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2012 Dodge Durango

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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
9.1
Out of 10

Based on 116 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Excellent Vehicle. Highly Recommended

By on Sunday, January 03, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

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: "Great utility and comfort."

Cons: "Nav System standard is anemic auto industry fare."

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

"Quiet comfortable ride, excellent handling for class of vehicle. Plenty of power (5.7 Hemi), great hauling/cargo capacity, very comfortable seats and plenty of interior room even in the 3rd row seat. I've had absolutely no problems with my car (purchased October 2013) whatsoever. Sharp looking all round, nicely finished interior appointments...just a really well done vehicle. Great for long distance family trips, fishing/hunting trips, canoe hauling, mild "off-roading" and regular suburbia day to day use. I haven't towed with it yet. This is my favorite car so far and I've had a lot of vehicles over the past 47 years. For all the hype, Nav system doesn't "blow my hair back". It's okay...but my phone does a better job of it to be honest. With that said, this is the 4th built in navigation system I've had (300C, Lexus RX350, Lincoln MKX previously) and this one is as good as the others. I don't know why the manufacturers don't cough up a few extra bucks for a decent CPU in these things. If you're looking for a gas sipper, this is not the car for you (overall for my lead foot about 17.5 MPG). Otherwise, if you after well styled utility and the solid feel that only comes with a large vehicle, this will float your boat for sure!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

RECALLS AND MALFUNCTIONS

By on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Nice styling. good engine power"

Cons: "cant shift. suspension bottoms out"

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

LOOKS GOOD.. DRIVES TERRIBLE

"Alternator recall. Fuelpump relay recall. Brake booster recall. Now power steering leak. Transmission control module failure.. AHHHH SOMEONE SHOOT ME NOW"

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

LOOKS GOOD.. DRIVES TERRIBLE

Great looking and driving. Hemi

By on Monday, December 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,800

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "acceleration, maneuverability, Hemi"

Cons: "none really"

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

"I love getting into my Durango each day. The Hemi is so strong and responsive and delivers smooth power to the wheels which almost never slip regardless of weather conditions due to the near 50/50 weight distribution, it is very surefooted. It is also very easy to maneuver and has a tighter turning circle than many sedans and every other SUV of its size. No issues besides normal maintenance. got 60k out of original pads and rotors."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

50,000 miles and extremely satisfied

By on Sunday, November 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Best car I've ever owned over 39 years of driving"

Cons: "Boomy stereo, resale is fair at best"

