September 24th, 2013 11:58 AM
If you have a trailer to tow or a big family of nearly-grown kids to haul, a full-size SUV seems like the obvious choice. But along with their abilities come several drawbacks: lousy gas mileage, clumsy handling and the constant search for giant-size parking spots. The Dodge Durango offers a refreshing compromise: The capacity and capability of a full-size SUV with the day-to-day practicality of a large crossover.
|1. Engines remain unchanged with a 3.6L V6 making 290 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque while a 5.7L V8 makes 360 hp and 390 lb-ft.|
|2. A new 8-speed automatic transmission helps improve fuel economy, ranging from a best of 18/25 MPG to a low of 14/22 MPG.|
|3. The Durango rides on a stretched version of the same platform used for both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes M-Class.|
|4. Pricing starts at $30,790 while the high-trim Citadel model costs $41,990.|
SUV OR CROSSOVER?
The Dodge Durango neatly bridges the gap between big crossovers like the Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse and full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia and Ford Expedition.
Like the crossovers, the Durango uses unibody construction to save weight; V8 4×4 models are 450 lbs. lighter than a Ford Expedition and 700 lbs. lighter than a Toyota Sequoia. But they also use a truck-like powertrain layout, with primary drive to the rear wheels, optional low-range four-wheel-drive for V8 models and towing capacity of up to 7,400 lbs.
SAME ENGINES, MORE GEARS
The Durango in its current iteration dates from 2011, and for 2014 it gets what is known in the industry as a mid-cycle refresh — a vehicular celebration of middle age that includes updated styling and upgrades for the interior and mechanical bits.
In the case of the Durango, the big mechanical change comes in the form of a new 8-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the 5- and 6-speed units in last year’s Durango and offers the promise of improved performance and fuel economy.
Engine choices for the Durango remain the same, consisting of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 (290-295 horsepower depending on trim level and 260 lb-ft of torque) and 5.7 liter Hemi V8 (360 hp, 390 lb-ft). Despite the wide spread in the numbers, the difference in real-world driving is not as significant as you might expect. The V8 certainly sounds better, but its stronger acceleration is hampered by an extra 300 lbs of weight. Coupled to the new 8-speed automatic, the V6 hustles along just fine.
The fuel economy benefits of the V6 are significant: 18 MPG city/25 MPG highway with rear-wheel-drive and 17/24 with all-wheel-drive, compared to 14/23 and 14/22 respectively for the V8. And the new transmission does aid fuel economy: compared to last year’s Durango, combined EPA estimates are up by 4 MPG in the V6 all-wheel-drive model and 1 MPG in other configurations.
We averaged 19 MPG on our test drive of a rear-drive V6 model — not as good as the last Honda Pilot we tested, but significantly better than the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia.
What’s best about the 8-speed transmission is that it always seems to be in the right gear. Many of these new mega-speed transmissions have to hunt around to find just the right ratio, but the Durango’s 8-speed is much more intuitive. It’s quick to downshift when power is demanded and just as quick to upshift for a quiet, efficient highway ride.
And yes, you can tow with the V6. We hauled a single-axle Airstream with a six-cylinder Durango, and while the pace was leisurely, the V6 had no problem getting us up to highway speed and staying there. The rig felt stable and secure, aided no doubt by the Durango’s extended wheelbase. (The Durango is, at its heart, a stretched Jeep Grand Cherokee.)
According to Dodge, the Durango’s styling improvements are every bit as important as the new transmission. The car industry is in a literal search for the fountain of youth, and the average age of Dodge buyers is dropping like an iron girder — ten years younger than the rest of the industry and falling.
In an effort to keep the momentum up — er, down — Dodge has brought the “racetrack” loop taillight from the Charger and Dart to the Durango. They’ve also designed a faired-in cover for the tow hitch receiver, a bit surprising as towing capacity is one of the Durango’s unique selling points.
Changes to the nose are more subtle; the bumpers are new and each trim level gets a unique grille pattern. There’s also a new Rallye Group package, which brings the racy look of the V8-powered R/T model, including 20-inch “Hyper Black” wheels and monochrome body trim to the SXT base model.
Inside, the Durango gets Chrysler’s Uconnect touch-screen stereo (5-inch display on the base model, 8.4-inch on others) and a new 7-inch LCD screen on the dash in place of an analog speedometer. The twin-screen rear-seat entertainment system now features a BluRay player and HDMI inputs. With the 115 volt power outlet and optional WiFi hot spot setup, you can bring along your PS3 or Xbox and turn the Durango into a mobile gaming system.
For all the improvements they’ve made, Dodge is holding the line on pricing, at least on the base model: $30,790 (including destination) for the Durango SXT, same as last year. One of the things that impressed us about the SXT (the silver one in our photos) is that it doesn’t look like the cheapest model. With its 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, and chrome trim, it’s nearly as snazzy as the $41,990 Citadel (shown here in red, optioned up to $52,970).
DRIVES LIKE A (YOU GUESSED IT) CAR
What impressed us most is the way the Durango drives. If we had a dime for every time a Dodge staffer reminded us that the Durango is based on the same platform as the Mercedes GL, we’d have… well, about sixty cents, actually. But the Durango’s German roots are obvious in the smooth ride and surprisingly precise handling.
“Car-like” has to be the most overused cliché in the history of automotive journalism, but it’s appropriate — the Durango hustles through corners in a way that makes the Honda Pilot and Chevy Traverse seem awkward and the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition feel downright clumsy.
