2018 Dodge Durango

2018 Dodge Durango SRT Review

Extraordinary towing, V8 power and a roomy interior are key to the Dodge Durango's enduring appeal.
author
by Dan Frio
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

Dodge does things a little differently from other automakers. While others make anonymous four-cylinder family sedans, Dodge offers the Charger, a large family sedan inspired by muscle cars of the past and powered by a V6 or a choice of three V8 engines. And in an era when car companies refresh crossover SUVs at the speed of midterm election cycles, Dodge carries on with an aging but proven formula for the 2018 Dodge Durango.

If the Durango looks familiar, that's because you've seen this current generation on the road since the 2011 model year. That's an eternity compared to a number of its fresher rivals, but Dodge has kept this three-row crossover relevant, most notably with a significant update for 2014 that added a satisfying eight-speed automatic transmission and a revised interior with Chrysler's excellent 8.4-inch touchscreen.

For 2018, there's even more to like, including a new high-performance SRT model that cranks out 475 horsepower, accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, and can tow up to 8,600 pounds. No other non-luxury automaker offers anything like it.

The Durango's fundamentals — including extraordinary towing capacity, available V8 power and adult-size space in the third row — are key to its enduring appeal. And as one of the most muscular vehicles in its class, the Durango is also one of the heaviest. That takes a toll on real-world fuel economy and can also make the V6 engine feel anemic at times. It also bolsters the argument for choosing the exuberant V8, gas bills notwithstanding.

If you can find a powertrain that suits your needs, whether a V6 or a V6, there's a lot to like. Even at this advanced stage in its life cycle, the Durango remains one of the most capable and well-rounded three-row crossovers you can buy.

Notably, we picked the 2018 Dodge Durango as one of Edmunds' Best Midsize SUVs for this year.



What's new for 2018

For 2018, the Dodge Durango SRT debuts, offering a 475-horsepower V8 engine. Other select Durango trims get a new sporty hood designed to maximize airflow and engine cooling. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 7-inch touchscreen interface and a rearview camera now come standard on every model.

We recommend

The R/T doesn't come cheap, but it's the specification that really lets the Durango flex its muscles. With standard V8 power and a sporty stance, the R/T is family-friendly transportation with attitude. Go with the Brass Monkey or the Blacktop appearance package for maximum effect.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Dodge Durango is a three-row crossover SUV available in five trim levels: SXT, GT, Citadel, R/T and SRT.

All Durango models except the SRT are rear-wheel drive and offer optional all-wheel drive. The SRT is only available with all-wheel drive. Seven-passenger seating is standard, while second-row captain's chairs (reducing capacity to six) are optional. If you need to prioritize cargo over passengers, you can order the base SXT with just two rows of seats. The other trims are three-row only.

The base SXT comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine (293 hp, 260 pound-feet of torque) matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Other standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a load-leveling rear suspension, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, three-zone climate control, a 60/40-split folding and reclining second-row seat, a 50/50-split folding third-row seat with power-folding headrests (or alternatively, an option to delete the third-row seat) and cloth upholstery. Technology features include Bluetooth phone connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, dual USB ports and a six-speaker sound system.

The GT adds 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, remote start, heated front and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats, leather and suede upholstery, a 115-volt power outlet, driver-position memory settings and satellite radio.

Going with the Citadel gets you xenon headlights, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, upgraded brakes, front parking sensors, roof-rail crossbars, a sunroof, a cargo cover, upgraded leather upholstery, additional leather trim, a power-adjustable steering column, the Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen interface, a navigation system, a power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, and a nine-speaker audio system with a subwoofer and HD radio.

An optional Anodized Platinum appearance package adds upgraded leather upholstery with silver accent stitching and special interior trim.

The R/T moves into high-performance realms with the 5.7-liter V8 engine (360 hp, 390 lb-ft) as standard, an upgraded steering system, a sport-tuned suspension, a performance hood design, LED foglights, red accent stitching and a Beats audio system. The Citadel's standard roof rails and sunroof are optional. The 5.7-liter V8 is also optional for the Citadel.

Some of the higher trims' standard features are also offered on lower trims as options. A Technology Group package for the Citadel and R/T adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist. Blind-spot monitoring is also offered on the GT via a separate options package (Safety/Security and Convenience Group) that additionally includes a handful of the Citadel's standard luxuries.

Optional on the GT and R/T is a Brass Monkey appearance package that adds a gloss black grille, black headlamp bezels, 20-inch bronze-painted wheels and extra body-color trim. An optional Blacktop appearance package (also for the GT and R/T) is similar and fits the Durango with 20-inch, black-painted wheels and a variety of blackout exterior trim items. The Blacktop package also bumps engine power up to 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Other options include black running boards and bright pedals (Mopar Running Board package); a second-row console with armrest and storage (includes an in-console, 12-volt power outlet and a USB charge port); a dual-screen rear entertainment system (with Blu-ray compatibility); and a trailer-tow package.

