2007 Dodge Durango Limited 4X4 Review


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THE AUTO PAGE
By
JOHN HEILIG

SEE ALSO: New Car Buyer's Guide for Dodge

SPECIFICATIONS
Model: Dodge Durango Limited 4X4
Engine: 5.7-liter HEMI V8
Horsepower/Torque: 335 hp @ 5200 rpm/370 lb.-ft. @ 4200 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 119.2 in.
Length x Width x Height: 200.8 x 76.0 x 74.3 in.
Tires: P265/60R18 OWL on-off-road
Cargo volume: 102.4 cu. ft. (max.)
Economy: 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway/ mpg test
Price: $44,210 (includes $745 destination charge)

The Good News – Durango is huge, for a mid-size SUV. The engine/gearbox combination is smooth and offers excellent performance. Second and third row seats offer very good legroom.

The Bad News – While the cargo area offers excellent capacity overall, the space behind the third row seats is narrow. Seat backs had to be folded to carry just one golf bag. Legroom for the center passengers in both rear rows is cramped, making Durango a practical six-seater. Pricey.

Dodge Durango is listed as a mid-size SUV, but it’s just about the biggest of the mid-size. It rides on one of the longest wheelbases, is one of the longest overall and has a maximum cargo capacity that’s into triple digits, way more than the competition.

That extra size translates into excellent cargo carrying capacity. Total cargo volume is 102.4 cubic feet with both rear seats backs folded. The backs fold flat to create a flat floor for carrying almost anything. However, when I tried to put my golf bag back there, I discovered that the cargo width wasn’t that great and I had to lower one side of the third row back to fit the bag in. On the other side of the coin, I could have lowered both sides, put four bags (or more) back there and still have had enough seating room for the foursome.

The tailgate had a power lift ability, that made access easier. I was so spoiled by the power lift that I almost forgot how to do it manually. I spoil easily.

Under the hood is Chrysler Corporation’s famed 5.7-liter HEMI V8 (a $995 option), delivering 335 horsepower and 370 lb.-ft. of torque in its Durango tune. Connected to a 5-speed automatic transmission, it was possible to “forget” the power side of the equation and just let the Durango do the work. If I wanted acceleration, it was there. If I wanted low-speed torque, it was there.

Our tester was also equipped with a remote starting system ($150) that was so nice to have, once I figured out how to push the button twice. Of course, there was one time when I remote started the Durango after locking the doors and walked away. A friend asked why my car was still running and I had to hurry back to shut it off before I ran out of gas. Of course, it would have shut itself off after a few minutes, but I wanted to be sure.

While we didn’t have an opportunity to test the Durango off-road, it had all the capability. Our tester was equipped with the Skid Plate Group of options ($170) that offered tow hooks, a fuel tank skid plate shield and a transfer case skid plate shield. With this kind of protection underneath, you have the confidence that you can go almost anywhere without damaging important parts of the vehicle.

For heading off-road, we also had a full-time 4WD shift-on-the-fly transfer case ($195) that makes shifting between 2WD and 4WD high a simple matter. It’s still advisable to shift into neutral before trying 4WD Low, though.

Our tester also had a Trailer Tow Prep Group of options ($455), which included a Class IV hitch receiver and 7- and 4-pin wiring harnesses. Having installed a Class IV trailer hitch myself (back in my youth), $455 is half of what I’d be willing to spend if I had to do it again.

The most expensive option was the travel convenience group ($2,060) that includes chrome-plated wheels, a 6-disc CD changer, a DVD-based navigation system and side curtain air bags for all rows. While the air bags are necessary, you can live without the other parts of this package.

The Durango is loaded with practicality. There are many useful small storage areas inside the vehicle and within reach of the front passengers that complement the huge rear cargo area. In addition, there are two power outlets for charging the equipment that travelers need so much these days – cell phones, etc.

Driving the Durango seemed long, and it is at more than 200 inches. It isn’t really that long, but it gives that impression.

Overall, the Dodge Durango is a super mid-size SUV. With a base price of $37,510 it is expensive, compared to some of the competition. Fully loaded, the price is in the mid-40 thousand range, which is very expensive and puts it in the luxury SUV range.

2006 The Auto Page Syndicate

Complete specifications on the 2007 Dodge Durango Limited 4X4 and other vehicles are available at the New Car Buyers Guide!

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