The SUV market is a crowded one. The Chevy Traverse, Mazda CX-9, and Ford Flex are all good choices for a 7 passenger hauler. But consumers would be doing themselves a disservice if they didn’t look at the 2015 Dodge Durango.
The Dodge Durango is a stylish SUV that hasn’t quite gotten the attention it deserves in this crowded segment. Our Limited test model came equipped with a 3.6L V6, good for 290 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque. Power goes to an AWD system via an 8-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel ratings are 17 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined. My time in the Durango was mostly highway driving, and I averaged 22.6 mpg.
You may want to upgrade to the 5.7L V8 if you plan to do any decent off roading. The AWD system is swapped for 4WD with a two speed transfer case. Although the V8 option doesn’t include a lift, the 4WD does give you a low gear to get you up and over rocks and difficult terrain.
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2015 Dodge Durango Limited||$39,395||$45,665||290/260|
|EPA Rating MPG||As Tested MPG|
|Rating: BUY IT!
||17/24 Combined 19||22.6|
Standard equipment on the Limited trim include keyless entry and ignition, remote start, back up camera, rear parking assist, heated front seats, heated second row seats, heated steering wheel, driver and passenger power 4-way lumbar support, iPod integration, and an 8.4” touchscreen with the Uconnect infotainment system.
Our test Durango also came with a slew of optional equipment. The $2495 Premium Group adds 20” wheels, sunroof, navigation, and a 5 year satellite radio subscription.
For $1195 buyers can choose the Safety/Security and Convenience Group for automatic HID headlight leveling, power tilt and telescoping steering column, and blind spot and cross path detection.
For an extra $995 consumers can get captains chairs for the second row. It brings your seating down to 6 people instead of 7, but the captains chairs are nearly as roomy and comfortable as the front seats, possibly eliminating any fights over who is riding shotgun. It’s money well spent.
The Blacktop Package costs $590 and adds some additional exterior touches such as gloss black Durango badges and dual rear exhaust with bright tips.
Visually the Durango is following Dodge current design themes. The front fascia echoes the same sinister look as the new Charger, and the rear has one of the most distinctive taillight signatures on the road today. The LEDs extend all the way across the width of the rear, curve around the brake lights, and swoop back to the other side. It’s an arresting sight on a dark desert highway to be sure.
The interior design language is present in the Durango as well. It’s a very comfortable place to spend a drive, especially in colder weather with the heated seats and steering wheel. The materials are high quality and soft touch surfaces abound. It certainly may surprise those who haven’t seen a Dodge in a while.
The Uconnect system is one of the best on the market today, featuring quick inputs and large buttons. Sure the 8.4″ touchscreen could be angled a bit towards the driver, but that hardly matteres when it delivered real time traffic and weather reports, satellite radio, and an easy to use navigation system.
On first glance the interface looks a little convoluted, but upon further examination, the screens are laid out intuitively and sub-menus are where one would expect them to be. Radio controls are on the back of the steering wheel, which allows for more functions on the front of the steering wheel, including the controls for the high resolution information display between the analog speedometer and tachometer in the gauge cluster.
The Durango does succumb to its competitors when it comes to cargo space. The second and third row seats fold flat and offer up 84.5 cubic feet of space, but competitors like the Mazda CX-9 yield up to 15 cubic feet more.
Behind the wheel the Durango offers a good, although not excellent ride. The optional 20” wheels bring out the rough in the road, and the steering skews toward the lighter side of effort. It’s great at low speeds, but the lightness remains even up at freeway speeds.
The V6 is not the quickest off the line, but after momentum picks up there is plenty of power for passing and merging. The 8-speed transmission can be shifted manually, for those who prefer to control their shifts, but the automatic does just fine on its own.
Although I was not able to test the towing capabilities, Dodge claims that when propertly equipped the Durango can tow 7400 pounds.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2015 Dodge Durango a Buy It!
The base price of the Limited trim is $39,395, but with our options and destination the grand total is $45,665. In the end, this reviewer was won over by the looks of the Durango, the Uconnect system, and the standard heated seats and steering wheel. The Mazda CX-9 is more fun to drive, but the Durango beats the Toyota Highlander in towing, and gets better fuel economy than the Ford Flex.
Check out the TFL Car review of the 2014 Durango R/T with the V8!