First drive: 2014 Dodge Durango V6 in the UAE

First drive: 2014 Dodge Durango V6 in the UAE

2014 Dodge Durango in the UAE 16
With all the hype over three-row crossover SUVs such as the Ford Explorer, the Honda Pilot and the Nissan Pathfinder, we’re wondering why more people don’t ask us about the Dodge Durango when discussing their shopping lists. They should, because we could hardly find a fault with the facelifted 2014 version that we just drove across the country in.

There’s no cramped seating, no hard-plastic dashboard and no CVT nonsense to moan about. And to top it off, the 2014 Dodge Durango looks even better than it already did. The facelift threw in a more aggressive front bumper, LEDs lining the headlights, new wheel choices, and a 192-LED rear lamp cluster that’s even fancier than the one on the Charger.

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There’s four trim levels, namely the base SXT V6, the Limited V6 and the Limited V8, the new R/T V8 and the top-spec Citadel V8. We found the R/T to be the most visually appealing, with its smoked headlights, colour-coded trim and slightly-lower suspension. However, our tester for the day was the Limited V6.

2014 Dodge Durango in the UAE

Despite being the second-lowest trim level, it came well-equipped, with amenities such as a touchscreen multimedia system, rear camera with guiding lines, an LCD screen for a speedo, smart keyless entry and start, a power driver’s seat, a sunroof, cruise control, 18-inch alloys and fairly spacious seating for seven. Paying more for the higher trim levels gets you more doodads, such as a bigger touchscreen, adaptive cruise, HIDs, navigation, power tailgate, 20-inch dubs and all that. But the good bits, such as the soft-touch upper dash and door panels, the thick padded armrests and the highly-configurable seating, are all standard even in the base model.

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We had stepped into our tester without checking what engine it had, so the 290 hp 3.6-litre V6 initially had us thinking it’s a V8. There’s good low-end response in city traffic, no doubt the new 8-speed gearbox helping it along, but it kind of runs out of steam when trying to overtake at highways, which is when we figured out we were driving a V6. Given our car was brand new, it’ll probably feel a bit quicker once the motor is broken in properly.

It drives very nicely too. The fat steering wheel had decent heft and feedback. The brakes were fine with good pedal feel. The body roll was never obvious in normal driving. It’s among the quietest in its class, aside from a slight hint of wind noise. All-round visibility is acceptable. The smooth gearbox even had frigging paddle-shifters. And it rides fairly smoothly, at least with our 18-inchers. As we said, on the daily run, there is absolutely nothing to complain about.

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Our convoy drive took a surprise detour through some mountain trails between Kalba and Fujairah as well. The gravel tracks were uneven, sometimes with sharp rocks, random slopes and even small water streams cutting across. We shared the narrow path sometimes with freely-running camels, squeezing around them with steep drop-offs on one side and cliff-walls on the other. We came out of it all just fine. Any crossover could do it really, and the Durango V6, with its automatic all-wheel-drive, is no exception.

Only V8 models come with a low-range gear setting, but it’s more of a use-when-needed option rather than certifying the Durango as an offroader. Whether V6 or V8, both are good for venturing to offroad camp sites, not for intentionally jumping onto the dunes, just like all its direct rivals.

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Truth be told, if I overcame my current fetish for Range Rovers, adopted five kids, and developed a soft spot for midsize crossovers, the Durango would be the only car on my shopping list. With a V8 of course.

Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury. Additional photos by Nick Englund.

What do you think?

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Comments

  1. I have short listed the durango for my next vehicle as well. Loved the new shape and definitely prefer it over the ford explorer.

  2. Hey Mash,
    What’s up….

    Great efforts as usual.
    on another topic, you mentioned earlier on some comments that the new nissan qashqai won’t make it to GCC. can you please clarify why. is because of the 1.2 1.4 engines or what exactly.

    from the reviews and the spec Nissan promoting it, seems very promising.

    Thanks,
    Mohamed

  3. Hi Mash,

    What do you mean by motor is broken in properly? Didn’t know that the principle of speakers (get better after burn in) applied to motors?

  4. Hi Mash,

    Nice article. Any update on launch date and pricing in GCC, especially Saudi Arabia.

  5. It is one of the best handling SUVs apart from the German ones. Do anybody have an idea about the service and maintenance charges here?

  6. in what i have read to some reviews it is really a good suv.in fact better than other suv in some aspects and features.however here in uae,if they raise the price and would not be able to add more like free service and the maintenance cost be high,same old story-few will put it in their list.why buy a higher price with almost the same capabilities,almost the same mpg.

