Dodge Durango Performance
Overall, the 2013 Dodge Durango is a good performer. Reviewers write that its handling is solid and fairly agile for such a big, heavy SUV. They write that while the standard V6 engine isn’t stunningly quick, it offers a fine amount of power in most situations. Test drivers also write that while the available V8 engine is definitely powerful and fast, they say its hefty drop in fuel economy and its loud, constant growl may make the V6 engine a better choice for most shoppers.
- “The 2012 Dodge Durango is related to the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and it shows in the way this nearly 5,000-pound vehicle drives down the road. The Durango feels controlled in almost any driving situation, and the responsive nature of the steering makes the Durango easy to maneuver.” -- Edmunds
Acceleration and Power
The 2013 Dodge Durango comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 290 horsepower, or 295 horsepower in SXT trims with the Rallye Appearance Package. A 5.7-liter V8 engine comes standard on performance-focused R/T trims, and is optional on Crew and Citadel models. This engine makes 360 horsepower and can tow up to 7,400 pounds when paired with rear-wheel drive. That’s more than almost any other midsize crossover. All trims of the Durango come standard with a five-speed automatic transmission except the R/T trim, which comes with a six-speed automatic. The six-speed is also available on Crew and Citadel trims. According to the EPA, fuel economy ranges from 16/23 mpg city/highway in models with the V6 engine to 13/20 in four-wheel drive models equipped with a V8.
Overall, reviewers say the V8 engine offers lots of power, towing capacity and grunt, but they write that most consumers will likely want to stick with the V6. They say the V6 has an adequate amount of power in most situations, and that the V8 engine is likely not worth the louder engine noise or the significantly decreased fuel economy. Overall, the five-speed transmission is a fine performer, though one tester notes he had to floor the gas pedal more than usual in order to get the transmission to downshift and provide more power.
- "Despite the 2013 Dodge Durango's mass, the 290-horsepower Pentastar V6 never fails to accelerate briskly or deliver up ample passing power when asked. We can certainly see instances where the HEMI V8 is preferable to the V6, such as when towing heavy loads, but for those only interested in hauling items that fit inside the Durango's cabin, we think the V6 is the way to go.” -- Kelley Blue Book
- "V6 Durangoes have decent power from a stop and during highway passing and merging. The nearly 5,000-pound curb weight blunts acceleration compared to other crossovers. The transmission works smoothly, but a deep stab of the throttle is often required in order to coax a downshift. None of this applies to the muscular V8 engine. Power is abundant at any speed, and its 6-speed automatic transmission is better behaved than the V6's 5-speed.” -- Consumer Guide
- “Low-end torque is not a strong suit of the V6, but once the Dodge Durango is moving, the engine pulls respectably. Midrange acceleration is adequate for passing and merging and indeed there's little reason to sweat the additional second or two it takes the Durango to reach 60 mph compared to its fleeter rivals.” -- Edmunds (2012)
- "It's a bit heavy, so don't expect stellar fuel economy with either engine.” -- Car and Driver
Handling and Braking
Reviewers like the 2013 Dodge Durango’s handling, praising its compliant ride. They say it’s more maneuverable than many of its competitors, and that its turning radius is impressive. Most reviewers write that the Durango R/T trim’s stiffer suspension doesn’t improve handling enough to make it worth the stiffer ride. The Durango comes standard with rear-wheel drive in all trims, and all models offer all-wheel drive as an option.
- "Feels more carlike and responsive than other crossovers. Nearly perfect weight distribution gives the Durango a balanced and secure feel. Solid and quiet, the Durango is a classy and refined vehicle.” -- Car and Driver
- "Durango is big and heavy, but surprisingly nimble. The steering is light at low speeds and very accurate when you're cruising. We are especially impressed with the tight turning circle. Despite its sporty trappings, the R/T doesn't handle appreciably better than the standard Durango, at least not enough to justify the rather stiff penalty to its ride quality.” -- Consumer Guide
- “The . . . Dodge Durango is related to the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and it shows in the way this nearly 5,000-pound vehicle drives down the road. The Durango feels controlled in almost any driving situation, and the responsive nature of the steering makes the Durango easy to maneuver.” -- Edmunds (2012)
- "As for its road manners, the 2013 Dodge Durango SUV has a slightly heavy steering feel, but the turn-in response is excellent and the Durango tracks straight and true on the highway. The Durango's suspension tuning is a bit stiff, a complaint heard especially often from those testing the R/T trim, but overall the ride is still compliant and fairly comfortable.” -- Kelley Blue Book
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