By on September 18, 2019

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

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.

(Read More…)

By on May 10, 2018

Image: FCA

Once upon a time, fearsome variants of conservative full-size sedans roamed America’s highways en masse in search of speeders and felons, but the emergence of the SUV as the preferred tool of law enforcement relegated the traditional four-door car to the back of the pack.

It’s no wonder why Ford had no problem ditching the Taurus. Some 80 percent of the automaker’s police fleet orders specify the Police Interceptor Utility — a butched-up Explorer — instead of its sedan stablemate. Chevrolet’s Tahoe PPV offers law enforcement a more rugged SUV option.

Not wanting to be left behind in the switch to high-riding cop cars, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has debuted a competitor — the Dodge Durango Pursuit. (Read More…)

By on February 8, 2018

Image: FCA

While not a new or even recently refreshed model, the Dodge Durango is one of those vehicles that keeps its corporate parent happy through perpetually buoyant sales.

January saw the three-row midsize SUV’s sales rise 9 percent, year over year. Despite the current generation bowing near the start of the decade, and with its last refresh now four years in the past, Durango sales in 2017 rose 104 units over 2016. Along with the Challenger, it was a shining star in a lineup that saw its volume plunge 31 percent between this January and last.

For 2018, Dodge understandably wants to spread the sales net as wide as possible. A such, buyers of hotter Durangos must now ask themselves a question: “Can I pull off this look?” (Read More…)

By on November 10, 2017

2017 Dodge Durango GT

If you’re over a certain age – say 30, or 35 for sure – you remember the large sedans of the ‘90s. Comfortable, quiet, and roomy, those LeSabres and Park Avenues weren’t fun for enthusiasts, but they moved five or six people across town with relaxed ease.

That’s now the purpose of lots of crossovers, including the Dodge Durango pictured here. They’re built to haul families and cargo in comfort, and if they’re even a little bit fun to drive, well, that’s gravy.

That means, on balance, I tend to look askew at this category of vehicles, no matter how well they’re built or how well they do their assigned job. I like cars that are fun to drive, and I prefer sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks. Which means I am not the average consumer.

For the average buyer – the one that counts for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – the priorities are different, and not so different from that of the large, front-wheel-drive sedans that once roamed suburbia before demands for utility and a higher seating position collided with the proliferation of unibody architecture, causing demand for crossovers of all sizes to explode.

All this rambling means that there’s more than one way to judge vehicles. Do you judge them based on how fun they are to drive and how they resonate with your enthusiast tendencies, or do you judge them based on how well they do their intended job, or some combination of both?

(Read More…)

By on October 23, 2017

Image: 1981 Ford DurangoLong before Dodge would apply the Durango name to its midsize SUV offering, Ford used it on a very limited production pickup as it considered a replacement for the Ranchero.

Come and check out a beige, two-tone, Ford Fairmont Futura Hack-job Durango pickup.

(Read More…)

By on October 3, 2017

2014-Jeep-Grand-Cherokee-03

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles says it is recalling nearly 710,000 sport utility vehicles to check on shields protecting the brake boosters. The shields were a new addition to a bundle of SUVs involved in a 2014 recall and FCA is worried they may have been installed improperly.

The company discovered that units exposed to water were subject to excessive corrosion, resulting in unacceptable brake pedal firmness. Affected vehicles also run the risk of degraded braking performance. FCA says it is aware of at least one accident associated with the problem but noted there were no injuries.

(Read More…)

By on July 15, 2017

MY16 Mazda CX-9 - Image: MazdaShocker. The 2017 Mazda CX-9 entered a buff book comparison test against four comparable three-row crossovers and scored a victory.

That’s what Mazdas do. It’s what I assumed the CX-9 would do when, one year ago, I called the second-generation CX-9 a class leader, asking “is perfect too strong a word?”

Swaying the jury seems to be straightforward business for Mazda. The justification for rendering a pro-Mazda verdict is familiar. “It drives so much better than any of the others,” Car And Driver’s Jeff Sabatini writes of the CX-9, after the Mazda bested the Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, GMC Acadia, and Volkswagen Atlas. “The CX-9 is nimble and agile,” Car And Driver says. “Weight transfers smoothly in the CX-9,” and, “There is a flow to the controls.” The publication credits the quiet cabin and the attractive exterior, as well.

Also described? The reason 98 percent of buyers in the Mazda CX-9’s segment choose a different vehicle. (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2017

Dodge Durango Projector Headlights Aftermarket, Image: OP
TTAC Commenter flipper35 writes:

I thought I would give everyone an update on the lighting situation on the Durango. After considering the advice from both you and Mr. Stern, I decided that after all the expense of the new OEM lights, the better bulbs and the relay harness, I would just go with the more labor-intensive lights and less labor-intensive wiring from The Retrofit Source. I ended up spending a little over my budget but the lights are worlds better. They’re also an engineered solution that doesn’t blind other drivers.

