Carlike ride with SUV capability.
The Durango was redesigned a couple years ago with new exterior styling and a surprisingly luxurious interior. Because of that top-to-bottom makeover, the Durango had few changes last year, and the story is much the same for 2013. Behind the signature cross-hair grille is Chrysler’s fuel-efficient 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and a five-speed automatic transmission, which come standard. A 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is optional, and it brings with it a six-speed automatic. Towing capacity is rated at 6200 and 7400 pounds, respectively, for the two powertrains, and rear- or all-wheel drive is available with either engine. The Durango’s unibody construction is similar to that of the Mercedes-Benz M-class and the Jeep Grand Cherokee and is a welcome contrast to the old body-on-frame chassis that punished occupants of the previous Durango. Thanks to the underpinning swap, the Durango has surprisingly good body control. Add in nice brake-pedal feel and accurate steering, and you have a 5000-pound SUV that feels astonishingly light on its feet. The interior features three rows of seats with room for seven, but second-row captain’s chairs are also available. Outward visibility is only OK due to the high front cowl, but the Durango still successfully combines SUV capability, crossover versatility, and carlike performance.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
new for 2013
SXT models can now be optioned with the Rallye Appearance Group, which means 5 more hp than the standard V-6 model with the looks of an R/T. Crew models now have standard premium leather seating, heated first- and second-row seats, and bright door handles. The Technology Group, which includes blind-spot and rear cross-path detection monitoring, as well as adaptive cruise control, can now be added to the R/T.
Front, side, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control; roll mitigation; hill-start assist; and trailer-sway control are standard. Blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, and forward-collision warning are optional.
Handles well for an SUV
Capable tow vehicle
Has some tough competition
High front cowl compromises forward visibility
Base Price Range: $29,990–$43,190
DRIVE: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
TRIM LEVELS: SXT, Crew, R/T, Citadel
BODY STYLE: SUV, 7-passenger
ENGINES: 3.6L V-6, 290/295 hp, 260 lb-ft
5.7L V-8, 360 hp, 390 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 5- or 6-speed automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: 54.4 cu ft
CAPACITIES: Towing 6200–7400 lb; cargo (behind third/middle/front seats) 17.2/47.7/84.5 cu ft