2014 Dodge Durango Limited RWD Review

2014 Dodge Durango Limited RWD Review we’re taking a look at the refreshed for 2014 Dodge Durango the Dodge Durango is kind of a crossover vehicle it’s also kind of a traditional SUV it is a rear-wheel drive vehicle but it has a unibody platform now in this generation of Dodge Durango making it sort of a crossover and sort of a traditional SUV with an introduction
like that we probably ought to go over

what exactly the Dodge Durango is you
can think of the Dodge Durango as sort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee that’s been stretched a little bit now if you remember the first Dodge Durango that was based on Chrysler’s small pickup truck platform the Dakota and it was a body-on-frame SUV very traditional in the same way that the trailblazer and the Envoy etc were very traditional body-on-frame SUVs this Dodge Durango shares nothing with that Dodge Durango it shares almost everything with the Grand Cherokee which is closely related to mercedes-benz ML that means we have a
fully independent suspension it’s a

unibody construction but most
importantly and very uniquely in this category it is still rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive that rear-wheel drive layout of the Durango is very obvious from the side profile because we have this long and fairly upright hood because we can still get a v8 under there but more on that later and you can also tell the difference because of where this front wheel is positioned it’s fairly close to the front of the vehicle giving you a slightly better weight bounce slightly better driving dynamics as well and the distance between the wheel and the front of the door is fairly large that’s fairly typical in a rear-wheel drive vehicle just goes with the general layout of the drivetrain some people find that
attractive some people don’t back here

we have a larger rear door than you’ll
find in a Grand Cherokee because the wheelbase in this vehicle has been stretched five inches over the Grand Cherokee yet the overall length is only about four inches longer than the Grand Cherokee now that makes the Dodge Durango about two inches shorter than something like a Chevy Tahoe and only slightly longer than something like a Ford Explorer or a Nissan Pathfinder the Durango competes with a wide variety of 3-row crossover vehicles these are on the larger end of the spectrum so things like the Ford Explorer the General Motors lambda triplets which would be the Traverse the Enclave and the Acadia hope I got those right as well as something like a Nissan Pathfinder a Honda Pilot and a wide variety of other entries from kia hyundai and pretty

everybody in between also is going to

compete with the brand-new Toyota Highlander which we haven’t seen but we hope to have that video up very soon but in comparison to those the durango has a very bold front end very tall hood as you can see here and that’s because it is rear-wheel drive and the engine has to fit in longitudinally in this vehicle so it’s not across the front of vehicle it’s actually sort of in line with the vehicle and length if you aren’t familiar with those terms and because it’s a large push rod at 5.7 liter v8 engine we have to have a fairly tall hood in order for that to fit that means that the front end is a lot bolder and a lot more aggressive than the rest of the entries in this segment you can get parking sensors but they’re only available in the upper trim levels of the Durango unlike the Jeep Grand Cherokee you can also get radar cruise control you’d find that radar cruise

control module right there in the center
HID headlamps are also an available option if you’re looking at the Durango head on you’ll notice one thing this is not as wide as something like a Tahoe or a suburban which means it’s going to be easier for something like this to park in your garage it’s about five inches narrower than that suburban but it’s about the same width is something like an explorer or a Pathfinder the rear of the Durango used to be a little bit plain we have a very tall and vertical hatch kind of minivan like and that’s to help with the cargo loading capacity of the Durango inside you get a lot more widgets in your Durango if you have a very upright hatch Dodge has installed this very attractive light strip all the way around the rear end we do have the headlights on right now so it’s not illuminated during the day but at night

it is very attractive from the back end

we also have a power tailgate that’s
optional in the Durango the reason I mentioned the Tahoe as well as a suburban is because underneath this panel if we have the optional tow package you would find a standard two inch trailer receiver and that trailer receiver is capable of towing up to 7,200 pounds if you get the v8 engine in the Durango that’s considerably more than any 3-row crossover vehicle available on the market and it’s only about a thousand pounds away from the full-size SUVs from both Ford and General Motors the high Tao ratings of over 7,000 pounds of the v8 engine or over 6,000 pounds of the v6 are all because this is a rear wheel drive platform vehicle the engines are mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission which is also very unique for this segment it is the only mass-market three row crossover vehicle with an 8-speed
automatic sold in America engine options