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

"I am an engineer who took a new job approximately 18 months ago that requires me to travel extensively for work using my own vehicle. Sometimes I carry clients to dinner or job sites while other times I carry work-related cargo that requires a relatively spacious vehicle. Additionally, I knew that I would be driving long distances, often traveling in the evening after a long day. So, I wanted something with adaptive cruise control and automated collision warning systems plus excellent headlights to reduce my fatigue and enhance safety. It needed to be reasonably spacious as I am a relatively big person at 6'2" and 220 pounds and my associate who travels with me frequently is 6'7". Finally, I wanted something relatively fuel efficient for its size because my mileage reimbursement is the same whether I get 15 or 30 mpg, while still having decent power. After studying the vehicles available, I bought a 2014 Durango Citadel V-6 RWD with the Tech Package. It also came with the rear buckets, which I might have otherwise skipped but it was the least optioned Citadel with Tech Package and black interior I could locate in my area. (I find that I can't keep a tan interior looking clean.) After 18 months and 50,000 miles, I have come to love my Durango and feel I made the right choice. Compared to my previous vehicle, a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche, the Durango feels downright nimble. The independent rear suspension keeps it on track even on rough roads and the ride is firm but not harsh. It seems to drive smaller than it is. I've had exactly two problems, neither of which I consider a big deal. First, the Malfunction Indicator Light came on around 40k miles although it was running fine. I finally got it to the dealer about 500 miles later and it turned out to be a faulty oil pressure sensor. The service writer at the dealer noted that they had seen about 15 other Pentastar V-6s with the same problem. He also noted that the replacement part was a different part number and had been revised by Chrysler. Consequently, he said it was unlikely the problem would occur again. It was repaired under warranty and should be covered by the 5/100 powertrain warranty if if occurs again. The other problem I noted at about the 30k miles was that one of the taillights had accumulated moisture inside. The dealer replaced the entire taillight housing, also under warranty. Other than those things, it has been as reliable as the sunrise. The car has been squeak and rattle-free so far. The upgraded Napa leather that comes with the Citadel trim (I think it's optional on the R/T) still looks like new, especially on the outside driver seat bolster where I slide in and out. My Avalanche, by comparison, suffered considerable wear on this area. Living in the southeastern US, I really like the ventilated seats. The effect is subtle; you don't really feel a blast of air on your backside. But, it keeps your back and posterior from getting all sweaty. I also like the heated wheel, which comes as a surprise. It gets toasty in a hurry. The seats themselves are pretty firm, but I find them to be supportive for seven or eight hour trips. I find the V-6 to have plenty of power for my needs. I test drove the Hemi and it's quite sweet, but I didn't think it was so much better that I could justify the increase in fuel consumption. I like the way the Pentastar sounds when it's winding up, it's a pleasant growl. The 8 speed transmission works very smoothly, but it does take a moment to drop several gears if you make a sudden call for acceleration. Once it finally drops to the right gear, it gets up and goes quite nicely. The fuel economy has gotten better as the car has accumulated miles and gotten broken in. If you can keep the speed down to below 75 mph, it gets great highway mileage. I routinely get 26 to 28 mpg on long trips. If I use the adaptive cruise control and get behind a semi doing 65-70 mph, I can get 30 mpg. However, if you are driving in the upper 70s to 80 mph and/or are in hilly country the mileage goes down to the low 20s. It's amazing the difference 5 mph makes. If you go much over around 73 mph, the transmission drops from super-duper overdrive 8th gear to super overdrive 7th. If you are in hilly country or risking a speeding ticket, it will hold 7th even downhill, presumably as part of the programming to keep it from hunting between gears. No car is perfect, so there are a few things I might change. First the stereo makes a lot of bass, but the crossover must be pretty high because it's obvious it's coming from the subwoofer in the back. One review summed it up pretty well when they noted it was like living next door to a disco. Some tracks (such as "Whiskey" by Marian Hill) give it fits to the point that I had to turn the bass down. That said, when I am alone in the car I sometimes play it pretty loud... The GPS works okay, but when you ask it to search for POIs it only gives you the distance but not direction. So, if you ask it for the nearest McDonald's, for example, it may tell you the nearest one is 3 miles away but you don't know if that's in front of you or behind. I wish you could search along the route and it would indicate if it's ahead or behind. I know they can do this because the fuel prices app tells you this. The trim plate at the edge of the cargo area looks like metal but it's really just metallic-looking plastic. It's all scarred up from sliding cases and luggage in and out of the back. Real metal or less scuff-prone plastic without the faux metal look would be preferable. Finally, the biggest problem is one of perception. The Dodge nameplate is not very upscale and Chrysler is not known for its stellar reliability. While I am not particularly worried about driving a prestigious brand, the resale value doesn't appear to be the greatest for these reasons. This is offset, however, by the fact that I was able to get the car at a reasonably big discount relative to MSRP. So, I don't think I will take too much of a beating but I would not buy unless given a good deal to compensate for mediocre resale compared to a Toyota or Honda. Overall, though, it's been smooth, fast, economical, comfortable, and reliable. The adaptive cruise control makes long trips on crowded interstates vastly less tiring and the forward collision warning has been useful once or twice while giving few false alarms. If a meteorite fell out of the sky and smashed it tonight, I would go buy another one tomorrow."

14 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle Owned to date 2011 Crew/Hemi/AWD

By on Friday, November 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Power with hemi - great handling - durability"

Cons: "shift characteristics of transmission"

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

"Super ride and power. Mileage is a little less with the hemi but good on highway with 4 cylinder eco on. At 60,000 miles I am amazed at how tight the vehicle still is. I didn't think much of Dodge before this vehicle. I'm glad I watched those commercials they had in 2011 bragging about the "european" handling. I thought it was likely an exaggeration. I was wrong! This is the best vehicle I've ever owned."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

One Year of Ownership

By on Friday, November 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great tow capacity and great MPG"

Cons: "Large vehicle"

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

"One year of ownership. The vehicle has broken down once, however it was covered under a recall(the trim fuel injection, almost crashed into a telephone wire lost power). I've yet to pay for any vehicle repairs besides oil changes and tires. Tremendous tow capacity. Never wanted to own a pickup truck, but needed 7,000 plus pounds towing power. The V8 Hemi has extreme amount of power behind it. Cross country trips with a load in a box trailer, this SUV has saved me a tremendous amount of gas over my previous 2003 H2 Hummer. With more tow capacity and better gas mileage, no one can beat this."

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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