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2014 Dodge Durango Overview
Although the present generation of Dodge’s tough-minded full-size Durango SUV has been around for a few years now, the automaker apparently felt Ford and Chevy were gaining an edge. Thus for 2014, the 7-passenger Durango lineup sports a bolder look, some upgraded interior features and a brand-new 8-speed automatic transmission that’s touted to provide class-leading fuel economy.
The SXT returns as the base Durango trim in 2014, with the Rallye Package now offered as a separate trim that, along with the brand-new, slightly up-ticked Limited, replaces the now-defunct Crew edition. The sporty R/T (Road and Track) variant, of course, is back for a return engagement, as is the flagship Citadel. Again, all trims are delivered in a standard rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration, with a pair of all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems available, depending on engine size. Meanwhile, look for each updated Durango to sport a reshaped front grille, projector beam headlights, a higher front bumper, LED running lights and reconfigured LED taillights.
The standard powerplant for the SXT, Rallye and Limited trims remains a 290-hp 3.6-liter V6 that now mates with the new-for-2014 8-speed shiftable transmission to pump out 260 lb-ft of torque while simultaneously boosting expected highway mileage to some 25 mpg. The debuting 8-speed automatic, by the way, is promised to come with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and a rotary gear selector, each touted to improve transmission performance. Meantime, towing capacity from the six-banger is expected to be maxed out at 6,200 pounds with the available heavy-duty tow package installed. Look for the AWD system available in these V6-toting trims to allow normal cruising in RWD, with torque instantly shifted from the wheels that slip to the wheels that grip when things get messy.
The potent 5.7-liter Hemi V8 again empowers the R/T and Citadel trims, with the new 8-speed shiftable automatic returning improved gas mileage even in this monster motor. Towing is maxed out at 7,400 pounds with the optional towing package, while the AWD system aboard V8-equipped Durango trims flaunts a 2-speed transfer case that’ll give them some light-duty off-road capability. Finally, trailer sway control should remain standard aboard this brute’s entire lineup.
With a total cargo capacity of 84.5 cubic feet (second- and third-row seats folded), the 2014 Durango can’t quite match Ford and Chevy hauling-wise. However, the Rallye and higher trims are again expected to offer standard fold-flat front passenger seatbacks, giving all but the base trim a slightly more competitive cargo-carrying capacity.
The base Durango SXT is likely to return with 18-inch alloy wheels and heated power-adjustable mirrors outside, with cloth upholstery, full power accessories and a new 7-inch dash display for gauges and trip information adorning the cabin. Cruise control, telescoping tilt-wheel steering and tri-zone climate control, meantime, are again slated to be complemented by a single-CD player with 6 speakers and satellite radio.
The Rallye and Limited trims should offer such extra standard features as a rear power liftgate, all-terrain tires, heated power-adjustable front seats, a rear-view camera, remote garage door opener, memory for driver's settings, Bluetooth hands-free calling and rear parking sensors, but as yet there’s no official word on which of these debuting trims gets what extras.
In any case, expect the R/T to continue to offer 20-inch alloy wheels, premium cloth upholstery and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror as standard equipment, as well as premium-brand 9-speaker audio components. This performance-oriented trim will, alas, doubtless keep lacking the rear-view camera and rear parking sensors of its touring-slanted siblings.
As the top-shelf trim of the Durango lineup, the Citadel is expected to return with much of the above equipment, plus standard premium leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel and, for 2014, an upgraded hard-drive-based navigation system.
Among the options choices in this hefty sport ute will likely be second-row captain’s chairs, upgraded rear-seat DVD entertainment, a power sunroof and upgraded alloy wheels. Meanwhile, Chrysler’s improved UConnect 8.4 multimedia system now sports an 8.4-inch 3D touchscreen display, WiFi hotspot capability and improved maps, and is touted to be available in the higher Durango trims for 2014.
Safety-wise, look for this big Dodge to boast 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags and 3-row head airbags. Front fog/driving lights, front head restraint whiplash protection and a post-collision safety system also should come standard across the lineup, while turn-signal-integrated mirrors are likely in the Rallye and higher trims. Finally, the R/T and Citadel are additionally slated to pack standard self-leveling high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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