2021 Dodge Durango Review
  • Car Review

2021 Dodge Durango Review

By Chris Teague | June 9, 2021

Quick Facts:

Pros:

  • Muscular, aggressive styling.
  • Solid towing capabilities.
  • Blazing acceleration in certain configurations.

Cons:

  • Thirsty, no matter what's under the hood.
  • Advanced safety tech held back for higher trim levels.
  • Handling can be too soft at times.

Vehicle Type: A four-door, midsize SUV with up to three rows of seating.

Price Range: The 2021 Dodge Durango ranges from $33,260 to $82,490 after destination charge, but before taxes or options.

Powertrain: A 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 293 horsepower (295 with dual exhaust) and 260 pound-feet of torque.

A 5.7-liter V8 that produces 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.

A 6.4-liter V8 with 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque.

A supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi with 710 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque.

All engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel-drive is standard, while all-wheel-drive is available.

More Photos

See more 2021 Dodge Durango photos here.


Overview:

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The Dodge Durango has been cruising for several years now without a significant overhaul, but that hasn't stopped the automaker from packing the big seven-seater with more power and newer technology every year that it has been on sale. The 2021 Durango receives refreshed interior and exterior styling, a new and larger standard touchscreen, and a new SRT Hellcat trim that uses the insanely powerful supercharged V8 from Dodge's cars that share the same name. The result is scorching quarter-mile times and supercar-level 0-60 mph times.

The Durango is aimed at new car buyers that want a stylish, capable, and monstrously powerful SUV that can tow and carry several people without hassle. It competes with the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Volkswagen Atlas, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Ford Explorer.

The 2021 Durango is offered in six trims: SXT, GT, R/T, Citadel, SRT 392, and SRT Hellcat. It's available with four different engine choices as well.

The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 293 horsepower (up to 295 with dual exhausts) and 260 lb-ft of torque. There's an available V8 that makes 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. A 6.4-liter V8 on the SRT 392 offers 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque.

Finally, Dodge has made the supercharged V8 from the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat available for a limited run on the 2021 Durango. It's a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi that produces 710 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque.

All engines send power to either the rear or all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Three different transmission configurations are available with different gearing depending on the Durango model.

Overall Score: 8/10


Safety Features: 6/10

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The Insurance Institute has not yet tested the 2021 Dodge Durango for Highway Safety. The 2020 model earned a Marginal rating for small overlap front driver-side crashworthiness and Good in all other categories. Headlights were rated Marginal, while vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention was rated Superior with optional equipment in place.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also has yet to rate the 2021 Durango. The 2020 model earned four stars overall, including four stars for front crash tests, five stars in side crash tests, and three stars for rollover resistance.

Standard safety features include hill-start assist, keyless push-button start with remote alarm, backup camera, rain brake support, ready alert braking, an anti-theft engine immobilizer, and trailer sway control.

Available features include blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, and lane-keep assist. But most advanced driver assistance tech is held back for higher trim levels, and even then, the Durango must be upgraded with options packages to receive the full suite of technologies.


Value: 7/10

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Despite being updated for 2021, the Durango is still somewhat dated to command the prices that Dodge charges for it. There are several other options in the segment, all of which offer more updated styling and newer tech. Even though the range-topping models can easily break the bank, lower trim levels go for well under $40,000. That's a competitive price for an SUV of this size.

The Durango's ace in the hole is its massive lineup of powertrains. No other SUV on the market, save for the related Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk, offers a 700-plus horsepower V8. On top of that, the Durango can tow several thousand pounds and offers three rows of usable seating. That combination alone is worth it for many buyers and will drive Durango sales, even though it costs well over $80,000 to get that combination.

Dodge holds back major features like advanced driver assistance systems and entertainment tech for higher trim levels and requires added options packages even then. That's unacceptable, especially when the competition often includes it in mid-range trims with no extra cost involved.


Tech Features: 8/10

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Standard features include an 8.4-inch touchscreen, Uconnect 4C, AM/FM radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, SiriusXM Radio, Bluetooth, Voice Commands, two USB ports, auxiliary audio inputs, six speakers, and three 12-volt outlets.

Available tech features include a 10.1-inch touchscreen, Uconnect 5, SiriusXM travel link, weather information, navigation, Amazon Alexa capabilities, OTA updates, an Alpine premium audio system with nine speakers, a rear-seat entertainment system, and a Harman Kardon stereo with 19 speakers and subwoofer.

Dodge's Uconnect system is one of the easiest to use, most colorful, and most responsive infotainment systems on the market. It operates flawlessly on the Durango's larger screen sizes and offers an easy way to interact with the vehicle while it's on the move.


