Firstly, I'm a 'car guy'. Before I buy a car, I do three things: research, research, and research! This past spring I had a need to reduce our fleet from 3 to 2 vehicles (getting rid of an old SUV and my "toy" hot rod for a NEW SUV) so I began researching in earnest. I wanted a 3-row, mid-size SUV with a V8 & 4WD that could give me decent mileage, carry cargo with ease and up to 6 people in comfort. Also, since I was getting rid of my hot rod, I wanted at least SOME semblance or sportiness and power as well as a nice looking vehicle that would always make me turn back for a last look as I'm walking in from a parking lot. My old SUV and hot rod were both Dodges so I specifically ignored the Durango at first, fearing my pro-MOPAR bias would color my judgement. I made my list of requirements and started looking. To make a long story short, I researched Ford, Chevy, Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Land Rover, Audi, BMW and, yes, even Mercedes. The Japanese don't offer V8s (except for the Nissan Armada which was otherwise terrible), the Europeans had contenders...but only if I wanted to spend $15-$50k more than I'd planned, and the other American makers only had vehicles that met my requirements if I went up to FULL size SUVs and even then their mass make them very slow and unsporty. So I finally came back to look at the Durango. It checked off EVERY item on my list except for price - it was about $5,000 more than I was wanting to spend, but after going for a test drive, I see where that $5k went. The Durango is darn near in the luxury SUV class with all the amazing bells & whistles as well as top notch safety features. The interior is AMAZING and not something I would ever have thought Dodge could produce. Bottom line: I went out and ordered my Durango R/T immediately. I took delivery back in May and, after 3000+ miles, it has been nothing short of a dream of a vehicle and pure joy to drive.
I was looking at an Explorer when I stumbled on reviews for the Durango. I was looking for range, gas mileage, a decent towing capacity and comfort on long trips. I didn't need the extra towing capacity of the V8. I now own a Citadel with the Pentastar V6 engine and absolutely love this thing.
The HIGHS: At 290 HP, the V6 feels very strong and I find it accelerates easily into freeway traffic. With a 24.5 gallon tank, I have close to 600 miles in range. I travel frequently where there are long stretches between gas stations and the extra 100-150 miles is reassuring. In city driving, I am getting no less than 20mpg. Slightly narrower than the Explorer, so I find it very easy to park, maneuver and get it into the garage. I find the interior to be very spacious even for a large person. I also tow trailers, so the 6200lb rating beats anything out there, a V8 tows more. Cudos on the rotary shift knob. I thought I would not like this, but I have found it to be smart and intuitive - after two drives I wasn't even thinking about it. The eight speed trans shifts almost imperceptibly and the paddle shifters (these are die cast, not cheap plastic) work very well for hill work. The interior leather is luxurious and flawless, but the color choice is limited. The seats are firm and supportive, which I find extremely comfortable. The Uconnect system is frankly the smartest, easiest, most intuitive system on the market. You can customize a whole litany of things from the screen including behavior of lights, whether the horn chirps when you lock doors, whether mirrors rotate down in reverse, speed warnings, etc and the best news is that you don't need a masters degree to do it. There is also an info center on the cluster that you can select what you want displayed.
LOWS: 1. The steering ratio requires more turns at low speed so it takes more turns of the wheel to maneuver in parking garages. 2. The pedals are not adjustable, which makes it a little more difficult to get the driving position just right. 3. There is a glitch in the audio system (which I believe FCA is working on) where the equalizer settings will change at different volume levels. 4. Cargo Volume is less than other brands and the Third row is not really suitable for adults on long trips. 5. Paint quality isn't first class - there are minor variations in color if looked at closely and orange peel that other makes do better on for this class of vehicle. None of these are deal breakers for me.
So far after about 6 months, the only complaint I have is its called a Durango, that's it. Other vehicles we own/have owned include Lexus, Toyota, and Audi. Honestly, we went into this SUV search thinking we wanted a Highlander, Lexus GX, or GMC Acadia Denali. What came out of over a year of research and test drives? There is a reason why Fiat was considering making this a Jeep and removing the Dodge badge, because, in the higher trims, this is a high-class vehicle. In the end, with the Citadel trim, and everything, black/tan interior, I just love it, love the curves, love the high-end but simple interior, the easiest to use Nav/Ent system on the market, plenty of cargo room, drives smooth, just love it. I had a guy yesterday walking in the sailing yacht club parking lot who saw me driving by slowly from the front/side ask me if that was the new Mercedes, not kidding. It really reminds me of a smooth Lexus to be honest. Our second choice was probably the Acadia Denali, with the two-tone interior which was our favorite, it seems several people we know with the Lamba line vehicles have had major repairs, didn't have the power/pull the Durango did, had less room (I'm 6'3" 250lbs, so this is important), and the nav/ent system was complicated, at best.
The only drawback? Well, it says Dodge on the car. Honestly, that is what held us back. Had it been a Jeep, Toyota, Lexus....it would have been easier. Durango just doesn't align with how refined this vehicle is, especially in the upper trims.
Originally, we thought we wanted the hemi, but I found the V6 to be just as fast at acceleration, but probably less torque, so if you pull trailers a lot, go with the hemi, but if you are like me, and only do it 3 times a year ,the V6 is more than adequate.
Great SUV. Really good fuel economy, nice ride, Quiet, Easy to get in and out of. Had a Tahoe and I feel more in control with the Durango although a bit smaller a great alternative. I like the road handling and smooth ride. For a senior, this vehicle will do all that I want and then some. Lots of room for a big guy. Would buy again! Well I liked the Durango so much, 6 months after purchase I traded it for a Citadel model with even more features and am even happier. The fuel economy just keeps getting better (25 mpg highway) and the accident avoidance feature and adaptive cruise control and the best of all. This is a keeper!!!
Ignore the name and drive the car. I have owned a large number of cars over the years. My last was a GMC Envoy. I set out to buy another GMC or possibly a 2016 Pilot but after two weeks of test driving I couldn't find anything I liked better than my old Envoy. A Facebook friend suggested a Dodge Durango. I know they make nice trucks but I had no interest in driving a Dodge. So I sent my husband to drive it while I went wine tasting with my friends. When I got home my husband said I "Had to drive it, I would love it" I reluctantly took it on a test drive and within a mile down the road I knew I wanted it. It turns on a dime, so nice to get it into a parking space, shifts smooth as glass, sets you back against the seat a bit when you accelerate, heated seats first and second row, dual climate control passenger and rear, touch screen controls, dual power seats, third row seat, sleek, just wow, nothing but compliments and "is that a Dodge"? Every time someone sees it. ha ha. The remote start is fabulous, and I love the key fob. I can't forget my purse or the car won't start because I keep the key in there... lol. Starting it remotely with my phone hasn't worked so far but I hear that the program is not compatible with I phones. Getting 21 mpg even with my lead foot. I am a Realtor and Dodge offered Realtor rebates. Plenty of room for my signs and family with the third row seat. LOVE love Love, this rig. (We went with a Limited) model. *update. 14 months later. Still like the rig but the transmission feels loose or sloppy. When I take my foot off the gas and then back on it kind of jerks or clunks.