2022 Dodge Durango

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2022 Dodge Durango Review: Middle-Aged Muscle

The existence of the Dodge Durango leads us to believe that this particular division of Stellantis doesn't have a team of engineers dedicated to research and development. Heck, its entire range is one big middle finger to the upcoming EV revolution, although we've now been promised an e-muscle car in a few years time. But that's still years away, and for now, the Durango is one of the oldest cars still on sale. Competing against other three-row midsize SUVs like the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot, Dodge has refused to roll with the times, using an ancient platform that still has rear-wheel drive roots, although AWD is also available. Maybe that's not a bad thing, though, as it's a strong USP for the aging crossover that also helps with practical aspects like towing, where the Durango excels by towing up to 8,700 lbs. But the biggest selling point is that while others downsize their engines, you can still buy a lowly Durango with a 360-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 under the hood, or opt for the brand's familiar 3.6-liter V6. We've previously referred to this as the muscle car of midsize SUVs, but that trope's been around for years now, and it's getting tired. Maybe, then, the Durango is the middle-aged bodybuilder of SUVs - still strong, but behind the times.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 6 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 7 /10
  • Safety 7 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
7.4
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2022 Dodge Durango Changes: 🚙What’s the Difference vs the 2021 Dodge Durango?

Last year, the Durango received a facelift inside and out and this year, the changes amount to only equipment upgrades. All Durango trims receive blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic detection this year, and three features are added to the Plus Group package: advanced brake assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, and lane-departure warning. The Blacktop Package now gains a performance hood when added to the GT trim and P265/50R20 performance all-season tires when added to either the GT or R/T trims.

Each individual trim receives more standard features this year. The SXT gets the features previously fitted to the SXT Plus and replaces that sub-trim; these are a power driver's seat, three-row, seven-passenger seating, bright roof rails, and rear parking sensors. The GT gets the GT Plus' features, which are a heated steering wheel and front seats, remote start, and a power liftgate. The old GT Plus' Plus Group features are expanded with a seat-position memory function, leather upholstery with suede inserts, rain-sensing wipers, and seat heating for the second row. The R/T gets the Plus treatment; over the normal R/T, the R/T Plus sub-trim receives a sunroof, Nappa leather upholstery, forward-collision warning with braking, the Premium Interior Package, and a Harman Kardon audio system.

Lastly, a new R/T HEMI Orange special edition is made available sporting a unique appearance inspired by the original orange color of the legendary HEMI engine made famous by muscle cars in the USA.

Pros and Cons

  • Sleek, muscular design
  • Loads of options
  • Impressive towing specs
  • Good acceleration
  • Comfortable ride
  • Improved interior quality
  • V6 engine feels old
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Handling is average
  • Interior lacks the refinement of newer rivals

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2022 Dodge Durango Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Special Service
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$34,320
Pursuit
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$37,095
SXT
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$37,760
GT
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$40,360
GT Plus
3.6L V6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$40,360
See All 2022 Dodge Durango Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Dodge may claim the Durango is a Charger on stilts, but the handling doesn't reflect that. On the plus side, the steering is direct and heavy. Given the weight, the amount of lean through the corners is also surprisingly minimal. That being said, it's not easy to make a 5,000-pound SUV handle like a performance car. It is possible, as BMW, Porsche, and Alfa Romeo have proved, but doing so requires all sorts of expensive kit like adjustable damping and traction management systems, air suspension, and torque vectoring which aren't viable on these run-of-the-mill models.

The Durango's handling is best described as soft and safe. You can push it hard, but it will eventually run wide. And while the brakes are powerful, they will ultimately fade following repeated abuse. The softer suspension setup is much better, considering the Durango will be used to transport families.

It doesn't have the best off-road-related figures, but it can do a little more than your average SUV. V6 models are equipped with a basic AWD system with a 50:50 torque split. The V8 with a tow package comes with a two-speed transfer case, including an option of locking the 50:50 split in place. A full-time active AWD system is optional.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Dodge Durango a Good SUV?

The Durango is a stylish, comfortable, powerful, and affordable seven-seater crossover. It's one of a few left with a V8 option, with most competitors sticking with six-cylinder power or opting for small-capacity turbocharged engines. There are a few things that count in its favor. It's large, it has loads of space, the interior is better than before, and you can have it with racing stripes. It's also the undisputed towing king, making full use of a RWD platform and brawny engines. Other than that, the competition has it pretty much licked. It now has a decent complement of driver-assistance features too. But the engines are old and the performance from the V8 is mediocre, even if it is characterful. It lacks true stand-out virtues unless you count the above-average towing capacities. In short, the Durango has been around for far too long, and this recent facelift is not enough to save it. It requires a complete rethink from the ground up to be considered competitive again.

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2022 Dodge Durango Comparisons

Chevrolet Traverse
Ford Explorer Ford

2022 Dodge Durango vs Chevrolet Traverse

Compared to the Durango, the Chevrolet Traverse looks dull. It has lights at the front and lights at the rear and a generic SUV body in the middle. The Durango is also better at towing, as the Traverse can only manage 5,000 lbs in the correct setup. From there, the scale tips in the Traverse's favor. It also has a naturally-aspirated 3.6-liter V6 engine, but it produces 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. The latter is available from 2,800 rpm, giving it a nice linear powerband. Its nine-speed gearbox is tuned for fuel efficiency and not sprint times, but it's easy to live with and easy on the pocket, too. There are still some cheap surfaces inside the Traverse, but it also boasts an eight-inch infotainment system with all the latest connectivity features.

The Traverse has two selling points. It easily beats the Durango when it comes to packing space, but the best thing about it is the price. The LT Leather model comes with a list of standard features that, by comparison, makes the Durango's interior look like a deep, dark void. Driver assistance systems are also standard. This particular model has an MSRP of $39,900, undercutting the equivalent Durango model. The Traverse also has a larger model selection, starting at $33,700. Unless you're buying for towing capacity or the sound of a V8, the Traverse makes more sense.

See Chevrolet Traverse Review

2022 Dodge Durango vs Ford Explorer

This battle is a bit one-sided. There's a very good reason the Explorer is America's best-selling midsize SUV ever. The Explorer has a much nicer interior and comes as standard with more comfort and convenience items. Crucially, the Explorer range comes standard with forward-collision warning with automatic braking, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist, and lane departure warning with lane-keep assist. As these are essentially family vehicles, you can't ignore the Ford's Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. Ford's engine options are a generation ahead as well. The Dodge's V6 competes with the 300-hp 2.3-liter EcoBoost, while the R/T goes up against the 400 hp/415 lb-ft Explorer ST. Unlike the R/T, it has the show to match the go. You can tell the Explorer is a product of the modern world, while the Durango feels a generation behind. We'd spend our money on the Ford.

See Ford Explorer Review

2022 Dodge Durango Popular Comparisons

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