KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 11/8/2013
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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.
What's New for 2014
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.
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.
For vehicle details and pricing notes…