The Dodge Durango is a roomy, comfortable SUV with plenty of power for the long haul. The Durango has an available 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that can tow all of your toys to the beach or the camp. New for 2017, the Durango Limited model is replaced by the Durango GT, which has a sportier, monochromatic exterior.

Americans love SUVs because of their roominess and versatility. The Durango fits into that “just right” category: it’s not huge, but it’s plenty big enough with three rows for most family hauling chores. And with the V8, the Durango can tow up to 7,400 pounds.

The V6 engine choice is a 3.6-liter Pentastar with up to 295 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. My rear-drive 2017 Durango R/T was outfitted with the big V8, which develops 360 horses and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic with a rotary dial shifter that saves valuable real estate on the console. AWD is available.

The V8 also has fuel-saving cylinder deactivation, which allows the Durango to automatically switch at highway speeds to run on four cylinders instead of eight.

The V6 is EPA rated at up to 19 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, while the V8 promises to take you 14 city miles or 22 highway miles down the road on a gallon of mid-grade unleaded fuel.

Available new options on the Durango R/T for 2017 include a hand-wrapped soft-touch instrument panel with red accent stitching. Also new is a rear-mounted camera that allows the driver to view trailered items while the vehicle is under way.

Inside the roomy cabin, there is nearly 85 cubic feet of cargo space with all the rear seats folded down. Behind the third row, there is 17.2 cubic feet, and behind the second row you’ll find 47.7 cubic feet of cargo space.

While some competitors are front-drive, the Durango’s rear-drive configuration gives it excellent performance on the road. With the V6, the Durango’s towing capacity is 6,200 pounds.

The Durango cabin can be configured to seat up to seven, depending on whether the second row is a bench or captain’s chairs with a passthrough to the back. Second row captain’s chairs are available on all models.

The second-row bench is in a 60/40 split and can be folded and tumbled flat into a load floor. The second-row seats can be heated and can recline up to 18 degrees.

FCA’s Uconnect system is available with either a 5-inch or available 8.4-inch touchscreen, which is the largest in the class. I’ve always found Uconnect to be one of the most user-friendly systems on the market.

The Durango also has an available Blu-ray rear entertainment system with 9-inch screens installed on the back of the front seats. Each screen is independent, which allows the kids to watch different shows and avoid squabbles over the TV. Wireless headphones are included to make life easier all around.

When it comes to safety the 2017 Durango scores four out of five stars in the government’s crash tests. The insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the 2017 Durango its top score of “good” in every category except the small overlap front test, in which the Durango scores “marginal.”

The Durango has seven standard airbags, including full-length side airbags for all three rows. The Durango has available forward collision warning with crash mitigation, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross path detection.

If you’re shopping for a comfortable mid-size SUV with power to spare, the 2017 Dodge Durango should absolutely be on your list of vehicles to consider.

2017 Dodge Durango R/T

Engine:

5.7-liter HEMI V8

Horsepower/Torque:

360/390 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

8-speed automatic

with rotary shifter & paddle shifters

Price:

$51,560 including freight

EPA mileage estimates:

14 mpg city/22 mpg highway/17 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

541 miles