By Jennifer Geiger on March 27, 2013
Dodge's three-row crossover gets some appealing updates for the 2014 model year. Highlights include more muscular exterior styling, a new eight-speed automatic transmission and an upgraded Uconnect multimedia system with 8.4-inch touch-screen.
For 2014, Dodge is putting emphasis on family resemblance; the Durango borrows the Charger's and Dart's LED light-bar taillamp setup. Up front, it gets an updated grille, raised front bumper and new projector-beam headlights with available LED daytime running lights. A more sculpted hood and pronounced fenders give it a muscular look, channeling the Challenger's curves.
The other big news is the crossover's new eight-speed automatic transmission; Chrysler says it's a segment-first. The eight-speed is standard across the lineup and replaces last year's five-speed. The new unit has paddle shifters and the traditional shifter is replaced by a rotary knob, which is similar to the setup in the 2013 Ram 1500.
Powertrains carryover for 2014: The 290-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 and 360-hp, 5.7-liter V-8 are again available. A standard capless fuel filler is new this year. Chrysler says the 2014 Durango will be "up to 9%" more efficient than the outgoing model thanks to the new transmission and new Eco mode; the latter alters throttle response and the transmission's shift points to maximize fuel efficiency. For 2013, two-wheel-drive versions of the V-6 are EPA rated at 16/23 mpg city/highway and V-8 versions at 14/20 mpg.
For 2014, the Durango will be available in five trim levels: SXT, Rallye, the new-for-2014 Limited, R/T and Citadel. Inside, the crossover uses the latest version of the Uconnect multimedia system with either a 5-inch or 8.4-inch touch-screen, depending on trim. The available Uconnect Access system provides navigation with 3-D mapping, Wi-Fi capability, hands-free texting and Bluetooth streaming audio with mobile apps like Pandora and iHeartRadio.
Also new is the instrument cluster; it's now a 7-inch thin-film transistor screen that's similar to what's in the Dart. Dodge says there are more than 100 ways drivers can customize it. More new equipment includes an available dual-screen Blu-ray- and DVD-compatible rear entertainment system. The 9-inch screens are mounted in the driver and front-passenger seatbacks.
The 2014 Dodge Durango will be manufactured at Chrysler's Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit and go on sale at the end of this year.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer