• Sep 2, 2010
The SUV is dead. Long live the SUV!

The 2011 Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer are big departures from the models that they replace. Aside from the usual styling and refinement differences, the biggest changes for these vehicle are that they both ditch the traditional body-on-frame sport-utility vehicle DNA in favor of unibody constructions. By our definition, these once-SUVs are now CUVs, though their respective parent companies continue to brand them as being traditional sport-utes through and through.

Both the Durango and Explorer offer available seating for seven and all-wheel drive, but that's where the similarities start to taper off. Each vehicle offers a choice of two different powertrains, but while Dodge has opted to go a more traditional route with by fielding the Durango with both 3.6-liter V6 and 5.7-liter V8 engines, Ford has gone in the opposite direction by equipping the Explorer with a 2.0-liter EcoBoost inline-four and a 3.5-liter V6. There are pros and cons for each – the Explorer may prove to be more fuel-efficient, but the Durango ought to tow more.

Each of these new crossovers tries to stay true to the traditional SUV mindset, just in different directions. Ford's Terrain Management system will surely come in handy for people who need more off-road prowess, though the end result remains that the Explorer is arguably more of a tall wagon than an honest SUV. The Durango keeps things a bit more and has a strong, presence that we suspect will still be well-received by people who prefer honest-to-goodness sport-utility vehicles.

We could debate the pros and cons of each vehicle all day, and indeed, we're still waiting for the Full Monty-worth of details and specifications, but we still want to know: What do you think? If you had to choose either the Explorer or Durango, which would get your pick? Cast your vote in the poll below and be sure to sound off with your thoughts in Comments.







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  • 169 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Both of them look nice, but going by styling alone the Durango has a slight edge. I can't get past the blacked out A-pillar on a white vehicle. It just looks wierd.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I actually really like the blacked out A-pillar lol. It's a very neat styling element.
      • 4 Years Ago
      C'mon guys, the bottom line is the Dodge has RWD and offers a V8. Not only is it not a competition, the Ford isn't even in the same class. The Ford is clearly a ladies city "SUV" with its V6 and FWD base. Dodge can at least claim some sort of respectability with its layout.

      Don't get me wrong. I would never ever buy a Chrysler product simply because they are owned by the government and I'm done with Ford after having owned several, so I don't have a dog in this fight.

      Dodge will crush Ford head to head in sales.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Love the Durango. The new Explorer is am epic fail
      • 4 Years Ago
      EXPLORER looks like a TAURUS wagon , and what's with the 4 cylinder ? At least CHRYSLER kept the DURANGO'S toughness, can tow more and I'm sure it will be roomier inside ! CHRYSLER'S been offering more refined vehicle's than FORD for the past 12 years ... What's new with FORD, ECO-BOOST ? MICROSOFT SYNCED NAVI'S ? MUSTANG'S and F-series, that's there bread and butter ! EXPLORER AND TRAILBLAZER will always lose this battle ...
      • 4 Years Ago
      LETS GO DURANGO


      The Ford is like its for wimpy men
      • 4 Years Ago
      Based just on looks, I choose the Durango. I still wish there was a shortened two door model of the Explorer, or any suv/cuv vehicle. It was never very good, but I think the 2dr Chevy Blazer/GMC Jimmy is also gone, I think 4dr Trailblazers is all you can get. I could still get a hard top 2dr Jeep Wrangler, but I've always considered that a specialty vehicle, not a suv like the ford bronco or the Jeep Wagoner.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Durango! No-brainer.

      That explorer is for soccer moms. The Durango is for MEN, baby!!
      Classy, yet aggressively styled. 100% improvement on the previous model.
      The Explorer looks terribly vanilla by comparison.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I like them both!

      The Explorer seems more sophisticated and the Durango appears to be more of a street cruiser. Both are seemingly nice, but the Ford would probably get the best pick from me.
      John
      • 4 Years Ago
      These are station wagons not SUVs. They can't tow or go off road. What's the point? I choose neither.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A lot of you need to stop your ignorance and actually research before making comments.
      The Dodge Durango and Jeep GC are built on the same platform as the forthcoming Mercedes M Class.

      My 2005 Dodge Magnum R/T which according to Consumer Error Reports is an average car now has 115,000 miles with no issues to date.
      Our POS 2005 Nissan Pathfinder SE is the biggest POS yet Consumer Reports gushes over it as well as the POS 2006 Acura TL and 2004 Acura TL we owned which were problematic, inclusive of transmission problems.
      The Pathfinder had the following issues to date, fuel sending unit, complete emissions system failure, engine mysteriously consuming oil, and the likilhood of the radiator failing and dumping coolant into the transmission thereby destroying it.
      Look it up on Google, there is a class action suit against Nissan for it. Yet strangely no report from Consumer Reports.

      I use to believe Japanese were superior, no longer.
      Not when two of their premier makes are complete and utter garbage.
      Carpenter
      • 4 Years Ago
      Where is the (none of the above )option?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Carpenter
        @John H., Nobody wants a soccer-mom Traverse. Kay, they would rather have a shiny new Explorer, or a sweet Hemi Durango. Got it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the price is good for the dodge and it can get atleast 27 mpg on the highway, then i would buy the dodge. I like the looks of the dodge a lot more then I like the looks of the ford. The ford is nice looking also but i like the looks of the dodge more.
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