Pros: "Best car I've ever owned over 39 years of driving"
Cons: "Boomy stereo, resale is fair at best"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am an engineer who took a new job approximately 18 months ago that requires me to travel extensively for work using my own vehicle. Sometimes I carry clients to dinner or job sites while other times I carry work-related cargo that requires a relatively spacious vehicle.
Additionally, I knew that I would be driving long distances, often traveling in the evening after a long day. So, I wanted something with adaptive cruise control and automated collision warning systems plus excellent headlights to reduce my fatigue and enhance safety. It needed to be reasonably spacious as I am a relatively big person at 6'2" and 220 pounds and my associate who travels with me frequently is 6'7".
Finally, I wanted something relatively fuel efficient for its size because my mileage reimbursement is the same whether I get 15 or 30 mpg, while still having decent power.
After studying the vehicles available, I bought a 2014 Durango Citadel V-6 RWD with the Tech Package. It also came with the rear buckets, which I might have otherwise skipped but it was the least optioned Citadel with Tech Package and black interior I could locate in my area. (I find that I can't keep a tan interior looking clean.)
After 18 months and 50,000 miles, I have come to love my Durango and feel I made the right choice. Compared to my previous vehicle, a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche, the Durango feels downright nimble. The independent rear suspension keeps it on track even on rough roads and the ride is firm but not harsh. It seems to drive smaller than it is.
I've had exactly two problems, neither of which I consider a big deal. First, the Malfunction Indicator Light came on around 40k miles although it was running fine. I finally got it to the dealer about 500 miles later and it turned out to be a faulty oil pressure sensor. The service writer at the dealer noted that they had seen about 15 other Pentastar V-6s with the same problem. He also noted that the replacement part was a different part number and had been revised by Chrysler. Consequently, he said it was unlikely the problem would occur again. It was repaired under warranty and should be covered by the 5/100 powertrain warranty if if occurs again.
The other problem I noted at about the 30k miles was that one of the taillights had accumulated moisture inside. The dealer replaced the entire taillight housing, also under warranty.
Other than those things, it has been as reliable as the sunrise. The car has been squeak and rattle-free so far. The upgraded Napa leather that comes with the Citadel trim (I think it's optional on the R/T) still looks like new, especially on the outside driver seat bolster where I slide in and out. My Avalanche, by comparison, suffered considerable wear on this area.
Living in the southeastern US, I really like the ventilated seats. The effect is subtle; you don't really feel a blast of air on your backside. But, it keeps your back and posterior from getting all sweaty. I also like the heated wheel, which comes as a surprise. It gets toasty in a hurry. The seats themselves are pretty firm, but I find them to be supportive for seven or eight hour trips.
I find the V-6 to have plenty of power for my needs. I test drove the Hemi and it's quite sweet, but I didn't think it was so much better that I could justify the increase in fuel consumption. I like the way the Pentastar sounds when it's winding up, it's a pleasant growl. The 8 speed transmission works very smoothly, but it does take a moment to drop several gears if you make a sudden call for acceleration. Once it finally drops to the right gear, it gets up and goes quite nicely.
The fuel economy has gotten better as the car has accumulated miles and gotten broken in. If you can keep the speed down to below 75 mph, it gets great highway mileage. I routinely get 26 to 28 mpg on long trips. If I use the adaptive cruise control and get behind a semi doing 65-70 mph, I can get 30 mpg.
However, if you are driving in the upper 70s to 80 mph and/or are in hilly country the mileage goes down to the low 20s. It's amazing the difference 5 mph makes. If you go much over around 73 mph, the transmission drops from super-duper overdrive 8th gear to super overdrive 7th. If you are in hilly country or risking a speeding ticket, it will hold 7th even downhill, presumably as part of the programming to keep it from hunting between gears.
No car is perfect, so there are a few things I might change. First the stereo makes a lot of bass, but the crossover must be pretty high because it's obvious it's coming from the subwoofer in the back. One review summed it up pretty well when they noted it was like living next door to a disco. Some tracks (such as "Whiskey" by Marian Hill) give it fits to the point that I had to turn the bass down. That said, when I am alone in the car I sometimes play it pretty loud...
The GPS works okay, but when you ask it to search for POIs it only gives you the distance but not direction. So, if you ask it for the nearest McDonald's, for example, it may tell you the nearest one is 3 miles away but you don't know if that's in front of you or behind. I wish you could search along the route and it would indicate if it's ahead or behind. I know they can do this because the fuel prices app tells you this.
The trim plate at the edge of the cargo area looks like metal but it's really just metallic-looking plastic. It's all scarred up from sliding cases and luggage in and out of the back. Real metal or less scuff-prone plastic without the faux metal look would be preferable.
Finally, the biggest problem is one of perception. The Dodge nameplate is not very upscale and Chrysler is not known for its stellar reliability. While I am not particularly worried about driving a prestigious brand, the resale value doesn't appear to be the greatest for these reasons. This is offset, however, by the fact that I was able to get the car at a reasonably big discount relative to MSRP. So, I don't think I will take too much of a beating but I would not buy unless given a good deal to compensate for mediocre resale compared to a Toyota or Honda.
Overall, though, it's been smooth, fast, economical, comfortable, and reliable. The adaptive cruise control makes long trips on crowded interstates vastly less tiring and the forward collision warning has been useful once or twice while giving few false alarms. If a meteorite fell out of the sky and smashed it tonight, I would go buy another one tomorrow."
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