It’s been 28 years since Jeep has made a pickup truck, something that the brand did regularly from 1947 to 1992, but the Wrangler-based Gladiator has finally arrived. Jeep tossed us the keys in Sacramento, California, and from there we drove it over 800 miles through the Nevada desert to Moab, Utah, to see how this truck handles in the 4×4 Mecca of North America.
The 60/40-split swing-out tailgate reportedly aids in loading and cleaning
by ALEX REID | FEBRUARY 6, 2019
Ram has upgraded the tailgate on its 2019 1500 pickup truck with its latest and greatest idea: the Multi function Tailgate.
The Multifunction Tailgate features a 60/40 split and can be opened swing-away barn-door-style, making it easier to load and unload the bed, or to step up into it.
Forklift loading is now an option, too, and this should make it easier to wash the bed.
The tailgate is fully dampened, and can also drop down like a regular tailgate.
The doors can be opened independently of each other, which is helpful when a trailer is attached, because it doesn’t require it to be unhooked. Each door can swing up to 88 degrees and retains its 907-kg load rating.
“The Ram Multi function Tailgate is intuitive to operate, and owners will find it immediately useful,” says Reid Bigland, head of Ram brand. “Combined with Ram’s class-exclusive RamBox feature and new tailgate step, we’re taking Ram’s cargo management and storage to the next level.”
On top of the versatile bed, the Ram 1500 can be optioned with RamBox cargo management, which includes lockable storage in the bed rails with a 115-volt400-watt outlet.
The Multifunction Tailgate will be available in the second quarter of 2019 and can be added to any of the seven Ram 1500 trim levels.
Canada-only Ram Sport to start at $52,595 when new truck range goes on sale this spring
The all-new 2019 Ram 1500 will start at $42,095 in Quad Cab trim when it goes on sale in Canada this spring, FCA Canada announced March 8.
Production of Regular Cab will not begin until later in the year, and the pricing for those models will be announced closer to their on-sale date.
For now, $42,095 will get you the base model Tradesman Quad Cab 4×2, though the range will top out with Limited Crew Cab 4×4 V-8, available at $74,195 in Canada (all prices listed are before a $1,895 destination fee).
Turning the 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 mild hybrid in the Tradesman and Big Horn models into a 5.7-litre HEMI V-8 with eight-speed automatic will tack on an additional $1,900 to that price. The eTorque mild hybrid system will similarly cost a $500 premium on the other trims standard with the HEMI.
The Canada-exclusive Ram Sport also got a sticker figure today: $52,595 for a Quad Cab 4×2, or a premium of about $10,000 versus any similar configuration Tradesman model. The Sport, unveiled at last month’s Toronto auto show, gets a monochromatic exterior with special badging and unique hood and appearance pieces.
STORY CONTINUES BELOW
The prices represent a markup of roughly $2,700 more than a similarly equipped 2018 model on the bottom end of the range.
SAME DESIGN, NEW COLOUR CHOICES By Derek Boshouwers , 2018-09-04
Details for the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee are now known, and while the design and the different trims available remain the same as the outgoing edition, the model does get tech and safety updates for the new year.
Those trims number seven in all, by the way: The Laredo, Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT and Trackhawk.
We still await pricing information for Canada, and we’ll be sharing that with you as soon as it is available. Here’s a photo gallery of the new 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Photo: Jeep 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
All Grand Cherokee models now feature Blind-Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Path detection as standard equipment, and are equipped with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on all audio systems. The latest version of Uconnect’s 8.4-inch touchscreen radio and navigation system includes bonded glass, which features higher resolution and pinch-and-zoom capability.
The Limited edition gets a new variant, the Grand Cherokee Limited X; it features a unique front and rear fascia, performance hood, Granite Crystal exterior accents and new 20-inch low-gloss Granite Crystal aluminum wheels. Inside, a black interior with Heritage perforated seats and unique finishes is standard. The Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen multimedia centre and a 9-speaker audio system with active noise cancellation are also standard.
The Overland edition gets new 20-inch Heritage wheels and Summit models get unique optional 20-inch wheels.
Three new exterior paint colours – Slate Blue Pearl, Green Metallic and Sting-Grey – are available.
