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Posted: April 01, 2013

Dodge Debuts Its 2014 Durango SUV

Dodge shows how to make a full-size SUV fit the needs of modern families

By TTM Staff

Dodge recently introduced it's 2014 Durango that combines fuel efficiency, modern electronic convenience features all wrapped up in a full-size SUV that offers plenty of style. The 2014 Durango is available in five trim levels; an SXT, Rallye, the new for 2014 Limited, R/T and Citadel. Production is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2013.

One of the first and most important new features is the Durango's fuel efficiency. Dodge added an eight-speed automatic transmission that gives the SUV up to nine-percent better fuel economy. The shifting is operated via a rotary shifter and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters that are standard equipment on all models.

Engine options include a standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that creates 290 horsepower (295 horsepower on Rallye) and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, and can tow up to 6,200 pounds. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine is also available, and produces 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque with a tow rating of 7,400 pounds. The 5.7-liter engine features Fuel Saver Technology with cylinder-deactivation that seamlessly alternates between smooth, high-fuel-economy four-cylinder modes when less power is needed.

Technology is abundant in the 2014 Durango starting with 5-inch or 8.4-inch touchscreens, and  Uconnect Access for phones, Bluetooth and other personal devices, as well as navigation with 3D mapping. Wi-Fi capability and mobile apps are also part of the Durango's technology package as well as a fully customizable instrument cluster and Blu-ray/DVD rear entertainment system that features dual 9-inch screens built into the driver and front passenger seat backs. What's really cool is the available theft alarm notification, which alerts owners via SMS text message or e-mail whenever their Durango’s security alarm is activated. In addition, voice recognition helps drivers stay connected to their mobile devices, without being distracted.

With it's Wi-Fi capability, the Durango can use its Bing search engine, via voice command, to find a destination. Uconnect navigation then calculates a route and stores the destination’s telephone number for handsfree calling.

The interior for 2014 remains roomy. Dodge wanted to retain it's three-row seating capability. Available second-row captains chairs with a pass-through center console makes getting to and from the third-row seats much easier. The new Limited model features leather, heated seating and heated steering wheels.

On the outside, Dodge made the 2014 Durango available with a variety of looks ranging from sporty to luxurious. The Rallye and R/T models have a monochromatic appearance and are equipped with dark-tinted headlamp bezels, body-color front and rear lower fascias, wheel flares, grille and sill moldings, all unique to the these packages. The R/T’s ride height has also been lowered by 20 mm, further enhancing its sporty appearance and driving dynamics. A choice of 18-inch and 20-inch wheels with finishes ranging from silver painted to polished aluminum to class-exclusive Hyper Black are also available.

The Durango retains its crosshair grille, but it is much slimmer and more streamlined. The newer grille is combined with redesigned projector-beam headlamps and a raised front bumper. Durango’s sculpted hood completes the forward-leaning profile that continues through the deeply browed headlamps. The rear uses an LED racetrack tail lamp design inspired by the Dodge Charger and all-new Dart. The rear fascia has also been re-sculpted to fully integrate the trailer hitch. This gives the Durango a cleaner, more premium look. Finally, large 3.5-inch dual exhaust tips are standard on V-8-equipped vehicles, including the R/T, along with the Rallye; other V-6 powered Durango models have a 3-inch single tip.

The unibody structure is built with a selection of high-strength and ultra-high strength steels that improve driving dynamics by integrating the suspension with the body — reducing flex and weight when compared with body-on-frame designs. The short/long arm front suspension and isolated multi-link rear suspension features isolated front and rear cradles to deliver precise on-road handling and comfort. Dodge also added aggressive shock and spring rates, along with large anti-sway bars to handle body roll in hard turning maneuvers. Electro-hydraulic power steering, unique caster and camber settings, along with standard electronic stability control, also contribute to maintain tire grip and vehicle stability.

The 2014 Dodge Durango is still rear-wheel-drive but will also be available in an all-wheel drive configuration, enabling the Durango to handle a wider variety of road conditions. All-Wheel-Drive models will feature low range operation that improves light off-road performance and helps ease maneuvers, such as pulling a boat up a steep launch or backing up with a trailer. The neutral position in the transfer case allows the vehicle to be flat-towed without damaging powertrain components.

Safety features include a forward collision warning system with crash mitigation. This alerts the driver if they’re approaching a vehicle in front too quickly, and the new adaptive cruise control with stop will keep Durango at a driver-selected distance from the vehicle in front when cruise control is engaged and can even bring the SUV to a controlled stop. Traction and electronic stability controls are also available on the Durango.

While many SUV manufacturers are downsizing their vehicles, Dodge managed to find ways to improve their full-size efficiencies and give customers a great handling, looking and fuel efficient vehicle.

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