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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 124 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.3/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.4/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

HUGE SURPRISE

By on Sunday, July 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,880

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: "Its American folks, yes American!!!!"

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

"Its my personal fire engine. I got the HEAT trim in bright red. So cool, fast and comfortable for 5. Has not let me down. Many many great compliments! I had a pilot and pathfinders. Took this for a spin and was hooked. Very difficult to let this one go."

Not Too Shabby

By on Sunday, July 10, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,665

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: "listed"

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

"So i recently bought a 2015 Durango 3.6L V6 has the black top trim. So far my vehicle has given me no problems, the only issue i have with this vehicle so far is that the dealership tells me to change the oil at 10,000 miles. I don't really trust that so i did one with about %50 oil life left. With it being the V6 I am impressed with the acceleration even weighing about 5500 lbs. I recently put in a K&N cold air intake(still have stock for warranty purposes down the road). The cold air intake gives it more torque and horsepower. Some may say i drive like an A**hole so even driving it like i do not a single problem mechanically. It handles like a sports car through the windy road in the mountains, haven't slipped at all and i have pushed it to the limit. Driving normal with the intake gets about 28 MPG highway and 22 MPG city worth the purchase. Car looks and drives great overall."

one of the best cars I have owned, and am a senior

By on Friday, May 27, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "looks good, I get many nice comments"

Cons: "resale value is not that great"

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

"It is hard for me to find a car I really like..but I do really like this one. It is a Citadel and I think that makes a difference. I wanted one comfortable for travel, able to haul dogs, luggage, pull a horse trailer, easy to get in and out of, AND I wanted it to look Upscale! I kept two cars for years for this reason, now I only have this one. The gas mileage is not bad, I can get 21-22 on a trip. I esp appreciate the Blind spot warning, so many SUVs have such poor visibility. This vehicle has Many more options than my Cadillac SRX had."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

My first lemon

By on Saturday, April 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Loaded Citadel thats Fun to drive, Looks great"

Cons: "8 speed transmission constantly slips"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"After having this car made to order at the 30 mile mark, the whole back end came out. Little did I know that this would be the start of all this vehicles issues I never thought were possible. The brakes were never the same after they attempted to repair the back end twice. When I stop the vehicle it sounds like an old metal can coming to a stop. My navigation went crazy while I was on vacation and it took me and my family to another side of Virginia while traveling from New York. And one of the most important problems for this vehicle is that the 8 speed transmission,constantly slips while your driving. The dealership has no fix for it, but wont say that to you."

14 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Great SUV

By on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great SUV"

Cons: "None"

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

"completed 3 trips from Chicago to Florida. Love driving this SUV. Tested others and the Dodge came out on top."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

2015 Dodge Durango Limited With Premium Package

By on Friday, March 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Comfort, style, beats stereo, driving dynamics"

Cons: "Choppy ride with 20in wheels, exterior quality"

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

"Recently in the market for A new 7 seater SUV some of the vehicles we looked at were the Acura MDX,Audi q7 Lexus GX, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave, Ford Explorer, Chevy Tahoe,and Honda Pilot (2016). There is not a single bad car in that groop and I recommend that you look at all of them if you're shopping for a 7 seater SUV. The Durango and Acura made the final 2 and we chose Durango for practically and what you get for your money. The Durango drives wonderfully. You'll notice it actually handles quite nicely while keeping A smooth ride. Note that with the new 8 speed auto tranny the v6 is not slow anymore like the 2011-2013 was without the hemi. Reliably so far has been fine and shows no sighs of problems as it should only having 3,000 miles. Before buying I looked back to 2011 when the Durango was introduced and overall I expect reliability to be adverge. The design is visually stunning and ergonomically correct wich is just as important. Especially the u connect wich is fabulous. Quality of the interior shows no signs of the old cheep Chrysler with is good, however, the exterior has a little ways to go. I noticed that the hood and left fender don't line up and the driver door does not close as flush with the body as it should. Comfort is awesome with big front seats and roomy second and third rows. The ride on my 20 in polished aluminum wheels can be a bit choppy, but that's a sacrifice you make with bigger wheels. Quietness on the highway is also up to par. Convenience is great espicely with the smart key. Remote start and power lift gate is something I can't live without now that I have it. Some last notes are that if you are looking at the Durango limited, I strongly recommend going for the premium package. It adds so much like navigation, power lift gate, sunroof and the great beats audio system. It also adds the 20in wheels that transform how the car looks. Overall it's definitely worth a look and makes for a great buy!"

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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