2018 Dodge Durango Pros vs Cons. Should You Buy?
What’s New for 2018?
The 2018 Dodge Durango offers some new styling options, improved infotainment and a new high-performance model over the previous year. The smallest infotainment screen is now a 7-inch module, and is very full-featured. The high performance Durango SRT also premieres this year, with some of its styling features available as options for lower trim levels as well, such as a hood scoop. Mechanically, the current Dodge Durango shares the same underpinnings as the 2011 model, which was the last year it was fully redesigned.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 Dodge Durango – The Pros
1. Exciting Exterior
The 2018 Dodge Durango stands out not just from other dedicated people-haulers, but from other mid-size SUVs as well. Whereas the current trends in the segment tend towards sharp lines and protruding elements, the Durango is very rounded and filled out, suggesting something not unlike a bodybuilder’s muscles straining under a tight shirt. Given the great powertrain options available, it is an apt look.
2. Attractive Interior
The inside of the 2018 Dodge Durango is quite upscale even on the basic models, while the high-end trims are nothing short of luxury. Contact surfaces get soft-touch materials, and leather and suede are the predominant upholstery materials. Even the base SXT, which has a cloth interior, feels nicely trimmed out and decorated.
3. Versatile Seating
There are three different seating configurations available for the 2018 Durango, offering buyers options that maximize capacity, cargo space or comfort respectively. The standard configuration of seating is three rows with a middle three-seat bench, for a total of seven passengers, but the other options are also attractive. It is possible to configure a Durango with only two rows, for more leg room and a lot more passenger space. The other option is middle-row captain’s chairs, which are much more comfortable, but result in only a six-seat overall capacity.
4. Cushioned Ride
As befits an erstwhile minivan replacement, the Durango offers a very good ride quality for its passengers. All three rows of seats, regardless of configuration are very nicely bolstered, and the car’s long wheelbase and soft suspension take care of any bumps or road imperfection it may encounter. The large amount of space available for third-row passengers contributes to the vehicle’s overall comfort as well.
5. Big Cargo Area
The cargo area on the 2018 Dodge Durango is among the biggest in the midsize class. At 17.2 cubic feet with all three rows up, and up to 84.5 cubic feet behind the first row, there are very few things that it is impossible to fit into the back of a Durango.
6. Powerful Engine Options
The selection of engines the 2018 Durango offers starts out strong and only gets stronger. Base models are equipped with a 293-horsepower V-6, which matches or exceeds most competitors. A 5.7-liter V-8 is also an option, with 360 horsepower and 7,400 pounds of tow rating. The high-powered SRT is equipped exclusively with a 6.4-liter V-8 Hemi that maxes out at 470 horsepower to outclass anything that is not another high-performance car.
7. Good Driving Feel
The mechanicals of the Durango strike an excellent balance between comfort and performance, satisfying drivers and passengers alike. While the suspension on most models is fairly soft, it still does a nice job of keeping the car’s body roll to a minimum, and the steering is precise enough to easily put this big car exactly in the right place. The sporty R/T and SRT models feel a little stiffer, signaling their track-oriented tuning.
8. New Durango SRT
The SRT model is a new addition for the 2018 Dodge Durango, and it by itself makes a compelling case for purchasing one. Dodge is lavish with its performance models, and the Durango SRT is a prime example. The interior is rich and stamped all over with unique SRT badging, the exterior gets an aggressive body kit with even more badging and the rest of the car is fitted out with all the high-end name-brand racing gear, from Brembo brakes to Pirelli tires. The whole package sends a clear message, even when driving the speed limit on a side road.
9. Good Infotainment
The 2018 Dodge Durango has finally got rid of its basic entry-level infotainment system, and now all models in the lineup get the same easy-to-use system. The 7-inch touchscreen uses large icons and clear text to easily communicate each menu, and responds quickly to commands. More old-school drivers will appreciate that it can also be controlled using hardware buttons and knobs. An upgrade is available that improves smartphone integration and features a larger screen as well.
10. Attractive Pricing
The 2018 Dodge Durango falls around the middle of the price range for mid-size SUVs, but is one of the cheapest ones available with three rows of seating. Together with the many features it offers, as well as its customizability and unique styling and power options, it offers a very compelling value proposition.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 Dodge Durango – The Cons
1. Sub-par Safety Scores
The 2018 Dodge Durango does not do nearly as well in crash tests as many other cars in the segment. It only gets a four-star rating from the government testers, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety places it in the lowest category for the small overlap front crash test result. That is a significant downside for a vehicle oriented at passenger transport.
2. Aging Platform
All the styling upgrades and new engine options aside, the 2018 Durango is still the same car that came out in 2011. Most models are upgraded every four to six years, and the Durango is now on its eighth year in service. Safety, efficiency and the general reliability of the model suffer as a result.
3. Unfocused Design
The design of the Durango seems to lack a primary purpose, incorporating high performance elements, minivan-like seating options and the high cargo and towing capacities of a pickup truck. While it does make it a versatile vehicle, it comes with significant trade offs like low mileage or poor safety that make it hard to compete with dedicated vehicles in each class.
How It Stacks up to the Competition
The Dodge Durango does a little bit of everything, so it has a wide range of competitors across many classes, but most drivers considering it are also likely to be looking at other three-row SUVs, such as the Toyota Highlander or the Volkswagen Atlas. The Toyota Highlander is a popular choice thanks to its excellent safety scores and standard equipment, but it suffers from poor driving dynamics - an area where the less-expensive Durango excels. The Atlas is easily a match for the Durango when it comes to a fun driving experience, thanks to its German precision handling, but it does not bring nearly the same amount of power, giving the edge to the Durango.
The 2018 Dodge Durango is a vehicle that is hard to pin down to one specific area. With performance car elements, minivan versatility, SUV dynamics and pickup capacities, it is a solid option for many uses. Buyers who are looking to fill several of those needs with one car will appreciate the Durango’s multifaceted nature.
• Why buy a 2017 Dodge Durango? w/ pros vs cons