I just bought the Durango about a month ago and truly love this vehicle!! I have been leasing a Honda Odyssey for the past three years and thought that was a fantastic vehicle for my two kids. When it comes to functionality you just can't beat the minivan. I was having a hard time trying to find a vehicle that gave me all of the things I loved about the van, but didn't look like a van. The Durango was perfect! I test drove the Ford Exlporer, Mazda CX-9, and the Chevy Traverse. Out of the four choices that gave me the third row seating, I was able to get the most amount of features for the dollar with the Durango.
I have only owned this SUV a week and have only driven it 300 miles. So far, I really like the ride and drive, and even the fuel mileage, which in local driving only is turning 16.2 mpg. I fully expect better mpg numbers as its broken in. I love the entertainment system, which came standard on this model and have been loading CDs to the hard drive this week. The sound system is excellent! If I have a complaint it is with the non-tilt steering wheel. The adjustable column and telescoping wheel is nice, but you have to get it adjusted just right to see all the dash and electronic read-outs. Not a big deal, but certainly different from my 05 Limited I traded in. That's only a minor issue.
A joy to drive. Great acceleration for a 5K Lb SUV. Still under the initial 1K mile first service and the MPG has been just about double that of my 99 Dakota 4X4 standard cab with the 318. Very little push in the corners, and less body roll than I had prepared myself for. (test drove a crew as there were no R/Ts available at the time of purchase). Only 2 options that I ordered were Trailer&Tow and Entry Level NAV.
We Recently bought this car after much research and tons of test drives. We test drove pretty much every single SUV out in the market today and settled down on this one. We got a huge discount and rebate on the 2011 model. This crew has more than what you ask for, for the price that we paid. For 31,000 it has a lot of stuff. The best part is that it is AWD, looks beautiful inside out. The ride is amazing. It is very quite on the road, especially on the Highway, once you get to the fifth gear, the engine becomes very quite that you can barely hear it. In one week we did 400 miles with 20 mpg combined, fabulous.
Entry Navigation/Commuter Group ($695 -- includes power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, integrated Garmin navigation system, touchscreen audio/navigation interface, digital audio storage, automatic wipers, automatic headlights); Blackberry Pearl Coat ($295).
3,604cc (220 cu-in)
DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
290 @ 6,400
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
260 @ 4,800
Five-speed automatic with console shifter
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
I = 3.59; II = 2.19; III = 1.41; IV = 1; V = 0.83; R = 3.16; Final = 3.06
The Durango gets off the line smartly, especially with throttle/brake overlap, but then falls on its face slightly. The V6 revs slowly, especially below 5,000 rpm, but it does rev to 6,300 rpm before shifting. Lack of a six-speed certainly hurt the Durango here. Manual shifting via console lever; no throttle blipping on downshifts, but it will grab gears.
A firm pedal feel and reasonably short stroke. Consistent stopping distances among the six runs -- shortest to longest varied by 5 feet.
Skid pad: Lots of understeer, requiring much throttle correction to keep the Durango on its line with stability control (ESC) turned off. With ESC on, it was just a matter of flooring the throttle and keeping the steering constant. Slalom: The Durango has well-controlled motions, but at the limit, it feels large, weighty and top-heavy. Has good turn-in for the first cone or two, but then understeer makes it hard to keep up. A decent amount of throttle correction is needed. ESC on and off numbers were nearly identical, as there is some intervention at the very limit.