Dodge Durango Performance
On balance, reviewers like the Durango's smooth ride and competent handling for its size. "Whether on the open road or the mall parking lot, Durango delivers a solid, comfortable ride," writes Motor Week.
Kelley Blue Book makes a point echoed by many reviewers: "Although the V6 looks impressive on paper, the Durango's newfound weight makes for slow going with the base engine." However, when it comes to handling, most test drivers agree that the large SUV is much better than one would expect in the class. sums it up best, stating, "The fore-and-aft and side-to-side wobble so common in large SUVs is minimal here and the Durango feels stable at highway speeds." Kelley Blue Book adds that the Durango provides "a noticeably smoother ride" than similarly priced competitors.
Acceleration and Power
The Durango is available as a 3.7-liter Magnum V6 that creates 210 horsepower at 5200 rpm; as a 4.7-liter V8 flex-fuel engine that creates 235 horsepower at 4500 rpm; or as a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that creates 330 horsepower at 5200 rpm. Automobile Magazine reflects the almost universal opinion of test drivers, stating, "The V6-powered Durango is best avoided; its marginally better fuel efficiency is quickly outweighed by its general under-hood inadequacy." "The base V6 provides barely adequate power," warns Edmunds, "so we recommend the 4.7-liter V8 for most buyers." Many reviewers agree. "The smaller V-8, a 4.7-liter unit that produces 230 horsepower, is adequate for most people," asserts the . Consumer Guide disagrees, writing, "The 4.7-liter V8 is strong off the line, but lacks passing punch."
The optional HEMI engine is even more powerful and garners the most praise from reviewers. MSN Autos recounts, "Pressing even lightly on the accelerator of the test Durango with the HEMI engine, I heard the deep growl of the engine. Quickly, though not instantaneously, I felt the SUV begin to rush forward. And then, finally, in a noisy, gusty way, the big Durango would zip into the open spot in traffic that I was aimed for. Whew."
The five-speed automatic transmission -- optional on the V6 and standard on the V8 models -- gets favorable marks. New Car Test Drive reports, "The shifts were incredibly smooth. Shifting up or down between third and fourth gears is undetectable."
The 2007 Dodge Durango 2WD 4-speed has an estimated fuel economy of 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway. The 2007 Dodge Durango automatic V8 E85 has an EPA estimate of 8 mpg in the city and 12 on the highway. The HEMI features a fuel-saving multi-displacement system that shuts down half the cylinders when they're not being used. Still, as Car and Driver points out, "If you want performance in a vehicle that weighs over 2.5 tons, you're gonna pay at the pump."
Handling and Braking
Unlike the criticism they gave of the base V6 engine in the Durango, almost all reviewers praise the handling and braking of the Durango as among the best in its class, offering surprising control on the road. "In spite of its generous proportions," Edmunds reports that "the Durango manages to deliver both a smooth, composed ride and nimble handling around corners." "The independent front suspension and live axle rear suspension are "on the stiff side of the equation," according to the , "but rolling over railroad tracks at speed won't spill that morning cup of coffee." Suspension tuning differs among the three engine choices, but not dramatically. Motor Week finds, "The Durango stayed well planted despite high levels of body roll."
With regard to turning radius, The Kelley Blue Book agree, noting, "The steering is pretty impressive for a vehicle of this size, with good response and feedback that allow the driver to make exact lane changes and easily negotiate tight turns." But, Cars.com suggests that the steering is "lighter than expected," saying, "This SUV can get a little woozy through repeated curves." Automobile Magazine agrees, adding, "Any urgent braking, accelerating, or changing of direction" provokes "pronounced dive, pitch, and/or roll," noting that such a reaction is "no surprise, considering the Durango's high center of gravity and prodigious mass." Most reviewers, however, are generally pleased with the Durango's suspension. Consumer Guide summarizes the thoughts of many, stating it "irons out small imperfections without sloppy side-to-side motions."judges the Durango to be one of "the tightest among large SUVs, making it easy to maneuver into supermarket parking spots." The reviewer then concludes, "The Durango feels much smaller than it is." The test drivers at
The majority of reviewers observe the Durango's brakes to be strong as well. Reflecting thoughts similar to a number of test drivers, New Car Test Drive writes, "When you need to slow down or stop, they'll be there. They're big vented discs with twin-piston calipers in front, just the thing for holding back this heavy beast." AutoWeek reports, "The Durango experienced only moderate dive in hard braking for such a large vehicle."
Reviewers who took the Durango off road generally found that it was competent and held its own. Edmunds calls it "adept in off-road situations, offering plenty of wheel travel and a playful demeanor." Being a full-frame truck-based vehicle, the Durango can withstand off-roading that many alternative grocery-getting mid-size SUVs just can't handle.
The Durango is clearly one of the leaders in its class when it comes to towing capacity and capability. Depending on the model, the Durango can tow anywhere from 5,900 to 8,950 pounds, which, as Edmunds points out, "means that it can pull more weight than most full-size SUVs." The five-speed transmission, reports New Car Test Drive, "includes a Tow/Haul feature we like that holds lower gears longer when towing to reduce gear searching."