With all the new models and innovations coming from the Chrysler Group, it seems easy to forget about some of the models that have been around for a while. However, I assure you that Dodge has not forgotten about the Durango, their midsized SUV that was introduced as a 1998 model. To this day, the 2012 Dodge Durango continues to impress automotive critics with its interior and exterior design and its impressive performance. For these reasons, Popular Mechanics included the Durango on its list of the Top 10 Cars for 2012. In their seven-SUV torture test on a Michigan sand dune, the Durango outperformed the competition hands down. It even came in handy while towing the other SUVs out of the sand when they got stuck.
So what makes the Durango so much better than its competition? Quite simply put, it is in a class of its own. While all of the other midsized SUVs in this price range are based on a front wheel drive car or minivan platform, the Durango is related to the Mercedes-Benz ML and GM SUVs. This means that it also inherits the rear wheel drive platform that helps it tow more and outperform the competition on and off-road. It also allows the front wheels to be pushed further to the corners; helping with the Durango’s sporty exterior styling and reduced front overhang.
The Durango features 3.6 L V6 and 5.7L HEMI V8 engines with 290 and 360 horsepower respectively. There is also the option of having either rear or all-wheel-drive depending on your needs. Even these powerful engines returned respectable fuel economy. The HEMI V8 gets an EPA estimated 20 mpg hwy while the V6 achieves an EPA estimated 23 mpg hwy. When Popular Mechanics tested the V6 over a three-day period, they reported getting 20 mpg. Don’t forget, that includes off-road testing as well. So whether you just want a comfortable ride to work or a vehicle that can traverse just about any terrain you throw at it, you can be sure that the Durango can handle it while keeping you comfortable.