2011 Dodge Durango Expert Review

2.8 Overall Score
Performance 2.7 Comfort 3.1 Styling 3.3 Value 2.8

You'll Like The 2011 Dodge Durango If...

The new 2011 Dodge Durango is well suited to those who need to carry more than five passengers and tow more than 7,000 pounds, all while riding in car-like comfort. Styling inspired by the Dodge Charger adds a sporty dimension not shared by other vehicles in this class.

You May Not Like The 2011 Dodge Durango If...

If you're looking for a seven-passenger SUV with fuel economy figures in the mid to high twenties, you won't find a Durango to meet your needs. A diesel-powered Audi Q7 or Mercedes Benz GL might be a better fit; so too might the seven-passenger Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

What's New

The 2011 Dodge Durango is all new from the ground up. Riding on a unit body platform (the old model was body-on-frame), the Durango is now a more solid, stable and quiet vehicle. The new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine serves as the standard powerplant, with a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 as an option. In an attempt to please everyone, Dodge offers the Durango in four distinctly different trims: Express, R/T, Crew and Citadel.

Interior Features

Dodge has spared no expense getting the Durango's interior to shine. No matter where any of its seven passengers are sitting, they will be treated to supportive seats, yards of elegant materials and soft-touch surfaces, and about one of the quietest SUV cabins we've tested. Upper end trims feature heated and cooling front seats and an available heated second-row seat. Models not equipped with cooling front seats include a fold-flat front passenger seat for maximum load floor capability.

With 28 possible configurations, the Durango's interior is more than capable of carrying any manner of cargo or crew. Clever features, such as the remote folding rear seat head restraints improve rearward visibility, as does the available rear back-up camera. With 84.5 cubic feet of cargo space, the Durango's interior is about equal in size to the Honda Pilot, but smaller than the 116.9 cubic feet offered in the GMC Acadia.

Exterior Features

Where the old Durango was big and bulky, the new Durango is smooth and sleek. Mimicking the same "coke bottle" side profile as the new Dodge Charger, the Durango strikes an almost wagon-like appearance that masks the vehicle's true dimensions. Lower in profile but still capable of venturing off-road if asked, the Durango has a rugged elegance about it that sets it apart from more pedestrian SUVs. From its split cross-hair grille to the sporty R/T trim with its lowered ride height, 20-inch rims and color-keyed ground effects, the Durango looks every bit a member of the Dodge performance family. Taking a cue from the Subaru Outback playbook, Crew and Citadel models now feature a roof rack with cross bars that fold into the side rails when not in use.

Driving Impressions

We spent the better part of our 2011 Dodge Durango test drive behind the wheel of a V6-powered Citadel and the experience overall was quite pleasant. There's no getting away from the fact that this is still a big, heavy SUV, but the 290-horspower Pentastar V6 performs admirably. Although we're certain you'll want the V8 for towing, the V6 has enough power to move a semi-loaded Durango with some urgency. The steering feel at the wheel is heavy, but the turn-in response is excellent and the Durango tracks straight and true on the highway. Wind and tire noise are kept at a minimum, a result of added insulation and heavy gauge steel used throughout the cabin. The Durango handles fairly well for such a heavy vehicle, but the stiff suspension, especially on the R/T trim, can also feel abrupt at times, especially when passing over small bumps and road distortions.

Pricing Notes

The 2011 Dodge Durango Express has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $30,000 for the rear-drive model and $32,000 for all-wheel drive. The Crew bumps the price closer to $34,000, while a fully loaded Citadel with the HEMI V8 and all-wheel drive tops out just under $50,000. These prices compare well with a comparably equipped Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot and Ford Flex, none of which offer the option of a V8 engine. To get the best deal on your Durango, be sure to take a look at the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to learn what buyers in your area are actually paying. As for resale, we expect the new Durango will do much better than the vehicle is replaces, probably holding its own against the Ford Flex and Chevrolet Traverse, but still far short of the Honda Pilot.

Notable Equipment

The entry-level Express trim features a 3.6-liter V6 engine, five-speed automatic transmission, 18-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, heated power side mirrors, remote start, tri-zone automatic air conditioning, 12-volt outlet and removable LED flashlight in the cargo area, tilt/telescopic steering column, and an AM/FM/CD radio with WMA/MP3 support, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and auxiliary input jack. At the opposite end of the Durango spectrum, the Citadel adds 20-inch wheels, a power rear liftgate, HID headlamps, power folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, Nappa leather and suede seats, rain-sensing wipers, keyless Enter-N-Go, eight-way power front seats, a heated second-row seat, and Garmin navigation. Standard safety features on all 2011 Dodge Durangos include electronic traction and stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, Hill Start Assist, front seat side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags covering all three rows.

