2012 Dodge Durango Salt Lake City
The 2011 Dodge Durango was substantially overhauled from previous iterations, keeping only its name, optional Hemi engine and perhaps a couple of hidden electronic pieces. The 2012 Durango can have optional second-row captain's chairs and a storage console in place of a bench seat. Also, the automatic transmission that works with the 5.7-liter V-8 now provides six speeds for driver-initiated gear changes, though it still operates as a five-speed automatic normally.
2012 Dodge Durango Design
It wouldn't be a Dodge without a big cross-hair grille and the 2011 Durango doesn't disappoint. It's broad and tall enough to deliver presence, especially given its forward inclination in a class where everything slopes rearward, yet with the chrome flourishes and finer detailing it's more elegant than the macho, blunt-snouted old Durango. The hood carries out to the fenders rather than sloping off like the old one, and combined with the deep air dam and bodywork gives it a much more wagon-like proportion in side view.
The rear end of the 2011 Durango is sloped more than the previous Durango, not as upright as the ultra-practical Pilot nor as fastback as others. A cargo hatch, powered on some models, does not open the glass separately, not such a big deal with pushbutton access. A lock button is camouflaged in the big chrome Dodge band across the back, and the manual hatch release is big enough to use with gloves. Rear wipe/wash and a small spoiler are standard on all.
Handling of the 2012 Dodge Durango
The Dodge Durango is easy to drive and delivers a comfortable, quiet ride empty or loaded. The way it responds to steering and braking inputs will please those who enjoy driving and go completely unnoticed by those who don't. Our drive time suggests the EPA ratings are not far off, though routine short trips in town on a cold engine, as many of these are used, will be lower than EPA city numbers.
We'd rate the Durango's off-highway prowess about equal to its predecessor: the suspension is better and more flexible, ground clearance is about the same, but the new one has things like aluminum suspension arms that won't take abuse and grounding like the old model's truck-style steel bits. As on the winding road the Durango will go far farther afield than most owners even consider, and tires the likely culprit stopping progress in mud. So you don't want to hammer it over rugged terrain, but it has enough off-highway capability for most needs.
Durangos with the V6 offer all-wheel drive with power routed to all four wheels all the time. V8 models offer four-wheel drive with low-range gearing for steeper inclines/descents, a Neutral position for flat-towing, and can be used like the all-wheel drive on pavement for slippery conditions.
2012 Dodge Durango Lineup
Durango Citadel and Citadel AWD upgraded from Crew Lux with Nappa perforated leather seat trim, ventilated front seats, sunroof, Media Center 730, HID low-beams, eight-way power passenger seat (does not fold flat like all other Durango), heated steering wheel, blind spot warning, rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, R/T brakes, and 20-inch alloy wheels with chrome covers. Upgrades are limited to the V8, block heater, tow package, and Inferno red paint.
Durango Crew Lux and Crew Lux AWD come standard with leather with four heated seats and power front passenger seat, navigation system, 20-inch polished and painted wheels, SmartBeam headlamps, rain-sensing wipers and chrome door handles and mirrors. Options are the V8, sunroof, rear DVD, tow package and Media Center 730 sound/navigation system with Sirius traffic, voice-recognition and a USB port.
Durango Crew and Crew AWD is the mainstream model, and adds to Express the 506-watt Media 430 sound system, power liftgate, power folding mirrors, remote start, driver memory system, roof rails/cross bars, power 8-way driver and 6-way passenger seats, leather wheel, HomeLink, keyless entry/run, rear camera and park sensors, and a 115-volt 150-watt outlet. Crew options include a 5.7-liter V8, polished 20-inch wheels, an entry navigation/commuter group that includes navigation system, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, rains-sensing wipers, SmartBeam auto-dimming headlamps. Also available: rear DVD entertainment, block heater, sunroof, tow package, and blind spot warning.
Interior of the 2012 Dodge Durango
The cargo deck is 32 inches off the ground and has one small deep bin on the left side and a broader one under the main floor. On Crew trim features include a small built-in LED flashlight, hooks and power point on the right and a pair of tie-down loops in the floor. The cargo cover may be mounted behind the second or third-row seats, the hatch has two loading or tailgating lights at the back/lower edge, and the close button is on the left side low enough for a kindergartener to reach.
Third-row access is very good. A simple strap-pull folds and tilts up the second row seat, and the walk-through floor space to reach the third row is almost twice what a Tahoe has for reaching the second row. There is more room back here than the legroom dimension implies and it offers the same adjustable reading lights and overhead vents as the second row.
Side windows don't go all the way down but the rearmost few inches is flush because of the window shape. There are recessed coat hooks in the roof, assist handles on the back side of the door pillar, bottle stowage in the doors, overhead controls for rear air, good foot-room under the front seats, and four grocery bag/purse clips flanking the net seatback pockets.
The 2012 Dodge Durango still qualifies as a wholesale advance like it's predecessor. It's not merely competitive, it's near the top in many of the things that SUV buyers want. The Durango can carry seven people very comfortably, rack up the vacation miles in quiet punctuated only by the half-kilowatt stereo, and is full of the conveniences you never thought of before and now can't do without. That it drives so nicely and is downright fun with the addictive note of the V8 is the frosting on the cake. Learn more about the vehicle at the official 2012 Dodge Durango site .
Some information for this review was obtained from NewCarTestDrive.com