2007 Durango New Car Test Drive
Dodge Durango looks tough but rides smooth, with a level of refinement not usually associated with Chrysler Corporation products. Its handling is stable and relatively agile given its size and heft. Inside is a quiet, roomy, comfortable and technologically sophisticated cabin.
This second-generation Durango, which first appeared as an '04, is significantly larger than the original, slipping between the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition in exterior dimensions.
For 2007, the Durango has been significantly face-lifted outside and updated inside. An entirely new front end maintains Durango's identity, while adding smoothness and sophistication.
Second-row bucket seats are now available. Seat fabrics are more stain resistant, and Limited models now feature dual-zone automatic climate control. Also new for 2007 are power windows that operate in express mode both up and down. A new one-touch lane-change feature allows the driver to quickly activate a three-blink turn signal when changing lanes just as with a Mercedes. Limited models can be ordered with full-screen CD/DVD navigation and Bluetooth hands-free communications.
Safety has been enhanced by making an electronic stability program (ESP) and side-curtain airbags standard. A tire pressure monitor is now standard in most models and ParkSense ultrasonic parking assist is standard on Limited and optional on SLT. Dual-stage front air bags and an occupant-sensing system for the passenger-side front air bag became standard beginning with the 2006 models.
Perhaps the best news of all is that, despite all this new equipment, Durango prices are actually lower this year than last.
One thing that has not changed is Durango's space efficiency. Durango can seat up to seven passengers with its folding third-row seat. With all seats folded, there's more than 100 cubic feet of cargo space. You can slide full-size sheets of plywood in back. And a properly equipped Durango with the optional Hemi engine is rated to tow up to 8,950 pounds.
A V6 is standard, but two V8s are available and both are superb. The popular 4.7-liter V8 is now a flex-fuel engine in 45 states, running on gasoline or up to 85 percent ethanol (E85). It's smooth and it's powerful, but drivers who want or need more can opt for the celebrated 5.7-liter Hemi. Both engines come with a five-speed automatic transmission that's smooth, refined, and responsive. This transmission includes a Tow/Haul feature we like that holds lower gears longer when towing to reduce gear searching.
The 2007 Dodge Durango is offered in four models: SXT, SLT, Adventurer, and Limited. Each is available with two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD).
A 210-hp 3.7-liter V6 is standard in 2WD SXT, SLT, and Adventurer models. The 235-hp 4.7-liter V8 and five-speed automatic are optional ($785) in those models, and standard in Limited and all 4WD models. The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is optional in SLT, Adventurer, and Limited.
Standard convenience features for SXT 2WD ($26,280) and 4WD ($29,260) include air conditioning, cloth interior with front bucket seats, 40/20/40 folding second-row seat, power heated foldaway mirrors, front and rear 12-volt power outlets, four-speaker AM/FM stereo with in-dash single-disc CD player, cruise control, tilt steering column, remote keyless entry, 17-inch aluminum wheels with on/off-road tires, a full-size spare and a 27-gallon fuel tank.
SLT 2WD ($28,950) and 4WD ($31,930) add fog lamps, woodgrain instrument panel, power-adjustable driver's seat, one-piece fold-down third-row seating, rear-seat heating and air conditioning, 18-inch aluminum wheels, tire-pressure monitor and a 160-amp alternator. The SLT comes standard with the same cloth seats as the SXT, but leather-trimmed front bucket seats are available ($925). A power sunroof ($850) also becomes available at the SLT level.
Adventurer 2WD ($31,445) and 4WD ($33,565) come with all SLT features, plus special off-road equipment that includes tubular side steps, reversible slush mats, a rubberized washable cargo liner with built-in cargo organizer, Sirius Satellite Radio, unique machine-finish wheels and Mineral Gray moldings and fascias. Adventurer also comes with a Thule roof rack with a choice of six rack systems or a unique Adventurer accessory kit. Adventurer reverts to 17-inch wheels, but with wider tires than SXT.
Limited 2WD ($33,800) and 4WD ($35,925) are the plushest Durangos, with premium leather seats; power for both driver and front passenger's seat; a recline feature for the second-row 40/20/40 folding bench seat; 60/40 split folding third-row seat; dual-zone automatic climate control; overhead console with (new for '07) driver information center; premium metallic-finish instrument panel bezel; eight-speaker, six-CD/MP3/Sirius audio with subwoofer (an Alpine system replaces last year's Infinity); 18-inch chromed aluminum wheels; security alarm and Sentry Key engine immobilizer; auto-dimming for the side mirrors; and a memory system for seats, mirrors, radio, air conditioning and adjustable pedals.
A full-screen navigation system with CD/DVD capability, hands-free communication system with Bluetooth wireless technology, and 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels have been added to the Limited's list of exclusive options.
Many of the Limited's luxury features are available as extra-cost options on lower-cost models. A rear-seat DVD player ($1200) can be added to all models except SXT. Skid plates and a two-speed transfer case are available for all 4WD models. Light-duty and Class IV trailer packages are also offered.
Safety features on all models now include side-curtain air bags with roll-over sensors; these provide significant head protection in a side impact or rollover accident. Seat or door-mounted side-impact air bags, however, are not available. Durango's advanced front air bags deploy with varying power based on the weight of the person in the seat. ABS is also standard, as is electronic stability control with traction control. A tire pressure monitor is now standard on SLT and Limited. Ultrasonic rear park assist is standard on Limited and optional on SLT.