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2012 Dodge Durango

Overview
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2012 Dodge Durango Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.2

While the one-two punch of high gas prices and a weak economy had many predicting the end of the full-size SUV, Dodge came up with a better idea. With the 2012 Dodge Durango, the company has managed to create a lighter, more fuel-efficient SUV without sacrificing the things full-size SUV buyers demand, namely room, comfort and power. Sharing its body and engine/transmission setup with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango adds more length and by doing so provides an additional third-row seat not offered by the Jeep. The newest Durango also employs unit-body construction, which makes it more rigid and agile. With a choice of V6 or HEMI V8 gasoline engines, the 2012 Dodge Durango is evenly matched against such market competitors as the Ford Explorer, Toyota 4Runner and Chevy Tahoe, but it might have been nice to see a diesel or hybrid option to further distance the Durango from the crowded SUV pack. Ah, well; maybe next year.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need the passenger-carrying capability of a full-size SUV, as well as the ability to tow up to 7,400 pounds, check out the 2012 Dodge Durango. With its sporty styling and impressive road manners, the Durango is far superior to most full-size truck-based SUVs and even earns an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If fuel economy takes precedent over power or passenger space, a diesel-powered Audi Q7, although more expensive, might be a better choice. If money is tight, the similarly-priced 7-passenger Toyota Highlander Hybrid also offers better fuel economy as well as superior resale value.

What's New for 2012

Changes for the 2012 Dodge Durango 7-passenger SUV include revisions to the automatic transmission on HEMI V8-equipped models, a 1-mpg improvement in the V6 AWD highway fuel-economy estimate and the availability of second-row captain's chair seating. The Express trim is replaced by the SXT trim.

Driving the Durango

Driving Impressions While we all the know the HEMI V8 is big on power and short on fuel economy, the engine that most impressed us is the Durango's 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. Despite...

the 2012 Dodge Durango's mass, the 290-horsepower V6 never failed to accelerate briskly or deliver up ample passing power when asked. We can certainly see instances where the V8 is preferable to the V6, such as when towing heavy loads (6,200 lbs. for the V6 vs. 7,400 lbs. for the V8), but for those only interested in hauling items that fit inside the Durango's cabin, we think the V6 is the way to go. As for its road manners, the 2012 Dodge Durango SUV has a slightly heavy steering feel, but the turn-in response is excellent and the Durango tracks straight and true on the highway. The Durango's suspension tuning is a bit stiff, a complaint heard especially often from those testing the R/T trim, but overall the ride is still compliant and fairly comfortable. As a result of added insulation and heavy-gauge steel used throughout the cabin, wind and tire noise are kept at a minimum.

R/T Trim
About the closest you'll get to an SRT version of the 2012 Durango, the R/T's lowered sport suspension, recalibrated shocks and springs and aggressive 20-inch tires make this one playful full-sized SUV. Oh, did we forget to mention it's got a HEMI?

Blind-Spot Monitoring
Big SUVs have lots of side glass for good visibility, but that doesn't always help when trying to change lanes with a car full of boisterous kids. Thankfully, the 2012 Dodge Durango's Blind-spot Monitoring system will alert when something other than air is occupying the space you're attempting to fill.

2012 Dodge Durango Details
Interior

If you're looking for luxury car-like quality and craftsmanship, look no further than the 2012 Durango's interior. Dodge has outdone itself (and everyone else in the field) with an interior that emphasizes comfort, visual elegance and supreme quiet. Detailed fabrics and soft-touch materials abound, while seats have been meticulously shaped to provide maximum comfort with minimum fatigue. Ample use of sound insulation helps create one of the quietest Dodge SUV cabins we've ever tested. Crew and Citadel trims take things one step further, offering such features as heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seating and available captain's chair second-row seats. When not solely dedicated to maximum people hauling, the 2012 Durango SUV's 28 possible configurations allow for any combination of people and cargo, from the roomy spot behind the second-row seat to the full-length flat floor created by the flush-folding front passenger seat. With 84.5 cubic feet of cargo space, the Durango's interior is about equal in size to the Honda Pilot, but smaller than the 116.9 cubic feet offered in the GMC Acadia.

