2018 Dodge Durango Expert Review

3.2 Overall Score
Performance 3.4Comfort 3.6Styling 3.6Value 3.0

Editor's Overview

The big news for the 2018 Dodge Durango is the new 475-horsepower Durango SRT. With 470 lb-ft of torque and permanent performance-biased all-wheel drive, the Durango SRT is designed to be the perfect hauler for families in a big hurry. The rest of the lineup also gets updates, such as adding Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the infotainment system.

You'll Like The 2018 Dodge Durango If...

If you want a midsize SUV, but you also want the power and torque of a V8 engine, the Durango is just about the only choice you have. It also looks great, offers decent passenger space for up to seven, and can tow heavy loads.

You May Not Like The 2018 Dodge Durango If...

Fuel economy isn't among the Durango's strengths with the V6 trailing midsize-crossover SUVs, and even the V8 losing the fuel-economy race to the Chevy Tahoe. If you don't need that extra capability, crossover SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder offer better economy.

What's New

Big news this year is power: The 2018 Dodge Durango SRT offers up 475 horsepower, 470 lb-ft of torque, and up to 8,600 pounds of towing capacity thanks to its 6.4-liter V8 engine and all-wheel drive. All Durango models with the 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Interior Features

The 2018 Dodge Durango's interior feels like a higher quality place than many of its crossover-SUV competitors, especially in high-end Citadel models with their heated and ventilated front seats, and heated 2nd-row seating. Most models offer a choice between a bench or captain's chairs in the second row; the latter makes accessing the third row easier, and makes it easier to use a booster seat. Cargo space behind the third row is so-so, but the 3rd-row seats fold, and you can even fold down the front passenger seat for really long objects. Citadel and SRT models can be ordered with faux-suede headliners.

Exterior Features

The Durango's exterior styling is exactly aggressive enough without going overboard, even in base models. The clean lines get dressed up with LED headlight accents, a big crosshair grille in varying trims -- chrome or body color -- and the rear end sports a tailgate-wide red LED "racetrack-taillight" design that's exceptionally distinctive at night. Chrome fans should look to the base SXT or the especially blingtastic Citadel; the monochrome look on the mid-level GT and R/T and super-quick SRT are more subtle alternatives. The SRT sports a unique hood and front end with extra vents to help cool the big V8.

Driving Impressions

The V8 engines in the Durango get the headlines, but the reality is that the V6 is actually quite good. It can haul up to 6,400 pounds, and it offers smooth and refined performance, the 8-speed proving a good match overall despite the occasional hunt for the right gear. That said, the two V8s on offer are pretty cool. There's the 5.7-liter version, with 360 horsepower and up to 7,400 pounds of towing capacity. It sounds great, offers quick acceleration and plenty of passing power. Then there's the new-for-2018 Durango SRT, with 475 horsepower and up to 8,600 pounds of towing capability. It's even quicker, hitting 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, and it sounds terrific while doing it. Best of all, the Durango -- even the sporty SRT model -- offers a comfortable ride and quiet interior when just cruising around, with plenty of space for its seven passengers.

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on a rear-wheel-drive base-model 2018 Durango SXT is just under $32,000, which includes the $1,095 destination charge. Anchoring the top is the powerful Durango SRT, with a price of just under $65,000. In between are the GT, Citadel, and R/T models, varying between about $39,000 to about $47,400 to start. Options add up, but you can still get a reasonably priced V8-powered Durango for the low $50,000 range, which isn't bad. Skip the V8 premium and a V6 Durango is price competitive with the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer. Check out the Fair Purchase Price on KBB.com to learn what buyers in your area are actually paying. The Durango will likely hold its value about as well as a Chevrolet Traverse, but likely fall short of the Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer.

Notable Equipment

The base model 2018 Dodge Durango SXT comes with seating for five passengers, the V6, and interestingly, a Sport mode for a better driving experience. It also comes with a 7.0-inch Uconnect touch-screen infotainment system that includes an AM/FM/CD radio, WMA/MP3 support, Bluetooth, Sirius satellite radio and auxiliary input jack. There are also a tilt/telescope steering wheel and 3-zone automatic climate control, and outside you get 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels. Of course, if you work your way up the model line you get more standard equipment, such as a power liftgate and sunroof, navigation, Nappa leather seats, and more.

Notable Options

Choices facing 2018 Dodge Durango shoppers range from the number of seats (up to seven passengers with the 2nd-row bench and third row), to the engine (a V6 and two V8s) and which wheels to send power to. Beyond that there's the 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system with navigation, and an LCD multifunction display between the main gauges. Blacktop and Brass Monkey appearance packages add exterior upgrades, while a Technology Group adds active cruise control, collision warning with automatic braking, and other safety systems. For towing, get the 220-amp alternator, heavy-duty engine oil cooler, Class IV hitch receiver and load-leveling rear shocks.

Favorite Features

Of course this is our favorite thing about the Durango, and why not? With 475 horsepower, 6-passenger seating, more than four tons of towing capacity, and 0-60 mph in about 4.4 seconds, the Durango SRT is the complete package.

Uconnect 8.4
The Uconnect system in Dodge (and Chrysler and Jeep vehicles) is one of the best touch-screen infotainment systems available. The latest version revamps the interface for a cleaner appearance, ups the usability, and adds Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Under the Hood

The base 3.6-liter V6 is a surprisingly good choice for the 2018 Durango. With 295 horsepower it accelerates just fine, has decent passing power, and saves fuel compared to the V8 engines. Optional on R/T and Citadel models is the 5.7-liter V8, which offers up 360 horsepower and 7,400 pounds of towing capacity, along with a satisfying V8 roar. Of course, if you're looking for the ultimate Durango, there's the 6.4-liter V8 under the hood of the new Durango SRT. With 475 horsepower it leaves competitors in the dust. All engines come with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and the V8s deactivate four of their eight cylinders under light loads. Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive (RWD, AWD) are available, with AWD standard on the SRT.

3.6-liter V6
293 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm (single exhaust)
295 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm (dual exhaust)
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (RWD), 18/25 mpg (AWD)

5.7-liter V8
360 horsepower @ 5,150 rpm
390 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/22 mpg

6.4-liter V8
475 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
470 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19 mpg

Editors' Notes

With the capabilities of a full-size SUV like the Chevy Tahoe, but the smaller package of a Honda Pilot, the 2018 Dodge Durango occupies a unique spot in the modern SUV market. With V8 power -- including an all-new SRT model with 475 horsepower -- the Durango can tow with the big boys, up to 8,600 pounds. Yet the size and interior both target smaller crossover SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander. Prices span from about $31,000 for a base model, all the way up to the $65,000 for the Durango SRT. That's not cheap, but there's nothing else on the market that combines the kind of 3-row capability, family-friendly utility, and high performance at that price.

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