Substantial and refined, the Dodge Durango is no carlike crossover. Nor is it a full-fledged SUV, clamoring for opportunities to scamper off-road. It’s simply a three-row utility vehicle with excellent road manners and capability for rugged use. Durango is rear-wheel drive, so it can pull a trailer and go off road.
For growing families, a Durango makes sense. All the more so, if you haul a boat or trailer at times. Towing capacity can reach 7,400 pounds with the available Hemi V8 engine.
This third-generation Durango was introduced as a 2011 model and revised for 2014 and is closely related to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. For 2016 there are few changes. All 2016 Durango models get new wheel finishes, and V6 engines gain stop-start technology. Four new body colors are available, and new appearance packages mix gloss black and body-color detailing, including a new Brass Monkey Appearance Package. Monochromatic exterior appearance is standard on the 2016 Durango Citadel.
Rear-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available: V8 models get a low-range transfer case, while V6 models use a simpler single-speed unit.
Two strong engines are available. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 makes 290 or 295 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Dodge’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8 generates 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet. Both engines mate with an excellent 8-speed automatic transmission. A stylish rotary selector controls the transmission, and all Durangos have paddle shifters.
The Hemi V8 uses cylinder deactivation to save fuel, while V6 models now include engine stop-start technology. All models have a selectable Eco Mode. Despite all that technology, don’t expect frugal motoring, especially from the V8, though Durango’s gas-mileage estimates aren’t much lower than other large crossovers.
Durangos have a solid list of safety features. Without the available rearview camera and parking sensors, outward visibility is poor. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated Durango Good, its top rating, in all of its four tests. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it four stars out of five overall: four in frontal crash and five in side collision.
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