Make us your home page
The Daily Drivers | By Peter Couture and Lyra Solochek, Times Staff Writers

The Daily Drivers: Welcome back Dodge Durango

Dodge has brought back the Durango after a two-year hiatus, transforming it from a dowdy midsize SUV into an attractive minivan alternative. Is it now poised to take on the competition? We think so.

Appearance: The Durango has been stretched 10 inches and given the same unibody construction as its cousin, the new Jeep Grand Cherokee. With the added length comes a third-row seat. Despite the increase in size, the Durango looks more streamlined, with a "lean forward" profile up front that is accentuated by a bold, crosshair grille and dual headlights. Our tester was the blinged-out Citadel trim, which also features chrome accents on the grille, mirrors, door handles and 20-inch wheels. Peter really liked the muscular look.

Performance: Our Durango had Dodge's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, which we found to be competent if not spectacular. You'll need to rev it to get all 290 horsepower pulling the 4,905-pound vehicle. Need more power? There's a Hemi V-8 available. A five-speed automatic is standard in an era of more efficient six-speeds. But the transmission shifted smoothly. Lyra found the Durango had some chassis roll on turns, but in normal driving, it felt planted on its 20-inch wheels. Then there's the mpg, which isn't stellar for a V-6 — an estimated 16 in the city and 23 on the highway. We both liked that the Citadel came with much-needed blind-spot warning, a rear camera and lots of other safety features.

Interior: The Durango benefits from the upgrade in materials and fit, much like the Grand Cherokee we recently reviewed. Our plush Citadel model had comfortable Nappa leather seats, but the tan interior seemed out of place with the silver exterior. Peter liked the simple layout of the gauges and console, and the dual cup holders have blue ambient lightning. It's nice to have room for seven, but it can be difficult to get in and out of the third row — it's better suited more for nimble kids. The seats there are comfortable and well padded. The second row folds forward and the third folds flat for ample cargo space (Dodge claims you can haul a 6-foot couch and a coffee table.) There is a bin under the rear cargo floor for discreet storage. Lyra had trouble getting her Bluetooth phone to synch with the car. Peter found the 6.5-inch touch screen a bit on the small side, but we both liked Dodge's simple — some might say rudimentary — graphics and controls.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Style: One of the better-looking vehicles in this class.

Interior: It may not rival the best, but the quality has definitely improved.

Headrests: When unoccupied, you can push a button to drop the third-row headrests for better visibility.

Lyra Solochek

Power liftgate: A must-have for a short person.

Towing: Pull up to 6,200 pounds, and it comes with sway control and auto leveling lights.

Safety features: Lots of sensors and warning systems.

The bottom line: The V-6 could use more oomph and the price can quickly climb depending on the trim level. Overall, the Dodge Durango makes a good family hauler, especially if you need to do a little bit of towing.

2011 Dodge Durango Citadel

Price: $41,250, $42,100 as tested, base Durango starts at $29,195


3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, 5-speed automatic, RWD

Horsepower: 290 at 6,400 rpm

Torque: 260 pound-

feet at 4,800 rpm

Curb weight: 4,905 pounds


in inches:

Wheelbase, 119.8

Length, 199.8

Width, 75.8

Fuel economy:

16 miles per gallon city, 23 mpg highway

Safety features: Air bags and curtains, active head restraints, electronic stability control, rear backup camera, park assist system, blind-spot and rear cross path detection, adaptive speed control/forward collision warning, trailer sway damping, hill start assist

Options worth considering: HEMI V-8, AWD


The Daily Drivers: Welcome back Dodge Durango

03/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 12:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  2. New York town approves Legoland proposal


    GOSHEN, N.Y. — New York is one step closer to a Lego dreamland. Goshen, a small town about fifty miles northwest of the Big Apple, has approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park.

    A small New York town, Goshen approved the site plan for a $500 million Legoland amusement park. Legoland Florida is in Winter Haven. [Times file  photo]
  3. Jordan Park to get $20 million makeover and new senior housing

    Real Estate


    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG —The St. Petersburg Housing Authority, which bought back the troubled Jordan Park public housing complex this year, plans to spend about $20 million to improve the 237-unit property and construct a new three-story building for …

    Jordan Park, the historic public housing complex, is back in the hands of the St. Petersburg Housing Authority. The agency is working to improve the 237-unit complex. But the latest plan to build a new three-story building for seniors will mean 31 families have to find new homes. [LARA CERRI   |   Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Coming soon at two Tampa Bay area hospitals: a cancer treatment that could replace chemo


    A new cancer treatment that could eventually replace chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants — along with their debilitating side effects — soon will be offered at two of Tampa Bay's top-tier hospitals.

    Dr. Frederick Locke at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is a principal investigator for an experimental therapy that retrains white blood cells in the body's immune system to fight cancer cells. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved these so-called "CAR-T" treatments for adults this month. In trials, 82 percent of cases responded well to the treatment, and 44 percent are still in remission at least eight months later, Locke said. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  5. Regulator blasts Wells Fargo for deceptive auto insurance program


    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.

    Wells Fargo engaged in unfair and deceptive practices, failed to properly manage risks and hasn't set aside enough money to pay back the customers it harmed, according to a confidential report by federal regulators.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images, 2017]