2014 Dodge Durango Review

Successfully filling a niche between SUVs and Crossovers

2014 Dodge Durango Review

If you have a trailer to tow or a big family of nearly-grown kids to haul, a full-size SUV seems like the obvious choice. But along with their abilities come several drawbacks: lousy gas mileage, clumsy handling and the constant search for giant-size parking spots. The Dodge Durango offers a refreshing compromise: The capacity and capability of a full-size SUV with the day-to-day practicality of a large crossover.


1. Engines remain unchanged with a 3.6L V6 making 290 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque while a 5.7L V8 makes 360 hp and 390 lb-ft.

2. A new 8-speed automatic transmission helps improve fuel economy, ranging from a best of 18/25 MPG to a low of 14/22 MPG.

3. The Durango rides on a stretched version of the same platform used for both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes M-Class.

4. Pricing starts at $30,790 while the high-trim Citadel model costs $41,990.


The Dodge Durango neatly bridges the gap between big crossovers like the Honda Pilot and Chevrolet Traverse and full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia and Ford Expedition.

Like the crossovers, the Durango uses unibody construction to save weight; V8 4×4 models are 450 lbs. lighter than a Ford Expedition and 700 lbs. lighter than a Toyota Sequoia. But they also use a truck-like powertrain layout, with primary drive to the rear wheels, optional low-range four-wheel-drive for V8 models and towing capacity of up to 7,400 lbs.


The Durango in its current iteration dates from 2011, and for 2014 it gets what is known in the industry as a mid-cycle refresh — a vehicular celebration of middle age that includes updated styling and upgrades for the interior and mechanical bits.

2014 Dodge Durango Citadel rear

In the case of the Durango, the big mechanical change comes in the form of a new 8-speed automatic transmission, which replaces the 5- and 6-speed units in last year’s Durango and offers the promise of improved performance and fuel economy.

2014 Dodge Durango Citadel v8Engine choices for the Durango remain the same, consisting of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 (290-295 horsepower depending on trim level and 260 lb-ft of torque) and 5.7 liter Hemi V8 (360 hp, 390 lb-ft). Despite the wide spread in the numbers, the difference in real-world driving is not as significant as you might expect. The V8 certainly sounds better, but its stronger acceleration is hampered by an extra 300 lbs of weight. Coupled to the new 8-speed automatic, the V6 hustles along just fine.

The fuel economy benefits of the V6 are significant: 18 MPG city/25 MPG highway with rear-wheel-drive and 17/24 with all-wheel-drive, compared to 14/23 and 14/22 respectively for the V8. And the new transmission does aid fuel economy: compared to last year’s Durango, combined EPA estimates are up by 4 MPG in the V6 all-wheel-drive model and 1 MPG in other configurations.

2014 Dodge Durango SXT v6We averaged 19 MPG on our test drive of a rear-drive V6 model — not as good as the last Honda Pilot we tested, but significantly better than the Ford Expedition and Toyota Sequoia.

What’s best about the 8-speed transmission is that it always seems to be in the right gear. Many of these new mega-speed transmissions have to hunt around to find just the right ratio, but the Durango’s 8-speed is much more intuitive. It’s quick to downshift when power is demanded and just as quick to upshift for a quiet, efficient highway ride.

And yes, you can tow with the V6. We hauled a single-axle Airstream with a six-cylinder Durango, and while the pace was leisurely, the V6 had no problem getting us up to highway speed and staying there. The rig felt stable and secure, aided no doubt by the Durango’s extended wheelbase. (The Durango is, at its heart, a stretched Jeep Grand Cherokee.)


2014 Dodge Durango Citadel cabin

According to Dodge, the Durango’s styling improvements are every bit as important as the new transmission. The car industry is in a literal search for the fountain of youth, and the average age of Dodge buyers is dropping like an iron girder — ten years younger than the rest of the industry and falling.

2014 Dodge Durango Citadel taillightsIn an effort to keep the momentum up — er, down — Dodge has brought the “racetrack” loop taillight from the Charger and Dart to the Durango. They’ve also designed a faired-in cover for the tow hitch receiver, a bit surprising as towing capacity is one of the Durango’s unique selling points.

Changes to the nose are more subtle; the bumpers are new and each trim level gets a unique grille pattern. There’s also a new Rallye Group package, which brings the racy look of the V8-powered R/T model, including 20-inch “Hyper Black” wheels and monochrome body trim to the SXT base model.

2014 Dodge Durango SXTInside, the Durango gets Chrysler’s Uconnect touch-screen stereo (5-inch display on the base model, 8.4-inch on others) and a new 7-inch LCD screen on the dash in place of an analog speedometer. The twin-screen rear-seat entertainment system now features a BluRay player and HDMI inputs. With the 115 volt power outlet and optional WiFi hot spot setup, you can bring along your PS3 or Xbox and turn the Durango into a mobile gaming system.

For all the improvements they’ve made, Dodge is holding the line on pricing, at least on the base model: $30,790 (including destination) for the Durango SXT, same as last year. One of the things that impressed us about the SXT (the silver one in our photos) is that it doesn’t look like the cheapest model. With its 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lights, and chrome trim, it’s nearly as snazzy as the $41,990 Citadel (shown here in red, optioned up to $52,970).


2014 Dodge Durango Citadel interior

What impressed us most is the way the Durango drives. If we had a dime for every time a Dodge staffer reminded us that the Durango is based on the same platform as the Mercedes GL, we’d have… well, about sixty cents, actually. But the Durango’s German roots are obvious in the smooth ride and surprisingly precise handling.

“Car-like” has to be the most overused cliché in the history of automotive journalism, but it’s appropriate — the Durango hustles through corners in a way that makes the Honda Pilot and Chevy Traverse seem awkward and the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition feel downright clumsy.


2014 Dodge Durango Citadel cargo

That’s especially notable because the Durango doesn’t give up much on space; it’s comparable to the Pilot and Traverse and roomier than mid-size seven-seaters like the Toyota Highlander and Ford Explorer. The Durango’s second row has plenty of room and the third row can be occupied by adults, provided they have reasonably flexible limbs and are not overly prone to complaining.

2014 Dodge Durango Citadel 2nd rowCargo space is 17.2 cubic feet with the third row seats in place, plenty of room for groceries or small suitcases. Dropping the third-row seats (easy to do thanks to well-placed straps and levers) opens up a family-vacation-friendly 47.7 cubic feet of space. But shorter buyers might want to consider the optional power tailgate, as it’s a long reach up when the hatch is open and Dodge hasn’t thought to install an assist strap.


2014 Dodge Durango Citadel parked

It’s nice to see a vehicle that delivers on its promises. The 2014 Dodge Durango offers space for seven and the brawn to tow a decent-sized boat or camper, and while the fuel economy isn’t as good as a mid-size crossover, it’s certainly better than a full-size SUV — provided you opt for the V6 engine, that is.

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked