Dodge’s midsize crossover utility vehicle.
A number of traditional body-on-frame sport utility vehicles have made the transition to a unibody chassis including the Ford Explorer and more recently the Nissan Pathfinder. Although off-roading capabilities are typically limited, these crossover SUVs are more rigid, quieter and provide improved fuel efficiency versus truck-based SUVs.
The Dodge Durango is another model that made the switch, a seven-passenger vehicle that shares its platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Introduced in 2011, the third-generation Dodge Durango receives a mid product cycle update, including a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and new LED technology. The updated model arrives in Dodge showrooms this fall.
The burly Dodge Durango is powered by a standard 3.6-liter V-6 engine that makes 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 260 foot-pounds of torque at 4,800 rpm. Optionally, a 5.7-liter V-8 making 360 horsepower at 5,150 rpm and 390 foot-pounds of torque at 4,250 rpm is available. Both engines are paired with a ZF-licensed eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
The new transmission enables the 2014 Dodge Durango to achieve a 9 percent gain in fuel efficiency when its Eco Mode is selected. Fuel cut off technology shuts down half of the cylinders in the V-8 engine when operating at highway speeds. Towing capacities remain the same with the V-6 rated to pull up to 6,200 pounds and the V-8 up to 7,400 pounds. Those ratings are uniform across rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations.
Exterior and Interior Refinements
The Durango’s exterior now features a slimmer crosshair grille anchored by updated projector-beam headlamps. A raised front bumper, new hood sculpting and “hockey stick styled” LED daytime running lamps on most models gives this SUV a more refined, but still high-spirited look. From the rear, the now familiar “racetrack” tail lamp arrangement seen in the current Dodge Dart and Charger models is now a Durango hallmark.
Inside, Dodge introduces a new programmable instrument cluster, a pair of touchscreens, a three-spoke steering wheel with paddles shifters and an available high-definition dual-screen Blu-Ray entertainment system. Choose the Dodge Durango Limited and leathering seating is standard as is heated seating, a heated steering wheel and an 8.4-inch UConnect touchscreen.
Durango buyers can also dispense with the second row bench seat and opt for a pair of captain’s chairs. One seating position is lost, but gains in seating comfort and cabin maneuverability are achieved.
The 2014 Dodge Durango sits on a 119.8-inch wheelbase and is 201.2 inches long by 75.8 inches wide by 70.9 inches tall. Curb weight ranges from 4,756 to 5,397 pounds; payload capacity is from 1,280 to 1,430 pounds.
The front track measures 63.9 inches to 64.1 inches with the rear track. Interior volume measures 54.4 cubic feet in the front row, 44.8 cubic feet in the second row to 34.7 cubic feet in the third row. Standard storage capacity is 17.2 cubic feet behind the third row. Behind the second row it is 47.7 cubic feet and with rear seats folded there is 84.5 cubic feet behind the first row seat.
Besides the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and the in-house Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango competes against the Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander and the Buick Enclave. The Honda Pilot is equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission, while the remaining competitors have six-speed transmissions. Thus, the new transmission arrangement gives Dodge a significant advantage, something that the Chrysler Group expects to translate into more sales.
Pricing is expected to be announced closer to the Durango’s release date.
See Also — 2014 Dodge Durango Limited: Classy Crossover
Photos courtesy of the Chrysler Group, LLC.