2017 Dodge Durango R/T new car reviews

The 2017 Dodge Durango is available with either a 3.6-liter V6 good for 295 horsepower, or a 5.7-liter V8 that can deliver 360 horsepower. Our test truck was the R/T model, which meant we got that big V8.

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David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

First, thanks to whoever left the radio set to yacht rock. I savored the soothing sounds of Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross and Kenny Logins while enjoying classic three-row seating. It was like being a kid again, riding around in the back of my parents’ station wagon. Except we never had a wagon because we weren’t that cool.

Like the Grand Cherokee that it’s based on, the Durango just has that classic, timeless feel. It’s so American. If the people behind the Dodge Charger built an SUV, this would be it.

Even though there’s a touch screen, the dash features large, easy-to-use knobs. The exterior lines are muscular. It doesn’t feel, look or act like a Nissan, Honda or even something like a Ford Edge.

Our test Durango was the R/T, the sportster of the lineup: 5.7-liter Hemi V8, monotone paint, low-profile tires. The Durango R/T officially starts at $42,095, although their website is showing me a net price of $40,440. (I love the fact that there’s a “440” in the price, even though that engine wasn’t a Hemi.)

I have spent time with this exact model before. It's a sportier take on the traditional SUV. No, it’s not a Miata. It’s also not a BMW X-whatever. Like I said, it’s the Dodge Charger of SUVs, and that’s what it excels at.

Tom Suddard Tom Suddard
Digital Experience Director

I didn’t spend much time with the Durango, but after a quick drive I hopped out with a simple thought: Big SUVs have come a long way in a decade. It was quiet, comfortable, and quick enough. I wouldn’t call it fast (even the R/T model), but it had plenty of power to get out of its own way. If vintage Rolls-Royce was selling this SUV, they’d describe the power as simply “sufficient,” and they wouldn’t be wrong.

A few quick thoughts:
• Even in the rain, it’s remarkably composed when you put your foot down. Thanks, all-wheel drive.
• The infotainment system is really complicated. I can't tell if, after taking a few days to get acclimated, I’d love it or hate it .
• 7200-pound towing capacity? Sweet!
• I like Dodge interiors: just the right amount of soft stuff to touch and a fairly simple layout.

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Comments

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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Associate Editor
7/31/17 4:00 p.m.

Oh, and David, I left it set to Yacht Rock. Does it even play other stations??

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
7/31/17 6:29 p.m.

I drove one of these when this body style first came out and was pleasantly surprised by the handling and power (and good style, night and day vs. the old Durango which was ugly as hell).

in the end, the interior didn't really have the space that I wanted (kind of narrow and tight for a truck that big), so we got the Sequoia instead...which is big and bulletproof, but super-boring to drive. The Dodge was actually fun.

PeterAK
PeterAK Dork
8/1/17 5:12 p.m.

Anybody here own one of these a few years old? Prices for used ones make them seem attractive.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
8/1/17 6:05 p.m.
Tom Suddard wrote: Oh, and David, I left it set to Yacht Rock. Does it even play other stations??

Thank you. Yeah, I left it set to that station the entire time the truck was with me.

onemanarmy
onemanarmy New Reader
8/2/17 8:43 a.m.

Prices are attractive because they are of poor quality.

How FCA is still in business is a mystery to me (other than Wrangler sales)

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
8/2/17 8:56 a.m.
onemanarmy wrote: Prices are attractive because they are of poor quality. How FCA is still in business is a mystery to me (other than Wrangler sales)

Chrysler also has the 200 and the Dart, and Fiat has the progressively-styled 500L. Oh, I see your point.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
8/2/17 9:08 a.m.
PeterAK wrote: Anybody here own one of these a few years old? Prices for used ones make them seem attractive.

My uncle had an Aspen. Prior generation (or 2?) obviously, as the Aspen was a 1-generation model only.

He loved the vehicle, and it was a great truck... until year 6 of his ownership when everything started to fall apart and rust. Note that it was still a good, functional vehicle, but the build quality was not there for the long haul.

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