Monday, April 1, 2013
2014 Dodge Durango
Never Neutral with 8 Forward Gears
In accordance with Chrysler's newfound spirit of continuous improvement, the 3-year-old Dodge Durango gets a major spiffing-up for 2014. A mild exterior refresh and interior refinements plus a powertrain update conspire to keep the three-row crossover fresh for a few more years. There's also a minor shuffle in the trim choices, with Crew being replaced by Limited and the Rallye package becoming a stand-alone trim. The SXT, R/T, and Citadel remain.The main change made by Dodge to the 2014 Durango is the addition of Chrysler's new eight-speed automatic behind both engines (3.6-liter V-6 and 5.7-liter V-8), boosting efficiency by around 9 percent. Official numbers have yet to be released, but we're promised 25 mpg highway for the V-6, yielding a 600-mile range. A center console-mounted rotary transmission selector comes with the deal, as do steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The 3.6-liter V-6 makes 290 hp (295 hp on Rallye) and 260 lb-ft of torque, while the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 cranks out 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Best-in-class towing capacities of 6200 and 7400 pounds for the V-6 and V-8 are also promised. While rear drive is standard, all-wheel drive is available. The transfer case on all-wheel-drive V-8 models features a low range gear for improved off-roading capability and a neutral mode that allows the Durango to be flat-towed.
A new Eco Mode is standard with the new eight-speed and improves fuel economy by optimizing transmission shift points and throttle sensitivity as well as managing the Hemi's cylinder deactivation system and the interactive deceleration fuel shut-off (IDFSO). The latter cuts fuel delivery when the vehicle is coasting. Eco Mode is the default setting upon start up, but can be disabled by a center stack button.Outside, the look up front is bolder and more aggressive with revised lighting, front fascia, and crosshair grille. Projector headlights are new across all trim levels. Rallye, Limited, R/T, and Citadel trims get hockey stick-shaped LED daytime running lights along the bottom of the headlights; R/T and Citadel models also get HID headlamps standard. Projector foglights in the taller front fascia are new. The new, slimmer crosshair grille floats in its shell, while each trim gets a unique mesh insert that is repeated in the lower fascia.
Around back, the Durango gets Dodge's "racetrack" rear lighting graphic (here composed of 162 LEDs, and 30 more operating the brake lamps) found on the Charger and Dart, and the trailer hitch is integrated into the new rear fascia. All V-8 models along with R/T and Rallye V-6 models get dual 3.5-inch exhaust tips, while other V-6 models get a single 3-inch outlet. Wheel choices expand to seven, including 18-inch and 20-inch sizes with unique styles for each trim as well as silver painted, polished aluminum, and Hyper Black finishes.In addition to the above, Rallye and R/T models get a monochromatic look with dark-tinted headlamps, body-colored fascias, wheel flares, grille, and sill moldings. The R/T also sits 20mm lower for a sporty appearance and improved handling.
An update to the electrical architecture brings Adaptive Cruise Control, which brings the car to a stop, plus collision alert and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, and Rear Cross Path (RCP) detection. Buttons on the rearview mirror dial emergency crews or roadside assistance without the need for a cellphone.Inside, the redesigned dash features a 5-inch or 8.4-inch central screen plus a 7-inch display between the tach and speedometer. Redundant audio and climate controls as well as an SD card slot, USB port, and auxiliary jack are just below the center screen. A new three-spoke steering wheel with illuminated controls and paddle shifters is available.Chrysler's Uconnect telematics system gets another upgrade with an improved voice command system and an embedded cellular 4G link that provides access to apps and can make the vehicle a Wi-Fi hotspot. Uconnect allows hands-free control of apps including Pandora, iHeartradio, and Slacker and can read and respond to text messages.The nav system's Garmin graphics are less cartoonish and can portray 3-D images of buildings in select cities, and the screen's background coloring now coordinates with the interior color way. Rear-seat riders can now enjoy high-def video entertainment via twin 9.0-inch-diagonal screens mounted to the front seatbacks with separate HDMI and RCA jacks for each as well as an available Blu-Ray player.
Second-row captain's chairs are an option, with a choice of a tall or short center console. The standard 60/40 split second-row bench can handle passengers and long objects such as 10-foot-long 2x4s with the front passenger seat is folded. Dodge claims the Durango can fit a 6-foot couch and coffee table when the second-row and 50/50 third-row seats folded. Reclining and heated rear seats are also available. In all, there are up to 50 different seating configurations and as much as 85 cubic feet of cargo space behind the first row.With rumors of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer coming to replace the Dodge Durango as Chrysler's three-row offering, some may wonder why the automaker is updating the crossover after just three years. Regardless of the reasons, the 2014 Dodge Durango's new duds, safety equipment, eight-speed transmission, and renewed focus on improving fuel mileage make a compelling argument for the big Dodge to stay.