start with a 3.6 liter Pentastar v-6
engine it makes 290 horsepower and most trims Carson bumps it up slightly to 295 power if you get the rally version and 260 pound feet of torque from that v6 engine this 5.7 liter Hemi v8 engine is good for 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque it is of course rear-wheel drive by default in all trim levels but you can opt for an all-wheel drive system it’s a little over two thousand dollars and they’re two different all-wheel drive systems the v6 model gets a full time all-wheel drive system no options no button or knobs to pedal with 50/50 percent power split front and rear if you get the v8 engine then you get a different transfer case and that is a part-time all-wheel drive
system by default all the power goes to

the rear unless the vehicle senses some
wheel slip in which case it will engage a clutch pack and send power to the front there’s also a two-speed gearbox in that same transfer case for the v8 engine which allows a low range gear to be engaged as well as neutral so that we can flat tow your dodge durango if you so desire front seat comfort in the durango is excellent compared to other three row mass-market crossover vehicles we’re in the limited model so we have cushy leather seats but one thing that I’d like to point out is the fact that these seat bottom cushions don’t have a definite hump to them in the middle but something that I’ve complained about in recent Chrysler seat designs that’s thankfully not happening here in the Dodge Durango we do have a tilt telescoping steering column in every model of the Durango but I’m over here in the passenger seat for a very important reason that’s because in our limited model as well as the Citadel trim we have a power front passenger seat with the same range of motion as the driver seat so have this multi way power adjustment right here and a four-way adjustable lumbar support which I really like on the downside however if you opt for the limited or the Citadel models where you get this power passenger seat this front passenger seat does not fold
flat like it would in the lower models

of the durango so if you have the SX T
or some of the other models of the Durango you can actually fold this front passenger seat flat you can fold the middle row flat and you can fold the back row flat you can stick really long items inside your Durango it’s a very handy feature unfortunately it’s just not compatible with this power passenger seat our Durango limited model is equipped with the six passenger seating option which does delete this middle third vent seat these front captains chairs are very comfortable for a 3-row crossover vehicle they do recline with this little handle right here that handles also how you flip and fold this second row forward first action is with that one lever and then there’s this little red thing right there to allow you to pull that seat up so you can get in and out of the third row in the Durango this does mean that unlike something like a Nissan Pathfinder you cannot keep a child seat in this seat and still get in that third row but it is fairly easy to get back there these seats are also just a little bit more comfortable than the standard three across bench seat in the middle this two

across styling in the middle gets us a

fixed center console with a fairly deep storage cubby there rs has microphones in there because we have the rear seat entertainment package this same center console is also open a bowl from the third row in the back you just press a little button there and it flips up the other way so people in the back can still get in that little storage cubby in a reversal of things I have moved this front seat all the way back in its tracks you can see what it’s like I still have a few inches of legroom left there I’d have a little bit more if we didn’t have this fold out rear seat entertainment system in the seat so it is something to keep in mind we also have air vents back there and two USB charging ports if I move back over to this other seat this front seat was adjusted for me at 6 feet tall you can see I have quite a bit of legroom left there if you’re looking for more legroom there are a few other entries in the midsize crossover segment that offer a little bit more but not that many most importantly we have about the same amount of legroom in the Durango as we
do in full-size SUVs the only limitation

is in Headroom the Durango gets a slight
Headroom reduction versus some of those other full-size SUVs but it’s not as much as you might think it’s only about three quarters of an inch or so and that’s because if you’re looking at a full-size SUV they’re typically body-on-frame and that means that between the ground and the interior of the vehicle there is a frame which can occupy up to about six or seven inches or so depending on the vehicle and that means that even though they’re about the same size on the outside you don’t get as much room on the inside I’m 6 feet tall as I said and I’m have about two and a half inches of headroom left and we’re in the sunroof equipped model so it is something to keep in mind now let’s hop in the third row most 3-row crossover saved their hardest and their nastiest plastics for the third row and will it’s slightly true in the durango these plastics are nicer than I had expected back here we actually have a soft touch side armrest for the third row in the Durango which is pretty unique in this segment I can’t think of anybody else that delivers soft touch arm rests for
the third row pastures normally they’re

pretty hard and they’re pretty awful on
the elbow we still have plenty of hard plastics back here so it will remind you that you are in a mainstream crossover vehicle not a luxury three row cross or vehicle like an Audi q7 or anything like that this other seat is folded flat with the cargo area in the rear expanding your cargo area beyond what you’d find in something like a Jeep Grand Cherokee if you’re torn between the Grand Cherokee or a Durango as I know a number of people have been and they’ve contacted me right here view YouTube just like you can then it really depends on how much you value that third row seat as well as some of the ground clearance issues in the Grand Cherokee the Grand Cherokee does have better ground clearance and a slightly more advanced all-wheel drive system but the Dodge Durango does have these emergency back seats these back seats well they’re not as comfortable as the other seats in the vehicle they are suitable for a decent road trip I mean I could probably sit back here for an hour or two without too much of a problem there’s not a whole lot of fire support going on here
but I still have about 3/4 of an inch of