Photo: Jeep 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
The standard engine for the 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a 3.6L Pentastar V6 producing up to 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque; buyers can also opt for a 5.7L V8 (360 hp, 390 lb-ft of torque). The SRT version comes with a 6.4L V8 (475 hp, 470 lb-ft of torque), while the speed-minded Trackhawk is powered by a 6.2L supercharged V8 (707 hp, 645 lb-ft of torque).
The SRT and Trackhawk editions offer drivers five drive modes (Auto, Sport, Track, Snow and Tow) to allow them to modify performance to fit the surface and driving situation; the system alters the four-wheel-drive system, transmission, paddle shifters, stability control, suspension and steering. All trims except the SRT get stop-start technology for the engine, which allows for saving on fuel when stopped at lights or in traffic.
All Jeep Grand Cherokee engines are mated to the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, and all versions get the Quadra-Drive II system with a rear Electronic Limited Slip Differential (ELSD).
Photo: Jeep 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Available Exterior Colours:
• Diamond Black Crystal Pearl
• Sting-Grey (Laredo, Trailhawk, SRT and Trackhawk only)
• Walnut Brown Metallic (Limited, Overland and Summit only)
• Velvet Red Pearl
• Redline Pearl (Trailhawk, SRT and Trackhawk only)
• Green Metallic (Trailhawk, SRT and Trackhawk only)
• Slate Blue Pearl (Limited, Trailhawk, Overland, Summit, SRT and Trackhawk only)
• Granite Crystal Metallic
• Billet Metallic
• Ivory Tri-Coat Pearl (Overland, Summit, SRT and Trackhawk only)
• Bright White
Available Interior Colours:
• Black (all trims)
• Black/Light Frost Beige (Laredo, Limited and Overland)
• Black/Ruby Red (Trailhawk)
• Black/Tan (Overland) Jeep Brown/Diesel Grey (Overland)
• Jeep Brown (Summit)
• Indigo Blue/Ski Grey (Summit)
• Black/Sepia (SRT and Trackhawk)
• Black/Demonic Red (Trackhawk)
Americans ask more of our trucks than we do of any other vehicle. In any given week, the average half-ton pickup might find itself commuting like a sedan, hauling a bed full of bricks and sand, towing some Jet Skis, navigating muddy ranchland, or exploring off-road trails. It’s no wonder that we bought 2.8 million of the things last year.
The best-selling pickup in the United States last year—and indeed in every year for the past four decades—has been the Ford F-Series. But our 2019 Truck of the Year should give pause to prospective Blue Oval loyalists (or buyers of any truck, for that matter) because there isn’t a truck out there that so precisely hits the diverse needs of the segment better than the 2019 Ram 1500.
The fifth-generation Ram 1500 is the latest in a long line of evolutionary leaps for Fiat ChryslerAutomobiles’ bread-and-butter truck. The newest version, more than any other, seems poised to meet the needs of the 21st century truck buyer, with more variety, capability, comfort, convenience, and value than ever before.
ADVANCEMENT IN DESIGN
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there’s no arguing that Ram retains its reputation for stylish functionality. “Best-in-class: sophisticated without going over the top,” editor-in-chief Ed Loh said.
The 2019 Ram 1500’s clean-sheet redesign throws out many of the design cues we’ve come to expect from a Ram pickup—while still being unmistakably Ram. Gone are the crosshair grilles, mini-Mack fenders, and even the traditional Ram badge in most places. Instead, the 1500 provides buyers a choice of seven grilles and three head- and taillamp designs. Its 15 wheel designs feature stronger six-bolt hubs, ranging from an off-road-friendly 18 inches to an urban cowboy 22-inch style. And that’s on top of your typical pickup choices of extended or crew cab and bed sizes of either 5-foot-7 or 6-foot-4. A regular cab and 8-foot bed are expected next year.
“I love the styling,” road test editor Chris Walton said, eyeing the Ram 1500 Rebel. “It’s like the Viper of Rams.”
The interior updates, from the volume-grade Big Horn all the way up to the luxurious Limited, are even more impressive. Every Ram cabin has the tools needed for both work and play. The Ram’s configurable center console turns the space into an office, with room inside to swallow a bag and laptop, space for your phone and drinks, and a center console lid that can function as a desk.
