The Dodge Durango is a big, brawny SUV with three rows and lots of interior room. It has a terrific cabin and an available HEMI V8 that gives this rear-wheel drive SUV an aggressive attitude, class-leading towing and excellent driving dynamics.

For the new model year, the Limited trim is replaced by the sportier Durango GT. The Durango is available in SXT, GT, Citadel and R/T trims.

Most Durangos will come with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 that develops 290 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. A 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is available for those who want the extra power.

But if you ask Harley Harlan at Salsbury’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep & Ram, he’ll tell you the V6 has the perfect combination of power and fuel economy.

“The V6 is powerful,” he said. “It’ll flat out get up and go with a full load of people and their stuff.”

My test vehicle, a 2017 Durango Citadel AWD, weighed in at nearly 5,400 pounds and was equipped with the HEMI V8. The big V8 kicks out 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic operated by a rotary dial shifter on the console. FCA is a leader in rotary dial shifters and I’ve become a fan. They’re much less obtrusive in the valuable real estate on the console.

Driving this big, comfortable SUV makes you feel like a road boss. Don’t mess with me, I’m in a Durango. The Durango has also been a popular choice for law enforcement agencies and security details because of its performance.

The 6-cylinder engine promises 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway for a combined 21 mpg. The V8 with AWD will get you 14 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway and 17 mpg combined.

You can get SUVs with better mileage, but they probably won’t be as beefy and solid as the Durango. They also won’t be able to tow up to 7,400 pounds.

The cabin of our test vehicle was roomy and comfortable with 39.9 inches of headroom in the front seat. I climbed into the Row 2 captain’s chairs (a bench increases the Durango’s passenger capacity to seven) and found just one-tenth of an inch less headroom. And when I folded my 6-foot-1 frame into the seats in Row 3, I was amazed to find 37.8 inches of headroom. Sitting straight up in the seat, my hair still didn’t reach the headliner. This is one of the few SUVs on the market where most adults will be comfortable anywhere in the vehicle.

The Durango also makes one heck of a road trip machine with the $2,490 Premium Entertainment Group, which features Beats Audio and a Blu-Ray disc player with dual screens that fold up from the front seatbacks. Our test Durango Citadel also had a Customer Preferred Package ($1,095) that had upgraded 20-inch wheels and a ton of special appearance features and badging inside and out. The Technology Group ($2,295) added a suite of safety features like adaptive cruise control, advanced brake assist, blind spot and cross traffic warning systems, full speed collision warning and a lane departure system that nudges the wheel if you drift out of your lane.

Drive the Durango to the beach this summer and you won’t be disappointed. Adding to the comfort in the Durango Citadel are 8-way adjustable front seats that are heated and cooled, a heated steering wheel, three-zone automatic air, a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with controls, an 8.4-inch touch screen with FCAs excellent Uconnect infotainment system, navigation and lots of connectivity.

In the cove at the bottom of the center stack are ports for aux, 12v, USB and SD cards. Sharing space in the console are another 12v port and the Blu-Ray player.

The Durango gets four out of five stars in the government’s crash test program, but the insurance industry has not yet completed its testing of the 2017 Durango.

2017 Dodge Durango Citadel


5.7-liter HEMI V8

Horsepower / Torque:

360 / 390 lb.-ft.


8-speed automatic rotary dial

Base price:

$43,995 ($55,960 with options & freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

14 mpg city / 22 mpg highway / 17 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

541 miles