Exterior

With the exception of the new Ford Explorer, we think the 2012 Dodge Durango is one of the freshest faces in the 7-passenger SUV segment. With styling inspired by the Dodge Charger (you can see the signature "Coke bottle" sweep in the Durango's profile), the 2012 Durango offers a sporty attitude befitting its Dodge heritage. The Durango's sport wagon-like appearance is only an illusion, however, as it retains its impressive ground clearance and tall roof line. Of course, the R/T trim does sacrifice some ride height and its more aggressive 20-inch rims and lowered ground effects clearly limit its off-road ability. Then again, the R/T trim is meant to excel on paved roads and, with the potent HEMI V8 under the hood, acceleration is also best in class. Other clever features found on the 2012 Dodge Durango SUV include an available flexible roof rack that incorporates folding cross bars that can be stowed in the side rails when not in use.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The entry-level SXT trim features a 3.6-liter V6 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, heated power side mirrors, tri-zone automatic air conditioning, 12-volt outlet and removable LED flashlight in the cargo area, tilt/telescopic steering column and an AM/FM/CD radio with WMA/MP3 support, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and auxiliary input jack. At the opposite end of the Durango spectrum, the Citadel adds 20-inch wheels, a power rear liftgate, HID headlamps, power folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, Nappa leather and suede seats, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, Rear Cross Path Detection system, power tilt/telescopic steering wheel, keyless Enter-N-Go, 8-way power front seats, heated second-row seating, heated steering wheel and Garmin navigation. Standard safety features on all 2012 Dodge Durangos include electronic traction and stability control, 4-wheel antilock disc brakes, Hill-start Assist, front seat side-impact airbags and side-curtain airbags covering all three rows.

Optional Equipment

Options vary by trim and include a Garmin-equipped navigation radio with 30 GB hard drive and SIRIUS Travel Link, ParkView rear backup camera, ParkSense rear park assist, side Blind-spot Monitoring, Smartbeam auto-dimming high beams, UConnect phone (Bluetooth), skid plates, Alpine premium audio, Bluetooth streaming audio, heated second-row seats, power rear liftgate, rain-sensing wipers and a heated steering wheel. Option packages include the Trailer Tow Group IV that adds a 220-amp alternator, heavy-duty engine oil cooler, Class IV hitch receiver, 4- and 7-pin wiring harness and rear load-leveling shocks.

Under the Hood

The 2012 Dodge Durango's standard engine on all but the R/T trim is Chrysler's new Pentastar V6. Without question, one of the best V6 engines ever produced by the company, this engine has more than enough power to satisfy most SUV drivers. Equipped with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing, the 3.6-liter Pentastar is capable of achieving maximum performance without sacrificing fuel economy. The Durango's optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 features a fuel-saver mode that deactivates four of the eight cylinders when full power is not required. When power is needed, however, the Durango's HEMI has it in spades, delivering 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of tow-ready torque. The AWD V8 model includes a low-speed transfer case with a neutral position setting.



3.6-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23

5.7-liter HEMI V8
360 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm
390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (rear-wheel drive), 13/20 (AWD)

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2012 Dodge Durango Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 103 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.2/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

My favorite car ever!

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,800

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun, comfortable, styling and reliable"