When it comes to technology, Ram provides three versions of its Uconnect infotainment system, including a choice of an 8.4-inch or Tesla-like 12.0-inch touchscreen. “The center stack layout is a combination of Volvo (screen), Audi (switches), and Jaguar (rotary shifter),” Walton said. “The clever center console (phone charger/pocket, sliding bins, and side pockets) is something Honda would do. Ram has done its homework on picking the benchmarks for both design and packaging.”
Although a Silicon Valley-aping infotainment suite will certainly draw eyeballs in showrooms, the cabin’s functionality and furnishings are even more impressive.
Crew cab versions feature a flat floor in back and seats that flip up, allowing you to store valuables in the safety of the cabin. RamBins, hidden underneath the rear floormats, have grown in size to better accommodate hitch receivers or ratchet straps. In a first for pickups, the new Ram 1500’s higher trim levels have a rear bench seat that reclines up to 8 degrees and is heated and cooled, as well. Ever been chauffeured in a truck before? Now you can be.
We were particularly impressed by the level of fit and finish. Every trim, from the base Tradesman up to the Limited, furnishes at least one two-tone cabin treatment, injecting a bit of personality and style into the cabin at any price point. Unlike some of its competitors, Ram took the profitable luxury market seriously by offering two flavors of luxury trucks—the saddlebag-equipped (seriously) Laramie Longhorn and the thoroughly modern Limited.
“GM has to be kidding, going up against this with the High Country and Denali,” features editor Scott Evans said. “This is a luxury interior. Look at this wood! This leather! The metal, stitching, design, attention to detail! The leather on the grab handles! Cadillac could learn a thing or two by spending an afternoon in this cabin.”
Hyperbole aside, he’s right. The Ram’s cabin ain’t just good for a truck. It’s good, period.
Looks can be deceiving, and you’d be forgiven for thinking the 2019 Ram is a bit old school in its approach. Freed from the obligation (and expense) of chasing maximum payload and towing capacities with all-aluminum construction, the Ram team instead invested in a shotgun approach to improve capability, efficiency, and performance. Underpinning it all is a new high-strength steel platform, 4.0 inches longer and about 17 percent lighter than the old chassis. The aerodynamic sheetmetal is largely built from steel but with the strategic use of lighter metals for a total weight decrease of about 200 pounds.
Like the previous version of the Ram 1500, our 2019 Truck of the Year continues to come standard with a coil-spring rear suspension (now with frequency dampers), which slightly sacrifices towing and payload capacity in favor of a better ride when compared to leaf-sprung competitors. A four-corner air suspension with five ride heights and load leveling is available, giving the best of both worlds when it comes to ride and performance.
“It’s really a surprise on the road,” testing director Kim Reynolds said after a stint in an air suspension-equipped 1500. “It’s way more refined and sophisticated than the GMs. Steering is fluid and quality-feeling.” The standard suspension won praise at the expense of its competitive set, too. “The coil-spring suspension is better in the Ram than the ride in any of the GM trucks,” MotorTrend en Espanol managing editor Miguel Cortina said.
Despite the minor diet, maximum payload is up to 2,320 pounds, and max towing capacity rises to 12,750 pounds, besting Chevrolet, GMC, Nissan, and Toyota’s half-ton offerings (though shy of Big Daddy Ford’s max towing by 450 el-bees).
Things get even more impressive under the hood. Embracing global realities, two of the three available Ram 1500 engines come with supplemental electric motors to improve fuel economy and performance. These mild-hybrid powerplants, dubbed eTorque, use small starter-generators and a tiny 0.43-kW-hr battery stashed in the rear wall of the cab to aid the stop/start system and provide torque assist to allow the engines to lug around at cruising speed in four-cylinder mode longer and without having to downshift.
The eTorque system is standard on the base 3.6-liter V-6, which makes 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque, and is also available for a small premium on the top-level 5.7-liter V-8, which turns out 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. A non-eTorque 5.7-liter V-8 generating the same output as the eTorque version slots between the two electrified mills. (Because these motors aren’t assisting when the engines’ are generating peak power and torque, they don’t affect those figures.) An eight-speed automatic is standard across the line, as is rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive, limited-slip or locking rear axles, and three final drive ratios are also available.
