By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.1
With gas prices holding steady for the near term, the full-size SUV has begun its resurgence with consumers, and the 2013 Dodge Durango is leading the pack. Not quite as large as a Chevy Suburban, the leaner Durango is no less capable, offering a choice of a V6 or HEMI V8 engine, 2- or 4-wheel drive and four well-equipped trims. The Durango's small size doesn't ask consumers to sacrifice interior room, comfort or the ability to tow over 6,000 pounds. In V6 form, the Durango offers a strong alternative to vehicles such as the GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer. But when equipped with the available 5.7-liter HEMI V8, the Durango can out-tow and out-muscle any V6, with a tow rating of 7,400 pounds and a whopping 360 horsepower.
If you require a vehicle that can carry seven people, tow up to 7,400 pounds and still fit easily into your garage, the 2013 Dodge Durango tops a very short list. Thanks to its unit-body construction and sturdy design, the Durango is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick.
If towing and brute power are not important attributes, a more fuel-efficient option might be wiser. Although pricier than the Durango, Audi's diesel-powered Q7 offers about the same room with better fuel economy. A more affordable option is Toyota's 7-passenger Highlander Hybrid, which also has superior resale value.
A new Rallye Appearance Group is offered on the SXT trim, while the Crew gains heated front and second-row seating. R/T trims can be outfitted with heated and cooling Nappa leather seats, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection. Second-row captain's chair seating is now offered on all trims.
Driving Impressions Despite the 2013 Dodge Durango's mass, the 290-horsepower Pentastar V6 never fails to accelerate briskly or deliver up ample passing power when asked. We can certainly see instances where the...HEMI V8 is preferable to the V6, such as when towing heavy loads, 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 2013 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.
About the closest you'll get to an SRT version of the 2013 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?
Big SUVs have lots of side glass for good outward vision, but that doesn't always help when trying to change lanes with a car full of boisterous kids. Thankfully, the 2013 Dodge Durango's Blind-spot Monitoring system will alert when something other than air is occupying the space you're attempting to fill.
If you're looking for luxury car-like quality and craftsmanship, look no further than the 2013 Durango's interior. Dodge has outdone itself (and everyone else in the field) with an interior that emphasizes comfort, visual elegance and supreme quiet. Crew and Citadel trims offer such features as heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seating and standard leather seating. The Durango'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 the exception of the new Ford Explorer, we think the Dodge Durango for 2013 is one of the freshest faces in the 7-passenger SUV segment. The Durango's sport wagon-like appearance is only an illusion, however, as it retains its impressive ground clearance and tall roofline. 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 Dodge's 2013 Durango SUV include an available flexible roof rack that incorporates folding crossbars that can be stowed in the side rails when not in use.
The entry-level SXT trim features 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, 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, Nappa leather and suede seats, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, Rear Cross Path Detection system, power heated and tilt/telescopic steering wheel, keyless Enter-N-Go, heated second-row seating and Garmin navigation.
Options vary by trim and include a Garmin-equipped navigation radio with 30 GB hard drive and Sirius Travel Link, ParkView rearview 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. The Rallye Appearance Group adds 20-inch polished wheels, black bezel headlights and body-colored trim and grille.
The 2013 Dodge Durango's standard engine on all but the R/T trim is Chrysler's award-winning 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 all-wheel-drive (AWD) V8 model includes a low-speed transfer case with a neutral position setting.
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 mpg
5.7-liter HEMI V8
360 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm
390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 mpg (rear-wheel drive), 13/20 mpg (AWD)
By Chris on Friday, August 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 44,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We have a 2011 Durango Heat. It's been a great vehicle so far, no issues. Very comfortable, drives very nice. Get a lot of compliments on the styling. Would definitely buy again."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Suzi on Friday, August 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive roomy 3rd seat is great quiet"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"great suv love it has all the room i need and more great gas milage lots of power rides like a luxery car very quiet"
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By kmag59 on Friday, August 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Acceleration, interior and exterior, ride"
Cons: "Seat is a touch narrow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have only had my Durango a few weeks but can honestly say (after owning many SUV's) it is one of my favorites. Bought the RT model with the Hemi and it is a lot of fun to drive for a large vehicle. Good acceleration but of course the fuel mileage suffers because even in the eco mode it am still getting 16 mpg average. Vehicle is comfortable although the seats are a little narrow and I am not a wide bodied person. Other then that the interior is top notch. One of the best(and easy to use) touch screens I have seen and I have owned a good number of vehicles. IT has to rate right at the top. Very convenient with the third seat that folds and I usually keep it folded since I don't carry more then five people usually. Exterior wise the Durango gets a lot of looks and I have had numerous people come up and comment on how they like the looks. All in all for the short time I have owned it I would say I am very glad I decided to buy a Durango. Definitely consider one if you are shopping in this category."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By AC on Friday, August 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable ride, plenty of room. Good in snow"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"First time I purchased an american made brand. Not terribly disappointed, but not overly happy with it either. It starts every morning and it gets me where I need to go, but it often hesitates when I accelerate (doesn't seem to know what gear to pick. The same happens when going up a slight incline. Rear shockbreaker broke and needs replacement (warranty). Chrysler seems to have a lot of issues with backorders and so far I have been waiting for a month. MPG experience is about 16-17 MPG on average. When driving highway, it gets as high as 21 MPG, but trips in town and stop and go traffic quickly reduces that to about 14-15 MPG. This car requires premium unleaded, so expect to open your wallet. Other than that, not a bad car, but for me, nothing really to write home about either."
7 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Phil on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handling, smooth highway drive, utlility,"
Cons: "I opted for black cloth interior, shows dirt"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've had my 2014 Durango SXT Plus AWD for four months now and am very happy with it. I opted for the Captain's Chairs in the second row as I have four kids and did not want to have to flip part of the bench seat forward every time kids loaded or unloaded. This configuration is perfect for us. The SUV drives great, handles well with ample power for passing. The price was very cheap when compared with the Tahoe, Expedition or the Suburban which I also shopped. I also like how easily the rear seats flip forward to expand the cargo space in the rear. I can throw my dog in the converted back and still carry four people, then it's just a pull of a strap to reconfigure to seat 6. I opted for the AWD since we are skiers. Can't wait to try it out on snowy mountain roads in Winter. I also like the look of the vehicle. It's got nice lines with a much more manly look than a mini van. I didn't opt for the leather interior, which I should have with 4 kids and a dog to haul around. The touch screen control panel is user friendly and intuitive. Overall I'm very satisfied and would recommend this SUV to anyone. Just great value and utility for the price."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By pcrmike on Monday, June 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"By FAR the best of the class if you like a quiet ride with power, agility and the ability to tow a large pontoon! Amazing touches throughout and was the cheapest to boot (compared to comparably equipped competition we drove) Everyone who sees it says "What is it?" and then wants one."
3 people out of 7 found this review helpful