Claremore Daily Progress

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
  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 18, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 18, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Raw oysters spike U.S. rise in bacterial infections, CDC reports

    Raw oysters, so good with hot sauce, increasingly can carry something even more unsettling to the stomach: A bacteria linked to vomiting, diarrhea and pain.

    April 17, 2014

  • Doctors to rate cost effectiveness of expensive cancer drugs

    The world's largest organization of cancer doctors plans to rate the cost effectiveness of expensive oncology drugs, and will urge physicians to use the ratings to discuss the costs with their patients.

    April 16, 2014

  • Low blood-sugar levels make for grousing spouses

    Husbands and wives reported being most unhappy with their spouses when their blood-sugar levels were lowest, usually at night, according to research released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Missing a meal, dieting or just being hungry may be the reason, researchers said.

    April 16, 2014

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014