I made an album with several pictures, before and after, with different settings. As you can see, on the new set there is a distinct cutoff on the “dims.” The low beams are currently adjusted a bit low and I haven’t taken the time to fix that yet, but on the road it is a major improvement. Other than a confused look from my wife when I had to bake the headlight buckets to remove the lenses and finding a place for the computer, ballast, and relay, it wasn’t too bad.

It was a little more work than I had planned, but the all-in price wasn’t much more than going the OEM route. It is a very significant improvement. I did get to adjust them a bit, and then followed my brother-in-law to see if they were blinding everyone. He said it was no different than other traffic, so I think I will leave the alignment right there. The beans line up on the door with the dims slightly higher than the other lights, but the old lights were sort of a blob on the top and I used a guess as to where the “cut” line was.

Thanks for all the help. I wanted to do it right and have them be able to align correctly. Even though I didn’t follow your exact advice, you gave me the push in the right direction. It still isn’t a bad looking truck for 190k miles!

(Read More…)

By on June 14, 2017

2017 Dodge Durango GT, Image © 2017 Corey Lewis/The Truth About Cars

This past week, your humble author spent three days on vacation with a rented 2017 Dodge Durango GT. The black wagon you see above is the result of terseness at the Enterprise counter, where I had a reservation for a “Standard, Buick Verano or similar” vehicle, but where a base model Elantra with 25,000 miles, stained seats, and wheel covers was presented by the Enterprise staff.

The Durango was equipped with the Navigation and Power Liftgate Group, bringing its price to around $42,000 before incentives. That’s far too much coin for the irritation this vehicle causes.

All things considered, the Elantra may have been less annoying to drive.

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By on March 28, 2017

2000 Dodge Durango, Image: FCA

TTAC Commentator flipper35 writes:

I have a 2000 Dodge Durango (wrote about the brakes on it before, all is good with them) and the lights are not the greatest. After replacing the passenger side due to a deer ramming its butt into it, its headlights no longer match. I’ve looked on several Mopar forums and there doesn’t seem to be any consensus on which lights are good — but they can all agree on what is crap.

So, I am willing to spend $300 on a proper headlight upgrade if that’s what it takes. I see a few conversions where you bake the headlights at low temp to release the glue and then put bi-xenon with the flappy shield in with the ballasts and wiring kit. They sound reasonable but there are some other projector-style lights out there that would be less work if they are focused and aligned properly. I’m mechanically inclined but with family and other projects I would rather spend less time on these and more time on replacing stuff like the worn grommets on the electric seat adjustment screws and such. (At 190,000 miles, it needs front suspension bushings, too.)

(Read More…)

By on February 7, 2017

2018 Dodge Durango SRT

If you want to scare your larger-than-average family by surprising them with a round of impromptu autocross through the mall parking lot, you’ll have to limit the size of your brood or risk looking daft while hustling a Toyota Senna around the storefront of a California Pizza Kitchen. However, the 2018 Dodge Durango SRT is prepared to accommodate you and your family on those days where you just can’t help but drive like a lunatic.

Ideally, you would let them out before putting the pedal down, but the Durango SRT’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 can easily move around an extra few hundred pounds of human flesh without breaking much of a sweat. If you decide not to heed my advice of driving defensively with your kindred in the vehicle, Dodge is offering every new owner a full-day session at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. At least then you’ll be more familiar with the beastly three-row SUV at the limit.  (Read More…)

By on June 14, 2016

2008 Mazda5, Image: Mazda

Charles writes:

Good morning Bark,

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles hired me about a year ago, which coincided with the first anniversary of a five-year loan on my 2009 Mazda5 Sport. However, I’d really like to get into a company car as a show of support, and because I’m tired of paying five-year loans on cheap used cars.

(Read More…)

By on February 26, 2016

2016 Dodge Durango Limited Front 3/4, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

There sure has been a lot of talk about crossovers around here lately, hasn’t there? Regardless of your opinion on owning a CUV, it’s hard to deny the functionality that a three-row CUV offers the business and/or pleasure rental customer. The ability to carry an entire sales team to a meeting, as well as some presentation materials and suitcases? Useful. The capability to take a family of five to the beach, including assorted coolers and pool toys? Valuable.

Therefore, gents, if you absolutely must have a crossover for your rental or personal needs, well, you might as well have the manliest damn crossover money can buy. That honor goes to the 2016 Dodge Durango. Ladies, I have a feeling that you’ll enjoy the big D, too. Allow me to share my thoughts with you from the week I spent in the ATL with FCA’s entry in the hotly-contested three-row segment.

(Read More…)

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