Dodge mostly grabs headlines these days for its drag-strip-destroying Challenger and Charger muscle cars. So maybe it won't come as a surprise that the Durango is essentially the muscle car of the three-row crossover-SUV class. You won't find a four-cylinder engine or a fuel-sipping hybrid setup here. Instead, Dodge makes a V6 standard and then offers one of two strong V8 engines as optional upgrades.
Thankfully, the Dodge Durango doesn't skimp on SUV utility in favor of straight-line…
Dodge mostly grabs headlines these days for its drag-strip-destroying Challenger and Charger muscle cars. So maybe it won’t come as a surprise that the Durango is essentially the muscle car of the three-row crossover-SUV class. You won’t find a four-cylinder engine or a fuel-sipping hybrid setup here. Instead, Dodge makes a V6 standard and then offers one of two strong V8 engines as optional upgrades.
Thankfully, the Dodge Durango doesn’t skimp on SUV utility in favor of straight-line performance. The V8s offer class-leading towing capacity and, if you opt for four-wheel drive, a low-range gearbox for more capability for off-road work or extra traction on boat ramps. You also get a good amount of space for up to seven passengers thanks to the Durango’s large overall dimensions.
Updates over the years have managed to keep the Durango mostly fresh, with current infotainment and other upgrades coming regularly. But those changes can’t entirely mask the fact that the Durango’s platform is both old and heavy. That means real-world manoeuvrability and fuel economy both take a hit, and the weight hurts acceleration with the V6 engine. The interior packaging also isn’t as clever or efficient as in other three-row competitors.
While the Dodge Durango has some definite strengths, its no-replacement-for-displacement approach to everything does makes it a blunt instrument that isn’t necessarily well-suited to the needs of most three-row crossover shoppers. For the right buyer, though, nothing else in the segment will offer such robust power and towing.
The V6 engine is a bit outmatched in a vehicle this heavy, so we’d go with the R/T trim to unlock both the extra oomph and the extra towing capacity. You do give up fuel economy, but if that’s your top concern you probably shouldn’t be shopping for a Durango anyway.
The 2020 Dodge Durango is a three-row crossover SUV available in five trim levels: SXT, GT, Citadel, R/T and SRT.
All Durango models except the SRT use rear-wheel drive and offer optional all-wheel drive. The SRT is only available with all-wheel drive. Seven-passenger seating is standard in the SXT, the GT and the R/T. Second-row captain’s chairs (reducing capacity to six) are standard on the Citadel and the SRT and optional on all others. If you need to prioritize cargo over passengers, you can order the base SXT with just two rows of seats, or you can order the Lightweight Performance package on the SRT that also removes the third row.
The base SXT comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine (295 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque) paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Even in base trim, the Durango is a competent family hauler. You get features such as push-button start, three-zone climate control, power-folding third-row headrests, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Load-leveling rear suspension is also standard. And properly equipped, the base SXT can still tow up to 6,200 pounds, beating out competitive midsize three-row crossovers.
The GT adds some value with conveniences such as remote ignition, a power liftgate, a power driver’s seat, 115-volt power outlet and satellite radio. It also has a more aggressive appearance thanks to trim bits borrowed from the R/T and the SRT, along with 20-inch alloy wheels.
The Citadel trim gives you luxury features while saving you money by coming standard with the base powertrain. (It can be upgraded with the R/T’s V8, though.) You get leather and vinyl upholstery, heated front and second-row seats, an 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation, and a nine-speaker stereo with a subwoofer, among other features.
The R/T is a more performance-oriented trim with its lower ride height and upgraded brakes. It also comes standard with a 5.7-liter V8 engine (360 hp, 390 lb-ft), allowing for a max towing capacity of 7,400 pounds when properly equipped. Low-range gearing is also included with the optional all-wheel-drive system. Overall, it looks and drives much more aggressively.
But for raw on-road power, nothing beats the high-performance SRT, with mechanical upgrades all around, such as a 6.4-liter V8 engine (475 hp, 470 lb-ft), an electronic limited-slip differential, Brembo brakes, and performance-tuned suspension. You also get upgraded leather, simulated-suede upholstery and ventilated front seats. With the towing package, the SRT can tow up to 8,700 pounds.
If you’d like to customize your Durango’s content, many of the higher-trim features are available as optional extras on lower trims. There are also quite a few appearance package options for various trim levels for further customization. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are optional on every trim level. And more advanced driver aids such as adaptive cruise control are available from the Citadel and up.