The Dodge Durango has been around for quite some time, but it’s never gotten much love from the critics like the Ford Explorer and the Toyota Highlander gets. With all the engine options to choose from, you’d think it would turn heads more than it does.
One such critic, Consumer Reports, has never given the Durango a recommendation in all the years it’s been around. Why is that, and what does the new model offer?
How well did the previous generations fare?
Beginning with the 2000 model, the Dodge Durango didn’t have the greatest of debuts in the midsize SUV market. While Consumer Reports data for this year is sparse, there’s enough to show that it bottomed out with fuel economy at 14 mpg combined. Crash testing for this model didn’t do so great either with two out of five stars for frontal crash, driver’s side, from the NHTSA.
The Durango got a redesign in 2004, which improved the way it drove as well as its acceleration. It didn’t help fuel economy, though, with its 12 mpg combined rating. The V8 engine was plenty powerful, but this Dodge could only manage 8 mpg on city roads. Crash testing was also improved, getting five stars from NHTSA for both driver and passenger frontal crash tests.
Redesigns were seen in 2011 and 2014. Dodge made improvements to the way it drove and its performance by adding a V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy improved a little bit to 18 mpg combined, but its predicted reliability still suffered. The 2014 model saw 11 recalls from the NHTSA.
Did any Dodge Durango models come close to getting a recommendation?
Consumer Reports never gave any model of the Durango a recommendation in the midsize SUV segment. The 2015 model saw more praise than most other years. While its fuel economy stayed within the 18-20 mpg range, its smooth transmission, seat comfortability, and minimal cabin noise earned five out of five points from CR. Predicted reliability improved to three points out of five, where it was one or two out of five before.
The model that came the closest, however, would have to be the 2017 Durango. This year brought much improvement for its predicted reliability rating, which was four points out of five. It also received a four-star rating for overall safety during testing at NHTSA.
Fuel economy remained the same as the 2015 model. Owner satisfaction also increased a bit. Owners were reporting they loved the styling, and the way it drove, but the value was poor.
What does the 2021 Dodge Durango model offer?
Despite not receiving a CR recommendation for any of its model years, the Durango still offers enough for those looking for a simple midsize SUV. This model seems to be transforming into a more sporty version with a wider chassis as you see with the Dodge Charger.
Powering it up is a standard 3.6-liter V6 engine that can generate 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. You can also opt for a variety of V8 motors, but they will only get you poor fuel economy ratings. The V6 will get you approximately 19 mpg in the city and around 26 mpg on the highway, according to MotorTrend.
The towing capacity for this model is 8,400 lbs, however, you would need one of the V8 motors to get it. The V6 engine will only allow up to 6,200 lbs. Its Tow N Go package adds Brembo brakes, SRT Wheels, and more options for driving modes.
The Dodge Durango may not have got the coveted CR recommendation, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth getting. If you’re looking for a midsize SUV that can tow a variety of items, the Durango is the one to go with.