2018 Dodge Durango R/T
Few SUV’s offer the fun of driving that you find in the Durango R/T while still providing the utility that we need in an SUV. After the first ride in the new Durango my wife was ready to upgrade her family hauler.
Our test car for the week long, 400 mile road test was the Durango R/T that comes standard with many of the options most want on an SUV. The Hemi, 5.7 liter engine kicks out 360 horse power and can haul up to 7400 pounds. Mileage on the highway is rated at 22 mpg and on our week long drive we averaged an overall 20.4. Not bad for a heavy and powerful 3 row SUV.
The Durango is available in several trim levels beginning with the SXT that comes well equipped but missing some of the goodies we think
are necessary for getting the most enjoyment and value from the Durango. The next level, the GT, starts to include many features such as heated seats front and rear, leather trim and a power tailgate. The Citadel variant makes the optional 8.4 inch U-Connect system standard, adds navigation and rear park sensors with stop, hand the 5.7 hemi is optional. The R/T comes with the V8 as standard, front park sensors and a higher level trim. The obvious difference is the aggressive hood duct work that make the R/T stand out.
There is one other model offered, the SRT, that high performance option comes with the big 6.4 liter Hemi used in the Hellcat. It is downgraded to only 475 horsepower for the Durango but will pass any SUV on the road today for under 100 grand. The SRT also includes a course at the SRT driving school, not a bad idea for the average driver getting into something that powerful.
The Durango hasn’t received a major restyle since 2011 but stays relevant by doing a great job providing quiet, smooth ride, decent economy, best in class performance and the latest in technology. The U-Connect infotainment is the most comprehensive and easy to use systems on the market.
All Durango’s come with U-Connect.
The lower trims come with the 7 inch screen system that lacks many of the functions of the larger 8.4 inch screen. One of the most user friendly features of the U-Connect is the ability to drag and drop the your most often used apps or functions to a fixed lower row of icons making them easy to retrieve. That saves the distraction of having to page through screens to find what you want. Even when you have a full screen display such as a navigation you can still access the fixed row of icons. U-Connect can have several pages of apps and features so this is a big help.
When ordering the Durango I recommend the add the Technology package. This includes the active radar cruise control that will keep a set distance from the car ahead of you and brake if needed. It also adds the cross traffic alert, lane keeping assist, collision warning with emergency braking, and rain sensing wipers.
The interior of the Durango is well laid out with clearly marked and easy to reach controls. Seating is excellent and with dual power front seats it is easy to find a comfortable position for driving or cruising. The leather trim, soft touch surfaces and 3 zone air conditioning make for an enjoyable and relaxed ride. There are 2 audio systems available, the standard that comes additional speakers and power as you move up the trim levels, or the Beats Audio available on the Citadel and above. All models have both Apple Car Play and Android Auto and offer voice activated commands. All models include keyless entry and start, rear view camera.
The Durango comes with a 60/40 second row as standard and will seat 7 adults in comfort. When you opt for the folding captain’s chairs in the second row you sacrifice one passenger seat but add more flexibility for access and keeping the kids apart. The third row will fit two adults without their knees being in their chest. Access to the third row is made easy with sliding seats in the second row. The Fold and Tumble Captain’s chair second row seats will slide forward and lower with a child seat attached making it convenient for those with an assortment of sized kids,
Durango Interior storage is huge,
84 cubic feet, and there are plenty of spaces to hide or store things you need as you travel. Seats fold down easily to open up a large rear compartment.
The back seat entertainment system offers 2 Blu-ray screens with separate inputs for movies watching or gaming. The system comes with several built in games.
The Durango’s ride is excellent. Because of the weight of the mid-size SUV and the well tuned suspension it smooths out most of the jarring bumps and rattles of the road. Acceleration is very good with the Hemi and average with the 3.6 liter V6 engine. The 8 speed automatic transmission does a good job of keep the car in the right power band for good performance. Fuel economy is not great but with the V6 power it is rated at 26 highway. Our test car with the Hemi V8 was rated at 22 highway.
If towing is a thing for your lifestyle you will find the Durango capable of hauling up to 8600 pounds with the SRT package. The V6 models are rated at 6100 and the 5.7 Hemi can pull 7600. That makes the Durango an excellent choice for getting the boat to the lake, hauling a couple of horses, or helping your neighbor move with a U-Haul. The trailer package option is available on all models and include trailer sway control,
Overall for performance, style, technology and ride quality the 2018 Dodge Durango is one of the best cars I’ve driven this year. For More information you can go here
Listen to the on air review below