The Dodge Durango meets most demands of a growing family and does so with a sense of beefiness that harkens back to the days of big V8 muscle cars. It’s available with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8—a 3.6-liter V-6 is standard—and offers one of the most competitive towing capacities in its class along with three rows of seating and ample creature comforts. Monstrously powerful SRT variants are available for those who thirst for more than the Hemi’s 360 horsepower, starting with the 475-hp Durango SRT 392 and ending with the supercharged, 710-hp Durango SRT Hellcat, both of which are reviewed separately. If you need an SUV but aren’t keen on burly American muscle, then you may want to consider alternatives that we rank highly, including the Kia Telluride, Ford Bronco, and Hyundai Pallisade. Such competitors afford buyers most or all of the functionality of a Durango but offer better value. For instance, pricing for all three of those models starts at under $40,000, and the Korean competitors offer a slew of standard safety tech; the Dodge does neither.
What’s New for 2023?
The Durango gets a few minor updates for the 2023 model year, including four new exterior color options—Frostbite, Night Moves, Red Oxide, and Triple Nickel—which brings the total number of available hues up to eight. Heated front seats are now standard for the entire Durango lineup, and forward collision warning is now available on base SXT models. This year’s price increase means a new Durango can no longer be had for less than $40,000.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The mid-range GT model is the best value of the bunch, and we’d stick with the standard V-6 over the thirstier V-8 engine. After all, if you’re looking for a performance SUV, the Durango SRT or the limited-edition Durango SRT Hellcat (both reviewed separately) are more likely to please. We’d be interested in upgrading from the standard 8.4-inch infotainment system to the new 10.1-inch unit, though, which also adds in-dash navigation and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Durango’s optional 360-hp V-8 provides a significant boost in towing capacity (up to 8700 pounds), while the 295-hp V-6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission are the more efficient pairing. The Durango’s fuel economy doesn’t beat that of its four-cylinder rivals, of course, but the trade-off for the more entertaining V-8 and its burly towing capacity might be worth it for some buyers. We tested both the V-6 and V-8 engines with the standard eight-speed automatic and optional all-wheel drive. The Durango with the V-6 managed a 7.4-second zero-to-60-mph run; the V-8 did it in 6.2 seconds. The Dodge’s suspension walks the fine line between sportiness and comfort, but the steering feel and braking performance remind you that you’re driving an SUV. Although it’s not overtly sporty, the Durango’s rear-wheel-drive platform lends an athletic feel to the Durango, and its muscle-car persona shines through in everyday use. It still manages to deliver a comfortable ride, making it a family-friendly SUV that’s both fun to drive and easy to live with.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Crossovers with a four-cylinder under the hood are more fuel-efficient, but the Durango’s V-6 is still competitive with other V-6–powered rivals. The EPA estimates the V-6 model will earn up to 19 mpg city and 26 highway. The V-8 version tops out at 14 mpg city and 22 highway. In our highway fuel-economy test, the 2020 V-8–powered Durango R/T surprised us by outperforming its EPA rating (and even its own V-6–powered variant) as well as the lighter and more modern GMC Acadia V-6. The V-8–powered Durango managed 23 mpg while the V-6 matched its EPA rating with a 22-mpg result. For more information about the Durango’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Every manufacturer uses a combination of materials that range from cheap to high quality, but some designs such as the Durango’s are better executed than others. Designers prioritized ergonomics, material quality, and overall comfort, but other rivals offer more second- and third-row passenger space. A set of gauges featuring red and white on a black background faces the driver. The steering wheel features a thick, leather-wrapped rim and handsome metal-look trim. On our R/T test vehicle, paddle shifters mounted behind the wheel operated with a satisfying click. We were able to fit 30 carry-on suitcases inside the Durango’s cabin with all of its seats folded flat, but we only fit four behind the third row with all seats in place. That’s two more than the Acadia managed in both measurements.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Durango has one of the best infotainment systems on the market perched atop its sculpted dashboard. Base SXT and mid-range GT models come with an 8.4-inch display while a 10.1-inch screen is optional on the GT and standard on the Citadel and R/T. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard with both screens. A rear-seat entertainment system, also optional, adds dual screens and provides HDMI and RCA ports to connect even more devices. We noted good audio quality for Bluetooth phone calls, and one caller even commented that she could hear the V-8 engine’s sonorous rumble.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Optional automated emergency braking adds an extra layer of protection, and its standard backup camera helps with safely reversing the big beast. For more information about the Durango’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert
- Available automated emergency braking
- Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Dodge offers a typical warranty with all new Durangos; extended warranties are available for purchase through dealerships. The Hyundai Palisade offers a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which is the best in the industry. Most other competitors offer roughly the same coverage as the Durango. GMC and Toyota provide two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance, but Durango buyers will have to pay separately for such services.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance
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