Crossover & Midsize

Surprise — This 2021 Dodge Durango Actually Isn’t Boring

Dodge is known for its sporty cars like the Charger and Challenger. The automaker has a few SUVs, too, but most fly under consumers’ radar. Many consider the Dodge Durango nothing special compared to its rivals. But it’s actually a good midsize crossover.

In fact, the Dodge Durango R/T is one of the least boring mainstream SUVs you can buy, MotorTrend reports.

What makes the 2021 Dodge Durango R/T so special?

The biggest selling point of the R/T trim is its 5.7-liter Hemi V8. According to Dodge, the Durango produces 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. This SUV can accelerate from 0-60 mph in a little over six seconds, an impressive pace for a midsize SUV, MotorTrend reports.

The 2021 Dodge Durango R/T also has some extra features you typically don’t find on a family-hauling vehicle. It has speed-sensitive steering and a sport suspension, which surprisingly doesn’t make the ride overly firm, MotorTrend says. And with the optional Super Tow package, the Durango R/T can pull a best-in-class 8,700 pounds.

Plus, a fancier leather-suede combo replaces the standard cloth upholstery. Heated seats are standard in both the front and second rows.

The Durango R/T also boasts some upgraded technology, including wireless smartphone integration and a larger touchscreen. 

The Dodge Durango R/T is a league of its own

RELATED: The 2021 Dodge Durango Offers Much More Than a Hellcat

There are some nice vehicles on MotorTrend’s least-boring list, but none quite matches the Dodge Durango. MT editors mostly include small SUVs with some extra turbo power, such as the Kia Soul GT Line and Kona Turbo. The Nissan Kicks shows up based on its fun handling alone, even without the most powerful engine.

Some capable off-roaders also appear, like the Ford Bronco Sport and Jeep Renegade. However, even those cars don’t pack as much horsepower as the Durango R/T.

What’s wrong with the regular Durango?

The Durango isn’t a bad SUV per se, but nothing makes it stand out from its rivals. Also, Dodge designed it as rugged and truck-like, failing to resonate with most SUV shoppers. Its base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 capable of 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Its performance satisfies most critics, but Edmunds says it’s a tad too slow on some drives. 

As you might expect from a vehicle of its size, it’s cumbersome to handle and hard to park in crowded lots. However, the ride is gentle enough, and there’s plenty of space inside for each passenger, even in the third row. The cargo area is limited, but you get 43 cubic feet of space with the third row folded.

The standard Dodge Durango doesn’t come with any standard safety features besides a backup camera. That’s incredibly disappointing for a vehicle over $30,000, especially one primarily marketed to families. It comes with a handful of infotainment features, all of which are standard on rivals with more driver’s aids.

Is the Dodge Durango R/T worth the price?

Sure, you can find powerful Dodge Durango models. The beastly Durango SRT Hellcat comes with a supercharged V8 capable of 710 hp and 640 lb-ft of torque. But at over $80,000, it’s not really accessible or practical for the average SUV shopper.

Meanwhile, the Durango R/T costs $15,000 more than the base trim, a much better compromise. Overall, its extra features and upgraded interior also make it a better value than the average Dodge Durango.