Ride & Drive: 2015 Dodge Durango
The Chrysler group has absolutely been on fire the past few years, turning out one exceptional product after another.
Until this week, it had been a few years since I’ve been inside a Dodge Durango. I was expecting something special.
What I’ve been driving this week has been truly exceptional — absolutely, truly exceptional in every regard.
In the crowded, highly competitive mid-size sport utility segment, the 2015 Dodge Durango is among the leaders standing tall on the podium.
Providing best in class towing (up to 7,400 pounds), the seven-passenger Durango is also a leader in terms of delivering both fuel economy and horsepower — as well as loading all four trim levels (SXT, Limited, Citadel and R/T) with all the features and amenities you never knew you needed until you drove the vehicle and now realize you can’t live without it.
For the 2015 model year, the Durango is available in rear- and four-wheel drive configurations.
Consumers have their choice of two engines.
Chrysler’s award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 (290 horsepower/260 lbs.-ft. torque) is the base powerplant. The V-6 has a maximum tow rating of 6,200 pounds. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and requiring regular unleaded gasoline, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway for rear-wheel drive (17 mpg and 24 mpg respectively for four-wheel drive).
Buyers also have their choice of the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine delivering 360 horsepower and 390 lbs.-ft. torque. Also mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, mid-grade unleaded (89 octane) is recommended, however regular unleaded gasoline is acceptable. With a maximum tow rating of up to 7,400 pounds, it has an EPA fuel economy rating of 14 mpg city, 23 mpg highway for rear-wheel drive (14 mpg, 22 mpg respectively for four-wheel drive).
With a price range starting less than $30,000, the Durango is extremely well equipped.
The base SXT has been honored as the best-equipped SUV under $30,000, with standard equipment including: three rows of seats with 60/40 split fold and tumble second row, 50/50 split, folding third row, fold-flat front passenger seat; three-spoke steering wheel with paddle shifters; 7-inch reconfigurable TFT gauge cluster, 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen with Uconnect six-speaker audio system; power windows, power door locks, power mirrors; remote keyless entry; cruise control; three 12-volt power outlets located in the instrument panel, center console and the rear cargo compartment; tri-zone automatic temperature control including infrared sensors and rear-seat air conditioning with air filtering; an overhead console with two LED map lamps — and that’s far from an inclusive list.
That list grows exponentially as you move up the trim-level ladder.
The 2015 Dodge Durango is an absolute must for the test-drive list.
Neal White has been covering the automotive industry for more than 20 years and is affiliated with the Texas Auto Writers Association.
THE NUTS AND BOLTS:
2015 Dodge Durango
6-, or 7-seat SUV
Rear-, or four-wheel drive
SXT, Limited, Citadel, R/T
3.6L V6 (290 hp/260 T)
5.7L V8 (360 hp/390 T)
8-speed automatic w/paddle shifters
EPA: 18/14 mpg city, 25/23 mpg highway (V6/V8 RWD)
FUEL: Regular unleaded
LENGTH: 201.2 inches
WHEELBASE: 119.8 in.
WIDTH: 75.8 inches
HEIGHT: 70.9 inches
WEIGHT: 4756-5397 lbs.
FUEL TANK: 24.6 gallons
TIRES: 18-, or 20-inch
CARGO: 17.2/47.7/84.5 cubic feet (behind 3rd/2nd/1st row).
TOWING: Up to 7,400 pounds