Vital Stats

Engine:
5.7L V8
Power:
360 HP / 390 LB-FT
Transmission:
6-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
5,331 LBS
Seating:
2+2+2
Cargo:
17.2 / 84.5 CU-FT
MPG:
13 City / 20 HWY
Not too long ago, Chevrolet got itself into some trouble by throwing the SS badge on just about everything it produced, so I've always been a little hesitant about the seemingly excessive use of the R/T nameplate on Dodge vehicles. For the 2013 model year, practically every model in Dodge's lineup has an R/T trim level from the Avenger all the way up to the Durango. Although the R/T name used to signified models made for road and track, I doubt anyone would be delusional enough to assume the Durango – and some of the other models wearing this badge – are suited for any sort of track duty.

Still, when this 2013 Dodge Durango R/T rolled up for me to drive for the week, I couldn't help but take in its big, mean and imposing stance. Sure, if I had my choice of buying any of the Dodge R/T products, the Charger and Challenger would be my top picks for sure, but it's easy to say that the Durango would be a close third – far above the R/T versions of the Avenger, Journey and Grand Caravan.

Driving Notes
  • Not that the current Durango was a bad-looking SUV to begin with, but the R/T package gives it more aggressive styling thanks to a monochromatic look. With the removal of just about all the chrome that comes on a Durango, this tester even looked good in what would normally be a boring shade of silver thanks to the body-colored front fascia, smoked headlights, 20-inch wheels and the sporty-looking rear fascia with dual exhaust outlets.
  • The styling might be there to back up the badge, but there is no extra power under the hood of the R/T. In possibly one of the best moves Dodge made with this particular model, the only engine offered is the 5.7-liter Hemi V8. The 360-horsepower, 390 pound-feet of torque engine feels adequate perfectly for this 5,331-pound utility. This is the only model of the Durango lineup that comes standard with the six-speed automatic transmission, too.
  • Fuel economy is about what you'd expect from a V8-powered SUV weighing as much as the Durango does, with EPA estimates of 13 miles per gallon in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. During my week with the R/T, this tester returned 15.5 mpg.
  • The Hemi is equipped with cylinder deactivation, which feels clunky at times when it switches from V8 to V4 power, with an ever-so-slight delay when the cylinders reengage once again. The only bypass for the system is just to be sure that you're right foot stays planted whenever possible.
  • Chrysler says the Durango R/T comes with a sport suspension, but aside from the bigger standard wheels, I felt no difference between this and any other Durango I've driven in the past. If you're really looking for a sporty, family-sized (three-row) SUV, you're probably going to want to check out the new Explorer Sport.
  • The best part of the Durango R/T might be its exhaust system. Yes, the dual pipes poking through the rear fascia give it an aftermarket look, but it's the exhaust note that makes the R/T thrilling. Dodge gave the Durango R/T unique mufflers, pipes and resonators for a deep, throaty note, which makes the package a little more distinctive.
  • Similar to the exterior styling, the R/T's interior has a sportier look and feel with plenty of red accents on the standard black leather throughout the cabin. This particular model came with the center-row captain seats limiting the overall seating capacity to just six, but it made accessing the third-row seat much easier. Not surprisingly, as the innovator of third-row seating for non-fullsize SUVs, the Durango's rearmost accommodations are spacious enough for two adults and can also fold completely flat quickly and easily.
  • The R/T trim level sits just under the Citadel as the top Durango model, and as such, it isn't a cheap SUV. Starting at $35,995 in base form, this all-wheel-drive 2013 Durango R/T was optioned up quite impressively, bringing with it a hefty as-tested price of $45,360.
  • What you get for that high price, though, is plenty of optional goodies including leather-wrapped door panels, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, adaptive cruise control and Chrysler's Uconnect navigation system. This test vehicle may very well have been completely fully loaded, and while it'd be a hard financial pill to swallow, it's certainly easy enough to option rivals to the same level.
  • Yes, the third-gen Durango is no longer body on frame, but proving that it hasn't completely lost touch with its SUV roots, the Durango is still rear-wheel drive in base form, even though it's now competing against a newer breed of three-row utilities like the Chevy Traverse, Nissan Pathfinder and the Ford Explorer. Unlike its corporate cousin, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango is not offered with a multi-mode off-road system, but it did handle itself quite well while driving on the loose sand of a northeast Florida beach.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 52 Comments
      T
      • 1 Year Ago
      "For the 2013 model year, every model in Dodge's lineup has an R/T trim level from Dart all the way up to the Durango." This is an incorrect statement. There is currently not an R/T version of the Dart, nor is there one in the foreseeable future. However, as reported in Autoblog, a "GT" version is coming out. Get your facts straight! http://www.autoblog.com/2013/01/08/2013-dart-gt-will-hold-us-over-until-srt-stokes-dodges-handsome/
        graphikzking
        • 1 Year Ago
        @T
        Dodge DID have a Caliper R/T though and that thing was probably the worst offender. http://www.edmunds.com/dodge/caliber/2007/road-test.html Also, with this big V8 into the Durango, looks like Dodge is falling back into a rut. I personally like the outside look of this more than the Explorer, but the Explorer has more hp, more torque (probably a better torque curve) and gets better fuel economy. 3 more mpg city and 2 more highway. Also, they are about the same price. $41,600 for Explorer and $39,700 for Durango. They both start with different features so when equally equipped with packages they are within a few hundred.
          CEC
          • 1 Year Ago
          @graphikzking
