2011 Dodge Durango V8

The Good:
– Aggressive styling
– Cabin space and quality
– Decent handling
The Bad:
– Noticeably long
– Not exactly quick
– Rides a bit firmly

It’s worth repeating that the previous Dodge Durango was a vehicle so awful that you could buy a brand new one at the dealer a whole year after it went out of production. While the public caught on to how bad that truck-based SUV was, the new-for-2011 is a completely different vehicle from the ground up, and playing in a completely different league altogether.

The new Dodge Durango is now based on a stretched version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s unibody frame, and it shows. The midsize SUV looks long, but also handsome thanks to its Dodge-y front-end and sizeable 20-inch alloy wheels. The low front bumper hints at how much off-roading it is not designed to do.

The Durango’s three-row-seating interior continues the trend of class-leading cabins started by post-bankruptcy Chrysler across their model range. With rubbery soft-touch materials all over the upper dash and door sills, smooth leather on the seats and armrests, chrome bits and fake wood, the interior is conservatively pleasing. Though not as luxuriously-appointed as the trim materials in the latest Charger, the Durango’s quarters easily bests the plasticky competition from General Motors and Honda, while matching the new Ford Explorer and the Toyota Prado.

That stretch over the Jeep pays dividends in space, as there is ample legroom for adult passengers in all three rows, with reasonable headroom even all the way in the back. The front seats are mildly bolstered, while the rear ones are simple benches. Even with all seats up, there is enough boot space left to rival a small hatchback. Manually fold down the last row and it becomes a room big enough to party in. The practical cabin has various cubbies, pockets and shelves to store knick-knacks, while two uncovered cup-holders up front, a few more hidden ones in the back, and bottle holders in the doors, all take care of the drinks.

Our Crew Lux model, only one level below the top Citadel trim, is pretty well-loaded. Alongside the usual power options, features include adaptive cruise control, auto headlights, fog lamps, a good tri-zone a/c with rear controls on the ceiling, power tailgate, power driver’s seat, sunroof, rear camera with sensors, rain-sensing wipers, keyless start and of course, the superb 6.5-inch touchscreen-based entertainment system that integrates navigation, Bluetooth phone, USB port and hard drive, with nine speakers, a subwoofer and voice controls too, all of which work perfectly. There is even a self-recharging removable torch in the boot. About the only things extra on the highest model are HID headlights, rear DVD entertainment and a shinier radiator grille.

Powered by a 5.7-litre “Hemi” V8, it puts down 360 hp at 5150 rpm and 520 Nm of torque at 4250 rpm via full-time all-wheel-drive. Of course, it is saddled with 2448 kilos to lug around, and the smooth-but-dated 5-speed automatic needs a few more gears to the engine justice. This was confirmed by our 0-100 kph test where, combined with hot May weather and a fresh engine, we managed only 9.8 seconds, barely quicker than the new V6-powered Ford Explorer. Of course, it would be wrong to call the Hemi “slow” since it always had enough rolling juice for overtaking and the like. Our fuel consumption was average at best, even with cylinder-deactivation tech, as we managed 16.5 litres/100 km.

Still, for a 4×4 this big, the Durango handles itself pretty well. Aided by 265/50 tyres on 20-inch wheels as well as four-wheel-independent suspension, it drives a whole lot like a big sedan. Take long curves at 130 kph and there is no drama whatsoever. Body roll in the sharpest corners is moderate when taken quickly, with no bouncy after-effects once straightened, while grip gradually gives way to safe understeer. The decently-weighted steering lacks feel, but is also decently precise. The ABS-assisted disc brakes are fairly adequate.

As for comfort, the Durango is pretty quiet at highway speeds, with only minor wind noise noticeable at 130 kph. However, with those low-profile tyres, it does ride a bit firmly compared to its competitors, a trade-off for the good handling. It is also a bit complicated to park, considering it’s longer than most midsize SUVs, but the optional rear camera makes it easier.