Notable Options

Options vary by trim and include a Garmin-equipped navigation radio with 30 GB hard drive and SIRIUS Travel Link, ParkView rear backup camera, ParkSense rear park assist, side blind-spot monitor, auto-dimming high beams, UConnect phone (Bluetooth), Adaptive speed control, skid plates, Alpine premium audio, Bluetooth streaming audio, SIRIUS Backseat TV, heated second-row seats, power rear liftgate, rain-sensing wipers, and a heated steering wheel. Option packages include the Trailer Tow Group IV that adds a 220-amp alternator, heavy-duty engine oil cooler, Class IV hitch receiver, four- and seven-pin wiring harness, and rear load-leveling shocks. The CrewLux package adds leather-trimmed seats, heated front and second-row seating, in-dash Garmin navigation radio, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, rain sensing wipers, auto high-beam dimmer, and bright exterior door handles and mirror caps.

Favorite Features

R/T Trim

About the closest you'll get to an SRT version of the Durango, the R/T's lowered sport suspension, recalibrated shocks and springs and aggressive 20-inch tires make this one playful full-sized SUV. Oh, did we forget to mention its got a HEMI?

Blind Spot Monitoring

Big SUVs have lots of side glass for good visibility, but that doesn't always help when trying to change lanes with a car full of screaming kids. Thankfully, the Blind Spot Monitoring system will alert when something other than air is occupying the space you're attempting to fill.

Under the Hood

The standard engine on all but the R/T trim is Chrysler's new Pentastar V6. Without question, one of the best V6 engines ever produced by the company, this engine has more than enough power to satisfy most SUV drivers. Equipped with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing, the 3.6-liter Pentastar is capable of achieving maximum performance without sacrificing fuel economy. The Durango's optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 features fuel-saver mode that deactivates four of the eight cylinders when full power is not required. When power is needed, however, the Durango's HEMI has it in spades, delivering 360 horsepower and 390 foot-pounds of tow-ready torque. The AWD V8 model includes a low-speed transfer case with a neutral position setting.

3.6-liter V6

290 horsepower @ 6400 rpm

260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/23 (RWD), 16/22 (AWD)

5.7-liter HEMI V8

360 horsepower @ 5150 rpm

390 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (RWD), 13/20 (AWD)

Editors' Notes

Shortly after gas went to five dollars a gallon and the economy took a nose dive, the full-size SUV's days looked to be numbered. Dealer lots were buried rows deep in vehicles like the Dodge Durango, and no one was biting. One would think after coming through yet another near-death experience, Dodge might kick their old SUV habit to the curb and focus on small, fuel-efficient cars. But that's not what happened. Instead, under the stewardship of Fiat, Dodge has decided to reinvent the Durango, creating a smooth, roomy and efficient full-size SUV from a single unit body shared with the newly developed Jeep Grand Cherokee. A bold move? You bet it is, but one that apparently has the potential to pay off big for Dodge – that is as long as gas stays relatively cheap.

Road Test Video Reviews

2011 Dodge Durango Owner Reviews

93 Reviews
54% 34% 11% 1% 1 star 0%
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Overall a good vehicle and mostly reliable

This vehicle has a lot of the modern perks for being an older model. It has navigation, back up camera, moonroof, electric hatch, satellite radio and of course other modern conveniences such as electric windows and locks. I love the heated seat features and the remote start especially on winter days. It is rear wheel drive which does make it difficult in the winter. It does not get good traction to get through the snow. I was stuck in snow with it 3 times in one week. It also has difficulty getting it up hills when there's snow on the ground. I am currently having some sort of issue with it possible electrical. I was stranded in it and needed a tow truck. Now and then when you push the electric start it acts like it wants to start but will not turn over. One time it did this and while it did go down the road I had about 8 dash lights on, the speedometer wouldn't work and my warning lights in both mirrors were staying on. They cannot seem to identify the cause which is frustrating. Even with these issues though it is still a good overall vehicle

- Robin T

Spacious, and comfortable ride.

