2024 Dodge Durango is stupid fun and obviously not practical at all. The transmission is responsive and the super charger whine will put you in a better mood everytime you drive it. It handles better than our 2019 RT and the technology upgrade was much needed. My only complaint is that the cup holders are too small to fit anything more than a standard sized water bottle, but that complaint is not limited to just Dodge.
We are looking to replace a 2015 cx-9 sometime this year. Being turbo and CVT shy, we have limited options. ☹️ I took a test drive in the 2021 Durango today. My previous experience with a 2013 dakota 5.7 was not impressive. But today’s drive train is a totally different beast. The Dakota had significant lag and really didn’t feel like a V8 at all in 2013, though it sucked gas like a V10. Driving this 2021 R/T was a distinct pleasure. The V8 was ultra responsive and the shifts seemed to be where they should under casual acceleration as well as spirited. You do have to really bury the accelerator if you want to experience that V8 growl, but it is definitely sleeping under there! I wasn’t able to test it on any curves, just some S turns thru a deserted church parking lot.But it seemed to be responsive, though you do feel it’s size and weight a bit. The acceleration of the V6 CX-9 has always been responsive but lacking.
With the V8 DURANGO, I finally felt satisfaction! I disliked test driving after dark but the Durango controls were surprisingly ergonomic and intuitive. I wasn’t sure if that’s because they were somewhat similar to the Dakota, or if they are just well designed. I did find the side mirror adjustment to be a puzzle. You must hold down 2 buttons simultaneously to make adjustments. That just seems overly complicated. One of the first things you notice is the massive 10″ stereo display. But also take note, it is nicely integrated with the dashboard instead of looking like some kid glued their iPad to the top of the dash which would just be EMBARASSING for any engineer to do. For some reason, that was impressive, isn’t that sad? I am not a fan of seating and climate controls being integrated with the stereo. Alhough, they are in the Durango, they also had the foresight to design a full set of individual buttons, including for the heated steering wheel… My new favorite thing!! The steering wheel heated up fast and was very welcome on this chilly January evening. However, the heated driver seat on Hi, seemed barely warm. The leather seating was very comfortable, although I’m not a fan of sweaty leather. I would probably opt for a trim level that does not include ventilated seats. I want the V8 but I’m not made of money! So, I can see some cloth seat covers in the near future. One of the most shocking discoveries…Compared to the 2015 CX-9 is a mere 87 cu ft of cargo space! The cx-9 somehow manages 100 cu ft of cargo space despite having almost the exact same exterior dimensions! Could the side curtain air bags be sapping 6 inches of interior space? Could the driver seats be that much further back that they absorb that much cargo space? The hood seems smaller than in the CX-9, so I don’t think they lost interior space there. It’s a mind bender 🤔.
After further research I determined that the 2011 Durango got severely shrunken when re-introduced after a couple years hiatus. So It is now even smaller than the ’15 CX-9. That’s aoghty shame. Since I often travel with a 65″ TV, this could be a deal breaker. I’ll just have to see how it fits. Speaking of the hood. I absolutely LOVE the mean LOOKS of all of those hood scoops, but that just leads to dissapointment. In actual day to day, I think you’re better of without them. The 2 venting scoops are just a cut-out in the hood with a cheesy plastic grill insert. That means, when you’re following a truck on a rainy or snowy surface all of that gunk flying around is being deposited directly ONTO your engine! I can foresee that requiring a weekly engine cleaning in the winter months. The center scoop, although it has a barrier, does not seem connected to anything! I thought I’d open the hood and see some type of duct system leading to the air intake… Nope. Just another visual cue with NO FUNCTIONALITY.
So, the disappointment is mounting 😧 I think that’s one place where Dodge really failed. There should have been a cloth barrier or channel on the vents to prevent at least some debris from entering the engine compartment. As well, the hood scoop should be functional. I was expecting the rear seats to fold flat as I always do, but have yet to find any vehicle where that actually works as advertised. This tester had the rear captain chairs without a console. Just a couple of cup holders molded into the floor between the seats. So your 3rd row passenger can stumble over your soda. Hmmm. Another engineering puzzle. I suppose, I’m just a 2nd row bench kind of person. It’s nice for the kids to stretch out there sometimes. But having spent most of my time as a driver, maybe I’m missing something. This seems like a very nice overall package. Since Dodge doesn’t have anything to rival the Yukon or Expedition this is it! (Alhough an Expedition with a V6 is just stupid. I would never buy that for more money).
We’ll most likely be making our purchase as soon as the novelty wears off and they start offering a discount. Hopefully, that will happen before they outlaw the combustion engine later this year 😜 2022 update : Surprisingly, we just couldn’t pull the trigger on this vehicle. Needing more interior space was really the big issue, but we also want the V8 (yes, yes, even in 2022, we want the V8). So it looks like our options are going to be limited to a Police spec Expedition or a Yukon Ext. If I can find a recent police spec at an auction with 100 miles on it for maybe $10k or less, it might be a fun project turning it back into a street vehicle.
MSRP Range: $40,420 – $105,300