To add a word about off-road prowess, the V8-powered Durango models actually come with low-range gearing, though Dodge seems rightly hesitant to brag about it. The front bumper is mounted very low to aid aerodynamics and fuel efficiency, but also hindering any real slope-climbing capability. Still, we like that there is a “LOW” knob on the console, so there is still hope if the Durango beaches itself on unexpectedly-soft seaside sand.

The Dodge Durango has gone from being a complete dud to being possibly the best vehicle of its kind, with proper three-row seating, premium interior and user-friendly tech. If all you need is a characterful people-hauler that isn’t a complete bore, there are worse ways to spend your money.

Price Range:
Dh 145,000-195,000

Current Model Introduced in:
2011

Body Styles:
5-door wagon

Engines:
5.7L 360 hp V8 / 520 Nm

Transmissions:
5-speed automatic

Setup:
Four-wheel-drive

Suspension:
Front: independent
Rear: independent

Brakes:
Front: discs
Rear: discs

Curb Weight:
2448 kg

Length:
5075 mm

Wheelbase:
3045 mm

Top Speed:
213 kph(limited)

Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
9.8 sec.

Observed Test Fuel Economy:
16.5 litres/100km

32 comments to 2011 Dodge Durango V8

  • Davis

    Well, the 5-speed is going to be replaced with an 8-speed, possibly by early next year. That should certainly spice things up even more.

    Fortunately, its coming on both the 3.6L V6 and 5.7L V8.

  • philip

    i am very interested in this; but i want to know if the trip computer displays KMS/MILES TO EMPTY TANK.let me know. i have googled this and no has mentioned that this feature is there in the new durango

    • N

      Is that one of the considerations to decide if you want to buy this car?
      Anyways, yes, it has “DTE” (Distance to Empty)
      Very good car, have had it for more than a month with 5000kms.

    • Sidhartha

      It can display both options – you can choose kms or miles… seriously a very good car. 600 kms is the average on 3.6 V6 to empty tank from full.

  • philip

    one of my considerations; as i own a 2006 volvo s40 and have done 150,000kms. its great when there are long trips etc..
    which one do you own the V6 pentastar or the HEMI?
    i am planning one early next year and i am very interested as months pass by.
    found out that grand cherokee wasnt for my taste if i need space and long trips
    pathfinder-heard it is not that great for long trips,less space at the rear seats compared to durango and service interval at 5000kms isnt that great compared to dodge service interval at 10000kms

    • ^

      Have the HEMI. Took a trip from Dubai to Salalah, was super comfortable. Didn’t realise how distance passed by. Didn’t switch driver till Muscat (Which is good, as we’re not regular long-trips), where we took an over-night break.

  • Habshan

    Hey hi,
    what is the price of a full option v6 ?

  • Daine

    Is the Durango worth it than the Nissan pathfinder

  • philip

    it depends on your usage of travel.
    off road wise the pathfinder is more capable; long trips i think the durango outscores plus the service interval is longer than the nissan which is great, it will be the resale value of these cars which is another deciding factor.
    i heard with the new durango it is not the matter of the mind when you make your decision but the matter of your heart.

  • philip

    full options V6 will come around AED135K

  • Ammu

    We are planning to buy a dodge durango.. What about the resale value & parts rate (compared to mitsibushi parts rate )

  • Binoy

    Any news on those 8-speed transmissions? If the Durango available in Dubai has these new transmissions or still plying with the old 5-speed ones?

    Appreciate the feedback.

    Binoy

  • Esam

    can you advice me is the durango best choice for use in and out city , especially if I’m going to use it as my main car (my children 4 + my wife)

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury

      It’s good for you. Just try it out and make sure you can park it.

    • Pale

      Being an 8 cylindered car, it would give the power one would desire…
      Now having 8 cylinders behind the collosal bonnet, people would presume that its a gas guzzler…..but its certainly not so…we’ve been having it for over a year now…and made several long trips…..the average has dropped to less than 10 l/100 km on long trips while on daily drives we managed to keep it just under 19……
      And it definitely is the most comfortable ride under 190K….the 3rd row can accomodate 2 full obese adults….no kidding
      The only drawback is that its NOT fit for the desert….