The base eTorque V-6 is a lot of engine for the money. It makes its torque higher in its rev band, but it makes good use of the power it has. “It feels powerful even though it’s a V-6,” associate online editor Kelly Pleskot said. Evans agreed, adding that it “doesn’t have the torque of the V-8s, but it has plenty of power; the deficit only manifests itself when passing on Arizona’s 75-mph freeways.”
In back-to-back driving of our otherwise identically equipped V-8 Ram 1500 Longhorn and Limited models, Evans was one of the few judges who could feel the Limited’s eTorque assist at work. “I find the eTorque drivetrain a bit smoother through the revs and shifts and when accelerating up steep grades,” he said.
The fuel economy benefits of the eTorque V-8s show up in our data, but towing performance is a bit of a wash; all of the Ram V-8s, eTorque or not, performed nearly identically in both instrumented tow tests (where the Rams towed between 6,600 pounds and 11,400 pounds) and in our Davis Dam frustration test, which saw our V-6 Ram tester tow 4,020 pounds and the V-8s tow 7,780 pounds.
PERFORMANCE OF INTENDED FUNCTION
Despite the many hats we expect our trucks to wear, at their heart, they are beasts of burden. To that end, the 2019 Ram 1500 excels.
The most important part of any pickup is its bed, and Ram continues to deliver. The bed rails have been raised 1.5 inches to increase cargo volume, and the optional RamBoxes grow in size with minimal impact on bed space.
Some previous Ram innovations carry over, including the segment’s best combo bed extender and cargo divider, which stashes against the cab when not in use, and a CHMSL-mounted camera that looks down into the bed so you can triple-check your tie-down work while on the move.
The ability to access the bed is arguably as important as its construction. Missing GM’s standard bumper steps, Ram makes up for it with its option sheet. One of the air suspension’s many benefits is its access height mode, which lowers the bed’s step-up height to match that of the bumper step. For those who skip the air suspension, Ram also offers a kick-down rear step that stashes up and away behind the rear bumper.
Ram made towing improvements, too. For those who simply want to hitch up and go, Ram makes life easy. The rearview cameras have high resolution, making it easy to hitch up without a spotter. Trucks equipped with blind-spot sensors have an extra party piece, too; after you hitch up and make a couple of turns, the blind-spot sensors will determine the length of your trailer and increase the size of the alert zone to include the trailer length.
As for straight-up towing, the Ram 1500 is rock-solid, especially when equipped with the air suspension. Towing the exact same 8,300-pound trailer as the GMC Sierras and Chevrolet Silverados, the Rams feel so much more confident and just plain happy while at work.
Pickups aren’t traditionally known for fuel efficiency, but that didn’t stop Ram from easing the pain at the pump. Lots of credit goes to the lineup of eTorque engines, but Ram also worked hard at ensuring the new 1500 is as aerodynamic as possible without sacrificing the utility of its pickup body. Its segment-best 0.357 Cd is achieved using grille shutters and spoilers integrated into the trailing edges of the roof and tailgate. On trucks without air suspension, an air dam deploys automatically at 35 mph; those with air suspension get an aero-mode ride height.
The result is that Ram has the most efficient V-8 in its class; the V-8 eTorque is EPA-rated at 17/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined with rear drive or 17/22/19 with four-wheel drive. Non-eTorque Ram V-8s net 15/22/17 (rear drive) or 15/21/17 (four-wheel drive) mpg. Our Real MPG testing of the V-8 models generally falls in line with the EPA’s results, but our eTorque V-8-powered 1500 Limited 4×4 beat the feds’ numbers with an 18.7/22.6/20.3 score.
The one weak point would be the hard-working V-6 eTorque powerplant. EPA-rated at 20/25/22 mpg with rear drive and 19/24/21 mpg with four-wheel drive, our Big Horn 4×4 model achieved an unimpressive 15.4/19.7/17.1 Real MPG score.
