Mt. Vernon Register-News

CNHI Special Projects

March 20, 2013

Current generation Dodge is luxurious, quiet

If your memories of the Dodge Durango are centered around a close cousin of the Ram truck, then throw those memories out the window.

Today's Durango shares nothing at all with its old, truck-like namesake.

In fact, it's surprising that Dodge decided to stick with
the Durango name since the new version shares its bones with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, a smooth-riding, luxurious crossover that in many ways is the polar opposite of the old blue-collar, workhorse Durango.

Despite its name, the Durango is moving into a gated, white-collar neighborhood of the automotive world.

The version I tested called the Citadel — topping the Durango range with a starting price around $40,000 — feels more like a Volvo than a typical Dodge. Not only is it shined up Tiffany-style with lots of bling on the body and 20-inch chrome wheels, but it comes with Nappa leather seats that are heated and cooled.

And even more reminiscent of Volvo are all the high-tech safety features. It's available with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection — a cocoon of electronic sensors more commonly found on high-end luxury cars.

The ordinary Durango, which starts around $30,000, comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 290 horsepower. That's no slouch unless you need to do serious towing. If you need to tow up to 7,100 pounds, you can opt for the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that makes 360 horses. It's perfect for pulling heavy loads but, unfortunately, is almost reminiscent of the old Durango in fuel economy ratings: 13 mpg in city driving and 20 on the highway with all-wheel drive.

Even that raw HEMI horsepower seems tame and refined under the Durango's blinged-out hood. It's a surprisingly quiet, smooth-riding crossover, which should be no surprise because it shares so many genes with its famous cousin, the Grand Cherokee.

Still, that Durango name may present its biggest challenge. It's a great crossover — which it has to be to stay competitive these days — but it also remains mentally tied to the old Durango in name.

When people think, "I want a luxurious, silent, high-end crossover," rarely will the Dodge Durango be at the top of their mind. Perhaps it should be.

Derek Price is a automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at carcolum@gmail.com.

 

1
Text Only
CNHI Special Projects
  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks