By KBB.com Editors
Despite the growing popularity of crossover utility vehicles, or CUVs, for those with serious towing and hauling needs there are few substitutes for a full-blown, body-on-frame SUV, among them the 2008 Dodge Durango, a seven-passenger muscle machine with a rugged and distinctive style, a fairly plush interior and the option of a HEMI V8 under the hood. Although not as large as a Chevrolet Suburban, the Durango has grown large enough to compete head-on with such competitors as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition. Dodge's MDS (Multiple-Displacement System) technology helps save some gas, and alternative fuel fans will find a friend in the new 4.7-liter Flex-Fuel V8 that can run on either gasoline or E85.You'll Like This Car If...
If you need a roomy SUV but the thought of a full-size Suburban turns you off, check out the 2008 Dodge Durango. It offers seating for seven and still has a fair amount of room for cargo behind the third-row seat. Power freaks will love the optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine.You May Not Like This Car If...
The Dodge Durango isn't big like a Chevrolet Suburban, but it's still big and thirsty on gas. The Durango's bold styling may not be everyone's cup of tea and may grow old fast.What's New for 2008
A new 4.7-liter V8 engine producing 303 horsepower replaces the previous 4.7-liter engine. The new powerplant also provides better fuel economy. The ParkView rear back-up camera system is now available.Driving It Driving Impressions
On the road, the Durango delivers a noticeably smoother ride than its predecessor and several others in the class. The quieter interior is free from the intrusive wind and tire noise of the first generation. The steering is pretty impressive for a vehicle of this size, with good response and feedback that allow the driver to make exact lane changes and easily negotiate tight turns. Power for the base Durango is supplied by a sturdy 3.7-liter V6, with the 4.7-liter Magnum and the mighty 5.7-liter HEMI V8s as options. The base Durango is rear-wheel drive and offers the option of on-demand four-wheel drive; V8-powered Durangos have a tow/haul transmission setting that reduces gear searching by remaining in a lower gear for better pulling power.Favorite Features
The powerful HEMI V8 engine adds less than a thousand dollars to the price tag without a huge penalty in fuel economy.
Optional Heated Cloth Front Seats
Available on the SLT and Adventurer trims, these seats add warmth without having to add expensive leather as well.
The available split-folding third-row seats can be folded flush, and a flip-and-tumble second-row seat greatly aids entry and exit for rear passengers. The handsome dash is clean, simple and easy to use, with controls well within the driver's reach and logically arranged. Low-back rear seats won't block the driver's rearward view and feature headrests that can extend high enough to accommodate the tallest passengers. Introduced last year is the heated quad bucket seat package available on the SLT and Limited trim levels.Exterior
The 2008 Dodge Durango's styling may be new, but it's no less bold than the first Dodge Durango. The Durango's new look basically exaggerates the original model's popular styling by enlarging the grille and front headlamps and giving a new look to the rear. Larger six-by-nine-inch side mirrors improve driver visibility, while optional 20-inch chrome wheels are sure to increase the Durango's ability to get noticed. Total up all the little changes and the effect is one strikingly imposing vehicle that looks every bit as tough as it claims to be.Notable Standard Equipment
The 2008 Dodge Durango SXT features a V6 engine, air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), rear defroster, power locks, express up/down front window, power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, speed control, side-curtain air bags, Electronic Stability Program, traction control, tilt wheel, 17-inch steel wheels and a rear wiper/washer. The SLT trim adds a power driver's seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, 115-volt outlet, MP3-compatible six-disc CD changer and fog lights. The Adventurer adds the 4.7-liter V8, 17-inch unique alloy wheels and specific trim, while the Limited features 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, power liftgate, leather seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control and ParkSense rear park assist.Notable Optional Equipment
Options include a 4.7-liter V8 or a 5.7-liter HEMI V8, rear-seat DVD entertainment, six-disc CD/MP3 in-dash changer, leather seats, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, third-row seat, navigation, heated front and rear quad bucket seating, power rear liftgate, ParkSense rear park assist, ParkView rear back-up camera, remote start, electronic transfer case, aluminum wheels, power sun roof, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and power-adjustable pedals.Under the Hood
Although the V6 looks impressive on paper, the Durango's weight makes for slow going with the base engine. The new-found power in the 4.7-liter V8 makes it a better choice for shoppers trying to balance cost with performance. If you can afford an extra $1,000 and want all the performance available, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is the way to go.
210 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
235 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19
303 horsepower @ 5650 rpm
330 lb.-ft. of toque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 9/12 (E85), 14/19 (2WD, Gasoline), 13/17 (4WD, Gasoline)
5.7-liter V8 HEMI
335 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
370 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 (2WD), 13/18 (4WD)
The 2008 Dodge Durango's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) ranges from around $27,000 for the entry-level V6-powered SXT to a high of nearly $46,000 for a fully-loaded four-wheel-drive Limited with the HEMI V8. Although the Durango is as big as the Toyota Sequoia, Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Tahoe, it's priced at thousands less, even with the V8 engine. Before you set out to buy, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price page, which shows the typical transaction price for a Durango in your area. You may also want to check the incentives listed on the optional equipment page. As for resale, Kelley Blue Book expects the Durango to hold an average projected residual value, on par with the Ford Expedition but well below the Chevrolet Tahoe and Toyota Sequoia.