2008 Durango New Car Test Drive
Dodge Durango looks tough but rides smooth. Big and bulky, it handles like a truck, but it's quiet, roomy, and comfortable, with a host of available technology.
This second-generation Durango, which first appeared as an '04 model, slips between the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition in exterior dimensions.
Standard seating is for five, seven or eight (depending on model); optional second-row bucket seats provide six- or seven-passenger capacity. 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 flex-fuel 4.7-liter V8 is upgraded from 235 to 303 horsepower for 2008 without a fuel economy penalty. It can run on gasoline or up to 85 percent ethanol (E85). It's smooth and powerful, but drivers who want or need more can opt for the celebrated 5.7-liter Hemi. Both V8s 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.
Newly offered for 2008 are a rear backup camera, a cargo management system, and Dodge's MyGIG hard drive radio that can hold songs, pictures, and navigation system map information.
The 2008 Dodge Durango is offered in four models: SXT, SLT, Adventurer, and Limited. Each is available with two-wheel drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). (All prices are manufacturer's suggested retail prices and do not include destination charges; MSRPs can change at any time without notice.)
A 210-hp 3.7-liter V6 with four-speed automatic transmission is standard in 2WD SXT and 2WD SLT models. The 303-hp 4.7-liter V8 and five-speed automatic are optional ($785) for those models, and standard for all others. Dodge's 335-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is optional for 2WD SLT ($1780), AWD SLT ($990) Adventurer ($990), and Limited ($795). It comes with a five-speed automatic transmission. A two-speed transfer case for low-range gearing on AWD models is optional ($195) when ordered with the 4.7-liter V8 and standard with the 5.7-liter V8.
Standard features for SXT 2WD ($26,455) and SXT AWD ($29,735) include front air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, cloth upholstery, front bucket seats, 40/20/40 folding second-row seat, heated power folding mirrors, power windows, power door locks, remote keyless entry, four-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, cargo cover, theft-deterrent system, rear privacy glass, roof rails, and 245/70R17 on/off-road tires on steel wheels. A Technology Group for SXT ($1030) includes a six-disc CD changer, Sirius Satellite radio, remote engine starting, and laminated side glass.
SLT 2WD ($29,785) and SLT AWD ($33,065) add upgraded Yes Essentials seat fabric that Dodge says is odor and stain resistant, rear air conditioning and heater, eight-way power driver seat, two-passenger third-row folding bench seat, AM/FM radio with six-disc CD changer, Sirius satellite radio, floormats, fog lights, and 265/60R18 on/off-road tires on alloy wheels. SLT is offered with the Technology Group II ($2105). It includes rear obstacle detection, rearview camera, Alpine sound system, MyGIG Entertainment System that replaces the six-disc CD changer, leather-wrapped steering with radio controls, UConnect wireless cell phone link, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The off-road oriented Adventurer 2WD ($31,710) and Adventurer AWD ($33,930) 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, 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, with 265/65R17 on/off-road tires.
Limited 2WD ($34,995) and Limited AWD ($37,215) are the plushest models, with dual-zone automatic climate control; leather upholstery; heated front seats; four-way power passenger seat; power-adjustable pedals; memory for the driver seat, mirrors, radio, air conditioning and pedals; three-passenger third-row 60/40 split folding seat; leather-wrapped steering wheel with radio controls; Alpine eight-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 player; MyGIG Entertainment System; rear obstacle detection; rearview camera; auto-dimming rearview and driver side outside mirror; universal garage door opener; automatic day/night rearview mirror, power liftgate, automatic headlights, overhead console with driver information center; security alarm; and 265/60R18 on/off-road tires on chrome alloy wheels. This model deletes the six-disc CD changer.
The MyGIG Entertainment System is new for 2008. It includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen and a 20-gigabyte hard drive to hold songs and pictures. It is included in the Technology Group II for SLT and Adventurer and is standard on Limited. Also available for Limited is Technology Group III ($1435), which includes UConnect wireless cell phone link, remote engine starting, laminated side glass, and the MyGIG Multi-Media Infotainment System, which adds a navigation system with voice controls and real-time traffic information to the.