legroom left right there and I have
about an inch left of headroom it’s not that bad to be sitting back here and I would much rather be on a long car trip in the Dodge Durango than a decent number of other 3-row crossover vehicles but most importantly if you don’t typically carry that many people you can Jam people back here in an emergency let’s take a quick look around the interior of the Durango we do have these four-way adjustable headrests they swing on sort of an upper pivot right there but they do go forward and backward because we have the rear seat entertainment system you will find the HDMI port and the standard analog inputs for each screen one on the driver and the front passenger seat so my driver seat also has one of those you can use the same source on both screens some people found those a little bit unattractive but I really didn’t mind them our limited model has leather seats but we don’t have real wood trim on the doors or the dashboard speaking of that dashboard we have a revised dashboard design for the 2014 model year let’s take a look at that glovebox so a fairly decently sized glovebox it’s not as large as I would like definitely not as large as the Acura MDX but you can still fit a reasonable amount of items in there the revised dashboard for 2014 brings soft touch plastics to the dashboard as well as this you connect 8.4 inch touchscreen system now the base
models of the Durango do get a 5 inch

you connect touchscreen system if you

want to know more about that 5 inch you connect system then click on over to our review of the Fiat 500l uses exactly the same infotainment system because Chrysler and Fiat are tied together if you want to know more about this particular infotainment system just click on that link at the bottom of the bar and will take you to our review of the UConnect system inside the Jeep Grand Cherokee they operate pretty much the same except for the color scheme the Dodge gets this red background in Jeep gets slightly different color below that we have our 2 zone climate control settings again as I said three zone climate control is standard in the Dodge Durango and to control that third zone from the front you just hit the climate button here and then you click that rear climate tab and then you can actually adjust the rear climate control via those controls right there we do have parking sensors we have an eco button this controls the v8 engines cylinder deactivation system and we have our stability control off button they’re going further down in the center console we have a 12-volt power port and instead of hiding away the UConnect inputs like the Grand Cherokee does and other Chrysler products there unfortunately right here in the center console where everybody can see them SD card slot this is strictly for music the mapping information is not stored in the SD card an auxiliary input as well as the USB we get this Jaguar esque rotary shifter which is very similar to the one that’s
found in the Dodge pickup trucks over

here we have two large cupholders if we

had the all-wheel-drive option in this v8 car then we would have the four-wheel drive control knob right here which allows you to switch between for auto for low as well as neutral here it’s just a little storage cubby moving to the center armrest this is where you’ll find the blu-ray player for the rear seat entertainment system or a single slot CD player if you choose to get one for the standard audio system you won’t find a CD player as standard in any durango or most chrysler product you do have to pay about $190 extra for one and then they’ll stuff it right here in the center console that gives us just a small amount of space to have a wallet or something else in there we have a 12 volt power port right here and if you choose the right model of Durango to find a 120-volt power port on the back of the center console our Durango has the seven-inch LCD instrument cluster which is incredibly attractive this is easily one of the best LCD instrument clusters available on the market probably just below Cadillac SKU we have access to fuel economy our trip computer in there it will display certain audio information if you’re listening to your iPod or other media device it won’t display much information in that screen but if you’re listening to satellite radio or other inputs it will we can scroll down get vehicle messages we have
an option of setting up the screen so

you can change what’s displayed in these

corners upper corner like right here you could have a temperature your average fuel economy what gear you’re in etc here are two different views for the speedometer we have an analog as well as a digital view if you choose the digital view you can still get additional vehicle information in that center screen right here we’re seeing tire pressure you can get additional gauge displays as well my transmission temperature oil temperature oil pressure etc very handy screen and it’s also very attractive zooming out we have Chrysler’s latest corporate steering wheel it’s a very attractive fairly thick rimmed and soft leather steering wheel it’s also optionally heated in the Durango we have our shift paddles here this signs for down this sides for up this is where you’ll find your regular cruise control controls and if you offer the radar cruise control system then you’ll find those buttons right down there these buttons are the Bluetooth phone as well as the voice command interface buttons and this group of buttons controls that screen in the center of the gauge cluster like most chrysler products you’ll find the radio control buttons on the back of the steering wheel so this side right here is volume up and down and the other side is track up and down looking around the second row you can see that plastics quality does drop slightly from the front but we still have plenty of soft