MOVING PEOPLE AND THINGS
That’s especially notable because the Durango doesn’t give up much on space; it’s comparable to the Pilot and Traverse and roomier than mid-size seven-seaters like the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer. The Durango’s second row has plenty of room and the third row can be occupied by adults, provided they have reasonably flexible limbs and are not overly prone to complaining.
Cargo space is 17.2 cubic feet with the third row seats in place, plenty of room for groceries or small suitcases. Dropping the third-row seats (easy to do thanks to well-placed straps and levers) opens up a family-vacation-friendly 47.7 cubic feet of space. But shorter buyers might want to consider the optional power tailgate, as it’s a long reach up when the hatch is open and Dodge hasn’t thought to install an assist strap.
It’s nice to see a vehicle that delivers on its promises. The 2014 Dodge Durango offers space for seven and the brawn to tow a decent-sized boat or camper, and while the fuel economy isn’t as good as a mid-size crossover, it’s certainly better than a full-size SUV — provided you opt for the V6 engine, that is.
- Good towing ability with reasonable handling
- Handsome, aggressive looks
- Car-like driving experience
- Gas mileage could be better
- 3rd row could be larger
The 2014 Dodge Durango has an upscale cabin with user-friendly features, a smooth ride, and strong engine performance. Low reliability ratings make it tough to recommend, however.What are issues of a 2014 Dodge Durango? ›
- Water May Pass by Cowl Screen During Heavy Rain/Car Wash. ...
- Cleaner/Disinfectant Issued to Address Musty Odor in AC System. ...
- Failed Door Lock Cylinder Switches. ...
- Radio software update. ...
- AC Condenser May Develop Refrigerant Leaks. ...
- Check Engine Light Due to Failed Thermostat.
The Dodge Durango has earned a reputation for reliability. According to Cars.UsNews.com, the Dodge Durango is ranked 3rd out of 14 full-size SUVs for sale. It has earned a score of 81 out of 100. Purchasing a well-reviewed Dublin Dodge makes it easier to find a reliable option.How many miles is a 2014 Dodge Durango good for? ›
You Can Expect To Get Approximately 250,000 Miles Out Of A Dodge Durango. A well-maintained Dodge Durango can hit numbers anywhere between 200,000 and 250,000 miles on the odometer. There are chances of going beyond these figures if you follow every little step in the process of looking after your vehicle.Is there a recall on 2014 Dodge Durango? ›
Summary: Chrysler Group LLC (Chrysler) is recalling certain model year 2014 Dodge Durango, and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles manufactured October 3, 2013, to April 11, 2014. Due to an issue with the software for the Steering Column Control Module (SCCM), the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) may be disabled.Do Dodge durangos hold their value? ›
The Dodge Durango holds its value well
Like the 4Runner, buyers of the Durango tend to hold onto the vehicle for longer than the two or three-year average. Even though it depreciates in that time, the Durango holds its value well over the first five years.
Most buyers will be satisfied with the V6 engine. The optional Uconnect infotainment system is one of the best, with intuitive operation. Cargo room is generous, and the Durango can tow 1,000 to 2,000 pounds more than competitors.Are Durangos expensive to fix? ›
Dodge Durango auto repair and maintenance costs
The estimated cost to maintain and repair a Dodge Durango ranges from $95 to $4482, with an average of $270.
They're often easy to notice. 2021 Dodge Durango transmission problems can show up as shifting delays, grinding or jumping during acceleration, a feeling of shakiness, or whistling noises or a burning smell coming from beneath the hood.Are durangos good on gas? ›
The monstrosity of fuel consumption burns a near-criminal 5.9 gallons of gas every 100 miles. Before you try that math, it translates to 17 mpg combine, 14 mpg city, and 22 mpg highway. The average fuel economy for SUVs is 23 mpg combined, so the Durango is about a third less efficient than it should be.
In October 2008, Chrysler announced that the shutdown of the Newark Assembly facility, which produced the Durango and the Chrysler Aspen, would be moved up to the end of 2008, thereby ending production of the Aspen and Durango after the 2009 model year. Production ceased on December 19, 2008.Why won't my 2014 Dodge Durango start? ›
The most common reasons a Dodge Durango won't start are a dead battery, an alternator problem, or failed starter. Search our network of RepairPal Certified shops near you to speak with a technician about your issue.What generation is 2014 Durango? ›
|Transmission||5-speed W5A580 automatic 5-speed 545RFE automatic 6-speed 65RFE automatic 8-speed 845RE automatic (2014-17 Pentastar 2018-on 850RE ) 8-speed 8HP70 automatic (2014- Hemi) 8-speed 8HP95 automatic (2021, 2023 Hellcat)|
|Wheelbase||119.9 in (3,045 mm)|
The 2014 Dodge Durango ticking noise has been well-documented among owners and by Dodge itself. In most cases, the cause of the ticking noise is a faulty rocker arm that's part of the valvetrain component.Is 2013 good year for Durango? ›
Despite its safety and reliability shortcomings, a used 2013 Durango is still an OK choice for a midsize SUV . It has ample 3-row passenger space and decent cargo volume. In addition, the available V8 engine has authoritative power and good towing abilities.What year did the Dodge Durango change its body style? ›
It wasn't gone long, though, and the current Dodge Durango is based on the new-for-2011 model. This third-generation Durango switched to unitized construction and shared some underbody hardware with the Jeep Grand Cherokee.