These are the reasons why I would buy a 2017 Dodge Durango GT
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I love cars. I’ve loved them since I was small child, and (some nights) I still go to bed dreaming of what it would be like to own my present day dream car. In a nutshell, I’m grateful to do what I do for work, but that doesn’t make me any less prone to being — a human.
What do I mean by that? I mean that although I drive many amazing vehicles, it’s still very hard to find one that checks all the right boxes. In fact, out of all the I’ve driven in recent years, I can only think of three or four that I’d happily walk into their respective dealerships and buy them with a smile on my face. Whether I have a short-list due to my profession, or due to human indecisiveness, it proves that cary shopping simply isn’t easy.
Despite having driven most of the Dodge lineup of vehicles, the Durango and Journey have always eluded me for one reason or another. Furthermore, I once heard someone call the Durango the “7-passenger Challenger,” which made me laugh. Fast forward a year or so, and I can tell you who had the last laugh. Hint: it’s not me.
The Durango has remained largely unchanged since its debut in 2011, although it received its current looks from a design revision in 2014. So, in one way or another, the Durango is fairly old, but do you know how much that matters? None, at all.
The current exterior design is sleek, yet robust and quite muscular in the front and rear. Funny enough, much like the Dodge Challenger. Look past the sexy exterior, and realize that the interior is as functional and kid-friendly as the one in a minivan. In fact, I’d say that if it weren’t for the ride height and more spacious third row, the Durango would be a better kid hauler than our adored Pacifica.
Despite its family-friendly, bad mama jama looks, I would never buy a vehicle based on looks alone. So obviously there’s more to the Durango.
Family Hot Rod
Our GT AWD model was equipped with everything the entire family could desire, at a price that didn’t break the bank. In fact, I was stoked to see a vehicle with only a slight amount of optional equipment, and not the entire options catalog.
At $48,765 (including a $1,095 shipping charge), our Durango featured a total of five options totaling $7,575. Those options were the Customer Preferred Package 23E, which includes a plethora of convenience features, but more importantly: Beats premium audio, GPS navigation, power lift gate, sunroof, and Sirius XM radio.
In addition, the safety and security package includes: automatic headlights, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, and rain sensitive wipers. Lastly, the towing package and second row captain chairs with mini center console were also added.
There’s one option that if you ask the kids, it’s what actually makes the Durango, and it’s the rear DVD entertainment center. This rear video system includes two 8-inch monitors, a Blu-Ray compatible DVD player, as well as power outlets and A/V and HDMI hookups for the gamers and movie-watchers in your family.
I would personally include all of these features in my “own” Durango, though I’d think twice about dropping $1,195 in a fancy DVD player. Then again, this magical device works wonders to keep the little ones quiet, so maybe its worth its price in gold!
Features we would’ve liked but didn’t have: Adaptive cruise control.
The Driving Experience
Whether you’re taking the family on a cross-country road trip, or running errands around town, the Durango is as cool as it gets.
A 3.6-liter V6 engine pumps out 295-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, which is truly a joy to drive. For once I didn’t feel the need to tinker with “eco” or “sport” modes in order to enhance my driving experience. The Durango felt powerful, yet tamed and relaxed. Acceleration came easily and without hesitation, and didn’t leave me desiring for either more power, or more efficiency.
Speaking of efficiency, our city and highway combined average was 17 mpg during our week-long test, although we did achieve up to 22 mpg on purely highway driving stints. Also, it’s worth mentioning that this particular engine and drivetrain can tow up to 6,200 pounds.
Sure, it’s not as economic as other smaller family vehicles, but it’s worth considering the size and might of the Durango. This isn’t a small or under-powered vehicle by any means, but it takes advantage of clever engine technology to return a decent mpg figure for this segment.
The 2017 Dodge Durango has been rated as “Good” on all possible crash test ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), except for the small overlap front crash, where it was rated as “Marginal.”
Several technology features can be added to the Dodge Durango, such as blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control with full stop, in addition to head, knee, and side curtain airbags.
I’d buy one.
2017 Dodge Durango GT AWD
- Starts at: $40,095
- Price as tested: $48,765