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2011 Dodge Durango Crew AWD Review - It Was Worth The Wait


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2011 Dodge Durango...It Was Worth The Wait

THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
The Auto Channel

Model: 2011 Dodge Durango Crew AWD
Engine: 5.7-liter Hemi V8
Horsepower/Torque: 360 hp @ 5,150 rpm/390 lb.-ft. @ 4,250 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 119.8 in.
Length x Width x Height: 199.8 x 75.8 x70.9 in.
Tires: P265/60R18
Cargo volume: 17.2/47.7/84.5 cubic feet (behind 3rd row, behind 2nd row, behind front row)
Fuel economy: 13 mpg city/20 mpg highway/14.0 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 24.6 gal.
Curb weight: 5,176 lbs.
Sticker: $42,570 (includes $850 destination charge, $6,525 in options)

The Bottom Line: Dodge waited a year to introduce the Durango, and it was worth the wait. The Durango has the familiarity of a crossover with the capability of a SUV. It has some peculiarities, but its good road manners more than make up for its minor deficiencies.

It took a year for Dodge to fully test the new Durango before they brought it to the market. So, liked the mythical 1967 Corvette that never existed, there’s no 2010 Durango. The wait was definitely worth it.

Durango is available in a number of configurations; our tester was the Crew AWD with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8. I’m not sure about the Crew designation, but the rest is self-explanatory. The V8 delivers a healthy 360 horsepower through a 5-speed automatic transmission. Even though the Durango is on the heavy side at 5,176 pounds, there is enough power to feel you’re driving a sedan, rather than a SUV.

Even with the power, there’s not a lot of noise from the engine, even on acceleration. We enjoyed the remote start feature, even though our test period was in the spring. We used it one time to find the car in a crowded parking lot at night and arrived to find a vehicle that was already starting to warm up.

In addition, the Durango is comfortable and has nice road manners, something that can’t be said about many other SUVs.

We parked alongside an earlier generation Durango one day and had the opportunity to compare the two. The 2011 seemed smaller and more aerodynamic, but the family resemblance was still there. It’s more like a very capable crossover than a true SUV, even though there’s no way you could not consider this a SUV.

Even though it appears smaller, the Durango is loaded with cargo carrying capability. Behind the third row seats is 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space; there’s 47.7 cubic feet behind the second row with the third row seats folded; and if you really need to haul stuff, there are 84.5 cubic feet behind the front seats. Sadly, we bought a new grille and had to tote it home from The Home Depot the day the Durango went back, so we didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy all this space.

Access to that cargo area is more convenient with a power tailgate, which can be powered with either the key fob or a button near the dash. Among the features we enjoyed were the rear view camera that made parking easier. Besides the camera, there is Park Assist that beeps when you’re getting too close to something behind OR IN FRONT of you. Blind spot monitoring is also available.

While the Durango doesn’t appear or feel rugged, it is. The comfort level is high for a SUV, and the road manners are exceptional. Dodge obviously did its homework with this one and they can be happy the dog didn’t eat it.

2011 The Auto Page