          You have a ton of misinformation about the explorer, either that you purposely tried to compare certain trims/engines against one another to make the ford look more favorable. The only explorer that has more HP then this is the Ecoboost Sport. The Sport has 5 more HP but 40 less ftlbs of torque then the Hemi. The Explorer Sport starts at 39K and the Durango RT starts at 36K. The V6s have the same HP but the Ford V6 has less torque. They get similar mileage, but the Durango is much more capable. The 2014 Durangos will be available with the 8 speed. Which means the V6 Durango will be within spitting distance of the 2.0EB with FE (the only area the Durango can match) but with much better performance.
        Thomas D Hilton III
        • 1 Year Ago
        @T
        There is a RT Dart in the works, they just working on a Proper dart to use the "RT" name.
      Teleny411
      • 1 Year Ago
      I just don't understand the concept of high performance SUVs. This one is handsome for what it is....
      cygnusx8
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's just a huge station wagon. These things depreciate faster than Zimbabwe dollars. With so many quality cars in that price range, you'd have to be a die-hard Dodge fan to buy this junky dinosaur.
        CEC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cygnusx8
        Sorry that you are wrong, but tons of auto rags have stated that this is the best buy in the 7 passenger segment. Autoblog included.
      zoom_zoom_zoom
      • 1 Year Ago
      20 mpg highway. LOL
        graphikzking
        • 1 Year Ago
        @zoom_zoom_zoom
        That INCLUDES it running on a V4 because of the cylinder deactivation. Imagine if it ran on all 8 cylinders! Yes a V4 - sounds so strange to say V4.
      CBJMNWLD
      • 1 Year Ago
      Really 13 City? If this was a GM product it would get slaughtered here. I also love the demand by autobloggers for an 8 speed. Really? Because all of you have so much experience with them. I still say in the end that the Durango is not cost competitive. $45-$50k is outrageous! That price demands cross shopping with GM, Mercedes, Infiniti, Land Rover, Ford/Lincoln, BMW, etc,
        Brent Booth
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CBJMNWLD
        What three row SUV does Mercedes, BMW, or Land Rover/RR make to compete in this price range? To get the cheapest of the high end brands you mention, the Land Rover LR4 would be $54,000, The Mercedes GL STARTS at $63,000, The X5 would be $55,000... Lincoln... meh... Didn't even want to bother building one. Yes you could get a traverse (V6, Front wheel drive based AWD) but it doesn't have the "bad ass" thing going for it, at all. The Explorer Ecoboost (Comparable power, but also FWD based AWD) would be $46,500. I think the Durango is a good value.
        T
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CBJMNWLD
        Keep in mind that the Durango starts out under $30K. Fully-loaded Mercedes, Land Rovers, BMWs are more like $75k +. If you compare gas mileage of a V8 Durango to lighter car-based vehicles like an Explorer, what do you expect? The V6 Durango is comparable, and tows more. For someone who wants a three-row SUV that will actually tow a big trailer, but doesn't want the enormous size of a $50k + Suburban or Expedition, the Durango is competitively priced and equipped. The Suburban only gets 10 MPG City and 16 MPG highway, by the way.
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @T
          Um, no - the Suburban, Tahoe, Yukon, etc get much, much better fuel economy than that: MPG (City/Hwy) 15/21 So, yeah, stop making such lame comments, you know??
          roryn44
          • 1 Year Ago
          @T
          Alfonzo, you sir are lame, your commenting about a Hemi V8 Suv and its city MPG.
      VDuB
      • 1 Year Ago
      Took a step backwards with this thing. 13/20 mpg is laughable. No wonder I never see 40 Explorers to 1 Durango.
        T
        • 1 Year Ago
        @VDuB
        The car-based Explorer is more comparable to a minivan, so other than a shape similar to the Durango, it's a different type of vehicle than the more rugged Grand Cherokee based Durango.
      Gilly
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can they discontinue this mess on wheels already?
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really like the styling on these but after getting scorched by both Dodge and the horrific local dealership on a Durango I doubt I could ever buy a Dodge product again. It was probably about as unreliable as my old BMW but at least the BMW dealership made an effort to fix things.
        Rich
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants
        Because you are that person... each dealer is an independent franchise xo
      Rich
      • 1 Year Ago
      Who buys this crap? I truly do mean this... who?
      GN
      • 1 Year Ago
      Gorgeous. Still so much better than boat Explorer.
        ebn.hahn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GN
        Ooh OK if YOU say so!. But me and about 15000 people every month disagree with you!!. 15000 is how many explorer's sold every month vs the 3500 Durango's dodge gives away every month:). The pople have chosen the Best SUV with thier wallet pal....
          roryn44
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ebn.hahn
          yes we get it, you bought a ford explorer.
      Terry Actill
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great idea with gas at $4...
      JF
      • 1 Year Ago
      Whoever can name all the cars in which this exact steering wheel is used wins a cookie :) Tip: It's a lot.
        zoom_zoom_zoom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JF
        Is that like when GM put the same steering wheel in cars from the Cobalt to the Corvette ZR-1.
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @zoom_zoom_zoom
          No, this is like when lame people like you can't even see the differences between components from different vehicles having nothing in common!
        CEC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JF
        Avenger, Charger, Challenger, Dart, Durango, Journey, Grand Caravan. Send that cookie to: "Who Gives a ****"
          S.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @CEC
          Apparently you do
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