Friday 21 October 2016
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Test Drive: 2015 Dodge Durango R/T Review

Test Drive: 2015 Dodge Durango R/T Review

It is with a certain amount of sadness that I bring you the 2015 Dodge Durango this week. You see, this will be my final Durango review, 2015 is the last year for this vehicle, which has always been one of my favorite 3rd row SUVs.  It gives way to a new Jeep Grand Cherokee that will offer 3rd row seating. Fiat Chrysler thinks it is time for Durango to go to pasture, in spite of the fact that it re-did this vehicle less than two years ago.

I think what I have enjoyed over the years about Durango is the value it represents. You get a lot of standard features for not a lot of money as compared to other similar SUVs, especially in the last few years, and today’s review vehicle is no exception.

This is the R/T model, which has stood for Road and Track since the ‘60s, so of course this one has the 5.7 liter V8, and yes it’s a Hemi and it is putting out 360-horses. Mated to the Hemi is an 8-speed automatic transmission. This combination offers a lot of power and torque, and will allow you to tow up to 7400 pounds.

When not towing, the 5.7 uses cylinder deactivation technology to get you a respectable 23 miles per gallon on the highway when you push the Eco button on the dash. My tester is a rear-wheel drive version, but an all-wheel version is available as well.

When Dodge re-did Durango a couple of years ago, it got a more streamlined front fascia. As you move around the vehicle, you can’t help but notice the 20” aluminum wheels that make Durango sit up tall to offer terrific visibility all the way around.

If you go to the rear, you notice the racetrack-shaped LED tail lights, which are super noticeable at night. A standard power tailgate with large rear glass sits above dual chrome exhaust tips, giving the Durango a very attractive rear look.

As soon as you open the door, you notice a plush-looking and very clean interior. My tester has red interior, a color you don’t find much anymore, and it comes with black accents throughout.

When you get behind the wheel, you will notice how comfortable the Nappa Leather seats are. The gauges on the dash are bright, and you can configure the information in the center. Everything is easy to reach, and like many of the Chrysler products, it has a rotary dial shifter, which I could easily do without, but it does give the center console a clean look.

You get a lot of standard features with Durango R/T, like backup camera and parking sensors, remote start and pushbutton start, shift paddles on the steering wheel, along with audio controls. You also get at no charge a heated steering wheel, heated front and second row seats, power front seats, and a Beats by Dr. Dre sound system.

This particular Durango has second row captain chairs, which makes access to the third row seat much easier. The second row seats fold up easily as does the 3rd row seat if you need a lot of cargo area. The 3rd row seat is plenty roomy and is elevated to give the passengers better vision. There is also a good amount of cargo room behind the 3rd row seat when up.

Options on this particular vehicle include a Blue Ray DVD player and video system for games, with dual screens for the backseat passengers at a cost of $1995.

With the $1295 Nappa leather-seating package, you also get an electric tilt steering wheel, air-conditioned front seats, rain-sensitive wipers, and automatic high beam control, a very handy feature for night driving. The second row captain chairs are $995.

Finally, you get the terrific Uconnect system where everything runs on an 8.4” touchscreen and has GPS navigation system. You also get Bluetooth, and you can add the apps that you use most often. I find this system one of the easiest to use in the auto industry.

When considering the price, be aware this particular vehicle does not have a moonroof, blind sport monitoring, and adaptive cruise control, items which generally you would expect in a vehicle that is equipped like this one.

The Durango R/T rides and handles very well, has strong acceleration, and has a great sounding exhaust. This is truly the equivalent of a Dodge Charger dressed in an SUVs body. It makes an enjoyable family vehicle and it would work well as a daily driver.

As mentioned, highway fuel economy is good at 23 miles per gallon, but you’ll take a hit when driving in town, where it is getting 13-14 tops. Overall mileage is rated at 17, which is less than its closest competitor, the Ford Explorer Sport, which actually has more horsepower. Durango carries a 4 Star overall government safety rating.

A word of caution…resale value on Durango has never been very good, and with it being discontinued, it will certainly get worse. If you plan to keep the Durango 5 years or more, this does not come into play, but if you think you might trade it in less time than that, I would pick something else. One thing is for sure, the factory incentives will be very aggressive on the remaining 2015 models, making it a very attractive value.
MSRP on this one as you see it is just over $46,000, but comes with a base price of $39,995.

Since I rate on value as well as resale value and overall quality, I cannot give the 2015 Durango more than a 3 out of 5 Star rating, but with that said, I hate to see it go away.

What I liked most:  Overall value, ride, drive, and electronics

What I would change: Improved city fuel economy

MSRP: Base price $39,995, as equipped $46,025.

Fuel Economy:  EPA rated at 14 City/23 Highway, 17 Combined.

Fuel Tank: 24.6 gallons.

Dimensions: 199.8” long/75.8” wide/71.6” high.

Weight: 5133 pounds

2015 Durango in a few words: Sad to see it go, grab yourself a bargain!

Trailer Towing: 7400 pounds

Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-Year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance.

Car Pro Rating:  3 out of 5 Stars.

Miles When Tested: 3100

Manufacturer’s website: Dodge

Dealers: We have terrific Dodge Dealers in Austin, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Grand Rapids, Houston, Los Angeles, Lubbock, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Raleigh, Sacramento, and San Antonio.