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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 15299 (39.8%)
2011 Ford Explorer 19935 (51.9%)
Undecided 3171 (8.3%)



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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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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 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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