2002 Dodge Durango

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2002 Dodge Durango
Available in 7 styles:  2002 Dodge Durango 4dr 4x4 shown
Asking Price Range
$1,548–$8,660
Estimated MPG

12–14 city / 16–19 hwy

Summary

By 

Cars.com National
Vehicle Overview
Dodge’s sole offering in this segment straddles two sections of the SUV market. The Durango isn’t too big or too small; it’s larger in size than most midsize sport utility vehicles, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, with its V-8 engines and optional eight-passenger seating. It challenges full-size models like the Chevrolet Tahoe. Billed as the “right size” by Dodge, the Durango promises “full-size SUV roominess” combined with compact-level maneuverability.

A new entry-level SXT model joins the lineup for 2002. The Durango also can be equipped with step-up option packages, which include the SLT, SLT Plus and performance-oriented R/T. A new option group includes graphite front and rear fascias, grille and fender flares, as well as 16-inch aluminum wheels. Newly available curtain-type airbags for the front and second-row seats deploy from the ceiling. The Durango, which debuted for the 1998 model year and is based on the Dakota pickup truck, is due for a face-lift, if not a redesign, possibly for 2003.



Exterior
From the windshield forward, the styling on the four-door Durango is the same as the Dakota pickup truck. Its overall length is 193 inches. The R/T edition includes 17-inch tires on cast aluminum wheels, performance shock absorbers, a limited-slip differential and a performance-oriented axle ratio.



Interior
Depending on the seating configuration, the Durango seats as few as five occupants or as many as eight. Two front buckets and a three-place second-row seat are standard for five-passenger capacity. For eight-passenger seating, a three-place bench can replace the front buckets and an optionaltwo-place third-row seat can be added. The middle and rear seats fold flat for a maximum cargo volume of 88 cubic feet. A new DVD-based backseat video entertainment system is available as an option.



Under the Hood
A 235-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 that drives a newly enhanced five-speed-automatic transmission is the base engine, and a 250-hp, 5.9-liter Magnum V-8 that teams with a four-speed automatic is optional. The Durango comes either with rear-wheel drive or a choice of two four-wheel-drive systems. Standard 4WD cannot be used on smooth, dry pavement, but the optional 4WD system is a full-time unit. Both systems may be engaged with a dashboard-mounted switch. Antilock brakes are standard.



Driving Impressions
SUVs aren’t supposed to sound like Dodge’s sporty, performance-oriented Durango R/T edition. It emits lushly gurgling exhaust notes that would befit a sports car and sounds like it’s ready to lunge into space. While it’s reasonably vigorous, the performance from the Magnum V-8 engine falls a bit short of what one is led to expect from that muscular sport-tuned sound out back. On the plus side, the automatic transmission reacts promptly and smoothly for passing.

The Durango is essentially pleasing all around, but it isn’t quite as friendly to the driver and occupants as, say, the new Ford Explorer. Steering is easy and little correction is required, but it’s not quite as precise as on some SUVs. It’s difficult to overcome a tendency to avoid pushing too hard in tight curves. Appealing seats offer excellent support and firm but comfortable cushioning with plenty of space for the driver and passengers, though the rear seatbacks aren’t very tall.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2002 Buying Guide

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