious in an era where maximizing mileage is an almost mandatory pursuit. The best the Durango can muster is 19 city/26 highway with its entry-level Pentastar V6.

That is, until the mild-hybrid variant arrives in 2020.

Mopar Insiders recently reported seeing a finished version of the FCA and UAW contract agreement, gleaning some useful information about the automaker’s forthcoming product. According to the documents, the Durango will remain in production for the foreseeable future (along with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, naturally). FCA is also planning to dump $3 billion into Michigan’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant over the next four years (where both are manufactured). While the purpose of those dollars haven’t been answered, some of it will undoubtedly go toward readying the factory to install mild-hybrid units.

From Mopar Insiders:

While we don’t know which engine will be powering the mild hybrid version, it would be a safe bet to assume either the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or 5.7-liter HEMI V8 will be under the hood. Last year, Ram debuted mild-hybrid versions of the all-new Ram 1500 in both Pentastar and 5.7-liter HEMI guise under the eTorque moniker. One of these powertrains or even possibly both will likely find their way under the Durangos hood, as like the Ram, the Durango has a rear-wheel-drive architecture.

As the powertrain layout is similar in both the Ram and the Durango, adding the mild-hybrid system should be a relatively easy task for FCA engineers. The eTorque system consists of a Motor Generator Unit (MGU) that replaces the alternator on the front of the engine and is connected to the crankshaft with a large drive belt, along with a 48-volt battery pack the size of a suitcase placed in the vehicle. With this relatively simple system, FCA engineers have extracted a lot of benefits available to the end-user.

Before you fall out of your chair thinking you’ll be getting a super-powerful SUV averaging 30 mpg, eTorque is only said to deliver 2 additional miles to the gallon on 5.7-liter, Hemi-equipped Rams. The same should be true with the Durango (and possibly Grand Cherokee), with mild hybridization improving things by roughly 3 mpg on the 3.6-liter V6. That’s a small but meaningful improvement, even if it won’t help save enough dough to keep the farm from foreclosure.

Our own Matthew Guy found little to complain about while testing the system on the Ram 1500, praising the functionality of its stop/start feature (which can mercifully be shut off).

If the debut is supposed to take place in 2020, expect Dodge to have an announcement in the works already. It probably won’t be long until we hear from the factory about this. FCA cannot presently comment on the matter, but has previously mentioned it has broader aspirations for the eTorque system than simply leaving it to Ram. There are already rumors that the next-gen Charger and Challenger will also utilize a mild-hybrid unit.

[Images: FCA]

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  • Mike-NB2 Mike-NB2 on Dec 12, 2019

    I have steelies and winter tires on my '19 GLI but wasn't able to drop a rim size due to brake clearance. So I'm stuck with the same aspect ratio for the winter tires. But if I could, I would have dropped to 17" and upped the aspect ratio.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Dec 14, 2019

    In my experience, these are driven by throbbing pricks who think driving is an opportunity to demonstrate their sociopathic nature. Deeply crappy people do not, in my experience, yearn for a hybrid. Then again, this is a bullshit alternator belt system, not even a legitimate hybrid, so whatever I guess.

  • Dukeisduke Why the hell doesn't Farley just resign? Why hasn't Bill Ford fired him? I lay all this at Farley's feet.
  • Dukeisduke I tried watching the livestream (I'm a MT+ subscriber), but after 15 minutes of jawing by the presenters, I got bored and turned it off. I may watch it this weekend, when I can fast forward through that stuff, to get to the reveal.
  • Dukeisduke Electric power steering, I assume. First-gen Chevy Cruzes can suffer from similar issues, usually traceable to a flaky battery negative cable, a $10 OEM part. Weird, huh?
  • Kwik_Shift Once 15 Minute Cities start to be rolled out, you won't be far enough away from home to worry about range anxiety.
  • Bobbysirhan I'd like to look at all of the numbers. The eager sheep don't seem too upset about the $1,800 delta over home charging, suggesting that the total cost is truly obscene. Even spending Biden bucks, I don't need $1,800 of them to buy enough gasoline to cover 15,000 miles a year. Aren't expensive EVs supposed to make up for their initial expense, planet raping resource requirements, and the child slaves in the cobalt mines by saving money on energy? Stupid is as stupid does.