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#3

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $29,995 - $43,395
Invoice: $29,506 - $41,304
MPG: 18 City / 25 Hwy
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Dodge Durango Performance

With strong engine choices, a refined ride and a smooth and responsive eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2014 Dodge Durango receives a lot of reviewer praise for its performance.

  • "Among tough rear-wheel-drive SUVs, the Durango's driving experience stands out as one of the very best." -- AutoTrader
  • "Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT owners probably won't feel compelled to rush over to their local Dodge dealership, but in a segment where anodyne driving experiences are the norm, the Durango's rear-biased dynamics and bellicose HEMI provide a welcome infusion of character." -- Left Lane News
  • "The current generation not only has the roomy seating and polished ride that you'd expect in a family-oriented, three-row utility vehicle, it also has an optional V8 engine and impressive tow ratings that you typically see only on larger, more traditional SUVs." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Durango is powered by a standard 3.6-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower. A 5.7-liter V8 with 360 horsepower is available, which is a rare option for the class. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models. A rear-wheel drive Durango with the V6 engine achieves an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is typical for the class.

Reviewers are impressed with the Durango's powertrains, saying that the V6 engine has ample power for most driving situations and should suit most drivers just fine. The V8 garners praise for its added power and torque, as well as its pleasing exhaust note. The eight-speed automatic transmission is also well-liked, as reviewers say it provides smooth, quick shifts.

  • "In a word, the new eight-speed is excellent: when paired to the Hemi engine it's assertive when it needs to be, smooth when it isn't. … the transmission never hunted for gears, never flustered by our varying throttle inputs. The Hemi 5.7-liter V8 never felt strained." -- AutoWeek
  • "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 there's a noticeable improvement in responsiveness with the new eight-speed automatic transmission. As expected, the V8 offers brisk all-around performance and a satisfyingly deep exhaust note on acceleration." -- Edmunds
  • "The Durango comes with either the familiar 5.7-liter Hemi V8 or the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. We tested both around the canyons around Los Angeles, which meant we had highway time, as well as taking it around the twisties. The verdict? If you are a suburban kid-hauler and soccer-team coach using the Durango in lieu of a minivan, then by all means opt for the more fuel efficient and perfectly adequate V6. If, on the other hand, you have stuff to pull - boats, trailers, etc., then it's Hemi time." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Test drivers say the Durango handles well and has a comfortable ride. Some reviewers praise the Durango's responsive steering and good maneuverability, while others like its quite ride.

  • "This is a large vehicle, though, and you'll never forget it from behind the wheel. Still, the Durango handles better than something this size has a right to, especially with the R/T's performance-oriented suspension." -- AutoTrader
  • "Though we didn't have the chance to test the Durango with rugrats in back, we did get to put it through its paces on a mix of curvy canyon roads and mellow coastal routes. It was understandably more at home in the latter situation, where a compliant ride and quiet cabin made it a pleasant cruising companion, although its remarkably sporty platform didn't exactly embarrass itself in the twisties." -- Left Lane News
  • "The 2014 Dodge Durango is distantly related to the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, and it shows in the way this nearly 5,000-pound vehicle drives down the road. Steering is responsive and the Durango is easy to maneuver on almost any road." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2013)
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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