2015 Dodge Durango R/t Review Notes: Interior Luxury For Three
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Why is this a Dodge and not a Ram or a Jeep(with Car DVD)? Even this R/T Durango doesn't make a ton of sense in the niche muscle car Dodge lineup these days, and it may help explain why FCA only moved about 5,500 of them last month -- a month when Ford sold almost 25,000 of the similarly sized and priced Explorer. Stick a seven-slot grille on it and some round headlights, call it a Jeep Gladiator or something and watch sales triple. Jeep gets its three-row SUV, and Dodge gets … well, Dodge gets the Hellcat, and maybe that's enough.

In its current iteration, the Durango gets aggressive Ram 1500 styling, and I think that may be part of its mediocre sales numbers. It's a … burly design, more flannel shirt and Carhartt than the assertive three-piece suit look of the latest Tahoe; I'd like to see Dodge's male/female sales ratio on these things. One note on the exterior: Our Durango tester had some of the worst factory paint I've ever seen with visible ripples in the side panels and rocker-panel grade orange peel on the driver's side door.

Seating is high and firm -- possibly too much so for some -- and everything feels well screwed together. After about three uses of the rotary shifter, you begin to wonder why this isn't the standard for everyone; it takes up very little space, it's nigh well impossible to knock it into the wrong gear and it's intuitive, at least for those of us old enough to remember the traditional PRNDL arc on the steering column. There's good space in all three rows without too much of a climb up/over for access, making it a very usable design for its size.

On the road, you'd be hard pressed to guess the vaunted Hemi lives under the hood. Installing an Android Car Stereo,you can enjoy everything on the road. With 5,300 pounds to haul around and horsepower and torque peaks both over 4,000 rpm, you've got to put your foot in the pedal to get any kind of exciting forward progress. That also helps explain the hideous 16 mpg combined fuel economy (I saw around 15 mpg in my mostly city driving) despite an eight-speed automatic transmission and cylinder deactivation tech. If it were my money, I'd skip the Hemi and go with the excellent Pentastar 3.6-liter V6; unless you do a lot of towing, you'll notice the extra 3 mpg more than you will the missing 65 hp.

Overall, this is a good-looking truck if you're into the 3/4-size semi thing, and it offers a ton of features for its roughly $45K sticker. I'm surprised Dodge isn't moving more of them in this SUV-crazed sales environment.

Car DVD Player including Blu-Ray compatible dual screen video and rear seat video system ($1,995); Premium napa leather group including power tilt/telescope steering column, lux leather-trimmed bucket seats, perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, ventilated front seats, leather-wrapped door panels, power eight-way driver seat with memory and eight-way passenger seat, floor console with leather armrest, rain sensitive windshield wipers, automatic high beam headlamp control, cargo compartment cover and cargo net ($1,295); second row fold/tumble captain chairs , floor mats, third row mini console, second row mini console with cup holders and second row seat mounted inboard armrests ($995); Uconnect 8.4AN AM/FM/SXM/HD/BT/NAV, GPS navigation, HD radio, SiriusXM traffic with five-year traffic service and SiriusXM travel link with five-year subscription ($750).


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