touch plastics around this second row

seating area which is a nice touch and
it is notably better than you’ll find in certain other vehicles this is the rear seat entertainment system you can see right here that it uses our headphones because the camera picks up these IR lights right here these aren’t visible to the human eye but they’re very visible to the camera everything is controlled on that optional rear seat entertainment system by this remote control or by the you connect screen right up there in front there is an optional rear seat entertainment screen if I point this at this screen you can see what the interface looks like it’s the very similarly to the UConnect system we have access to that blu-ray player our a/v inputs as well as HDMI inputs and you can lock this out from the front seat if you’re concerned about your kids playing with it out in the cargo area the Durango one thing you won’t find is a spare tire on the inside of the Durango that’s because they’ve jammed it under the floor it’s accessible via this little cargo area right here in the trunk you just flip this open there’s some additional storage under this well and there’s also a little key area there where you can insert a key and then you can lower the spare tire down what’s nice about that is that the spare tire can be a full size spare tire in the Durango there’s plenty of room under there which is important for a towing vehicle on the downside however your spare tire does get a little bit dirty if that concerns you the Durango scores six out of ten points in our exclusive trunk comfort index because things are just a little bit cramped back here in this third row cargo area that is fairly typical for three row crossovers as well

as three row SUVs and surprisingly

enough there’s actually a little bit more room back here behind this third row then you’d find in something like a Chevy Tahoe however if you need a lot more cargo room you should know that they’re about three cubic feet more space in a Ford Explorer or something along those lines so you do pay just a little bit of a penalty for having the Durango’s other features cargo holding is not necessarily one of its four tastes you can’t have over fold down this third row of throw seat and you get awful lot more room in the cargo area of the Durango another slight nice touch is this rechargeable flashlight which plugs in to the Durango’s cargo area right here on the side and it means that you can always have a flashlight handy well I found that a little bit gimmicky the first time I saw it I have to admit I have used it several times in the week that we’ve had the Durango over all the cargo air in the Durango is finished very nicely and we also have a power tailgate hatch the 3-row crossover segment in America is incredibly crowded we have everything from the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia to the Honda Pilot the Nissan Pathfinder they’re all front-wheel drive based crossovers however if you want a rear-wheel drive vehicle with three rows you’re limited to just the Dodge Durango or full-sized body on frame SUVs like a suburban or a Tahoe or something along those lines so that means that the Dodge Durango is very in this segment because it is sized and priced very much like the G M lambda triplets the Traverse Enclave via you know encore blah blah blah blah blah whatever the heck they’re called those three SUVs from General Motors they’re about the same size and also about the same weight this Dodge Durango is about
five thousand pounds with the v8 engine

which is not too far off the 3.6 liter
v6 engine that’s found under the hood of the lambda triplets however out on the road the Durango handles very very differently from those other three row crossovers because of the weight balance even with this v8 engine under the hood we have a much more advantageous plate balance for handling out on the road than you’d ever find in a front wheel drive biased crossover like the pilots and some of those others out there on the market we also have the ability to have a v8 engine in this vehicle and because we have a v8 engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission that’s found in ram trucks as well as strangely F Bentley and rolls-royce models this transmission is capable of towing so we have 7400 pounds of towing capacity which is about 50 percent more than you’ll find in something like a Ford Explorer which is a 3-row crossover that has its engine up front and has a six speed automatic transaxle now don’t get me wrong the Dodge Durango isn’t exactly nimble I wouldn’t call this the sporty option in this segment it is fairly heavy it is a little bit high riding but it does have a decent feel out on the road because of the Durango’s overall

size as well as the fact that it’s

rear-wheel drive and it has a 7400 pound towing capacity comparisons to body-on-frame SUVs like the yukon the suburban things along those lines that are full-sized body on frame SUVs are definitely valid when you compare it in that manner the Durango gives up a little bit of interior space but has much better road manners those better road manners are down to the fact that this vehicle is a unibody vehicle rather than a body on frame because we don’t have that frame between the body and the road we have a much better center of balance which means we get less body roll less tip and dive and better overall road manners out on the road I have universally complained about steering feel in modern vehicles thanks to electric power steering but the Dodge Durango bucks the trend just a little bit within this 3-row crossover segment quite simply because all the other 3 row crossovers are either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and Dodge Durango that we’re testing right now is rear-wheel drive that frees up the front wheels a little bit since they’re not expected to motivate the vehicle as well as steer the vehicle we do get a decent amount more steering feedback in the Durango than we do in anything else in this segment the unique positioning of the Dodge Durango also applies to performance because with this 8-speed automatic transmission and this Hemi v8 engine under the hood we get 60

