What Is It?
2014 Dodge Durango
What's Special About It?
A segment-first eight-speed automatic transmission gives the 2014 Dodge Durango a shot at something Chrysler can rarely boast: fuel-efficiency leadership. Coupled with either the standard 3.6-liter V6 or optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8, Chrysler said the new automatic (with the sweet rotary selector just like the Ram pickup and Grand Cherokee) boosts fuel economy "as much as 9 percent."
Any automaker will run to grab a 9 percent fuel economy gain with one hardware upgrade. But in a comparative sense, the new Durango's improvement isn't exactly going to keep the ice caps from melting, considering the fairly dismal 13 city/20 highway mpg a rear-drive Durango manages with the current Hemi and a six-speed automatic. Chrysler said the new tranny means the RWD 2014 Durango running the 3.6-liter V6 will muster a 25 mpg highway rating.
Few are buying a Durango for its fuel-sipping ways, but fewer in general buy the Durango (the sales pace so far this year has been about 4,000 per month) than chief competitors such as the Chevrolet Traverse and Ford Explorer, so improving the Durango's efficiency could be a step toward reinforcing its market competitiveness. Dodge boss Reid Bigland said its buyers are, on average, 10 years younger than the industry average.
You can't just sell a transmission, though, so the 2014 Dodge Durango's refresh (this generation was introduced in 2011) brings front and rear restyling and a host of interior upgrades. The reshaping of the signature crosshair grille and addition of projector headlamps smoothes and refines the front appearance, and the rear is dominated by Dodge's new love affair with taillamps that incorporate more LEDs than a mountain of cheap flashlights. The 2014 Durango's new "racetrack" taillight treatment is richly executed, we admit.
Meanwhile, interior upgrades for the 2014 Dodge Durango run to now-vital electro-features like a huge new 7-inch color TFT instrument cluster that's customizable in hundreds of ways, 5- or 8.4-inch center console touchscreens and the ability to create a mobile hotspot, to hardware such as second-row captain's chairs, a new leathered-up Limited trim and a monochrome-look Rallye Group and no fewer than 11 wheel selections.
What Edmunds Says:
The excellent Grand Cherokee-derived bones of the Dodge Durango already have made it popular in the large-SUV segment, so its upgrades for 2014 should only improve its standing.
Base Price: TBA
Engine: 3.6-liter V6
Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic
Power: 290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm, 260 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Fuel Mileage: TBA city/25 highway mpg