The third-generation Dodge Durango launched for the 2011 model year and received a facelift for the 2014 model year. Last year, Dodge added a wild SRT version packing 485 horsepower. For 2019, Dodge is reshuffling some packages on the three-row SUV and tweaking the look of the GT trim so it looks more like the sporty R/T and SRT versions. There are also some new wheel designs and three new exterior colors. A trailer-brake controller is now included with the towing package and blind-spot monitoring is now offered as a standalone option on all trim levels. Whichever Dodge Durango you pick, you'll enjoy a roomy, well-equipped SUV with lots of style and muscle.
Powertrain and specs
The Durango offers three powertrains, all backed up by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Dodge likes to refer to the Durango as a three-row version of its Charger muscle car, and indeed, the Durango has more powerful engines than many of its direct rivals -- at the expense of fuel efficiency.
The entry-level engine is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 rated for 295 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It's standard on the SXT, GT and Citadel models. With rear-wheel drive, it delivers EPA fuel economy ratings of 19 miles per gallon city and 26 mpg highway, while all-wheel-drive versions are rated at 18/25 mpg. This engine can tow a maximum of 6,200 pounds.
The next step up is to a 5.7-liter V8 good for 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet. It's standard on the Durango R/T and an option on the luxurious Citadel spec. Fuel economy is rated at 14 mpg city and 22 mpg highway with rear- or all-wheel drive. The V8 also boosts the Durango's tow rating to 7,400 pounds with AWD or 7,200 pounds with RWD.
The final, and perhaps most exciting, engine option is a 6.4-liter V8. Reserved for the Durango SRT, which receives commensurate chassis and braking upgrades, the engine serves up a hearty 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. Available only with all-wheel drive, this powertrain rockets the Durango SRT to 60 miles per hour in a sports-car-like 4.4 seconds. Unsurprisingly, there's a penalty at the gas pump. You'll need to use premium fuel and will see EPA ratings of just 13 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. On the other hand, the Durango SRT's tow rating climbs to 8,700 pounds.
Three rows of seating are standard on all but the base Dodge Durango trim level, where it's an option. The Durango offers just 17.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third row, which expands to 43.3 cubic feet with the third row folded and 85.1 cubic feet with the second row folded down. Those are respectable figures that closely match those of the similarly sized Ford Explorer (21.0/43.9/81.7 cubic feet), as well as other popular three-row SUVs like the Honda Pilot (16.5/46.8/83.8 cubic feet) and the Chevrolet Traverse (23.0/58.1/98.2 cubic feet).
The Durango's standard infotainment system is a 7-inch touchscreen using Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Uconnect software. We like the software's simplicity and ease of use. Built-in features include support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is also an 8.4-inch version of the screen with navigation. It's standard on the R/T, Citadel and SRT trims, and an option on the GT. All Durangos also have a reconfigurable 7-inch color trip computer.
In terms of active safety, all versions but the base Durango SXT offer many features. Pre-collision warning and braking, adaptive cruise control, rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning and lane-keep assist are bundled in the Technology package, which is a cost option on any trim except the SXT. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert can be equipped on every trim level -- again, as an added-cost option.
Options and pricing
Prices for the 2019 Dodge Durango won't be announced until later this year, but it's fair to guess that they will be similar to the 2018 model's prices; all prices listed below are for the 2018 model. The base Durango is the SXT trim, which for 2018 started at $31,340 with destination for rear-wheel drive or $33,940 with all-wheel drive. It's equipped with the V6 engine and two rows of seats (a third row is optional), as well as push-button start, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 7-inch color trip computer, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Major option packages include the Comfort Seating Group, which adds a power driver's seat, and the Popular Equipment Group, which features heated front seats and a power liftgate.
The next step up is the Durango GT, which as mentioned above now wears a sporty look because it adopts the front fascia, vented hood and LED fog lights of the R/T and SRT trim levels. Key equipment upgrades include leather upholstery, three rows of seating, LED running lights and a dual exhaust. Major options include a rear-seat Blu-Ray/DVD player, the Technology Group that adds active-safety features and the Premium Group that bundles a sunroof, an Alpine sound system and the 8.4-inch navigation system. The 2018 Durango GT cost $39,240 with RWD and $41,840 with AWD.
After that comes the Durango Citadel. New for 2019, this model comes standard with second-row captain's chairs and can newly be optioned with an 825-watt, 19-speaker sound system. Major equipment changes versus the GT include 20-inch wheels, HID headlights, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation and rain-sensing wipers. The Citadel can also be upgraded to the 5.7-liter V8 as an option. The 2018 model was priced from $43,540 with RWD and $46,140 with AWD.
The Durango R/T is equipped with the 5.7-liter engine as standard, as well as a different front fascia and a sportier suspension tune. Its equipment list otherwise mostly closely mirrors that of the Citadel. Pricing for 2018 started at $45,090 with RWD and $47,690 with AWD.
Finally, the Durango SRT costs $64,340. Not only does it come with the 6.4-liter V8 engine as standard, the high-performance SUV packs numerous other go-fast upgrades: Brembo brakes, adaptive dampers, a retuned all-wheel-drive system, various SRT badges and carbon-fiber interior trim pieces. Given its cost both in terms of purchase price and fuel economy, this one is best for the enthusiast buyer rather than the casual family-SUV shopper. Options include the Lightweight Performance package, which deletes the third row of seats, and an SRT Interior package that adds genuine carbon fiber trim and a Dinamica headliner.
Dealers are taking orders for the 2019 Dodge Durango now, with the model set to arrive in showrooms in fall 2018. But given that the changes from the last model year are relatively minor, you may also want to consider looking for a 2018 Durango. There are likely to be good deals available on those models, too, as dealers prepare to stock the 2019.