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Review - 2016 Dodge Durango -This Dodge Does What? By Larry Nutson

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2016 Dodge Durango
This Dodge Does What?

SEE ALSO: Totally Dodge

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Recently I was walking through the residential garage where I park and took the chance to ask a fellow parker how she liked her new three-row SUV. Her response was positive, adding the comment that they bought their new vehicle because they have three children and needed the room inside.

That’s exactly where the 2016 Dodge Durango fills the bill in the very popular SUV-buying trend we find ourselves in these days. Its cabin is spacious and roomy providing more than many other competitor’s SUVs.

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The Durango is all about capacity. Once we thought only the minivan filled that bill. Well, SUVs have taken over that role and then some. The Durango can carry up to seven people. Behind the third row seat you’ll find 17.2cuft of space. Fold the 50/50 split third row and that space grows to 47.3 cuft. Now fold the 60/40 split second row and you have 85.1cuft. To add to that, the Durango can tow a trailer weighing up to 6,200lbs with the V6 and 7,200lbs with a V8 model.


I recently spent a week driving a 2016 Durango Citadel AWD model. The base price on this Citadel is $43,895. The 2016 Durango pricing starts at $30,495 for the SXT rear-wheel drive version and goes up to $44,490 for the new Citadel Anodized Platinum AWD model.

Dodge also offers an SXT Plus, Limited and an R/T model, each in either RWD or AWD. The price step for AWD is $2600 and I would opt for this if I lived in a northerly clime that gets lots of winter rain or snow. Or, of course, if you occasionally like to venture on unpaved roads no matter where.

The standard engine is a 295HP 3.6-L V6. The sporty R/T comes with a 360HP 5.7-L V8, and this engine can also be optionally had on the Citadel with AWD. An 8-speed automatic transmission makes the connection to the drive wheels.

New this spring on the Citadel model is the optional Anodized Platinum appearance package, which adds new 20-inch Satin Carbon aluminum wheels and Platinum grille, exterior mirror caps, fog lamp bezels, exterior badge, door handles and lower sills. The Citadel’s Anodized Platinum appearance package has a U.S. MSRP of $1,095.

There’s also a new Brass Monkey appearance package available on the Durango Limited model. It features 20-inch Burnished Bronze aluminum wheels, a Gloss Black grille and exterior badge, and a monochromatic exterior. The Durango Limited’s Brass Monkey appearance package can be had for $995.

My Durango drive experience included a highway road trip. We’ve all been hearing a lot about autonomous or self-driving cars as of late. Well, it will be awhile for them to show up. But we do have today many semi-autonomous, or better said, driver assistance features that really help quite a bit to make for safer driving.

My Durango tester was equipped with a rear back up camera and Park Sense rear park assist with Stop as standard equipment. In an optional $1,995 Technology Group this Durango also was equipped with Full Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Advanced Brake Assist and Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection.

At a recent presentation to the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), representatives from the National Safety Council and the University of Iowa said that 95 percent of car crashes are due to driver error. However, new vehicle technology can help prevent or greatly reduce the severity of the crash.

The rear view camera and parking sensors have been around for a few years and are big help especially when backing a large SUV like the Durango in tight spaces in a crowded city. Blind spot monitor is on many vehicles and that helps quite a bit especially on crowded roads.

The newer technology like adaptive cruise control that will maintain a pre-selected distance to a vehicle in front on the highway and automatic emergency braking are two technologies worthy of your consideration when buying a new vehicle.

The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have teamed up to provide an online, mobile- and tablet-friendly resource My Car Does What.Org to help educate consumers. The website’s homepage lists the 28 technology and safety features present on vehicles today. This webpage is a great resource to consult when you are car shopping. You might say to yourself I don’t need that or be unwilling to spend the extra money. Consider that one collision will probably cost you inconvenience, car repair bills, paying your insurance deductible, and maybe an increase in insurance rates. Oh did I mention injury. It’s all about reducing accidents to prevent injury or even death.

On my Durango road trip I explained the Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop to my wife . She remarked “let’s not test that.” Well I did. The Durango nicely and smoothly kept the pre-selected distance as I approached a slower vehicle in my highway lane. The slowing rate was gradual and not jerky or disturbing and the re-acceleration rate the same. I used the “stop” function too. I just steered, with both my feet on the floor, and the Durango did the rest bringing us to a smooth stop behind a vehicle in front.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Twenty vehicle makers have pledged to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature by 2020. IIHS estimates that as many as 20 percent of the 5 million vehicle crashes that occur annually in the U.S. could be prevented by this technology.

Road trips are also good for making fuel consumption measurements. We got 23 mpg on a 250 mile highway run. Not bad considering my spirited driving style. EPA test-cycle ratings for the Durango V6 AWD are 21 combined mpg, with 18 city mpg and 25 highway mpg. On my return highway leg I didn’t do as well, getting about 22 mpg. We did have a headwind on this segment and perhaps I was bit more spirited or off and on the throttle more due to traffic. Auto stop-start technology is now standard for the V-6 engine and that helps a bit to reduce fuel consumption in city traffic.

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I’ve had various past experiences owning SUVs to provide the transportation needs for my family. Although my wife and I are now back in the “sedan-mode” we found the Durango quite comfortable with a very nice luxury feel to the interior. Being the first to complain about bad seats, my wife exited out road trip with no aches to share. The Durango is fairly big but not so big that it’s unwieldy to handle.

You can learn more about the 2016 Dodge Durango at Comparisons to other large SUVs can be made right here on Totally Dodge

Coming back to driver-assistance technology, please do give it fair consideration. It may save the life of a loved one.

© 2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

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