There positive has been a lot of talk about crossovers around right here lately, hasn’t there? Regardless of your opinion on owning a CUV, it is challenging to deny the functionality that a 3-row CUV offers the organization and/or pleasure rental client. The capacity to carry an complete sales group to a meeting, as well as some presentation components and suitcases? Useful. The capability to take a loved ones of five to the beach, such as assorted coolers and pool toys? Useful.
For that reason, gents, if you completely should have a crossover for your rental or private needs, well, you might as properly have the manliest damn crossover cash can get. That honor goes to the 2016 Dodge Durango. Ladies, I have a feeling that you will appreciate the big D, too. Let me to share my thoughts with you from the week I spent in the ATL with FCA’s entry in the hotly-contested three-row segment.
If you are anything like me (and really, who is not?), you most likely have a difficult time remembering what the hell all of the a variety of Dodge trim levels imply. My Durango was of the Limited RWD range, meaning that it sits squarely in the middle of the lineup — beneath the pimpin-pimpin’ Citadel and HEMI-powered R/T, but above the SXT and SXT Plus. Except for the R/T, all Durangos are gifted with FCA’s ubiquitous 3.six-liter Pentastar V6, which dishes out an impressive 290 horsepower in this particular application. You also get the placidly smooth eight-speed 845RE automatic transmission in all non-R/T models, which assists make the Pentastar even more delightful to pilot.
Stepping up to the Restricted gets you a whole host of upgrades, like the uConnect eight.four-inch touchscreen, regular leather-trimmed heated seats in the 1st and second rows, a rearview camera, and the choice to add a DVD entertainment program for your offspring. You also get a blingy badge that says “LIMITED” because Dodge just does not employ a single designer that desires understated particulars.
The uConnect eight.four is reason sufficient to bump up those month-to-month payments a bit. Even though it is not specifically user-friendly for the rental buyer trying to figure out exactly how to reduced the headrests in the third-row seats, the interface moves quickly and smoothly by way of the a variety of menus. Almost every little thing that you’d want to handle as the driver — from music to climate controls — is handled via the uConnect interface. The Durango will even recognize cold exterior and interior temperatures upon start off-up and instantly offer you you the option to turn on the heated driver and passenger seats, as well as the heated steering wheel. That is a function I appreciated greatly during the unseasonably cold Atlanta mornings.
Inexplicably, straight behind that sizzling steering wheel, Dodge saw fit to place some utterly useless paddle shifters. While there is some thing satisfying about manually ripping by means of eight gears, I speedily decided that it was a pointless exercise. The 845RE was a lot far better than I was at selecting the proper gear, and I just felt stupid shifting gears in a crossover that weighs 4,838 pounds. Possibly there’s an application for towing or something? I do not tow a lot, but the D is rated for max towing at 7,400 lbs, which is fairly goddamn impressive.
However in spite of this formidable strength and rugged exterior appearance, the Durango is not completely unpleasant inside. Whilst I locate the Durango to be subpar in comparison to the nicer interiors in the class (think Toyota Highlander), it is not as bad as some would have you think. The seating is comfortable and supportive, and there is much more than adequate head and shoulder area in each the very first and second row. I didn’t invest any time in the third row, since it should be for youngsters and emotional assistance dogs.
Nevertheless, there are a few areas where the Durango falls short of expectations, and the very first is in the visibility division. The fifth-generation Camaro is a virtual Willis Tower Skydeck in comparison to the Durango. As somebody who is correct about the exact same height as your standard Durango driver (which is to say, slightly taller than most females and Jalopnik writers), I discovered it impossible to place myself in a seating position that enabled me to see clearly and safely in all directions. Altering lanes was a complete crapshoot I mainly hoped that other drivers could see me and gave them appropriate time to steer clear of the black behemoth headed in their general direction.
The second issue is in the realm of fuel economy. In the fairly flat Atlanta metropolitan location, and even even though I didn’t drive for the duration of rush hour targeted traffic, I wasn’t capable to coax a lot more than 17 mpg out of the Dodge, and that is with the horrifically invasive and earth-shaking start off/cease technology enabled. It is the worst fuel economy I’ve ever knowledgeable in a crossover, period. Hell, I utilized to get equivalent fuel economy in a Honda Pilot … while towing a Honda S2000 CR on a trailer behind it. Dodge claims a class-top 27 mpg, and I just can’t understand how anybody could possibly get that number without a Ram truck pulling it downhill with a tow strap.
That becoming said, from a driver’s point of view, the Durango Restricted is the most engaging and effective crossover you can get for the money. It even sounds strong, with an exhaust note that matches its masculine presence. If you can actually see the gaps in targeted traffic from the driver’s seat, the Durango can shoot any of them. While the Pentastar does the job, it made me lust a bit for the Hemi-powered R/T Durango, since everyone knows what Baron Acton said about power.
The Durango is the crossover for the guy who doesn’t truly want a crossover. It manages to do what the Explorer couldn’t very, which is make the transition from body-on-frame SUV to CUV even though preserving a muscular visage and muscular functionality. The Durango Limited, equipped as my rental was with navigation and energy liftgate, retails for $ 38,885. It looks more funds than that, it drives a lot more money than that, and it feels solid as hell. In this segment, I’ve always been in favor of Flex Uber Alles, but if you can only have 1 car, I’d choose the D.