I love the size of the Durango! I do wish it was a little bit bigger though. I like the fact that you can fold the second and third row seats down for carrying large items and you can fit 3 car seats comfortably in the second row and third row(so 4 car seats all together) but in order to get to the third row you would have to undo one of the car seats in the second row to move the seat and get back to the third row. We get pretty good gas mileage from our Durango too. A full tank will last me about a week if not a little longer. We did have some problems with the tip shortly after purchasing the Durango which also led to a dead battery(which wasn't covered in our warranty), but it was a problem that a lot of the Durango’s had and became a recall. Other than that, I do love the Durango.

- Jacqui B

2011 Dodge Durango crew cab- just my opinion.

There have been quite a few recalls on this vehicle. We had our alternator start giving us trouble, but it wasn't part of the recall. It quick and left me stranded, in a vehicle that is completely electric, so I couldn't do anything, not even lock the doors. We paid to have the alternator fixed, and then a few months later it was put on the recall list, so we were reimbursed the cost. The whole ordeal was slightly more than inconvenient. It is comfortable to drive, and I enjoy that the front seats completely recline. It is nice on long car trips, where the driver needs to pull over and sleep. I wish it had a better stereo system, but from what I can tell, the newer vehicles do.

- Victoria H

The Durango seats 7 very comfortably. The third row seats fold completely down for more room in the back and 2 car seats fit great in the back seat.

We have 2 kids under age 5 so we have 2 car seats that have to fit in the back seat and the Durango can fit them comfortably. There is plenty of room in it. We did have an issue with the TIPM within the first year of driving the car and that caused problems with our fuel pump which led to our battery dying but I believe that was an issue that became a recall. I do sometimes accidentally hit the shifter in the middle of the counsel which causes the car to go from auto to manual and then have to pull over to get it back to auto. That is a feature I could go without. Otherwise, the Durango is a great, very roomy and comfortable vehicle.

- Jacqulenne B

Fantastic SUV with great power and performance.

Vehicle is loaded with all extras. Turns on wipers, lights as needed. Has cruise control that is dead on setting that slows or speeds up as the car in front on you does to maintain safe distance between car. Heated and air conditioned seats. Heated steering wheel. Has 20 inches wheels that deliver a great ride. Car has had very few maintenance with 140, 00 miles on it. Car has great lines and I get lots of looks and questions asked about it. First car that I have owned with over 100, 000 miles that I have not wanted to trade in for a new one.

- Foy W

Overall happiness with Durango-few issues

I really like my Durango. It drives really well and is large enough for my family of 5. One thing I dislike is the full 2nd row and smaller 3rd row. I would prefer captain's chairs in the 2nd row because they make it easier to access a full 3rd row. I got a lifetime warranty from the dealership when I bought it, which was good because I've had trouble with the air conditioning and transmission. For an SUV it is pretty good on gas and I feel like it's a great alternative to a minivan for families with several children.

- Joyce T

The good and the bad about the vehicle.

The vehicle has had leaks. There was an oil leak and an antifreeze leak. We took it in and there is still an antifreeze leak. So we have to take it in again. The drivers window does not want to go up and down. It sticks and that is a problem. Rear view camera is not working and that was one of the reasons we got the vehicle. It is reliable and is comfortable. The features need to be improved. I like the color. It is easy to find in the parking lot. I do like the vehicle. Thank you.

- Debra K

Loaded with features perfect size for me

I own a 2011 Dodge Durango which I purchased brand new. It is completely loaded. Everything except heated steering wheel. I love it. It's the perfect size for me. I haul kids and grandkids and they. Live the DVD video system. I find it very comfortable. I'm a little older but can drive for hours and be comfortable and not in pain from sites for too long. I have lifetime Sirius radio and love that too. I have towed trailers and vehicles and it handles like a dream.

- Debra S

Really love my 2011 Dodge Durango

I really like our 2011 Dodge Durango. We bought it used in 2013. Rides nice. Fits my whole family. It has many nice features, with touch screen GPS/Sirius radio. I really like how easy it is to fold down seats for extra room. Only complaints is small 'trunk' area when we have the whole family in the car (and seats all upright), blind spots where the columns come down around the doors, and a loose wire under drivers seat which activates the airbag alert.

- Lori N

Dodge Durango r/t love the heated seats and the automatic hatch and cargo room!

Amazing handling in the snow. Leather and heated seats. The color of the car is great, love the dark color. The hatch opens automatically which is great for full hands. The car unlocks when I just put my hand on the handle which is convenient and it has a push button start. My kids love the legroom and there is always space for all the sports equipment that we haul around for each sports season. Perfect for a family of four and a dog!

- Sarah K

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