Best Bet
  • (4.6) 37 reviews
  • Available Prices: $13,536–$29,636
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 15-19
  • Engine: 290-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: 4x2
  • Seats: 6-7
2013 Dodge Durango

Our Take on the Latest Model 2013 Dodge Durango

What We Don't Like

  • Some bobbing on winding roads
  • Hefty curb weight
  • Ride comfort with R/T's sport suspension
  • Available backup aids should be standard
  • Occasional kickdown lag (V-6 automatic)

Notable Features

  • New Rallye Appearance Group for SXT models
  • Available second-row captain's chairs
  • Seats six or seven in three rows
  • V-6 or V-8 power
  • RWD or AWD
  • 7,400-pound towing capacity

2013 Dodge Durango Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

Editor's note: This review was written in April 2012 about the 2012 Dodge Durango. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for 2013, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

The 2012 Dodge Durango SUV remains a solid choice for families that need three rows of seats and good towing power, but the V-8 engine isn't as stout as its specs suggest, and the R/T's sport suspension compromises ride comfort.

We reviewed the redesigned 2011 Dodge Durango last year, and the seven-seat SUV impressed us with its poised ride, refined interior and good V-6 power. In revisiting this full-size SUV for the 2012 model year, a familiar axiom surfaced: Bigger isn't always better.

Our all-wheel-drive Durango R/T with the bigger of the two available engines, a 5.7-liter V-8, had an as-tested price of $39,240. To compare the Durango's specs with the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder, click here.

Modest V-8 Power
In everyday driving, the performance difference between the Durango's standard 3.6-liter V-6 and available 5.7-liter V-8 isn't that significant. In fact, it's so inconsequential that the thirstier, more expensive V-8 is unnecessary unless you need its extra towing capacity (up to 7,400 pounds; 1,200 pounds more than the V-6 can tow).

The V-8 delivers adequate acceleration in the city and at highway speeds, but it doesn't produce the kind of thrust you'd expect from an engine with 360 horsepower and 390 pounds-feet of torque, which makes you wonder, "Is that all you've got?" To be sure, the engine is lugging around a lot of weight — the all-wheel-drive R/T's curb weight is 5,331 pounds — but the V-6 is nearly as burdened. It's a testament to the strides Chrysler has made with its 3.6-liter V-6 engine.

The V-8 is matched to a six-speed automatic transmission that shifts smoothly and makes swift kickdowns on the highway — though it takes a deep prod of the gas pedal to evoke the downshift, which can leave you waiting a bit when you want more power.

Gas mileage trails the V-6 by a significant amount. The all-wheel-drive Durango V-8 gets an EPA-estimated 13/20 mpg city/highway, compared with the V-6's 16/23 mpg. To save gas, the V-8 incorporates cylinder-deactivation technology, which automatically — and unobtrusively — shuts down half of the engine's cylinders under light loads.

R/T Compromises Ride Comfort
Some of my lasting impressions from our previous time in the Durango were of its exceptional ride comfort and highway poise — all the more noteworthy considering its SUV roots. The highway poise remains, but ride comfort suffers in the R/T, which is fitted with a sport suspension. It also has a performance steering setup, which bothered one editor with its unassisted feel, especially at low speeds.

The R/T completely lacks the comfortable ride of the V-6 Crew trim level we tested previously, replacing it with firm suspension tuning that transmits the shock of bumps and holes in the road in a way that recalls a sporty car. There's just one problem: The Durango is anything but sporty, what with its 16-foot-plus overall length and considerable heft.

Interior Quality, Roominess Remain Strengths
Like other Chrysler products, the Durango benefits from the automaker's newfound commitment to interior quality, which can be seen elsewhere in models like the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300. It's far better than the prior-generation Durango's cabin — which was finished in crude, gray plastic — and makes the interior feel more welcoming and luxurious.

It's also comfortable. The front bucket seats have long cushions and wide backrests that form to your back. The R/T's seats are covered in perforated suede and vinyl, and they complement the cabin's premium appearance.

There's adequate second-row legroom for taller passengers (I'm 6-foot-1), but my shins touched a hard plastic panel on the back of the driver's seat. The second-row backrest reclines, letting you customize the seating position.

The third row accommodates adults, but smaller rear-quarter windows can make it feel a little claustrophobic. The Ford Expedition's third row is a little roomier, but that SUV is significantly larger overall.

Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recognized the Dodge Durango as a 2012 Top Safety Pick. Honorees must achieve Good scores in IIHS' frontal-offset and side-impact crash tests, as well as its roof-strength test and rear-impact test, the latter of which evaluates how well the front seats protect against whiplash injuries.

As is required on all 2012 and newer cars, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard. Additional standard safety features include side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags for all three rows.

Optional safety features include a blind spot warning system, rear cross-path detection and a collision warning system. There are optional backup aids — rear parking sensors and a backup camera — that deserve to be standard. I don't usually feel a need for these features, but I did in the Durango. Its considerable bulk, combined with marginal rear visibility, make reversing a challenge, and I longed for an electronic backup assistant.

For a list of safety features, check out the Features & Specs page, or take a look at our Car Seat Check to see how well child-safety seats fit in the Durango.

Durango in the Market
Gas prices were high when we reviewed the Durango more than a year ago, and they're higher still today; the nationwide average for a gallon of regular is $3.85, according to AAA. That hasn't put a damper on Durango sales — at least not yet; they're up 33 percent through March 2012. A stronger economy and more confident consumers are no doubt driving some of the gains, but it's further evidence that Americans like their vehicles big — and are willing to pay for the privilege at the pump.

If the thought of $100 fill-ups doesn't make you queasy, the Durango is a good choice in this segment. However, take a pass on the R/T's sport suspension and the V-8 to get a more comfortable, fuel-efficient version. You'll also save some money on the purchase price, which you can set aside for those fill-ups.

Send Mike an email  


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Consumer Reviews

(4.6)

Average based on 37 reviews

Write a Review

Perfect fit for anyone who wants lots of space

by Broccoligirl from New York city on November 29, 2017

Great purchase, lots of room. Also pretty good on gas. I'm really happy with my decision to buy this vehicle.

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8 Trims Available

Photo of undefined
Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2013 Dodge Durango trim comparison will help you decide.
 

Dodge Durango Articles

2013 Dodge Durango Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Dodge Durango Citadel

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Dodge Durango Citadel

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
G
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
A
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
G
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Dodge Durango Citadel

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Dodge Durango Citadel

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

36mo/36,000mi

Powertrain

60mo/100,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

60mo/100,000mi

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years