2011 Dodge Durango Crew RWD new car reviews

We recently got a second look at the new-for-2011 Dodge Durango.
The model designation for this one is simple: Crew.

Better than: The base Durango
But not as good as: The loaded one
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 51.92

Though the Crew is second trim line from the bottom of the Durango lineup, that doesn't mean it's some loss-leading stripper model. The redesigned-for-2011 SUV can still be ordered with a V8, and our test vehicle was nicely equipped: five-speed automatic transmission, dual-zone climate control, eight-way power driver seat, third-row seating, touch-screen media center and even a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Our truck did have the V6 though, and options included the Garmin navigation system ($695) and power sunroof ($850).

Other staff views

Tom Heath
Tom Heath

First off, the new Durango in nearly any guise is a huge step up from the earlier examples. That's not to say that the V-6 Durango Crew is the right answer, however. I liked the huge amount of interior space, and I can't say I ever felt crowded despite loading the Durango down with many boxes of magazines, merchandise, and booth equipment for our trip to the World Challenge races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

While we had plenty of space for all these things, the added weight made the V-6 feel downright wheezy through the hilly roads of northern California. Maybe it's that the Durango is already a bit portly; it weighs around 5,000 pounds before you even sit in it. Perhaps the Durango would be better suited to a gaggle of kids and soccer balls?

I think the Durango with a V-8 (Yeah, I'll say it...HEMI V-8.) would be a much nicer rig. As it sits, the Durango Crew with a V-6 is just a bit shy of a thumbs-up from this jaded enthusiast.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid

We had the Durango during our week at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca World Challenge race as a car to haul the Grassroots Motorsports booth and get around the Monterey area.

Loading the car was easy and the Durango held a tremendous amount of stuff and the completely flat loading surface made it more of a pickup with a roof than an SUV, which is exactly what we needed for the weekend.

The car is a competent transportation car and did what it needed to do, no more and no less. This is the kind of vehicle that you don't love or hate, more of an automotive appliance. While I personally never buy appliance vehicles myself, they do have their place and for many the Durango should work well.

That being said, I would be hard pressed to choose the Durango over the Ford Explorer. The Explorer has a bit better fit and finish and it a bit cooler looking.

I rated it 3's in almost every category, and that is what it was to me, a solid but uninspiring SUV.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.
View comments on the GRM forums
Our Preferred Partners