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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 121 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 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
    9.3/10

My first lemon

By on Saturday, April 02, 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."

3 people out of 4 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."

1 person out of 1 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!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Really nice!

By on Thursday, February 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

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: "Fully Loaded"

Cons: "None"

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

"Reading the reviews, I found I was not the only one that came out of a Tahoe into a Citadel Durango. I traded in my 2011 Tahoe for the Durango, which was a very good trade. Like others I have not looked back either. This vehicle to me has all the bells and whistles...so much my "Geek Granddaughter" programed it. I have received several compliments on how nice my vehicle looks! The only thing I added were running boards due to several friends having trouble entering in and out of vehicle. This feature really looks nice as well! I highly recommend this vehicle"

2014 Durango Limited

By on Sunday, February 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

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: "everything"

Cons: "nothing"

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

"My First Dodge vehicle . It IS NICEST SUV I have ever bought . Ride is quiet ,smooth, great gas mileage , roomy stereo is awesome . So nice I might get another one"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

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!"

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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