2017 Dodge Durango Review

Durango

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2017 Dodge Durango Overview

First introduced for the 1998 model year, the Dodge Durango is now in its third generation, though this generation was introduced way back in 2010. The 2017 Dodge Durango remains largely unchanged from the 2016 model aside from some token cosmetic changes like extra paint colors and different wheel choices, which may come as a bit of a disappointment since it has already lagged behind ever-more-popular crossovers like the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9 for a few years now. The appeal of the Dodge, though, is that of a more aggressive performance vehicle, so it at least still has that going for it. Available trims for the 2017 Durango include the SXT, GT, Citadel, and R/T, all of which can be had in either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Prices range from $30,000 for a standard SXT to over $47,000 for a loaded Citadel.

Built using much the same components as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango is available with two engines. Most trims get a 3.6-liter V6 that makes either 290 or 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, but the sporty R/T comes with a potent 5.7-liter V8 with 360 hp. Both engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V6 has plenty of power, especially in the middle of the rev range, and would be the better choice for anyone not hauling more than a few people. The V8, meanwhile, gives the Durango serious a towing capacity of up to 7,400 pounds, and AWD V8 models feature a low range for off-road driving. An available Trailer Tow Group package comes with a hitch, a full-size spare, and a load-leveling suspension.

Being a large vehicle with a big engine, the Durango is quite thirsty when equipped with the V8, though the V6 trims are more frugal than you might think. The V8-powered Durango gets 14 mpg city/22 highway/17 combined, while the V6 does 19/27/22. Opting for AWD drops fuel economy by a point, and the fuel tank has a 24.6-gallon capacity.

Any impressive performance the Durango possesses will be limited to blasting away from a stoplight, highway passes, and maybe the occasional burnout, but it does have a compliant ride and big brakes to haul down its two and a half tons of mass, and a Sport mode adjusts the weighting of the steering as well as the shift timing of the transmission. R/T trims also come with a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch wheels wrapped in performance tires, and a ride height that’s 20mm lower than on the standard model.

On the inside, the 2017 Durango features familiar three-row seating that's comparable to the layout of a Ford Explorer or Chevy Tahoe; but over the past few years Chrysler has really stepped up its game as far as truck interiors go, and this shows in the Durango. So while the tech might not be the most up-to-date on the market, the cockpit is still at least a neat place to be. Fit and finish are solid, there’s tons of room inside (with the exception of those sitting in the third row), and an available center console gets you a 12-volt outlet and a second USB port for the rear passengers.

Standard features in the SXT include remote start, air conditioning, and a 5.0-inch touchscreen (heated seats and a heated steering wheel are optional), but things really start to get interesting the further up you go in the Durango Range. Durango Limited trims get an upgraded Uconnect audio system, leather upholstery, heated seats in the first and second rows, a rear-view camera and rear parking sensors, and a 115-volt power outlet, while options include captains’ chairs for the second row, a power sunroof and tailgate, navigation, and a Blu-ray DVD system.

The Citadel luxury trim is really something, right up there with some proper luxury vehicles--hence its high price. It features Nappa leather upholstery, heated front and rear seats (ventilated in front), a power sunroof, automatic HID headlamps, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, a power-tilt and telescopic steering column, a power liftgate, a dual exhaust, and a roof rack. The sportier R/T, meanwhile, features a combination of synthetic leather and suede for the upholstery, red trim, and a better sound system, and navigation and a Blu-ray DVD player are optional.

The Durango has received a Good rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and 4 out of 5 stars overall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Visibility using the good old-fashioned method of checking your mirrors and blind spots with your eyes isn’t the best, but the available rear-view camera and parking sensors make things a lot easier, and forward-collision warning is always a welcome feature for the safety-minded.

Objectively, the 2017 Dodge Durango might not be the best choice for every driver who wants an SUV with room for kids and luggage. There are plenty of models that are more fuel-efficient, more up-to-date, roomier, and even cheaper. That said, The Durango has more character and a heck of a lot more performance and fun factor than most of the more pedestrian crossovers on the market, and its interior is an appealing space with lots of features, even if it doesn’t have the most advanced infotainment system out there. And for people with a boat, motorcycle trailer, or anything else towable, the Durango can double as family hauler and tow vehicle.

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Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a 1969 Lynx Formula Vee. After receiving two degrees in history, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

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