2016 Dodge Durango R/T new car reviews

To test the Durango's cargo capacity, we packed a couple bikes and equipment for a weekend trip.
The R/T swallowed everything, no problem.

SUVs in general provide a sense of power and safety on the road. The 2016 Dodge Durango is no different. Our test vehicle came with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, which puts down 360 horsepower. New aggressive styling adds to the powerful demeanor.

Other staff views

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Digital Experience Director

I really couldn't make up my mind here. On one hand, the interior was nice and the infotainment system was aweome. On the other, everything had a cheap feeling that I couldn't quite place. It was fast, but lacked all-wheel-drive to actually use any of its power. It was big, but seemed too narrow inside to really carry stuff like an old suburban of equal size. Overall, it felt like a near miss–especially when I looked at the sticker price.

I think it would be a capable tow vehicle, but I couldn't see myself buying one. It does look pretty cool, though.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

The Durango R/T isn't the only sporty SUV out there, as it's quickly becoming a crowded market. This is the one, though, for us muscle car fans. For one, it doesn't cost a million dollars--or even six figures. Call it a modern take on a Road Runner fitted with a 440. It's built for a purpose, not necessarily to impress.

The Durango comfortably, stylishly and quickly carried two of us plus three BMX bikes to a weekend event. Despite the big wheels and low-profile tires, it didn't beat us up or wear us down.

The interior controls all make sense and are easy to use. The gear shift knob might be the one thing that upsets traditionalists, but in a world where everyone has to have a unique gear selector, this one at least makes sense and doesn't leaving you wondering where "park" is located.

Does high-performance SUVs make sense? We'll let the market decide. But if shopping for one, I'd definitely check out this one.

Rick Goolsby Rick Goolsby
Events Manager

I actually had a 2004 Durango for a company vehicle at one time so I was really interested to see how far they had come. I was really impressed with the 2017 version in both interior and exterior quality.

The exterior had this sinister look to it with the dark gray paint and black wheels. The interior was well laid out and the materials felt like they were good quality.

The best part is the engine and the way it sounds when you accelerate. I would buy one just for that!

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Comments

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Storz
Storz SuperDork
4/8/16 1:46 p.m.

I wouldn't kick it out of the garage!

ultraclyde
ultraclyde UberDork
4/8/16 2:01 p.m.

Best looking Magnum they've built yet

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
4/8/16 2:21 p.m.

I'm glad to see over the top interior colors making a comeback.

Papabear
Papabear New Reader
4/8/16 2:54 p.m.

Looking at the spec sheet I would expect more than 360 HP from a 57 Liter Engine

bravenrace
bravenrace MegaDork
4/8/16 2:59 p.m.

Idunno. You can get a pretty nice AWD Flex Ecoboost for that money. And from the pics the Flex looks like it has a much better interior as well.

NickD
NickD HalfDork
4/8/16 3:08 p.m.

When can we expect the Durango Hellcat?

chaparral
chaparral HalfDork
4/8/16 6:58 p.m.

Tommy, AWD is not necessary with a Durango R/T in the South. The weight distribution is 47/53.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
4/8/16 7:10 p.m.

I can't keep track of Chrysler anymore. Isn't this essentially a Dodge Journey? Or is the Journey going away for 2017? The Chrysler Town and Country is now the Pacifica. The Dart and 200 are going away. They stuff a Hemi in anything it will fit in. Ditto the Hellcat motor. For Chryslers sake I hope we don't have another oil crisis (of course we will eventually) because all they have left is wonking SUVs. Maybe they think the Fiat end will save them? GM and Ford (especially Ford!) are light years ahead in product mix. Time to call Lee Iacocca back!!

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
4/8/16 8:09 p.m.

A Journey is different in every conceivable way. I find it ironic that you pay little enough attention to Chryslers to tell two completely different vehicles apart (fwd vs rwd, 1000+ lb difference, 4cyl vs v8 in some cases, etc), but feel qualified to comment on their 'product mix'.

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
4/8/16 8:24 p.m.

I drove one of these the first year it came out and was really, really impressed with the driving manners considering how large of a vehicle is. Feels like a sportscar compared to our Sequoia. Also drives really "small" - felt more like it was Rav4 size than a big SUV.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
4/8/16 10:54 p.m.
Vigo wrote: A Journey is different in every conceivable way. I find it ironic that you pay little enough attention to Chryslers to tell two completely different vehicles apart (fwd vs rwd, 1000+ lb difference, 4cyl vs v8 in some cases, etc), but feel qualified to comment on their 'product mix'.

Riiiiiggghhttt. Different in every conceivable way? Really? Uh huh. Sure. Completely different in that one is heavy and the other one is heavier. No problem, let's stick a Hemi or Hellcat motor in there for some motivation. They are both large SUVs whether they are 4, 6 or 8 cylinder AWD, FWD or RWD. That's my point. And the average person couldn't tell them apart if they looked at them. Chrysler ditches it's 2 small vehicles to churn out another SUV. They have got nothing in the pipeline that's even slightly interesting to a person that wants something smaller and more economical. Chrysler has almost gone (has gone) bankrupt twice in my life time from stupidity like this and they never seem to learn. Like I said before all we need is another big time oil crisis and Chrysler will be toast. Fiat is already looking for a business partner to merge with and/or to unload the Jeep division to......to the highest bidder. I am sure you remember when FC was courting GM for a merger. Even GM knew better than to take that deal. The only thing dumber than having an all truck/SUV line up (maybe they should ask Isuzu about that business plan) is leasing/selling a $40K vehicle to anyone who has a pulse. When some of those loans/leases start going bad.....good luck. Maybe we can relive the 08/09 auto company melt down when the tax payers had to rescue them? Jeep and RAM are keeping Chrysler alive, when that market dries up...........and it will, so will Chrysler. So ya, I know a little bit about product mix and Chrysler doesn't have any. I find it ironic that you don't see this. I can't believe I am saying this but thank goodness for Ford and GM. They have finally seen the light and produce some world class small/economical/interesting cars.

iadr
iadr Dork
4/9/16 2:14 a.m.

