Unveiled: 2011 Dodge Durango

It might’ve had a name change.  It might’ve gone under the Ram brand.  But no, the 2011 Dodge Durango remains a Dodge, and the new model retains its predecessor’s muscle and most of its abilities.  Though it’s now built on a unit-body chassis like the 2011 Ford Explorer, the new Durango can still tow – up to 6,200 lbs with the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 and 7,400 lbs with the Hemi V8.  Read on for more details and high-resolution pictures.

The Durango’s sales have been slipping ever since its introduction in 1998, the year it earned its way into almost 190,000 homes.  In 2009, the last year Durangos were on sale, it sold a measly 33,000.  Most of this was due to a cheap-looking interior, dated sheetmetal, and abysmal fuel economy.  All that is slated to change with this release.  The new engines alone will bring more refinement and less cost at the pump, especially the Pentastar V6, which is Chrysler’s new “corporate V6,” which we’ll be seeing in a lot more vehicles in the coming years.  The other is the MDS, or Multi-Displacement System found on the Hemi V8, which allows it to run only part of itself, saving fuel when the extra power isn’t needed.  I’d expect about a 20% jump in fuel economy from the new powertrains, but apparently the EPA hasn’t had its say yet.

The new body of the Durango looks more reminiscent of the 1998-2003 models, with more curves than edges, as in the most recent model.  Of course it retains all of the 2nd generation’s (2004-2009) added chrome, and maybe a bit more on top, which seems to be a trend in new cars sold in the US.  Overall though, I think it’s appealing, and it definitely has a more menacing or sinister look to it than its corporate cousin, the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

But where would we be without a quality interior?  In the group of pictures released by Chrysler today, there is but one lonely shot of the steering wheel, with the center stack visible but blurry in the background.  This tells us next to nothing, but Chrysler promises soft-touch and high-quality materials throughout, and after seeing what they did with the new Grand Cherokee, I’m apt to believe them.  Of course, when interior pictures are available, I’ll have them all right here for you.

Last but far from least, are the standard and optional safety features that every automaker touts when introducing a new or redesigned model.  The Durango is no exception to this rule, coming with Stability Control and a host of airbags, all standard.  Blind Spot warning, front collision warning and adaptive cruise control are among the list of optional safety equipment.

Built alongside the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the two will share a fair amount of unseen components, but the Durango is longer and has 3 rows of seating.  Besides that, it should come in a few thousand dollars cheaper than the Grand Cherokee as well.

by John Suit

Source: Chrysler

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