  7. What kind of bicycle are those with huge tires touching the seat

  8. Mash, could you please explain what exactly is the meaning of a ‘firm ride’ ?
    As in, how does one feel in a car with a firm ride?

  9. The rear lights of the Durango if shown in the pic would be good.

  10. Mash how do you rate the Durango V6 vs. Laredo vs. Explorer, in respect of SUV and daily car, also the resale, would be an interesting feedback…

    • i have the 2013 V6 crew and i rate it very highly compared to explorer and better than the LAREDO. lots of space and comfort and a very good value for money as i got remote starter,rear camera,good engine,30GB HARDDRIVE for music,sunroof,leather seats,powered liftgate plus maintenance contract upto 60k kms for aed145k and 1000aed petrol card last ramadan. there may be a chance if they had maintenance contract by the end of this month or so especially during ramadan

  11. Is the gear shifter a rotary gear shifter knob? Just like those found in Jaguar’s’ and the Land Rover Range Rover and also on the Land Rover LR4? I’m asking as I cannot seem to find a shift stick for the gear.

    On another note, what is the price of the 2014 Dodge Durango R/T 5.7 HEMI V8 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia? I would pay anything for it.

  12. Finally! An American Car with a good Review.. Lol Focus is European Ford. We’re thinking bout buying a Durango tbh..

  13. hey mash…
    if you could tell me the price range for each trim…that would be great…Thanks

  14. Hey Mash,
    I owned a Dodge Durango 2003V8 5.9 at that time before I leave Saudi Arabia for my education. I can not think of any car to substitute my Dodge but a brand new one. My Queestion is, Is it worth to go for a V8 instead of V8 being a Salaried Person thinking of getting it on Loan. I stay in Jeddah which is a city, The times when I would need that Power migght be on a Highway Travel or for a bit of dragging it. Is it worth to go for a v8 for such reasons?
    dont mind my silliness(if it does seems so)

  15. HI Mashfique,

    I am undecided between Ford Explorer and Dodge Duarngo. I have test driven both and enjoyed the Durango more. But the Explorer is giving me more gadgetry inside and a better deal on service contracts and add on benefits. Dodge’s Ramdan deal is not very attractive although the car is good.
    Please guide me.

  16. Hi Mash

    Is it worth to buy a durango which is a demo car done more than 5000 kms, for 150K Aed when the new one is available for 156K ?

    Also between V6 and V8 durango which one is better besides the obvious ‘power’ part ?

    Please advise asap

  17. HI Mash,

    Is it true that the Durango maintenance charges are very high compared to Yukon.I got an offer for 116k for SXT in KSA but my friends keep telling me that the spare parts are not available and maintenance cost is very high.Could you please reply.

  18. How would you compare the V6 Durango vs the V6 3.5 Pajero? How would they fare on a head to head drag race?

  19. Hi Mash,

    I am looking for a 7 seat 4×4. Mostly driving on highway and very often desert drives. How is Durango V6 to consider? my budget is between 100k to 150k. Appreciate your expert advice.

    my options are

    Prado : very expensive
    Pajero : 3rd row seats are not good.
    Durango : Ground clearance / approach angle not good.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      The Durango is only good for wadi drives, and although possible to take on sand, it’s not for dune-bashing. The Prado is better than the decent Pajero in every possible way, so you have to decide if you want to pay extra for it.

  20. Thank you Mash.

    Is there any other vehicle which you think would suit my requirements?

    Thank you once again for the advice.

  21. Dear Mashifque

    I am in the market for a used reliable SUV from 2010 to 2012 models.In my list I have Durango , Explorer , Prado , Thaoe , Seqoie and cross overs like Acadia and traverse.Kindly help me to choose a less maintenance suv since i am already in trouble with my 2007 Explorer after using 2 years its Auto transmission need to overhaul for the cost of 7000 sr. I cant believe.This time i want to choose a good one to use for the next 4 to 5 years….Please assist me choosing one.My favourite is Durango but most people in Usa has problems with electrical , engine and transmission.Is it wise to choose Durango,,,

  22. Also include Pajero in the list and consider…
    I dont do off roading but will drive to Dubai and Bahrain once in a year.which an average 2000 km trip…Please help me

  23. for me durango v6 is very good and the best .

  24. I am too thinking to buy a Limited. They are starting from 143,000 QAR here in Qatar.

  25. Hi Mash, am planning to buy Dodge Durango 2011 model, mileage 130000, GCC specs, pricing around AED 65k. What checks should be done and what’s your views on the car and price

  26. I recently bought the 2020 Durango SXT model… I can say its a big upgrade from my previous CRV. Drives very comfortably. Thumbs up…..

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