SEATTLE: To see how the Durango has evolved over the years has been a great thing to witness. It’s transformation not only into a modern design language but a better SUV has really helped it come into its own. Sure, it has many competitors which also have 3rd-row seating. However, the 2019 Durango has bold styling, good off-road capabilities and this GT version is full of features.
With a very masculine nose and overall styling, the Durango GT looks great and has a decent amount of brawn underneath its sheet metal. Dodge slapped in a Pentastar 3.6 liter V6 which is good for 295 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. It powers a heavily rear-biased all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The EPA gives this heavy beast a fuel economy rating of 18 around town and up to 25 miles per gallon on the freeway. Not too shabby for a vehicle that weighs 4,985 pounds and is rated for a maximum towing capacity of 6,200 pounds.
Our test model was packed to the hilt with options, including the $1900 black-top package, rear entertainment screens that adds another $1995, a $1200 tow package with built-in tow-brake and a few extras which ended-up taking it from its base price of $34,645 up to $43,410.
A look inside:
Inside there are four captain’s chairs that are handsomely appointed with stitched leather and the front seats have LCD monitors on the back for rear passengers to either plug in their own video game system using the available inputs and the on-board AC power inverter.
While the dash and center console layout looks very similar to other Dodge products, it’s a nice mix of modern with ease of access. Dodge uses a nice combination of surface materials and textures to help give the Durango GT a very upscale look and feel.
The extra large 8.4-inch infotainment screen has one of the slickest touchscreen systems going. It’s ultra-responsive with minimal lag and very easy to navigate. The on-board navigation system is actually quite useful with real-time traffic updates and is easy to input your destination into.
Sound quality is very good with a lot of bass response from its subwoofer. Dialing down the sub a notch, and the overall balance of audio fidelity is rather nice. Solid mids with highs that don’t rip your ears off. Even though we applaud their efforts here, we’d love to see the move to an even better sounding platform from the likes of Infinity as found in many KIA models.
There’s leg-room aplenty for four adults and even the third-row isn’t too bad, as long as you reserve it for children who are under 5’5” or so. If you want cargo space, then the Durango also has that in spades – with both sets of rear seats folded down, you have a very spacious 84.5 cubic feet and 47.7 cubic feet with just the 3rd row down.
On the road and wrap-up:
To drive the GT model really does give one a sense what I refer to as that “Mopar feeling” – the V6 offers some very respectable off-the-line performance and even has some nice-sounding exhaust notes.
Handing is rather good for an SUV of this size and weight. It has minimal body roll and does a relatively great job around some of the more sharp corners out there. Its real-wheel bias definitely adds to the sporty feel as you can really feel it off the line and again, around corners if you punch it. While the Durango GT isn’t an off-road God by any stretch, it has enough capability for light off-road use. A snowy mountain pass (with the right tires), loose gravel and inclemental weather are all no sweat for the Durango AWD.
There’s no question this is the best iteration we’ve ever seen of the Durango series since its release so many years ago. If you’re in the market for a medium-sized SUV with a 3rd row seating option for up to seven, then definitely give the Durango a solid look and test drive. We’re confident you’ll find it to be a worthy competitor.
Get more details at: www.dodge.com