With pickup trucks, value is ultimately relative over a life of hard knocks and long miles. But we were impressed by the breadth of the Ram lineup. The base Tradesman model starts at $33,390 and should need little more than a spray-in bedliner and tow hitch to be ready for work. The volume Big Horn model is even more impressive. One step up from the Tradesman and starting at $40,090, the Big Horn models offer two-tone interiors, a smartphone-friendly 8.0-inch touchscreen, and more. Editors lauded our two Big Horn testers for their premium-feeling materials and high amount of content for the dollar.
Where Ram makes the biggest value argument is surprisingly in its two most expensive trims: the $52,685 1500 Laramie Longhorn and $55,285 Limited. These two luxe trucks simply blow the competition out of the water. They offer the tech that contractors and civilians alike require and expect, and quite a few luxury automakers could learn a thing from the way Ram matches colors, textures, and materials in these cabins. And it’s a bargain, considering our loaded Ram Limited tester stickered for $68,340, about the price of a comparable GMC Sierra Denali and less than an equivalent F-150 Limited.
BRINGING HOME THE GOLD
No segment is more competitive or more important to Detroit’s automakers and blue-collar American workers than half-ton pickups. These trucks are the face of their brands—purchased, driven, and loved by millions. They’re dependable commuters, tools, and toys that form the backbones of our families. With such a diverse skill set needed, it’s easy to just miss the target. But the Ram 1500 hits the bull’s-eye. No pickup in the segment better balances capability, efficiency, value, and quality. The Ram 1500 retains its old-school appeal while being refreshingly modern in style and substance. It’s refined and sophisticated without surrendering its dirty-fingernails roots. For that, the Ram is our 2019 Truck of the Year.
If you have a large family, you can’t do without a roomy, reliable vehicle to get you and your children from place to place. This is why so many growing families choose minivans. They’re perfect for vacations and road trips as well as everyday trips to school, sporting events and other activities. If you’re ready to shop for your next vehicle, you should see what the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica can do for you.
While it’s true minivans don’t get the best gas mileage compared to other vehicles, you’ll love the fact you can drive on the highway for more than 530 miles on a single tank. You can even go 361 miles on city road between fill-ups. The Pacifica has a 19-gallon tank and gets 28 miles per gallon on the highway and 19 miles per gallon on city roads. It takes regular unleaded gasoline.
You’ll use your Pacifica for just about every traveling need, so it’s essential that it has a reliable engine. You’ll feel at ease knowing it generates 262 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm and 287 horsepower at 6,400 rpm. The Pacifica has a 3.6-liter, 24-valve. V6 DOHC engine with variable valve timing.
Every vehicle needs to come with the best possible safety features but this is especially true when you’re transporting your entire family. This minivan has rear door child safety locks to keep your young riders inside at all times. It also has stability control and traction control, both of which will come in handy during less-than-ideal road conditions.
You’ll also appreciate the keyless entry and universal remote that come with this vehicle. You’ll also make good use of the rearview camera and the electric power steering.
Come to Woodbine Chrysler today and take the Pacifica for a spin. You’ll fall in love with its looks and functionality.
Finding the right new car to buy can be stressful and time consuming, especially if you like driving off the beaten path. The new car might need to handle a fun day off-road while still getting you to work safely the next morning. That can make you feel like you’re looking for the best of both worlds, which isn’t always easy. The 2018 Jeep Cherokee has a super comfortable interior to add that element of luxury to all your off-roading adventures. If you’re looking for a hint of opulence in the interior combined which spectacular off-road abilities, the Jeep Cherokee could be an excellent option.
When shopping features, you have your choice of engines. You may want the more powerful choice if you regularly tow, but both engines can withstand the test of the wild and run smoothly on the open road. The four-wheel drive along with five different terrain modes could make the Jeep Cherokee one of your weekend essentials. The interior boasts cushioned and adjustable seats with plenty of room for passengers. There are several materials you can use to customize, namely cloth, vinyl and two different types of leather.
If one of your main concerns on a long trip or day off-road is the music, the Jeep Cherokee has an infotainment system that is intuitive to use. The standard system includes an audio system with six speakers operated by touch screen, but you can upgrade your speaker count to nine. Also included in the standard system is Bluetooth and parking sensors, but there are plenty of extras that can come in handy. A wireless charging pad, navigation, air conditioning and a Wi-Fi hot spot are all available.