Finally, the new SRT trim level tops it off with a 6.4-liter V8 engine (475 hp, 470 lb-ft), performance-tuned steering, an adaptive suspension, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, SRT Performance Pages (various configurable performance parameters), and a driver's session at the SRT Track Experience driving school.

Options include a sunroof, upgraded Laguna leather upholstery, the rear entertainment system, the SRT Interior Appearance Group (includes carbon-fiber accents and soft-touch headliner) and the Technology Group.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Dodge Durango Limited (3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Durango has received some revisions to appearance packages and standard equipment at various trim levels. Our test Durango's Limited trim is similar to today's GT. Otherwise, our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Durango.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall

Driving

The 3.6-liter V6 can seem a bit taxed in such a large vehicle, but a smart transmission helps get the most out of it both at our test track and in the real world. The Durango's other dynamic attributes, for better and worse, are more trucklike than its crossover competitors.

Acceleration

It reaches 60 mph in 8.1 seconds, which is average for the segment. The eight-speed automatic is eager to downshift when needed and holds gears when climbing and descending hills.

Braking

The pedal feel is moderate to soft with a long-travel stroke. It stopped from 60 mph in 125 feet, which is also average for the segment. Multiple panic stops displayed fade, odor and a reduction in ABS effectiveness.

Steering

Truck-ish and slow, the Durango requires lots of turns and doesn't self-center readily. Still, it's appropriately precise and weighted in normal driving, quick in tight U-turn situations, comfortable slack at freeway speeds.

Handling

When driving around turns, the Durango feels even bigger than it is due to slow steering and minimal tire grip. It's a large, lumbering SUV. Those upsizing from a more sprightly car may want to look elsewhere.

Drivability

The slow steering may put off those accustomed to driving cars, but it's an improvement for those downsizing from old-school truck SUVs. The transmission can hunt for gears in normal, flat-ground driving and is overly eager at times to reach top gear.

Off-road

The ground clearance of 8.1 inches is good for a family-oriented SUV. The Durango V8 comes with a dual-range transfer case.

Comfort

Families who spend a lot of time in the car would be wise to consider the road-trip-ready Durango. Our highway testing showed a quiet, comfortable vehicle with supportive seats. Impressive.

Seat comfort

The driver's seat is firm and supportive, with ample adjustment. The optional second-row captain's chairs recline but don't slide, yet this didn't seem to negatively affect comfort. The third row is average comfort for the segment.

Ride comfort

Composed, planted, comfortable, even on big optional wheels. Those who appreciate a big, heavy feel of a truck will feel right at home, albeit without the uncouth jiggling and occasionally harsh ride motions.

Noise & vibration

Louder at full throttle than some competitors, but quieter when cruising, with nicely quelled road and wind noise. A nice, peaceful place to enjoy a family road trip.

Interior

Some competitors may offer seat belts for eight, but that's really a token provision. In reality, the Durango offers more useful passenger space, a less confining view out and an easier means of getting inside. Dodge's user-friendly tech interface is another benefit.

Ease of use

As always, Dodge's large Uconnect touchscreen (optional) is a benchmark for user-friendliness with large virtual buttons, logical menus and helpful secondary physical controls. Everything is easy to reach.

Getting in/getting out5.0

The rear doors that open nearly 90 degrees are better than most. The flip-and-fold second row makes access to the third row also better than most, although there is the typical high step-up versus a minivan.

Roominess

The Durango is one of the most spacious three-row SUVs. Adults can fit with comfort in all outboard seating positions (third-row head- and legroom are especially good), which is rare. Only two seat belts in the third row means it can fit seven people max.

Visibility

Good visibility straight back, but the rear headrest and a thick rear roof pillar hamper reversing. The optional rearview camera helps, but it lacks clarity. Large mirrors and optional blind-spot warning. Forward visibility is average.

Quality

The materials quality is average with expected soft-touch surfaces of pleasant texture. Construction is nothing special. It doesn't look or feel as high-end as the related Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it's also nothing to be ashamed of.

Utility

With maximum cargo space that matches that of all but the largest SUVs, a useful fold-flat front passenger seat, and the highest tow ratings among its rivals, the Durango is exceptionally well rounded when it comes to overall utility.

Technology

A choice of two large touchscreen displays, fast software processing, full-featured Uconnect infotainment features, and a full suite of driver assistance features make the Durango one of the most tech-connected crossovers in any class.

Audio & navigation

Navigation comes standard on the Citadel trim level, optional on GT. The 8.4-inch touchscreen is a worthwhile upgrade. The BeatsAudio system is a good option for premium sound, but it's disappointing that the multispeaker Harman Kardon system available in other Dodge vehicles isn't offered.

Smartphone integration

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.

Driver aids

The optional Technology Group bundles items including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist. Available only as an option and not available on base SXT trims.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.