Well, what way to ask you question... err...was there a question in there? It's more Grand Cherokee than anything.

And a Dodge Journey is a Mazda 5 competitor and this is a Sequoia competitor. See the difference?

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
4/10/16 8:59 p.m.
chaparral wrote: Tommy, AWD is not necessary with a Durango R/T in the South. The weight distribution is 47/53.

Yes it is! Floor it and instead of moving, one rear wheel just spins.

chiodos
chiodos Dork
4/10/16 10:33 p.m.

In reply to Feedyurhed:

You know the durango has been made for what a decade or more now? Its an suv, im no rocket surgen but a journey is the new not so useful, half crossover, half minivan abomination that we could do without. Also you know automakers produce cars that people buy, its not the automakers fault, its the consumers for thinking they need a great big suv to haul themselves and one kid around in.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
4/12/16 12:08 a.m.
Feedyurhed wrote:
Vigo wrote: A Journey is different in every conceivable way. I find it ironic that you pay little enough attention to Chryslers to tell two completely different vehicles apart (fwd vs rwd, 1000+ lb difference, 4cyl vs v8 in some cases, etc), but feel qualified to comment on their 'product mix'.

Riiiiiggghhttt. Different in every conceivable way? Really? Uh huh. Sure. Completely different in that one is heavy and the other one is heavier. No problem, let's stick a Hemi or Hellcat motor in there for some motivation. They are both large SUVs whether they are 4, 6 or 8 cylinder AWD, FWD or RWD. That's my point. And the average person couldn't tell them apart if they looked at them. Chrysler ditches it's 2 small vehicles to churn out another SUV. They have got nothing in the pipeline that's even slightly interesting to a person that wants something smaller and more economical. Chrysler has almost gone (has gone) bankrupt twice in my life time from stupidity like this and they never seem to learn. Like I said before all we need is another big time oil crisis and Chrysler will be toast. Fiat is already looking for a business partner to merge with and/or to unload the Jeep division to......to the highest bidder. I am sure you remember when FC was courting GM for a merger. Even GM knew better than to take that deal. The only thing dumber than having an all truck/SUV line up (maybe they should ask Isuzu about that business plan) is leasing/selling a $40K vehicle to anyone who has a pulse. When some of those loans/leases start going bad.....good luck. Maybe we can relive the 08/09 auto company melt down when the tax payers had to rescue them? Jeep and RAM are keeping Chrysler alive, when that market dries up...........and it will, so will Chrysler. So ya, I know a little bit about product mix and Chrysler doesn't have any. I find it ironic that you don't see this. I can't believe I am saying this but thank goodness for Ford and GM. They have finally seen the light and produce some world class small/economical/interesting cars.

That's a very large post. Did i hit a nerve? The Journey is not a 'large' SUV. It weighs the same as a BMW 5 series sedan (except in some variations the 5 series is much heavier!). A Durango is legitimately very large and heavy. I'm pretty sure the average person could tell them apart UNLESS that person was looking at two slightly differently optioned Durangos and you told them one of them was a Journey and they believed you because they had NO IDEA what a Journey looked like in the first place. Which may describe some people in this thread.

You are right that Jeep and RAM are floating the rest of the company. Fiat is in trouble and Marchionne is pretty open about that with his behavior. The sad thing about it is that most of Chrysler's problems with its product lineup go all the way back to 1998 and the loss of autonomy to what was at that point a company on a meteoric rise. ALL of the small and midsize releases since 1998 have been malaise. We can blame it on Chrysler, but they haven't exactly been free to succeed and many of the minds which contributed to their 1990s comeback left, such as Bob Lutz and Tom Gale. Motor Trend drags Gale along to help pick their Cars of the Year, and Lutz has since been involved in such unloved and generally ignored products as EVERYTHING RWD AT GM like GTO, CTS, Solstice/Sky, Camaro, etc. Chrysler's best people were either fired or run out or left while the getting was good and it's been a long battle to tread water with no product development budget ever since.

Honestly, I think Chrysler has done remarkably well under the circumstances in the last decade or so.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/12/16 11:07 a.m.
NickD wrote: When can we expect the Durango Hellcat?

I wondered the same thing.

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku PowerDork
4/12/16 7:32 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote:
chaparral wrote: Tommy, AWD is not necessary with a Durango R/T in the South. The weight distribution is 47/53.

Yes it is! Floor it and instead of moving, one rear wheel just spins.

Just needs a proper LSD and better tires. I think these are good looking. Even here in the north I wouldn't bother with 4WD, however I don't go offroad at all.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UltraDork
4/12/16 9:33 p.m.

You know one of my old neighbors had a Durango with a V6 in it and it could still tow his boat well. It had a really nice interior with TVs in the headrest and an HDMI port for each one (with kids this is amazing). I've always considered one but just driving a dodge off the lot is like instant loss in half of its value.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
4/12/16 11:35 p.m.

Sounds like you should buy one that was just driven off the lot.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
4/13/16 7:33 a.m.

Yeah its basically a stretched Grand Cherokee, so its not on the same scale as a Tahoe or Expedition but it can be had with a third row. I'd call it a mid sized if the Tahoe is full sized.

You can also get the SRT-8 Grand Cherokee with the 6.1 Hemi with 425hp/420lb-ft

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