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Dodge Durango Performance

The 2015 Dodge Durango stands out with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, a composed ride and nimble handling for a three-row midsize SUV, according to reviewers. With one of the few optional V8 engines in the segment, reviewers say the Durango has impressive power and makes an excellent towing vehicle.

  • "Among tough rear-wheel-drive SUVs, the Durango's driving experience stands out as one of the very best." -- AutoTrader
  • "Four-wheel independent suspension, a near 50/50 weight distribution and electro-hydraulic power steering create a sure-footed driving experience around both on and off the road." -- 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 (2014)
  • "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. We drove up the sort of fiendish, twisty roads that full-sized crossovers have no business being on unless helmed by hapless dads looking for the freeway. … Yet as the elevation grew and the curves unwound, the transmission never hunted for gears, never flustered by our varying throttle inputs. The Hemi 5.7-liter V8 never felt strained." -- AutoWeek (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The Dodge Durango comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower. A 5.7-liter V8 with 360 horsepower is available. The Durango is one of the few midsize, three-row SUVs available with a V8. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. With rear-wheel drive, the 2015 Durango returns an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is on par for the class.

Test drivers report that the V6 Durango has plenty of power, and say this engine should suit most drivers and families just fine. They agree that the available V8 delivers strong acceleration, and while they note that V8-powered Durangos use a lot of fuel, they appreciate that it makes the Durango a commendable tow vehicle, with a maximum towing capacity of 7,400 pounds. The Durango's transmission is also well-liked, as reviewers say it provides smooth, quick shifts.

  • "Of course, the Durango isn't perfect. Its chief problem is its thirsty V8, an issue that remains even after Dodge replaced the SUV's 5-speed automatic with a new 8-speed last year." -- AutoTrader
  • "The 3.6-liter Pentastar-derived V6 engine is no slouch, either: the eight-speed meshes -- pardon the pun -- more completely with the Hemi, but for the buyer who doesn't need to max out a 7,400-lb tow rating, the V6 has all the power you will ever need. It, too, can tow -- 6,200 lbs worth." -- AutoWeek (2014)
  • "On the mechanical side, the 2014 Durango has a new eight-speed automatic transmission, which serves up impressively smooth shifts while providing a numerically small but still significant improvement in EPA fuel economy ratings. The new transmission also makes better use of what power the base V6 engine has to offer -- although we've steered consumers toward the more powerful V8 in past years, a V6 Durango merits stronger consideration in 2014 due to its more energetic performance." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "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 (2014)

Handling and Braking

Reviewers write that the 2015 Durango has a composed ride, though critics comment that the ride can feel uncomfortable on the R/T trim, which has 20-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension. On the other hand, reviewers say the R/T trim's sport suspension improves upon the Durango's already impressive handling. Test drivers also like the Durango's sharp steering responses.

  • "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
  • "Steering is responsive and the Durango is easy to maneuver on almost any road. On a long interstate cruise, it provides a quiet and relaxed cabin environment." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "Durango's standard suspension capably absorbs most imperfections and does a fine job of squelching secondary body motions. That doesn't apply to the R/T, which has a sport suspension and 20-inch wheels. Many more bumps make their way into the cabin. It feels more like a traditional truck-type SUV than the crossover it technically is." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "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 (2014)
Review Last Updated: 8/20/15

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