Practicality: 8/10

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Through and through, the Durango is a utility vehicle and remains useful even in higher trims with muscular powertrain options. Towing capacity is a strong point for the Durango. It offers up to 8,700 pounds in models equipped with one of the three available V8 engines. That tow rating is nearly unmatched in the Durango's segment. Even with the standard V6, there's plenty of capability.

The Durango offers three full rows of seating, and while the third row is tight, it's useable by adults for short periods. But other dimensions are competitive with other midsize SUVs. Given the Dodge's exterior dimensions, though, the Durango isn't as space-efficient as newer designs.


Styling & Design: 8/10

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The automaker incorporated many design elements from the Dodge Charger and Challenger, which gives the Durango a more aggressive look from a new front fascia design. The Durango has smooth, long lines that make the big SUV look sleek and powerful without being frumpy.

Inside, the Durango's interior is spacious but offers a driver-centric experience. Controls, buttons, and screens are within easy reach of the front passengers, and they've been clearly labeled for quick use. Visibility can be challenging, especially to the rear three-quarters. Large pillars and an overall large size reduces outward visibility.


Driving Experience: 8/10

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The Durango is shockingly quick in some of its many configurations. Both the 6.4 and supercharged 6.2-liter V8s deliver blazing acceleration and make a tremendous noise while doing it. They both play well with the eight-speed automatic transmissions and with AWD can deliver spectacular four-wheel burnouts.

The Durango's size is at odds with its performance, and it can feel almost unsettling to have so much power on tap in such a large vehicle. That said, the SUV's suspension is confidence-inspiring and helps keep everything in check.

Selectable driving modes in the two SRT models offer drivers the ability to dial in a specific behavior directly from the infotainment screen. The Durango is offered with customizable driving modes for steering, engine, and handling inputs.

When not blazing down a drag strip, all Durango models perform their family-hauling duties without complaint. Around town and with a light foot, there's no indication that the vehicle can tear its tires loose, other than the polite rumble coming from its backside.


Fuel Efficiency: 7/10

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The 2021 Durango doesn't have fully fleshed-out fuel economy ratings yet. Equipped with the 3.6-liter V6 and rear-wheel-drive, it delivers fuel economy of 19/26/21 mpg city/highway/combined. With all-wheel-drive, the model is rated at 18/25/21 mpg.

Previous versions of the V8-powered Durango have been rated at 15 mpg combined and 17 mpg combined for models equipped with the 6.4-liter and 5.7-liter, respectively.


What’s it Going to Cost Me?

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The base Dodge Durango SXT has a starting price of $33,260 after a $1,495 destination charge. It comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine, an eight-speed automatic gearbox, four-wheel antilock brakes, rear-wheel drive, a single-exit exhaust system, a single-speed transfer case, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED headlights, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Also standard is a 7-inch configurable digital gauge cluster, rear-seat climate vents, covered cargo storage, cloth upholstery, a fold-flat front passenger seat, 60/40 folding second-row seats, four USB ports (Type A, Type C), Uconnect 4C with an 8.4-inch display, Bluetooth, SiriusXM Radio, six speakers, voice commands, a backup camera, and a suite of advanced airbags.

All-wheel drive is a $2,600 option.

The 2021 Dodge Durango GT has a starting price of $37,460 after destination and comes with dual exhausts, a power liftgate, 20-inch wheels, third-row seating, and a parking sensor system.

The Durango R/T starts at $46,800 and comes with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8, a power-adjustable steering column, a performance hood, auto high-beam headlights, a remote start system, rain-sensing wipers, a memory system for the stereo/seats/mirrors, power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support, heated front seats, leather and suede seats, a 10.1-inch display with Uconnect 5, navigation, SiriusXM travel link, Amazon Alexa capabilities, over-the-air software updates, an Alpine premium audio system with nine speakers, two USB Type C ports in the second row, a front/rear parking sensor system, and a universal garage door opener.

The Dodge Durango Citadel has a starting price of $49,400 and comes with a 3.6-liter V6, a chrome grille, a power sunroof, a second-row floor console, ventilated front seats, second-row captain's chairs, Nappa leather upholstery, and adaptive cruise control. A 5.7-liter V8 is optional.

The Dodge Durango SRT 392 has a starting MSRP of $64,490 after destination. It comes with a 6.4-liter V8 engine, red Brembo brake pads, all-wheel drive, high-performance adaptive dampers, a performance-tuned all-wheel-drive system, 20-inch wheels with run-flat tires, black velour floormats with SRT logos, Nappa leather and suede upholstery, and SRT driving mode selections.

The Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat has a starting price of $82,490 and comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 and Laguna leather upholstery with an embossed SRT Hellcat logo.

If it were our money shopping for a Durango, we'd opt for the R/T trim, which has a powerful V8 and several of the best convenience and entertainment features without breaking the bank.


More Photos

See more 2021 Dodge Durango photos here.