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Thanks to its welcoming interior and athletic yet comfortable handling, the 2013 Dodge Durango is a great choice for a crossover SUV.
Sophisticated ride; easy to maneuver; adult-friendly third-row seat; powerful optional V8; generous towing capacity.
Less cargo room than rivals; V6's performance still not as sprightly as some rivals.
Available Durango SUV Models
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The Dodge Durango returns unchanged for 2013.
Take a look at any midsize to large crossover SUV and you'll find the basic requirements fulfilled. In no particular order, these include comfort, versatility, safety, generous cargo capacity and an easy-to-drive demeanor. But if you're looking for something extra, the list narrows considerably. The 2013 Dodge Durango happens to be one of those models that delivers more than you'd expect.
One of the Durango's most distinguishing traits is its aggressive, muscular styling. In a word, it simply looks tough, and no other SUV in its class has this sort of brawny exterior. To its credit, its attractive sheet metal is backed up with athletic on-road handling that is rare in this segment.
To its detriment, however, the 2013 Dodge Durango trails the pack when it comes to cargo and passenger space. With a maximum cargo capacity of 84.5 cubic feet, it's probably enough for most, but competing SUVs offer more. On top of that, the base V6 engine also lacks the punch of its rivals, leading us to recommend the V8 engine if your budget allows.
Choosing a Durango over the competition will naturally come down to your priorities, but it's worth noting that the Dodge can be an alternative to the mechanically similar Jeep Grand Cherokee, which only seats five and features even less cargo capacity. More direct competitors can be found in the 2013 Ford Explorer and 2013 Ford Flex. To a lesser degree, the 2013 Chevrolet Traverse is also worth considering. We'd recommend taking a look at all three along with the 2013 Dodge Durango, as they each manage to fulfill the requirements of that oh-so-important SUV checklist.
The 2013 Dodge Durango large crossover SUV is available in four trim levels: base SXT, midlevel Crew, performance-themed R/T and top-of-the-line Citadel.
Standard equipment on the SXT includes 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, heated sideview mirrors, full power accessories, cruise control, tri-zone automatic climate control (includes separate rear air-conditioning), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a fold-flat front passenger seat, a 60/40-split-folding and reclining second-row seat, a 50/50-split-folding third-row seat and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack.
The Crew adds remote ignition, a power liftgate, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a cargo compartment cover, power front seats (eight-way driver, six-way passenger), driver-seat memory functions, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless ignition/entry, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a 115-volt power outlet, Bluetooth (phone and streaming audio) and an upgraded nine-speaker sound system with a touchscreen display, a USB/iPod interface, digital music storage and voice activation.
The R/T essentially includes the upgrades of the Crew (minus the parking sensors and rearview camera) along with a V8 engine, 20-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, body-color accents, xenon headlights, faux suede upholstery and power driver lumbar support.
Stepping up from the Crew to the Citadel adds automatic xenon headlamps, 20-inch wheels, a chrome grille insert, automatic wipers, a sunroof, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated front and rear seats, an eight-way power passenger seat, a power-adjustable and heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and a navigation system with Sirius Travel Link.
Many of the Citadel's luxury features are available on the Crew and the R/T. Options for the whole lineup include second-row captain's chairs, a towing package, a skid-plate package (except R/T) and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system with satellite TV (except SXT).
The 2013 Dodge Durango is offered in several powertrain combinations. You can choose rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Except for the V6-only SXT, rear-drive versions offer a choice of V6 or V8 power. The full-time AWD system is only available with the V6 engine. The on-demand 4WD system features dual-range gearing (which makes it more capable on more challenging terrain) and requires the V8 engine.
Standard on all but the R/T is the 3.6-liter V6 engine, which is rated at 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, a V6 Durango went from zero to 60 mph in 9 seconds, a bit slower than most competing crossovers. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined for the V6 with either rear- or all-wheel drive.
Optional on the Crew and Citadel and standard on the R/T is a 5.7-liter V8 good for 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. The rear-wheel-drive model attains an EPA-estimated 14/20/16 mpg, while the AWD is rated at 13/20/15 mpg.
Antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control, front side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are standard on every 2013 Dodge Durango. The Citadel also comes with blind-spot monitoring and cross-path warning systems, which are both optional on the Crew. In Edmunds brake testing, a Durango Crew came to a stop from 60 mph in 119 feet -- a very good distance for a large crossover.
In government tests, the Durango received four out of five stars for overall and frontal crash protection, five stars for side impact protection and three stars in rollover tests. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Durango earned a perfect "Good" rating for its performance in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.
Modern and functional, the 2013 Dodge Durango's cabin has been designed with family-style versatility in mind. Regardless of trim level, the design is attractive and features upscale materials.
Chrysler's latest batch of digital-entertainment options (a 28GB hard drive, satellite radio and TV) should appeal to both kids and tech-savvy parents; however, the available touchscreen interface isn't the most user-friendly or advanced. The front seats are roomy and comfortable, but the second row has a rather flat cushion (which helps promote a flatter load floor when the seat is folded) and doesn't offer quite as much legroom as roomier rivals. The Durango's easily accessed third row, on the other hand, offers a surprising amount of leg- and headroom (even for 6-footers) and is indeed more spacious than the Ford Explorer's.
With the second- and third-row seats folded down, the Durango can carry up to 84.5 cubic feet of cargo. This is a respectable amount, but competing large crossover SUVs can offer even more rear passenger and/or cargo space.
The 2013 Dodge Durango is related to the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and it shows in the way this nearly 5,000-pound vehicle drives down the road. The Durango feels controlled in almost any driving situation, and the responsive nature of the steering makes the Durango easy to maneuver.
Low-end torque is not a strong suit of the V6, but once the Dodge Durango is moving, the engine pulls respectably. Midrange acceleration is adequate for passing and merging and indeed there's little reason to sweat the additional second or two it takes the Durango to reach 60 mph compared to its fleeter rivals. As expected, the V8 offers brisk all-around performance. On a long interstate cruise, the Durango provides a quiet and relaxed cabin environment.
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