The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Community News Network

March 20, 2013

Current generation Dodge is luxurious, quiet

If your memories of the Dodge Durango are centered around a close cousin of the Ram truck, then throw those memories out the window.

Today's Durango shares nothing at all with its old, truck-like namesake.

In fact, it's surprising that Dodge decided to stick with
the Durango name since the new version shares its bones with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, a smooth-riding, luxurious crossover that in many ways is the polar opposite of the old blue-collar, workhorse Durango.

Despite its name, the Durango is moving into a gated, white-collar neighborhood of the automotive world.

The version I tested called the Citadel — topping the Durango range with a starting price around $40,000 — feels more like a Volvo than a typical Dodge. Not only is it shined up Tiffany-style with lots of bling on the body and 20-inch chrome wheels, but it comes with Nappa leather seats that are heated and cooled.

And even more reminiscent of Volvo are all the high-tech safety features. It's available with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-path detection — a cocoon of electronic sensors more commonly found on high-end luxury cars.

The ordinary Durango, which starts around $30,000, comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 290 horsepower. That's no slouch unless you need to do serious towing. If you need to tow up to 7,100 pounds, you can opt for the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that makes 360 horses. It's perfect for pulling heavy loads but, unfortunately, is almost reminiscent of the old Durango in fuel economy ratings: 13 mpg in city driving and 20 on the highway with all-wheel drive.

Even that raw HEMI horsepower seems tame and refined under the Durango's blinged-out hood. It's a surprisingly quiet, smooth-riding crossover, which should be no surprise because it shares so many genes with its famous cousin, the Grand Cherokee.

Still, that Durango name may present its biggest challenge. It's a great crossover — which it has to be to stay competitive these days — but it also remains mentally tied to the old Durango in name.

When people think, "I want a luxurious, silent, high-end crossover," rarely will the Dodge Durango be at the top of their mind. Perhaps it should be.

Derek Price is a automotive columnist for CNHI News Service. Contact him at carcolum@gmail.com.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 30, 2014

  • Survey results in legislation to battle sexual assault on campus

    Missouri U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill joined a bipartisan group of senators Wednesday to announce legislation that aims to reduce the number of sexual assaults on college campuses.

    July 30, 2014

  • An alarming threat to airlines that no one's talking about

    It's been an abysmal year for the flying public. Planes have crashed in bad weather, disappeared over the Indian Ocean and tragically crossed paths with anti-aircraft missiles over Ukraine.

    July 30, 2014

  • Sharknado.jpg Sharknado 2 set to attack viewers tonight

    In the face of another "Sharknado" TV movie (the even-more-inane "Sharknado 2: The Second One," premiering Wednesday night on Syfy), there isn't much for a critic to say except to echo what the characters themselves so frequently scream when confronted by a great white shark spinning toward them in a funnel cloud:
    "LOOK OUT!!"

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140729-AMX-GIVHAN292.jpg Spanx stretches into new territory with jeans, but promised magic is elusive

    The Spanx empire of stomach-flattening, thigh-slimming, jiggle-reducing foundation garments has expanded to include what the brand promises is the mother of all body-shaping miracles: Spanx jeans.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Medical marijuana opponents' most powerful argument is at odds with a mountain of research

    Opponents of marijuana legalization are rapidly losing the battle for hearts and minds. Simply put, the public understands that however you measure the consequences of marijuana use, the drug is significantly less harmful to users and society than tobacco or alcohol.

    July 29, 2014

  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014