    • Sidhartha

      Yes it is, you now get full options, leather, sun roof, remote start, power lift gate, etc in the V6 Pentastar engine at a great value too. I got one last week and strongly recommend you go to the dealer and take a test drive.

  • Francis brems

    I own a Durango 2009 from new and reading the comments on the older models as bad, dud and more of that. I agree it is not a beautiful car and a disaster in the desert (to low with the modified undercarriage) But for the rest….. what is so bad about the previous models????

  • Sud

    I am considering buying an SUV soon and almost decided on the Prado. However the new Durango is quite tempting! Anyone who has used/driven both please let me know your comments. For me it will be mostly city driving but will have trips between Muscat and UAE (long drives) and offroading will be limited. Thanks in advance!

    • vinod

      Checkout the below link before buying. seems it is having some minor quality issues ( may be dodge has already sorted out these. No harm in checking)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV6BYVv0fuQ

    • N

      What issues did the video refer to? (Video has been deleted, apparently)

      We’ve had the car for 18 months now, and have had only one issue where the power seat motor had to be replaced.

      Even the a/c works great during the ugly summer (July) afternoons after being baked in the sun…

      The only thing this cars lacks is ground clearance (Hopeless off-road, except sandy beaches as Mashfique mentioned), but then if Chrysler gave it ground clearance, I’m sure JGC would be out of business… and, probably the city average – 18l/100km (Not bad for a 5.7l 8cyl, eh?)

    • Sidhartha

      go ahead, much much better than the Prado, since now the the Crew 3.6L V6 has full options too… superb vehicle with more than enough power, excellent driving dynamics and very quiet & comfortable ride. Much better than the Japanese other brands for a luxurious & spacious 7 seater.

  • Zahid K

    Durango or Acadia? Hmm…

  • Mahesh

    Iam in dilemma which one to go with dodge 5. 7 or prado 4.0…dodge price very tempting..

    • Sidhartha

      I guess the 3.6 V6 should be sufficient power, as the prado gives out 270 HP and the Durango gives out 290 HP. specially now that the Durango Crew is coming with full options with leather, sun-roof, dvd player, remote start, power lift rear gate… and many more… superb value in it!!!

  • Mahesh

    Can anyone advise which one is best in all aspects for family drive…4X4 …is Durango is ok…plz..help me..dear Durango users?
    2013 Durango if sell after 5 yrs how we can expect..?

  • Junais

    The top of the range citadel (2012) now costs only 150k, where 2013 costs 199k. Hurry up!!!

  • Sidhartha

    The 3.6 V6 Pentastar – labelled as Crew is an awesome engine and great ride. Specially now being offered with Full options for 145 K. Superb value for money with all the works. I got one in the DSF offer last week and can’t get off it :)

    • Sidhartha

      forgot to mention DVD player with Rear Parking camera and Park assist and a massive 28 GB hard drive space. Only the Navigation is missing, for which you can trust you mobile phone Navigation softer to be more precise.

  • Afif

    Hi,
    Durango Crew (Full option) for AED145K. Update received at 2013 Jan from Trading Enterprise. Either Charger and Durango OR Charger is loaded with Garmin map. Can’t remember. But truly a great SUV, leave out the second-hand market. You get service till 60,000kms OR 3 years! Tell me what else needed!

  • Ajmal Jalal

    Is Durango suitable for desert driving and also for hard offroad driving.

    • ^

      You can drive it in desert sand, not on the hills/slopes, though. The front lip hangs way too low, as much as Armada (just to get an idea, as you don’t spot Durango’s very often).

  • raj

    Hi can anyone tell me where I could buy Halo Headlights for my Dodge Durango 2013 model please .

    Raj

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