An impressive mid-cycle makeover adds new style, greater efficiency and a more premium character to the 2014 Dodge Durango that was formally unveiled at the 2013 New York Auto Show. While retaining all of its fundamental functionality, the division's full-size SUV steps up its competitive position with a number of class-exclusive enhancements highlighted by a new 8-speed automatic transmission that will significantly boost fuel economy numbers in all Durango variants.

Available in five trim levels for 2014 -- SXT, Rallye, a new Limited, R/T and Citadel -- the recast Durango gains a more purposeful look courtesy of effective nose and tail tweaks. The recast front fascia boasts a slimmed-down version of the signature split-crosshair grille with a raised bumper and bolder lower apron. It's complemented by new headlamps that upgrade from projector beam to bi-xenon HID units on the R/T and Citadel and LED running lamps on all but the base SXT. Out back, all Durango models are fitted with a new full-width LED "racetrack" taillamp and feature a tidier integration of the trailer hitch. Seven new alloy wheel designs add more interest across the line while the Rallye and lower-riding R/T get their own unique cosmetic touches.

     Also: 2013 New York Auto Show

Inside, the 2014 Durango enhances its 3-row seating with a major cabin recasting, starting with an all-new dash that brings a programmable instrument cluster with a 7.0-inch TFT display like the one used in the Dodge Dart compact sedan. The Durango's redesigned center stack houses a 5.0-inch or 8.4-inch touchscreen to accommodate the latest strain of the Uconnect or Wi-Fi-capable Uconnect Access systems featuring new voice-recognition navigation that will be standard on Citadel and available on the Limited and R/T models. For 2014, the setup also adds new Uconnect Access Via Mobile functionality to let owners dial in thousands of Internet radio stations via apps that work in conjunction with a smartphone.

The Durango's center console also benefits from a major redo, replacing the conventional shift lever with a new rotary-type selector. A new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel rounds out the mix, complete with shifter paddles for those who prefer more direct control of cog changes. Rear-seat passengers also will have it better for 2014 thanks to the availability of a new dual-screen DVD/Blu-ray entertainment system.

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Whether driving the rear or all four wheels, the 2014 Durango's engine lineup carries over unchanged and consists of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that makes 290 horsepower (295 in the Rallye) and the 360-horse 5.7-liter Hemi with econo-enhancing cylinder deactivation. However, each engine is now backed by a new ZF 8-speed automatic transmission that replaces the current 5-speed and 6-speed autoshifters across the entire lineup. While official EPA numbers have yet to be finalized, Dodge is projecting that this class-exclusive enhancement will help boost the Durango's overall fuel economy by up to nine percent. That alone should significantly bump its appeal index relative to key rivals like the Chevy Traverse and Ford Explorer

The 2014 Dodge Durango is scheduled to arrive in showrooms this fall. Pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.


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