All of the convenient features of the 2018 Jeep Cherokee can help make both your special trips and every day commutes more enjoyable. For more information about how the Jeep Cherokee can up your off-roading game, visit the experts at Woodbine Chrysler.
From its spacious, comfortable interior to its plentiful safety and entertainment features, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica is well-positioned to become your family’s signature vehicle. If you’re in the market for a new or used family vehicle from Woodbine Chrysler, give this Kelley Blue Book’s Best Buy Award winner some consideration.
The standard maximum seating capacity of seven means the Pacifica’s ideal for you and a single passenger or for you and a group of family or friends. The driver’s seat features an 8-way adjustment and the passenger’s a 4-way adjustment, allowing you to experience a full range of comfort as you take the wheel or relax as a passenger.
As with any vehicle, safety is paramount to your driving experience, and never more so than when you’re carrying precious human cargo. Four-wheel ABS brakes, brake assistance and driveline traction control give you the responsiveness you need in a vehicle when you’re out on the road. The minivan also features height-adjustable front and rear seatbelts, nine airbags and rear child safety locks.
No matter whether you’re toting toddlers, teenagers or seniors, it’s likely they’ll fall in love with the standard entertainment features that make any trip more pleasant. Wireless phone connectivity, a primary monitor touchscreen, speed-sensitive volume, voice-activated radio and six speakers are sure to thrill your passengers.
Whether you’re the driver or someone else takes a turn, the steering wheel-mounted audio controls can make life a little easier, allowing you to keep your hands on the wheel while listening to music or talk radio. Optional entertainment features include internet access and an entertainment system with DVD and digital media.
For these three reasons and many more, the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica from Woodbine Chrysler may be just the ticket for your family’s next vehicle. Bring your clan to the dealership and gauge their reaction.
The 2018 Ram 1500 makes a strong showing in light-duty trucks. From the line’s basic Tradesman to its exclusive Limited Tungsten edition, this tough truck is impressive at every level. At Woodbine Chrysler, we can help you choose from the many options available, including the off-road-ready Rebel.
Selecting an Engine
The 1500 offers a choice of three powerful engines. The standard is a 3.6-litre, 305 hp V-6. Strong and efficient, it delivers 269 lb-ft of torque. Next up is the 3.0-litre turbodiesel. Also a V-6, it produces 420 lb-ft of torque. Delivering 27 mpg on the highway in both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive, it’s a definite leader in its class. The 1500’s top-of-the-line engine is a 5.7-litre Hemi V-8, with 395 hp and 410 lb-ft of torque. The base engine is a six-speed automatic, with the other two featuring eight speeds.
Body Styles and Standard Features
The 2018 Ram 1500 is available with a regular two-door cab, a quad cab with four doors and an even roomier crew cab that can comfortably seat six. Depending on your cabin selection, you can choose between a standard-length bed, short bed or long bed. A spray-in bed liner comes standard, along with 17-inch wheels and a full-size spare tire. Other features include a rear backlight and a Class IV trailer hitch. When properly equipped, this tough truck can tow up to 10,620 pounds. Inside the cabin, a Radio 3.0 user interface comes standard, along with a USB port and a 3.5-inch driver’s display.
Trims and Upgrades
Eleven trim options give you plenty of upgrades with the 2018 Ram 1500. The cab’s standard vinyl upholstery can be upgraded to premium leather, with add-ons like heated seats and a heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel. Multiple enhancements are also available for wheels, chrome, lettering and lighting, and the infotainment package can be upgraded to include an 8.4-inch center display complete with navigation and a premium audio system.
This impressive list of possibilities just gives you a glimpse of what the Ram 1500 has to offer. Visit Woodbine Chrysler to see the complete picture.
The 2016 Dodge Durango isn’t a carlike crossover, and it isn’t an off-road-focused SUV. Instead it’s somewhere in between—a longer, three-row vehicle closely related to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and built from the architecture that brought us the Mercedes GL-Class and M-Class
The Durango, to distill it down to the essence, is a utility vehicle with considerable rugged capabilities and exceptionally nice road manners. With handsome, sauve styling, a refined cabin feel, and superb performance, it’s one of the best ways to go if you have a growing family…and a boat to tow on the weekends.
