2015 Dodge Durango

Starting MSRP: $30,495 - $47,390

Estimated MPG: 18 city / 25 hwy

2015 Dodge Durango Review

The 2015 Dodge Durango isn't your father's SUV. With an aggressive look, an optional V8 engine and impressive towing abilities, the 2015 Durango shows what a crossover is capable of if you decide to throw out the systematic formula of creating one. Still, a small third row and limited cargo space could put some people off.

By William Maley
Last Updated 05/03/2016

Imagine you were given a clean sheet of paper and were asked to build a midsize SUV to take on a growing group of crossovers, what would you do? Dodge decided to throw out the usual conventions with the third-generation Durango, offering styling and powertrain choices that are unique within the midsize SUV class.

For 2015, Dodge offers the Durango in SXT, Limited, R/T and Citadel. There is also the availability of V6 and V8 engines, as well as the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive. Changes for this model year include an optional Beats by Dr. Dre audio system and available red leather upholstery in the Durango R/T.

Exterior

Exterior
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Can an SUV be described as looking like a muscle car? In the case of the Durango, we think so. The overall profile reminds us of wagons from the late '60s to early '70s with a long roofline and large glass area. The front end is very aggressive with either a chrome or painted crosshair grille and large headlights. The Durango's back end pays homage to the Dodge Challenger with styling that includes LED racetrack taillights.

Interior

Interior
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Dodge put a lot of effort of making the Durango's interior look and feel upscale, no matter which trim you pick. The design is similar to what you may find in the 2015 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger, with a fair amount of soft-touch materials and pieces of chrome and faux aluminum trim throughout.

The Durango can seat up to seven people. Our test R/T model featured the optional second-row bucket seats that reducing seating capacity to six. The seats were wrapped in red leather with black stitching, sending a clear message that this isn't your standard Durango. 

The front seats were very comfortable, offering power adjustments, heat and ventilation. Those sitting in the second row will find a large amount of headroom, but legroom can vary from good to poor depending on the position of the front seats. The third row is best left for small kids as overall space is somewhat tight, and getting back there is a bit of a squeeze.

With all of the seats up, the Durango offers 17.2 cubic feet of cargo space. If you fold the third row, space increases to 47.7 cubic feet. Fold both rows of back seats and space grows to 84.5. That's an impressive amount of room for the class, though models like the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia offer more overall cargo space.

Performance

Performance
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The 2015 Durango comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A dual exhaust system – which is standard on the Citadel trim and available elsewhere with Rallye and Blacktop packages – boosts output to 295 horsepower. A 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque is optional. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available as an option.

Our R/T tester packed the V8 engine. There's a deep rumble from the exhaust on startup, which lets you and your passengers know that the Durango has some oomph.

Step on the accelerator and the engine roars into life, providing more than enough power for just about any driving situation. It's backed up by the eight-speed automatic, which is one of the smoothest-shifting transmissions in the business.

The V8 gives the Durango a big advantage over other crossovers when it comes to towing. When properly equipped, the V8 model can tow up to 7,400 pounds. If you opt for the V6, it still provides an excellent tow rating of 6,200 pounds.

The base Durango gets an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway, while a V8-powered, all-wheel drive model like our test Durango R/T is rated at 14/22 mpg. We averaged 17.1 mpg during a week of mixed city and highway driving.

The Durango's ride is smooth and quiet, even on some of the roughest roads. Handling is somewhat surprising as the Durango shows little body roll and feels agile. The steering is somewhat light, but it provides the right amount of feel for whatever situation you find yourself in.

Technology

Technology
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The base Durango comes standard with Bluetooth, a USB port and a Uconnect infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen and voice recognition. Higher trims such as our R/T tester get an upgraded version of Uconnect with a larger 8.4-inch touch screen. Uconnect is one better systems out there, featuring a simple interface with logical menus and quick response times.

Our test Durango was also equipped with the optional rear-seat Blue-Ray/DVD entertainment system that features two 9-inch screens. A game console can also be hooked up to this system through a set of ports beside the screen.

Safety

Safety
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The 2015 Dodge Durango received four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for its overall performance in crash tests. The Durango earned top scores of Good in most crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The only exception was the small overlap front crash test, where the Durango received IIHS' second-lowest Marginal rating.

All Durango models get a full-suite of air bags, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control and trailer sway control. Models above the base SXT get a rearview camera and rear parking sensors as standard equipment. 

Options on higher trims include blind spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert and forward collision alert.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The 2015 Dodge Durango starts at $30,495 for the base SXT with rear-wheel drive, and climbs to $47,390 for the top-of-the-line Citadel with all-wheel drive and a V8 engine.

Our test Durango R/T with all-wheel came in at $48,425 with destination and a few options. That price is similar to what you'd pay for the Ford Explorer Platinum, GMC Acadia Denali or Toyota Highlander Limited equipped with the Platinum package. Out of this group, the Durango offers better performance and feels the most luxurious.

Overall

Overall
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The 2015 Dodge Durango bucks the trend that most midsize three-row SUVs currently follow. With muscular looks, an impressive ride, controlled handling and a long list of features, very few models can compare to the Durango. Just be sure it has enough cargo and passenger space for your family if you decide to get one.