Just the words “affordable mid-range SUV” are enough to gain the attention of drivers as diverse as soccer moms, outdoors enthusiasts and those who buy their vehicles so that they can truly enjoy driving. Indeed, despite its price and its ability to function as a family car, the 2011 Dodge Durango is the furthest thing from a plain-Jane family ferry. It is a powerhouse of an SUV, striking in design and formidable in power and handling.
After a two-year hiatus, the Durango has returned to the market with a huge bang. Drawing on the heritage of the venerable Jeep Cherokee, it features a powerful and reliable DOHC 24-valve 290-horsepower Pentastar V6 as its base engine, with a show-stopping V-8 Hemi serving as the hyper-powerful cornerstone of the premium Durango R/T model. While the body of the Durango is rugged and therefore heavy, either power option is more than enough to provide reasonably fast acceleration and sufficient strength to take advantage of the 6200 pound towing capability of the V6 models and the 7200 or 7400 pound towing capabilities of the V8 and V8 4WD option, respectively.
Indeed, the Durango is nothing if not rugged – yet it is a graceful driving machine with styling that stands out among its competitors in the midsize SUV market. The Dodge penchant for sporty styling is very evident here, and its contoured, rounded features are a far cry from boxy SUV designs that are the norm for this price and size class. The attention to design is seen inside the Durango as well, with even the base model boasting a well-organized cockpit, comfortable seats with ample room for seven passengers and a fold-flat front passenger seat that adds storage room when the Durango is put into service hauling anything from groceries purchased at the supermarket around the corner to fishing and camping equipment for a pleasurable excursion to the shore or the mountains three or four states away from home.
The fact is that most SUV’s of this class perform quite a bit of passenger duty, and Dodge takes this into account with a reliable suspension that performs just as well in the city as it does on the highway, as well as with attention to safety features including full airbags and anti-lock brakes. Nevertheless, its weight distribution, steering system and unibody architecture allow for the maximum in performance that one can expect from a large, rugged vehicle.
Clearly, the Dodge Durango is the choice to make for mid-range SUV customers this year. From the base model to the luxury V-8 powered Citadel version, the four trim packages of the Durango present real value for a car that presents real, yet practical and functional, performance and enjoyment. This is one SUV that goes far beyond the typical role of its peers as a family ferry and home center hauler. It is a car to be enjoyed by driver and passengers alike, on local roads and country paths as well as on the high-speed highway. custom brand socks