ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Looking for a high-style, roomy SUV, but can’t quite make the leap to full-size behemoths such as GM’s Tahoe and Yukon or Ford’s Expedition?
On the other hand, do the midsizers – Honda’s Pilot, Nissan’s Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, and the like – not quite deliver the desired “presence” you’re seeking?
Well, the answer to your conundrum might just be sitting at your nearest Dodge dealer in the form of the Durango.
Think of it as the Goldilocks of SUVs – not too big, not to small, but just right.
In fact, the entire cabin is accommodating, from the plush-but-supportive buckets in the front and second rows, to the rear bench out back that even full-size adults will find relatively comfortable.
Our all-wheel-drive Citadel, one notch down from the line-topping R/T performance model, featured luscious perforated leather seating surfaces, plenty of soft-touch materials on doors and dash, and enough comfort and convenience features to raise the Dodge to near-luxury status.
Niceties such as heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel and three-zone automatic temperature control were augmented by optional packages including the Technology Group (collision warning, adaptive cruise control, brake assist, blind-spot and cross-path detection), and a Premium Entertainment Group (upgraded audio, dual video screens, rear DVD entertainment center, rear-seat video system).
The Durango’s standard engine is Chrysler’s much-praised 3.6-liter V-6 delivering 295 horsepower, plenty adequate to propel the hefty Durango’s 5,100 pounds. Partnered with an eight-speed automatic transmission, the drivetrain’s towing capacity is rated at a healthy 6,200 pounds.
The Durango’s weight does make itself felt in a couple of ways: On the open road, the big vehicle glides along in near-silent comfort. Along curvy secondary routes, though, that weight does contribute to some substantial body lean if driven too aggressively.
Overall, the Durango is a surprisingly well-rounded family hauler, perfect for summer vacation travel, carpooling or simply ferrying the kids around to their various activities. And with its bold styling from grille to taillights, it projects a dynamic attitude even while doing the most mundane chores of modern life.