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.

Do you prefer the 2011 Dodge Durango or the 2011 Ford Explorer?
2011 Dodge Durango 1 (33.3%)
2011 Ford Explorer 1 (33.3%)
Undecided 1 (33.3%)



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  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Ford Explorer was completely reinvented to provide SUV buyers the capabilities they want, combined with the fuel economy they need. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Taut, athletic lines give the all-new Explorer a muscular appearance. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer features bi-functional projector beam halogen headlamps. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The strong C-pillar gives the new Explorer visual linkage to previous models. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all new Explorer features a weight-saving aluminum hood. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer features bi-functional projector beam halogen headlamps. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer's sculpted sides give family resemblance to Taurus. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The Explorer XLT features a satin silver finish grille. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: All models include standard dual chrome exhaust tips. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Ford Explorer was completely reinvented to provide SUV buyers the capabilities they want, combined with the fuel economy they need. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Ford Explorer was completely reinvented to provide SUV buyers the capabilities they want, combined with the fuel economy they need. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Ford Explorer was completely reinvented to provide SUV buyers the capabilities they want, combined with the fuel economy they need. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Ford Explorer was completely reinvented to provide SUV buyers the capabilities they want, combined with the fuel economy they need. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer offers a choice of two powerful engines, each offering best-in-class fuel economy. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer features tight, muscular lines with sculpted body side surfaces providing family resemblance to Taurus. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer features tight, muscular lines with sculpted body side surfaces providing family resemblance to Taurus. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer offers a choice of two powerful engines, each offering best-in-class fuel economy. (07/26/2010)
  • 011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer XLT features a new interpretation of the Ford signature three-bar grille. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer features tight, muscular lines with sculpted body side surfaces providing family resemblance to Taurus. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Ford Explorer was completely reinvented to provide SUV buyers the capabilities they want, combined with the fuel economy they need. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer features tight, muscular lines with sculpted body side surfaces providing family resemblance to Taurus. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The rear liftgate spoiler was shaped in the wind tunnel to contribute to best-in-class Explorer fuel economy. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer features tight, muscular lines with sculpted body side surfaces providing family resemblance to Taurus. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer XLT features a new interpretation of the Ford signature three-bar grille. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer XLT features a new interpretation of the Ford signature three-bar grille. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer features tight, muscular lines with sculpted body side surfaces providing family resemblance to Taurus. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Set the terrain management control knob to the snow setting and powertrain behavior is adjusted to increase traction and prevent wheel spin. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Ford Explorer enables family adventures, any time, any where, on any road. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Switch the terrain management knob to the mud setting, and the system will optimize powertrain behavior for maximum traction and driver control. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Ford Explorer with intelligent 4WD and terrain management will comfortably take your crew and their watercraft upstream. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Behind the three-bar grille, Explorer features a composite bolster supporting the radiator. This innovative component saves weight - and fuel - while reducing manufacturing complexity. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: All Explorer models feature bi-functional projector beam halogen headlamps. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer offers world-class craftsmanship, with tight panel gaps. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Holes in the top and bottom rungs of the signature Ford three bar grille signify Explorer weight savings and efficiency. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The rear liftgate spoiler contributes to best-in-class Explorer fuel economy. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer offers the Ford exclusive Easy Fuel capless fuel filler system. No more lost caps! (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Range-topping Explorer Limited models offer a comprehensive array of standard luxury features. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The Explorer liftgate proudly wears a Blue Oval logo. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer XLT and Limited series sideview mirrors feature security approach lamps. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer XLT models offer impressive feature content. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The Ford signature three bar grille proudly displays the Blue Oval logo. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer XLT and Limited series sideview mirrors feature security approach lamps. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Assembled with world-class craftsmanship, the Explorer features tight margin gaps. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer Limited series models come standard with 20-inch painted aluminum wheels. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer Limited models feature standard 20-inch painted aluminum wheels. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer Limited models feature standard 20-inch painted aluminum wheels. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer offers Ford's Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with visible warnings in the applicable sideview mirror. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The interior of the all-new Explorer features design cues, clever storage, luxurious appointments and technologies that rival premium SUVs. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer interior features soft touch materials. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Driver-centric gauges and controls are intuitively operated and logically arranged. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Command seating and intuitive controls help keep the Explorer drivers' hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Real metal speaker grilles and the forward-leaning center stack give the Explorer interior a sporty look. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The forward-leaning center stack is home to MyFord Touch controls. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Door panel speaker grilles are real metal, giving the interior a sporty, purposeful look. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The all-new Explorer offers a rear view camera, with zoom functionality. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Convenient switchgear controls third-row seating functionality. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Door-mounted switchgear is new, reflecting Ford global DNA standards. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Door-mounted speaker grilles are real metal, offering excellent sound transparency and a luxurious touch. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Optional on XLT models, a Sony branded audio system with HD Radio and 12 speakers in standard on Limited series vehicles. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission is standard on XLT and Limited series models. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Left and right screens in the Explorer instrument cluster can be customized to suit individual driver preferences. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Supplemental steering wheel-mounted controls help keep driver attention focused on driving. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Terrain management takes the guesswork out of 4WD engagement. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer comes standard with three rows of seating (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: With second- and third-row seats folded, Explorer offers 80.7 cubic feet of cargo space. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Limited series models feature a Sony branded audio system with High Definition Radio and 12 speakers. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: The center console features a media hub for connectivity and mobile device concealed storage. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer's center console features dual cupholders. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer features new Ford global DNA switchgear. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer second row seating offers industry-exclusive inflatable rear seatbelts. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer's second-row offers 60/40 split fold flat bench seating. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer second-row seats fold flat for easy cargo loading. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer second-row seats fold flat for easy cargo loading. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Folding Explorer second- and third-row seats gives 80.7 cubic feet of cargo space. (07/26/2010)
  • 2011 Ford Explorer: Explorer models with terrain management feature a console-mounted knob with four settings and hill descent control. (07/26/2010)


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