We wanted to replace my wife’s 07 Lexus RX with a bigger vehicle so she test drove a 2012 Explorer and then the 2012 Durango. I went with her on the Durango test drive only so I cannot compare it to the Explorer, but I was totally impressed with the Durango after seeing how good it looks and driving it. It handles much better than our Lexus with hardly any body lean at all. I was so impressed that I did not see the need to test drive anything else. My wife liked the Durango better than the Explorer because of how it drove, the 2nd and 3rd row seat space was better, and the technology/controls are easier to use. For example the navigation in the Durango is a Garmin unit that is really easy to use, she said the Explorer navigation system seemed like it was going to be a lot more complicated and she might need to take a class to learn how to use the touch system. We did not want to get leather in this vehicle yet we were able to get a ton of other features. Most other brands make you buy their leather package to get push-button start, 2 driver position presets, rain sensing wipers, upgraded stereo, etc. I think a Honda I bought one time I had to buy their leather package just to get a sunroof. We got all these things and did not have to buy leather that we were not interested in. The base stereo in the Crew is a 9 speaker Alpine system with a 500 Watt amp. This is the base stereo and is not an extra charge, I was totally surprised to learn this when I saw the Alpine amp in the back. We also got the navigation which I think added a 40GB hard drive to store music on. I have never owned a Chrysler or Dodge vehicle in my life but this seemed like a really easy choice for both me and my wife after looking at the Durango up close.
We have owned the vehicle for just over 2 months and we love it. Dodge finally paid attention to details on the interior. The leather is top quality, steering wheel feels great, wood trim is quality and does not look like cheap stick on wood, perfect ambient lighting (cupholders, doorhandles etc...), Nav with Garmin is on point. We drive a lot and freeway we average from 23-24 mpg. Nice size gas tank so we can drive 500 miles on one tank. Personally speaking, I love driving the car. Ride is great. I think it is a smoother ride than an A6 I owned a few years ago. I would consider this vehicle without question
(BTW, this is a review of the Citadel V8 model, not available to choose from the list) I origiannaly had a 2011 Traverse and it was a nice vehicle with some great room and features. I was however, unhappy with the looks of it as well as the cheap "feel" of the interior. (I owned the LTZ model) I was always looking for a nice suv that had a more manly style and still had the luxury inside without paying for an escalade. Enter the 2012 Durango Citadel! OMG, this vehicle has it all. All of the cool tech features you could ever want, super luxurious interior, and a badass look on the outside! If there is one caveat I have, it is the plastic rim covers. An amazing vehicle overall!
I've owned my 2012 Durango AWD RT for just over a month now. I love it! The Durango is my fun car, I drive a milktoast 2011 impala for to and from work. So, it makes it a bit difficult to keep off the gas when I'm out in the Durango. The gas mileage for the Hemi is what would be expected. We are on "winter gas", so comparing to the difference I experience with my other cars, I would expect 17mpg average in the summer season. The SUV moves when you stomp on it, handles great in the snow, and has plenty of passenger room. As with any 3rd row SUV, adults will have a bit of difficulty getting in the 3rd row.
I looked at all the worthy competitors before settling for the Durango. The Explorer was out quick (cramped interior/3rd row, cumbersome controls), the CX-9 lost on the kids-only 3rd row and boat looks, the Highlander on the smaller size overall, the Pilot on the dismaying interior (especially dashboard), noise, avg. reviews. I almost went for the Traverse, which has more room and sits better on the road given the much wider track, but the interior was a little coarse. The Durango won clearly on the looks (other than the rear), as well as on the better than avg. handling, power, interior. I factory-ordered an awd custom Crew with a bunch of options, black w/ black leather.