in just over six and a half seconds

which is a very good number when you take a look at the zero to sixty times of things like a Ford Explorer or the Pathfinder etc those are all over seven seconds for the most part with their larger v6 engines under the hood the only SUVs that can really compete performance wise with something like this are things like a Ford Flex or the Lincoln MKT with a twin turbo v6 engine but even they are still slower to 60 then this Dodge Durango and that’s primarily due to this 8-speed ZF automatic transmission even those SUVs however still can’t tow as much as the Dodge Durango do they’re limited to about 5,000 pounds of towing capacity the Durango has a fairly quiet cabin out on the road and the suspension does a very good job of soaking up potholes and other roadway imperfections while delivering a decent Road feel you can thank Mercedes for that because the Dodge Durango and the Jeep Grand Cherokee which is very closely related
to this Durango we’re both co-developed

with the Mercedes ML and the Mercedes GL
was one of the final projects that Mercedes and Chrysler worked on together before Chrysler was sold so we can really thank the mercedes-benz engineers for helping deliver an excellent ride and excellent performance out of this chassis of course the flipside of that coin is that we can thank the fact that Mercedes no longer has anything to do with Chrysler for how good this 2014 Durango is previous versions of the Durango either used a Chrysler 6-speed automatic transmission which had some fairly odd gear ratios or Mercedes 5-speed automatic transmission that had a fairly narrow ratio pand some odd gear ratios and it was fairly slow shifting

as well because Mercedes and Chrysler

are no longer in bed with one another they now have access to ZF 8-speed automatic transmission as I said before which is the same transmission that’s used in wide variety of luxury cars and this transmission is truly excellent very fast shifting has a very broad gear spread and the gear ratios are fairly evenly spaced which is very important in terms of performance

the Durango is without a doubt the driver’s choice in this segment whether you get a rear-wheel drive model or an all-wheel drive model I am a little bit sad that Chrysler did not choose to fit the air suspension system from the Jeep Grand Cherokee into the Durango but I can kind of understand how that would be as it might cannibalize some of the Jeep sales still however fuel economy is a bit of a problem for the Durango because this is a fairly heavy SUV and it has a fairly large v8 engine under the hood we’ve been averaging between 17 and 19 miles per gallon which isn’t too bad keep in mind that that is with a 5.7 liter Hemi v8 engine out on the road we have been driving and mixed driving going up and over the hill driving on the freeway high speeds etc the v6 engine does deliver a few more miles per gallon and the city miles per gallon in this Hemi equipped model is fairly atrocious at 14 miles per gallon I must temper that with the reality that most crossovers that we’ve tested failed to get anywhere near there EPA average miles per gallon ratings in our tests perhaps it’s because of the rear-wheel drive layout or the v8 engine or just the overall size of the Durango but I find myself drawing more full-sized SUV comparisons than comparisons to things like a Toyota Highlander or a Kia Sorento along those lines I’m not sure if that’s good or bad because I really like the Durango and I would probably own one of these before I owned something like a toda Highlander but the full size comparison seemed doubly valid for me because of my towing use I’d use my own SUV for towing quite frequently and that is an important consideration for me the base Durango which is the SXT model starts at 32,000 $195 that would get you the 8-speed automatic three zone automatic climate control and seven seats on the inside our limited model here started out at 38,000 $395 but with all the options that we have selected here the v8 engine the rear entertainment system that’s back there the two LCDs in the back seats our price tag bumped up to 45,000 $125 as equipped if you check all the option boxes on a Durango Citadel with all-wheel-drive then it will top out at 50 1515 dollars overall the Durango’s pricing is fairly in line with the competition it is going to cost you a little bit more than some of the discount brands like Kia Sorento but keep in mind it is a decent amount larger than that Sorento likewise this does ring in less expensive by a decent margin than something like a Yukon or some of the forward or Nissan full-size SUVs but again keep in mind that those are slightly bigger than this Durango that brings me neatly to would I buy a Dodge Durango and yes I actually would the reason is because it can actually tow something most of those entries out there in the 3-row crossover segment aren’t very good at towing even though a Pathfinder has a decent tow rating the first gear is too tall in that CVT


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