Crossover & Midsize

2020 Dodge Durango: Pump the Brakes Before Making It Your Family SUV

The 2020 Dodge Durango is awfully appealing. The Durango is fun to drive, fairly spacious, and doesn’t display the ‘soccer mom’ style that other family SUVs have. However, this midsize SUV’s main drawback might make you think twice about buying it for your family.

When shopping for a family vehicle there are a couple of significant factors to consider. First, how much value does this purchase provide? Second, how will this SUV protect loved ones should an accident occur?

The 2020 Dodge Durango delivers on the value drivers demand, but it lacks a pair of crucial safety features on most of its trims. Does value outweigh the Durango’s lack of safety features?

Appealing features for an affordable price

2020 Dodge Durango parked outside with trees in the background
2020 Dodge Durango on display | Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Dodge doesn’t lack boldness. Few brands put so much emphasis on being different than the rest of the pack. That translates into a distinct style and the guts to think outside the box, as evident by the high-octane SRT trim level.

Buyers can get behind the wheel of the 2020 Dodge Durango for a relatively affordable price. Its base trim starts at an MSRP of $30,795, and it comes with a V6 engine. That means power-seeking drivers will save some money right out of the gate. Rival SUVs like the Volkswagen Atlas and Kia Sorento come with weaker four-cylinders, and V6 engines can be a costly upgrade.

From there, drivers can opt for even more capability, as the 2020 Durango has two available V8 engines. The R/T trim’s 5.7-liter engine delivers 360 hp, and the SRT trim’s kicks out 475 hp.

The 2020 Dodge Durango also provides significant value regarding upscale comforts. Leather upholstery is accessible on the second trim level. Meanwhile, Those who’d prefer the swankiness of suede can have their wish granted with the Durango GT Plus. A third seating row is optional for those with a larger family, and parents can keep their kids entertained with an available rear entertainment system.

The 2020 Dodge Durango Skimps on Safety

It’s been mentioned how not falling in line with the rest can be a good thing. But here’s where it hurts the Dodge brand, especially with its family SUVs.

Most automotive manufacturers are incorporating driver-assistance technologies as standard equipment. However, Dodge hasn’t followed suit.

The 2020 Dodge Durango’s base model only offers the bare minimum for standard safety features – a rearview camera. You’ll have to upgrade to the SXT Plus trim and add an optional package to equip blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Doing so can cost an excess of $4,500 on top of the vehicle’s starting MSRP.

The real kicker is how much it’ll cost to add forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking. These two safety systems can be crucial when it comes to preventing accidents. 

Forward collision warning alerts the driver of an imminent crash. Meanwhile, automatic emergency braking works with the previously-mentioned system to reduce the severity of a collision. 

These safety systems first become available to car shoppers on the 2020 Dodge Durango GT Plus. However, they’ll need to pay an additional $2,495 for the technology package on top of the model’s starting MSRP of $38,995.

Sacrificing safety features is a bad bet

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The 2020 Dodge Durango is a unique entry in an otherwise humongous class. It undoubtedly shines in areas where other competitors suffer. However, its shortcomings in the safety department make it a questionable purchase for families.

It’s a nice touch that luxurious amenities are available on lower-level trims. Nevertheless, it’ll cost shoppers over $40,000 to get critical safety equipment that’s found on the base model of rival vehicles.

Drivers would do well to look elsewhere for a family SUV until Dodge catches up with the rest of the industry in terms of standard safety features.