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
  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • weightloss.jpg The scales of injustice: Weight loss differs between men, women

    You're not imagining it: There really are differences between the way men and women diet, lose weight and respond to exercise.

    August 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drug dealers going corporate

    A top federal official on Tuesday said that 105 banks and credit unions are doing business with legal marijuana sellers, suggesting that federal rules giving financial institutions the go-ahead to provide services to dealers are starting to work.

    August 13, 2014

  • wwimemorial.jpg The benefit of World War I omission on the Washington Mall

    By 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened on the National Mall, something had shifted in the way we remember our wars. A national memorial, prominently placed on the nation's most symbolically significant public space, came to seem like an essential dignity offered to veterans, their families and the memory of those who gave their lives. But there is an exception.

    August 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • In Japan, ramen aficionados worry their favorite dish is coming off the boil

    "The ramen boom has ended," said Ivan Orkin, a New Yorker who first traveled to Japan in the 1980s and now owns two noodle-soup restaurants in Tokyo. "A boom implies that there are new avenues and new growth to pursue, and that's not the case in Japan anymore."

    August 11, 2014

  • Ronnie Ellis: U.S. Senate race trail long and interesting

    By Ronnie Ellis/CNHI News Service

    FRANKFORT — Last week was a long one, endured under the onslaught of an awful summer cold and played out across the commonwealth. It began in Fancy Farm and ended it in Corbin with a trip to Hazard in between.

    August 9, 2014

  • Senate race becomes family affair

    By LANA BELLAMY
    CNHI NEWS SERVICE
    PAINTSVILLE — U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got personal on Friday while calling a report inaccurate concerning his wife’s role as a board member in an organization that funds anti-coal efforts.

    August 9, 2014

  • Dennis Beighley led out of courthouse Mother, grandparents face attempted murder charges in starvation case

    Cheers and applause erupted in a courtroom when a pregnant mother from Pennsylvania accused of starving her then-7-year-old son was remanded to jail, along with the boy’s grandparents.

    August 8, 2014 2 Photos

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks