New 2012 Dodge Durango Citadel Reviews
Overview:Overhauled for 2011, the Dodge Durango qualifies as a wholesale advance on its predecessor.It's not merely competitive.It's near the top of its class in many of the things SUV buyers want.
For 2012, Dodge Durango adds a new 6-speed automatic transmission to go with the Hemi V8.2012 Durango trim levels have been simplified and the number of Durango variants reduced.The 2012 Durango is available with second-row captain's chairs.
This SUV will work best for those with varied needs: plenty of seats, good cargo capacity and great hauling flexibility, class-leading towing capacity or dual-range all-wheel drive.The standard setup is rear-wheel drive, yielding even weight distribution, a compliant bump-soaking ride, quiet cruising and good response to driver commands.
Engine choices include an adequate performing V6 with a lighter appetite for gas, or an exceptionally powerful V8.
The Durango SXT is the base model, but it's far from basic, with three-zone temperature control, a full complement of power features and a decent stereo with standard satellite radio.The loaded Durango Citadel has everything you need and a lot more, including remote starter and ventilated seats.The sporty Durango R/T is bold, quick and genuinely fun to drive, despite its substantial size.Options are reasonably priced, and run the gamut from blind-spot warning to 500-watt Alpine audio to two grades of navigation.
The standard 3.6-liter V6 brings 290 horsepower, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission, though this modern four-cam engine is hauling 4900 pounds around.On the plus side, the V6 gets an EPA-estimated 23 mpg Highway and has a big fuel tank, so those 400-mile scenic routes won't leave you worrying about the next gas station.Those less concerned with mileage will opt for the Hemi, not because of its 70 added horsepower but for the extra 130 pound-feet of torque and the V8 soundtrack.
All Durango models seat seven adults comfortably in a cabin that looks better than before.Materials and fit-and-finish are miles ahead of previous Durangos, yet they remain wholly appropriate for the SUV mission.Durango can be configured to carry big boxes, a sofa, or four people plus a 10-foot step ladder or stack of lumber inside.
It can tow a minimum 3500 pounds fully loaded and up to 7400 with the V8 (considerably more than the crossover competition).With low range available in AWD V8s, it can handle ascents or descents you shouldn't even consider attempting in most crossovers.
The Durango has been rated a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.All models come with a full complement of airbags, rollover sensing and electronic stability control with trailer sway control.Optional safety features include rear cross-path detection, a rearview camera, rear park sensors and active cruise control with forward-collision warning.
Durango competes in a crowded category against the GMC Acadia, Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and 4Runner, Hyundai Veracruz, Kia Sorento, Subaru Tribeca, Mazda CX-9, and Honda Pilot.Top-drawer Durango models could also compete with the Acura MDX and Volvo XC90, though Nissan's Pathfinder is the only seven-seat, rear-wheel-drive competition to offer a V8 in this price range.
The Durango is a great vehicle for drivers who can legitimately take advantage of its strengths.But needs are an important part of the decision.Those who do no towing and don't need the V8 might consider the Dodge Grand Caravan.With the same V6, a 6-speed automatic and less weight to cart around, the Grand Caravan is quicker, gets better mileage and handles as well in typical family duty.It also has more people room and as much cargo space behind the second row as the Durango does behind the front seats.Then again, a Grand Caravan is not a Durango.
And there's a new one for 2012, because the Durango is available for the first time with second-row captain's chairs.These decrease ultimate seating capacity by one passenger, but they create a neutral zone between the two kids sitting in the second row.
Trim varies by model, no surprise, and the fit and finish is generally good.Above your waistline materials are soft-touch or heavily textured, while those closer to the floor are harder plastics that are scratch-resistant and easy to clean.R/T models come with black, pseudo-suede upholstery broken up by red stitching.The SXT and Crew come with cloth that negates temperature extremes, with a lighter headliner to brighten the cabin.The Citadel comes standard with black or tan leather.One of our nit-picks inside is the generous chrome touches that generate a lot of sunlight glinting.
Outward visibility is fairly good.The windshield pillar is slimmed mid-way to aid front quarter vision, and the door pillars will be behind most drivers.The third-row headrests don't block the view because there is a dash switch that drops them at the touch of a button, though heads in back definitely narrow the scope of the image in the rearview mirror.The optional rearview camera comes in handy when Durango is fully loaded with passengers.The front wipe/wash coverage is very good, the rear is good, and the headlights provide satisfactory illumination.HID headlights are available on some models, low-beam only.
The front buckets are on the soft side: very comfortable and not confining for short hauls, reasonably supportive to handle more miles at a time.The SXT comes with manually adjustable seats, and the bottom cushions don't adjust for height or incline.All other models have eight-way power adjustment for the driver (with four-way power lumbar) and a six-way power cushion for the front passenger.Most have a manual front-passenger seatback, so it can fold forward and flat, though the Citadel has power adjustment and no fold-flat feature.
The tilt/telescoping steering column fits a range of drivers.It's power-operated on the Citadel, and links wheel position with driver's seat, side mirrors and audio settings in the memory buttons.The driver's footwell is wide, so there is plenty of room for your left leg to relax.
Engine revs and road speed are shown in two very large gauges, trimmed with a blue LED ring that almost looks like neon, and inset with smaller fuel and coolant-temperature gauges.The Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) sits between, displaying everything from fuel economy or oil temperature to how long the lights stay on when you park, operated via left thumb-switches on the steering wheel.All controls, the door handles, door pockets and the cupholders are illuminated with that icy-blue.The gauges are back-lit in off-white.
Most controls are straightforward, and we're fond of the simplicity in the switch layout.The gear selector is a model of efficiency, with no buttons to press and a simple push left from the Drive position to downshift, right to upshift.Temperature controls are split into three zones, or can be matched with the touch of one button.The rear controls are operable if the driver approves by pressing a button.The lone stalk on the left side of the steering column has high beams, turn signals and front and rear wash/wipe, so it gets a little busy.The impetus for stalk controls is keeping both hands on the wheel, but not all can be done without taking your hand off the wheel to twist this one.
The base audio system is adequate for family duty, though Dodge's unusual pre-set station buttons take some getting used to.Each one stores two stations, reached with consecutive pushes.The premium 500-watt, 9-speaker sound system has plenty of rumble.The mid-grade 430-watt system played everything we wanted (though the radio mutes when you load/unload a CD), and it can be equipped with the lesser of two navigation options for a more reasonable price than most factory systems.This system isn't the most advanced, but the only behavior we don't like is its tendency reset the map scale on its own, even without locking the truck or changing the driver memory position.The graphics aren't as legible as the upgrade system, either.The display is up high and center, but like some others in the Durango, it's affected by polarized sunglasses.
Interior measurements are very competitive.You might gain an inch here or lose one there, but when your six-foot-plus correspondent can find a comfortable driving position, ride comfortably behind that in the second row, and then easily clamber into the third row and sit without knees, toes or head scuffing anything, we can't argue that Durango is shy on space.
The second-row seat is split with its narrow section on the passenger side.It keeps two kids belted in the middle row while letting two more get in back.The center position has a soft cushion but the backrest isn't as soft as the outer positions because of the armrest within.The rear side windows don't go all the way down, but the last few inches of glass that remain are flush and even with the top of the door panel all the way across.
Both sides of the second row recline slightly.There are aim-able reading lights and vents overhead, with more vents and a standard-plug, 115-VAC outlet on the back of the center console.You don't need an inverter to plug a game or computer into the Durango.There are recessed coat hooks in the roof, assist handles on the back side of the door pillar, bottle stowage in the doors, four grocery bag/purse clips flanking the front seatback nets, overhead controls for rear air, and good foot-room under the front seats.
Third-row access is very good.A one-pull strap folds and tilts up the second row seat, and the walk-through floor space is expansive as such spaces go.There is more room back here than the legroom dimension implies, and it offers the same adjustable reading lights and overhead vents as the second row.
Cargo volume is 17 cubic feet behind the third row (comparable to trunk space in a good mid-size sedan), 48 cubic feet behind the second row (comparable to a compact SUV or crossover with the rear seats folded), and 84 behind the front seats.Those numbers are substantially less than what's available in GM's longer trio of crossovers (Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave), but competitive with other mid-size models.There's a little bit more cargo volume in Durango than in a Ford Explorer, and little bit less than what's available in a Honda Pilot.
A simple lever drops either of Durango's third-row seats flat.With the right seat section folded flat in each row, there is more than ten feet of length.Durango can carry 10-foot items as narrow as a two-by-four or as wide as folding ladder inside.The cargo deck is 32 inches off the ground.There's one small, deep bin under the load floor on the left side, adjacent to where the spare hangs underneath, and a broader, shallower one under the main floor.
Even the base Durango SXT comes with a small, rechargeable LED flashlight, hooks and a power point just inside the tailgate, with a pair of tie-down loops in the floor.The cargo cover can be mounted behind the second or third-row seats.The gate has two loading or tailgating lights at the back/lower edge, and the close button for the power option is on the left side, low enough for a kindergartener to reach.
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