Every model comes standard with rear-wheel drive and most get the 3.6-liter V6 by default. The R/T is the only exception, as it ships standard with a 5.7-liter V8 engine - an option on the Citadel. All-wheel drive is available across the entire range.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar is well-known by now. It has served multiple manufacturers well. Production of this engine started in 2010, and it has been available in various sizes and applications. The base SXT model delivers 293 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the rest of the range gets 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The slight difference in power output is due to the base SXT only having one exhaust, while the rest of the range boasts a dual exhaust system.
The R/T is equipped with an older 5.7-liter V8 dating back to 2002. In the R/T, it produces 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Both variants have been independently tested, and the V8 model can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds. The V6 accomplishes the same sprint in 7.4 seconds. With the Tow N Go Package included, the V8 tops out at 145 mph. These figures hardly matter on these non-performance models, however.
The towing capacity is far more relevant, and in this department, these outdated engines continue to do rather well paired with the old-school FR platform. All V6 models can tow 6,200 lbs while a RWD V8 can manage 7,400 lbs. Add the optional Tow N Go package to the AWD R/T, and its tow rating increases to 8,700 lbs. That's enough to tow a Hellcat to the drag strip or a midsize inflatable pool filled with Bud Light, and more than any rival in this segment. For comparison's sake, the Ford Explorer can only manage 5,600 lbs, while the Traverse can tow 5,000 lbs.
Two engines are made available in non SRT and Hellcat Durangos, a 3.6L V6 and a 5.7L Hemi V8, both without any form of forced induction. Both engines are mated to an identical eight-speed automatic transmission, although the V8 has a special Eco Mode - the equivalent of putting a band-aid on a 50-caliber gunshot wound. The V6 engine is standard on all trims except the R/T, while the Citadel has the option of either engine available. The V6 produces 293 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque in base form, but from the GT onwards, it gets a slight bump to 295 hp. The V8 is a good old-fashioned Hemi, developing a stout 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque.
Dodge's move away from the old six-speed automatic transmission a few years ago gave these two older engines a new lease on life. If you look at the engine specifications, it's easy to see why. The V6 only produces its 260 lb-ft maximum torque at 4,000 rpm, while the 390 lb-ft V8 requires 4,250 rpm. The maximum engine speed is limited to 6,400 rpm in the V6 and a paltry 5,800 rpm for the V8. The powerband on both engines is extremely narrow, which means you need more gears to get the best out of them. The eight-speed gearbox deserves the most valuable player award in this setup. It does an admirable job of balancing performance with fuel economy.
The V6 is a little past its sell-by date. It's a hard worker, but not particularly spectacular in any one department. The V8, meanwhile, is characterful, strong, and it sounds great. There's no better. It's not exactly ideal from a gas mileage perspective, but there's no greater pleasure for a gearhead than rocking up in the kids' carpool at school to the tune of a rumbling V8.
|Dodge Durango Trims||Special Service||SXT||Pursuit||GT||GT Plus||R/T||R/T Plus||Citadel|
|Dodge Durango Engines||3.6L V6 Gas|
|3.6L V6 Gas||3.6L V6 Gas|
|3.6L V6 Gas||3.6L V6 Gas||5.7L V8 Gas||5.7L V8 Gas||3.6L V6 Gas |
|Dodge Durango Horsepower||293 hp @ 6400 rpm||293 hp @ 6400 rpm||293 hp @ 6400 rpm||295 hp @ 6400 rpm||295 hp @ 6400 rpm||360 hp @ 5150 rpm||360 hp @ 5150 rpm||295 hp @ 6400 rpm|
|Dodge Durango Transmissions||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic|
|Dodge Durango Drivetrains||RWD||AWD|
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.
Looking at the EPA-estimated figures, the Durango struggles to match some of its rivals with their smaller-capacity engines. The RWD V6 is claimed to return gas mileage of 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined. Adding the AWD system has almost no impact, as the V6 is still capable of 18/25/21 mpg. The V8 is still a thirsty SUV, however. Both RWD and AWD models come with EPA estimates of 14/22/17 mpg. All models are equipped with a 24.6-gallon tank, with which the V6 can cover 517 miles between refills, while the V8 can only manage 418 miles.
To add a bit of context, we need to look at the Ford Explorer's consumption figures. The base 2.3-liter EcoBoost model has EPA-estimated figures of 21/28/24 mpg. That means it's more efficient, and it produces 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. The 400-hp V6 option consumes 18/24/20 mpg in AWD guise, proving once and for all that smaller turbocharged engines are not only more powerful but also more efficient, or that Dodge seriously needs engines that don't date back to the Stone Age.