By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
Full-size SUVs are enjoying renewed popularity, and the Dodge Durango, freshened for 2014, is a leader of the pack. Not quite as large as a Chevy Tahoe, the leaner Durango is no less capable, offering a choice of V6 or Hemi V8 engines, rear- or all-wheel drive (RWD, AWD), five well-equipped trim levels, new electronic features, and a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Though slightly smaller than some rivals, the Durango doesn't sacrifice interior room, comfort or towing ability (6,200 pounds minimum). The only rear-drive unit body in its class, the Durango offers a strong alternative to front-drive crossover SUVs such as the GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer. Equipped with the available 5.7-liter Hemi V8, the Durango can out-tow and out-muscle any V6 – up to 7,400 pounds.
If you require a vehicle that can accommodate up to seven, tow up to 7,400 pounds and fit easily into your garage, the 2014 Dodge Durango tops a very short list. Unit-body construction yields high chassis rigidity and agile handling. And Dodge claims more than 60 safety and security features.
If towing and brute power are not important attributes, a more fuel-efficient option might be wiser. Large front-drive crossover SUVs such as GM's Buick Enclave, Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia offer similar roominess with better fuel economy. There are also many midsize crossover SUVs with 3-row seating.
Front-end styling has been updated for 2014, and a "racetrack" taillight design, a la Dodge Charger, distinguishes the rear. Soft-touch surfaces and upgrade materials abound in redesigned interiors, a new 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, fuel economy ratings are up across the board, and infotainment features have been enhanced.
Driving Impressions Despite the 2014 Dodge Durango's mass, the 290-horsepower Pentastar V6 accelerates briskly, delivers ample passing power and tows willingly, its performance and fuel economy enhanced by a smooth new 8-speed...automatic transmission. The V6 will be more than equal to most towing (up to 6,200 pounds) and cargo hauling, but for heavier trailers (up to 7,400 pounds), or just picking up the pace, the optional 390-horsepower Hemi V8 may be preferable. Not only does it enhance thrust, it makes seductive V8 sounds in the process. Like all vehicles in this category, the 2014 Durango feels ponderous compared to passenger cars, and its steering is a bit numb. But its responses are agile versus competing SUVs, particularly in the sporty R/T. Ride quality is smooth in most trim levels (firmer in the R/T), the redesigned cabin is quiet, and the powerful brakes seem to be fade free despite repeated hard use.
About the closest you'll get to an SRT version of the 2014 Durango, the R/T's lowered sport suspension, recalibrated shocks and springs, and aggressive low-profile 20-inch tires make this a very agile vehicle by full-size SUV standards. Oh, did we mention it's got a Hemi?
ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL
Adaptive cruise is a plus in slow-and-go traffic, but it leaves overly large gaps at higher speeds that invite other drivers to cut in front. The Durango's new adaptive cruise option not only reduces the minimum gap to the vehicle ahead, its adaptive function can be suspended without shutting the system off.
The interior of the 2014 Durango reflects luxury-car quality and craftsmanship, an update that emphasizes comfort, premium materials, visual elegance and supreme quiet. Limited and Citadel trims offer such features as heated and ventilated front seats, heated 2nd-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 2nd-row seat to the full-length flat cargo floor created by the flush-folding front passenger seat. A purposeful black color scheme, highlighted by bright trim elements, distinguishes the sporty R/T, and in Durangos equipped with 2nd-row captain's chairs a new pass-through feature eases 3rd-row access.Exterior
Freshened for 2014, the Durango's front fascia sports a set of LED eyeliners under the projector-beam headlights that serve as daytime running lights. There are three versions of Dodge's familiar cross-hair grille, all slimmer than their predecessors. A new LED array makes a double span across the rear end, the distinctive "racetrack taillight" display. Rallye and R/T models are distinguished by more body-colored trim, as well as the R/T's lower ride height, while others get more brightwork, especially the top-of-the-line Citadel. There are seven new wheel designs, ranging from 18 to 20 inches, and nine colors. The Durango has been one of the most readily identifiable of all SUVs, as well as one of the best-looking, since its 1998 introduction.
The entry-level SXT trim features the Uconnect infotainment system with voice command, 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, fog lights, heated power side mirrors, tri-zone automatic climate control, three 12-volt outlets, tilt/telescopic steering column and an AM/FM/CD radio with WMA/MP3 support, Sirius Satellite Radio and auxiliary input jack. At the high end of the Durango spectrum, the Citadel adds 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, power sunroof, configurable instruments, 8.4-inch center-stack touch screen with 3D Navigation, HID headlights, Nappa leather seats, heated and ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, Rear Cross Path Detection system, heated power tilt/telescopic steering wheel and keyless Enter-N-Go.
Options vary by trim level and include a new navigation radio system with 8.4-inch touch screen, voice activation and Sirius Travel Link; configurable instrumentation, power sunroof, ParkView rearview camera, ParkSense rear park assist, Blind-spot Monitoring, auto-dimming high beams, UConnect phone (Bluetooth), Alpine premium audio, Bluetooth streaming audio, heated 2nd-row seats, power liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, a heated steering wheel and skidplates. Option packages include the Trailer Tow Group IV that adds a 220-amp alternator, heavy-duty engine oil cooler, Class IV hitch receiver and load-leveling rear shocks. The Rallye Appearance Group adds 20-inch polished wheels, black bezel headlights and body-colored trim.