Whether your idea of what a utility vehicle should be is soft and organic, or whether you’re a fan of boxy SUVs with brush guards and roof carriers, you’ll probably come to an agreement that the Durango is one of the better-looking three-row SUVs on the market. It combines some of the traditional, with a good dose of contemporary sculpting. The classic SUV stance is set up by the big crosshair grill, as well as a silhouette that doesn’t arch too much in any way—or taper. It’s just boxy enough without looking slab-sized. LED racetrack lighting, one of the latest Dodge family traits, forms a ribbon of light across the tail.
Inside, almost none of the truck-like heritage has been carried over. The soft, flowing dash has thin metallic rings framing the major controls and a large touchscreen to rule the infotainment world. With leather upholstery, woven red inserts and red stitching, and white trim rings on the dials, the Durango feels less like an on-a-budget utility vehicle and more like a luxury SUV, done right.
Last year marked the debut of a red Nappa leather interior for the R/T model; this year all models get new wheel finishes, four new exterior colors, and a few new appearance packages the combine gloss black and body-color details—aesthetically building a bit more on the Mopar motorsports and muscle-car cues elsewhere in the Dodge lineup.
Dodge Durango performance
The Durango includes the same, excellent new eight-speed automatic transmission that’s used in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and other Chrysler products. It’s controlled via a stylish rotary shifter like the one used in the Ram 1500 and Chrysler 200, as well as paddle-shifters for all models. A pair of strong engines is available: the standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 making 290 horsepower (or 295 hp) and 260 pound-feet, and a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 making 360 hp and 390 lb-ft. Both are helped by the eight-speed auto to achieve acceptable fuel-economy numbers. HEMI feature so-called Fuel Saver Technology (cylinder deactivation), while V-6 models now include engine stop-start technology (ESS), and all models have a selectable Eco Mode that changes throttle sensitivity and transmission shift points to maximize fuel savings.
All that said, the Durango is still especially thirsty in V-8 guise. Ratings slide to 14/23 mpg, or 17 mpg combined. And with all-wheel drive, it’s pegged at 14/22 mpg or 16 mpg combined.
It may be worth it if you tow or need just an added amount of ruggedness, though. The Durango also offers a choice between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive, depending on the model. Two different AWD systems are used; V-8 models get a low-range transfer case, while V-6 models use a simpler a single-speed unit. Towing capability tops out at 7,400 pounds with the V-8.
Seating for up to seven (or optional seating for six, with available second-row dual captain’s chairs) is one of the Durango’s top selling points. Its third-row seat is quite usable compared to other models this size, and it’s split 50/50, able to be folded flat into the floor. The standard second-row layout folds forward, too, to greatly expand cargo space. Dodge says there’s room for a six-foot couch and a coffee table, or to carry 10-foot 2x4s.
Dodge Durango safety and features
The Durango scores well in crash tests and comes with a very impressive set of safety features, including seven standard airbags, full-length three-row side-curtain bags, and active front headrests. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross path detection are available, as are adaptive cruise control with stop, and Uconnect Access, which includes some emergency and roadside-assistance services.
The smooth instrument panel resembles the one in Dodge’s Charger sedan, and can house either a five-inch or 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen in the center stack. As in other Dodges, the gauges are made up of a seven-inch reconfigurable TFT screen.
The Durango is offered in SXT, Rallye, Limited, R/T, and Citadel models, with all but the SXT and Rallye getting the 8.4-inch Uconnect system that wraps together audio, climate controls, calling functions, and in some cases navigation. Turn instructions, audio info, or trip info can be displayed on the gauge cluster as well.
In recent years, Dodge has been pushing the Durango up the luxury ladder, first with a Limited model—leather upholstery, heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and the 8.4-inch Uconnect system—and now with a Citadel model that piles on even more like the Beats by Dr. Dre audio system (10 speakers and a subwoofer). There’s an available HDMI and Blu-ray rear entertainment system, with screens integrated in the back of front headrests and a remote. And Uconnect Access Via Mobile also has voice-command capability (including to read text messages) and enables media apps for streaming audio like Pandora or Slacker.