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2017 Dodge Durango GT AWD

three.6-liter V6 (295 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm; 260 lb-ft @ four,000 rpm)

Eight-speed computerized, all-wheel drive

18 metropolis / 25 freeway / 21 mixed (EPA Ranking, MPG)

12.7 metropolis, 9.6 freeway, 11.three mixed. (NRCan Ranking, L/100km)

Base Worth: $41,190 (U.S) / $51,290 (Canada)

As Examined: $49,360 (U.S.) / $59,455 (Canada)

Costs embody $1,095 vacation spot cost in america and $1,795 (as much as $2,495) for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, due to cross-border gear variations, can’t be immediately in contrast.

If you happen to’re over a sure age – say 30, or 35 for positive – you bear in mind the big sedans of the ‘90s. Snug, quiet, and roomy, these LeSabres and Park Avenues weren’t enjoyable for fans, however they moved 5 – 6 folks throughout city with relaxed ease.

That’s now the aim of numerous crossovers, together with the Dodge Durango pictured right here. They’re constructed to haul households and cargo in consolation, and in the event that they’re even a bit of bit enjoyable to drive, properly, that’s gravy.

Which means, on steadiness, I are inclined to look askew at this class of autos, regardless of how properly they’re constructed or how properly they do their assigned job. I like vehicles which might be enjoyable to drive, and I desire sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks. Which implies I’m not the common client.

For the common purchaser – the one which counts for Fiat Chrysler Vehicles – the priorities are totally different, and never so totally different from that of the big, front-wheel-drive sedans that after roamed suburbia earlier than calls for for utility and a better seating place collided with the proliferation of unibody structure, inflicting demand for crossovers of all sizes to blow up.

All this rambling signifies that there’s multiple solution to choose autos. Do you choose them based mostly on how enjoyable they’re to drive and the way they resonate together with your fanatic tendencies, or do you choose them based mostly on how properly they do their supposed job, or some mixture of each?

Full disclosure: FCA paid the delivery prices to return sun shades I had left contained in the car, regardless of my protestation that doing so wasn’t essential.

For me, for many evaluations, I attempt to choose on a mix of how properly a car executes its given duties and the way a lot it faucets into my fanatic facet. The Durango is nice on the former and so-so on the latter.

Let’s begin with the three.6-liter V6 beneath hood. Because of the all-wheel drive setup and a curb weight simply shy of 5,000 kilos, acceleration from the 295 horsepower/260 lb-ft of torque mill isn’t fairly as stout because it is likely to be, however there’s nonetheless sufficient punch for passing and merging. You simply want a bit of endurance to let the eight-speed computerized transmission do its work. In order for you extra energy, your native Dodge retailer has a Hemi V8 or an SRT model of the Durango to promote you.

2017 Dodge Durango GT

A minimum of the automated fades into the background, with no proof of arduous shifts.

Dodge has blessed the Durango with well-weighted steering that tightens properly in Sport mode – the Durango continues to have steering that’s far much less distant than that of its competitors. That doesn’t make it “sporty,” per se, however at the least you’re feeling engaged with what the wheels are doing, which is considerably of a rarity amongst family-hauling crossovers.

When the press-fleet worker dropped the Durango off exterior my constructing, he remarked that the Durango was one nice-riding car, and he wasn’t mistaken. I schlepped myself to the suburbs 3 times whereas in possession of the Durango and located it to be lots comfy even on the Chicago space’s not-so-well maintained expressways and tollways.

Inside, the Durango provides loads of knobs for radio and HVAC (sure!) controls, and UConnect stays one of many higher infotainment techniques on the market, however some issues disappoint. I used to be pissed off by the dearth of buttons for the seat heaters and heated steering wheel. I shouldn’t need to hunt by way of touch-screen menus to activate them, and nor must you. Sure, the icons are proven on the display throughout startup, however one have to be fast earlier than they fade.

2017 Dodge Durango

Ease of use apart, UConnect was sometimes sluggish to come back to life and change menus after startup. Possibly infotainment techniques are like engines – they should heat up.

I additionally was dismayed by the presence of low cost plastic in a $50,000 car. Most of those plastic bits have been decrease on the middle stack or sprint, and never simply seen, nor have been they main touchpoints, however Dodge is one amongst many automakers that also appears to chop corners a bit with regards to trim. You get the handsome and good-feeling supplies up excessive, however look about and also you’ll see indicators of saved. Dodge isn’t the one make to do that, however it’s irritating nonetheless.

Room isn’t a problem – legroom and headroom are plentiful on this factor. The second-row captain’s chairs sit reverse private DVD screens. That’s nice for silencing kids however the distant lower deeply into center-console room, consuming up many of the area within the shallow unit.

Exterior styling stays daring, and for lack of a greater phrase, “masculine.” Undoubtedly truck-like, and nonetheless engaging even if this technology Durango has been round some time. I didn’t dig the blackout wheels on my tester, however to every his (or her) personal.

2017 Dodge Durango

Nobody expects nice fuel-economy from a full-size crossover, however the Durango confirmed a variety of over 500 miles when full, and I noticed round 20 mpg on the journey pc. That vary is little doubt helped by a gas tank that holds practically 25 gallons.

Accessible options included an influence liftgate, blind-spot monitoring, cross-path detection, energy tilt/telescoping steering wheel, the aforementioned rear-seat DVD, sunroof, heated second-row seats, and a trailer-towing package deal. Amongst these, the blind-spot monitoring system stands out for its intrusive override of the premium audio system, whereas the facility liftgate confounds the impatient. If you happen to attempt to carry it manually, it will get mad and shuts.

2017 Dodge Durango

I discovered myself changing into increasingly more charmed by the Durango as time glided by. It performs simply properly sufficient to interact the driving force, it has sufficient guts for around-town driving with out prodigiously sucking gas, and it delivers consolation and room in spades. Its controls are simple to make use of, with minor exceptions.

Downsides embody its heft and total measurement, together with some touches of cheapness. A couple of digital techniques have annoying quirks. And 20 mpg is nothing to jot down residence about (thought not terrible given the Durango’s measurement), spectacular vary apart.

Personally, I don’t have a lot love for giant crossovers or SUVs (no matter body sort) however I perceive why numerous patrons do. The Durango does what it’s presupposed to, and that’s not an excessive amount of to ask.

[Images: © 2017 Tim Healey/The Truth About Cars]

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