On all but the R/T trim the 2014 Dodge Durango's standard engine is Chrysler's award-winning Pentastar V6. Unquestionably one of the best V6 engines ever from Chrysler, it 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 seamlessly deactivates four of the eight cylinders when full power is not required. When power is needed, however, the Hemi has it in spades, delivering 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of tow-ready torque. Both engines are mated to a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission, new for 2014, and AWD is available with either.
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (RWD), 17/24 mpg (AWD)
360 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm
390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/23 mpg (RWD), 14/22 mpg (AWD)
The 2014 Dodge Durango SXT has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $30,790 for the RWD model and $33,190 for AWD. The Rallye bumps the price to $33,985, Limited models start at $36,990, the V8-powered R/T at $39,990, and Citadel pricing, the top of the order, opens at $41,990. With the Hemi V8 and AWD a fully loaded Citadel tops out right around $50,000. These prices compare well with comparably equipped versions of the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer, none of which offers a V8 option. To get the best Durango deal, be sure to take a look at the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to learn what buyers in your area are actually paying. As for resale, we expect the new Durango will probably hold its own against the Chevrolet Traverse, but still fall short of the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer.
By Vic on Monday, April 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "A great all purpose vehicle."
Cons: "Not one"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"We needed a truck or SUV to pull our new boat. After a great deal of research we decided on the Durango. It pulls our 19' Jet Boat with ease. Even on steep ramps we have never had an issue. Towing or not, the ride is just fantastic. The quiet cabin and smooth ride, makes us glad we didn't choose a truck. A great choice for long trips too."
By Cards Fan on Wednesday, April 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Comfortable, Technology within the vehicle"
Cons: "Gas Milage even w/VVT, road noise, reaview sight"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I really like this vehicle. 3RD row seating is a must for our family and the storage space available with the 3rd row in use is the best we've ever had. I wish I had the 8 speed trasnmission because the 5 speed is not really very good with the HEMI. But hey, It's got a HEMI!! It's difficult to see around you using only the rear view mirror, but the blind spot indicator is really helpfull."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Roche on Tuesday, April 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,521overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Performance ride, UCONNECT, quiet, value, towing"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned my 2014 Durango since Dec 2013 and enjoyed every bit of the material on it. My wife drives a BMW X5 but rather steal my Durango because of the better ride gives and luxury in its class. This nice crossover handles the roads absolutely well on a smooth quiet drive have every time sit in comfortable bucket seats inside with UCONNECT NAV/Ventilated seats, blue tooth, audio includes Pandora and 1 year Sirius satellite radio. I love cruising around my Durango because of responsive handling get from it on lots of sleek performance. Its a fun SUV than ever I am not disappointed on features nor shortcomings that can be listed a really bargain. Towing capacity is excellent tow a 5,000lbs boat hooked on this small SUV which seems smaller on outside but have better quality inside from better options than my wife's X5 which she loves but likes the Durango more its been a great crossover for 4 months now there hasn't been not one problem out of it. I'm looking at another Chrysler/Dodge product searching for a new Ram truck while all our vehicles paid cash on and drive them for another 10 years keeping the Durango and buying a truck because I do travel a lot even work on a long distance business so have bit more room and better fuel economy which done researching on Ram 1500 on reliability and finding something with a great ride as test drove one making a new purchase next week probably order one with more features if can't found a equipped model. Back to my Durango love this SUV its better from Tahoe or Expedition in a greater ride and more room this was my Chrysler product I'm very thrilled with it because while driving it for couple months showed me what the Chrysler vehicles are like now in better rides includes fit and finish materials."
By Brewers on Monday, March 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,800overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought this SUV for my many trips to Mexico towing my boat. Highway driving is very comfortable and the Durango with the V-8 handles like a charm. Overall gas mileage on trips is 18+. Interior is quality and exterior is attractive. The console for radio/cd/sat/GPS is challenging to use (especially while driving). Only real dislikes so far; transmission is jerky periodically on some auto shifts between 1-3rd gears and clunky/rough/noisy when first shifting manually from Park to Drive. Lastly, annoying brake squeal with pedal pressure but only for last few feet before complete stop? Dealer says its "normal" but I refuse to believe that. Overall I am very happy I decided to violate my 25 year boycott of Dodge/Chrysler."
By rjksrf on Monday, March 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliabilty, fuel economy, ride"
Cons: "No diesel available"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"89,000 miles in 34 months. Never been to the dealer for any service or repair. All maintenance suggested completed and probably a few beyond the recommendations. Factory tires and brakes exceeded my expectations. Reliability, Ride, fuel economy and towing exceeded my expectations. If they would let us have the diesel it would be close to the perfect vehicle with the 2014 upgrades."
By Matt on Saturday, March 01, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 39,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Very little out of pocket expenses in 2+ years"
Cons: "Automatic dimming dashboard lights."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Very low maintenance cost, basically to take it to the dealership for "free" oil changes every 3,000 miles. Excellent quality and reliability. The 3.6L V6 24 valve VVT engine towed my 6,000lb trailer pretty handily, only steep hills seemed to slow it down. My only regret is not getting the electronic controlled driver side seat."
8 people out of 12 found this review helpful