Cons: "Small glove box, stick preferred over sel knob"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I'll get the bad stuff out of the way first. There are two things I do NOT like about this car. First, the glove box is just too small. Second, the rotary dial gear selector is not my favorite. I would rather have a stick. If you're thinking gas mileage...well, it's a big honking SUV. Get over it or go by a Smart Car. So, beyond that this car is seriously my favorite and I have had a LOT of cars. It is hugely comfortable - highway or city. Handling is excellent, turn radius excellent. The cabin is quiet, seats are comfortable, instrumentation and controls just what I would have hoped for. I REALLY love the adaptive cruise control. You can fill it with stuff or you can fill it with people and everyone/everything is in a happy place. 6 footers (with any range of motion...which means don't put your great, great grandpa back there) can comfortably get into the 3rd row seats. I have the 5.7L Hemi Citadel and just love it. Styling is an individual thing but I just couldn't see myself in a Buick. The Durango is a solid muscle car that is happy to carry all the groceries, rifles, canoes, and wifey Flea Market stuff you could ever want. I've owned my 2014 for almost 18 months and 15,000 miles (yes, low miles) and have not had a single problem (there have been three recalls which were handled without issue and except for the trips to the dealer had no impact on me). I would buy one again tomorrow...and in fact, I did just about that. I got the car as a company lease vehicle in the fall of 2013 and left my company 14 months later. I was able to buy the car from my employer. Of late, I've had a Lexus RX 350 and Lincoln MKX. In past years I've also owned Explorers and not too long ago a 300C (okay, not an SUV). None of these compare to my Durango. Hope this review helps you."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

An Unexpected Choice

By on Tuesday, May 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "tight turning radius, narrow body, ride quality"

Cons: "gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I was looking for a 3-row SUV to replace our old minivan and unexpectedly found the Durango meeting almost all of the criteria, except for the gas mileage. I especially appreciate the narrow body and tight turning radius which make parking into garage and in parking lots much easier than other wide-body SUVs. In addition, the 3rd row seat has enough legroom for adults, the ride quality is balanced and smooth thanks to its rear-wheel drive, the rear-view camera with cross-traffic and lane-change detection are very useful, and the interior design and material are superior to its competitors."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Best SUV I've ever owned

By on Monday, March 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My Durango is the best SUV I've ever owned. I pull a 3500 lb. boat with the 6 cylinder engine and can't even tell it's back there, even in the hills. It is comfortable, quiet and the fuel economy is unbelievable, considering the size of the vehicle. 20-21 mpg around town and 27-28 on the highway. Even pulling the boat I get an impressive 15-16 mpg, far better than friends with other brands. I've owned this Durango for 1 year and have had 0 problems except for a minor recall which was a computer reprogram that took about 5 minutes to correct. My friends are so impressed with the Durango that three of them have traded in their SUVs for new Durangos or Gran Cherokees. The only negative is that I hear Dodge is discontinuing the Durango in 2016, and I have one question: What could Dodge possibly be thinking?"

25 people out of 42 found this review helpful

I Love it!

By on Sunday, March 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "space, agile, options packages, lots o cup holders"

Cons: "cargo with 3rd row up"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I LOVE my Durango. I traded in an Acadia and this is by far better. More agility, I opted for more options, have heated second row seats, and good standard sound system. The MPG could be better but I consider it average. That's not a setback IMO as I have 3 kids with 3 carseats right now and the space is great. OH! And when things fall in between the console and front seat there is actually enough space to put your hand in there and get it out! I don't think I could make a better more functional pick. It's an attractive vehicle and we love driving it."

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Been a great SUV. Power of a truck and functional

By on Sunday, February 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,582

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fits 7 comfortably. Great in Utah winters."

Cons: "Not much cargo space with seats up."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This was our step out of a minivan now that we have moved out of car seats. It had handled better than any vehicle we have own. I would definitely recommend this to anyone else needing room and functionality. Only drawback is the lack of cargo space behind the third row. Even that is better then most comparisons."

25 people out of 43 found this review helpful

Exciting

By on Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Looks fantastic, great electronics, fun to drive"

Cons: "Driver leg room if you are tall, gas mileage"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very simply put. I wanted a Dodge Charger R/T but my practical side said in the North East I still need a hefty SUV. This vehicle has given me a taste of both worlds. It is fun to drive with its racy feel and it is practical when I need it to be. I am 6'5" and I am surprisingly having a slight problem with my right leg, I either could use a little more back tilt on the seat or about one more inch leg room. A small price to pay for a very exciting to drive vehicle."

10 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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