2014 Dodge Durango: Eight-Speed SUV
The 2014 Dodge Durango got a late start, but it was worth it: every Durango had an eight-speed automatic transmission that boosted acceleration and gas mileage, the electronics were upgraded with new gee-whiz features, and creature comforts were refined. With the newly efficient powertrain, Durango gave minivans a run for their money, especially for people who want to tow classic Challengers or Chrysler boats.
All Durangos now have eight speeds
For 2014, the Dodge Durango became an eight-speed-only vehicle, using the state-of-the-art ZF HP8 transmission. Instead of the “obviously electronic” shifter of the Grand Cherokee, Charger, and 300, Durango used the Ram’s shifter-knob, making it easier to change gears by touch. The knob has definite positions for park, reverse, neutral, and drive; shifting up and down is handled by standard paddle controls on the steering wheel.
The transmission’s wide gear spread provides stronger gas mileage by allowing high top gear ratios, while increasing performance with a lower first gear; the large number of gears in between makes shifting smoother, and keeps the engine is in its optimal range. With the V6 engine, Dodge Durango now has a best-in-class driving range of more than 600 miles — around the distance from New York City to Detroit.
|Engine||Pentastar V6||Hemi V8|
|Type||60° V-type, 198 cid||90° V-type, 345 cid|
|Valvetrain||Chain-driven DOHC (24V)||Pushrod OHV (16V)|
|VVT||Variable cam phasing||Variable cam phasing|
|Horsepower||290-295 @ 6,400||360 @ 5,150|
|Torque||260 @ 4,800||390 @ 4,250|
|EPA mpg||18 / 25||14/23|
The engine that benefits most from the eight-speed is the 3.6 liter Pentastar V-6, with 290 horsepower and 260 l-ft of torque; Rallye buyers get an extra five horsepower. Dual cam phasing flattens the torque curve, so that over 90% of peak torque is available from 1,900 rpm to 6,400 rpm. This engine is standard for every Durango.
The 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine, optional on Limited, R/T, and Citadel, has best-in-class 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, with best-in-class towing capacity of 7,400 pounds (with AWD, 7,200 pounds). Gas mileage has improved by up to 5%.
A new Eco Mode optimizes the throttle, transmission shift schedule, deceleration fuel cutoff, and, with V-8s, the cylinders cutoff. A button on the center stack disengages Eco Mode.
Body and suspension
More than 5,500 welds, including 4,100 mm of arc welding, add torsional stiffness to the Dodge Durango’s unibody construction. 52% of the structure is high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel, with more stiffness from closed-section front and rear cross-members.
Durango’s four-wheel independent suspension uses isolated suspension cradles, with optional skid plates. The 2014 Durango has larger sway bars than the 2011-13 models, with 10% stiffer shock and spring rates, and twin-tube shocks supplementing the multi-link rear suspension. The 2014 Durango also has higher cooling capacity than past models, with standard trailer-sway control.
V6-powered Durangos have electro-hydraulic power steering (EHPS), with speed-dependent boost levels. The system delivers fuel savings of up to 3.5% over a pure hydraulic system.
The Durango has two all wheel drive (AWD) systems. The V6 has an MP3010 single speed transfer case for full-time all wheel drive, with a 50/50 torque split. The Hemi-powered AWD Durango has a low-range MP3022 transfer case with a neutral position, for light off-road use, or to aid in moving a boat or trailer; the neutral position eases Durango-towing. The transfer case has a 2.72:1 low-range ratio, and a variable torque split. 20-inch wheels are optional.
The Dodge Durango’s drag coefficient is around 0.35. Acoustic materials include laminated front-door glass, and a double wall separating the engine compartment from the cabin.
Optional bi-xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps include auto-leveling to adjust the beam area for changes in elevation. Four-inch projector fog lamps are standard on all Durangos.
Technology and Telematics
As predicted, the 2014 Dodge Durango came with Chrysler’s class-exclusive customizable 7-inch digital instrument cluster, 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen with Uconnect Access services, and other new features.
The Dodge Durango debuted Uconnect Access Via Mobile, which let customers use stream audio content into the new Dodge Durango using their own mobile device data plans. Uconnect Access Via Mobile integrates Internet radio apps Aha by Harman, iHeartRadio, Pandora and Slacker Radio.
Dodge Durango has a built-in wireless connection for local emergency services with the push of the 9-1-1 button. The “ASSIST” button contacts Chrysler’s roadside assistance provider, the Vehicle Customer Care Center, or Uconnect Customer Care Center.
Optional theft alarm notification alerts registered customers when their vehicles’ security alarms are activated. Uconnect Access can also remotely sound the horn and flash the lights, or remote-start and lock and unlock, via the Uconnect Access smartphone app.
An optional second-row seatback video system plays both standard DVDs and Blu-ray discs, with inputs for HDMI or RCA cables, and 9-inch screens integrated into the front-seat backs. Wireless headphones are included, as is a wireless remote.
An optional ten-speaker Alpine audio system includes a 12-channel amp, 3½” instrument panel speaker, 2 one-inch mirror flag tweeters, two 6x9 front door speakers, two 6½” rear door speakers, two 2½” D-pillar speakers, and one eight-inch dual voice coil subwoofer.
2014 Dodge Durango Styling, Design, and Interior
The new face of Durango has a slimmer grille, redesigned headlamps, and a raised front bumper. SXT and Limited have a chrome surround with black “Split-Hex” texture, Rallye and R/T have a body-color grille surround with black “Per-Form” texture, and Citadel uses a chrome grille surround with bright chrome “Cross-Hex” texture. The Rallye and R/T have black headlamp bezels, body-color front and rear lower fascias, wheel flares and sill moldings. The R/T’s ride height has also been reduced by 20 mm for better cornering.
Durangos with LED daytime running lamps are Limited, R/T and Citadel; the LED lamps form a unique “hockey-stick” shape. The R/T and Citadel have standard high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps (optional on Limited) with automatic leveling.
In back, Durango added LED racetrack tail lamps, similar to those of the Dodge Charger and Dart. This latest evolution blends the individual LEDs into one seamless ribbon of light, despite the 192 individual LEDs. A revised hatch release has a hidden soft-touch button found in the hand recess, and the rear fascia was re-sculpted to integrate the trailer hitch. 3½” dual exhaust tips are standard on V-8s and Rallye; other V-6 Durangos have a 3-inch single tip. There are also numerous new wheel choices.
A roof rack side rail system, similar to the one on minivans, is standard on Limited and Citadel models, and optional on SXT; it has stowable cross bars, for better gas mileage when the roof rack is not needed.
The 2014 Dodge Durango is available in Billet Silver Metallic, Bright White, Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat, Sandstone Pearl Coat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal, Granite Crystal Metallic, Maximum Steel Metallic, True Blue Metallic and Redline 2 Coat Pearl (Rallye and R/T only).
The three-spoke steering wheel has larger, back-lit buttons for the gauge controls, and buttons for Uconnect and phone access on the bottom edge of the vertical spokes. The rim is sculpted so that the driver’s hands have a sure grip at the 3- and 9-o’clock positions; audio controls are still on the back. This new steering wheel has a power tilt and telescoping function with memory on R/T and Citadel models. It is also heated and leather-wrapped on Limited, R/T and Citadel, with the leather available on SXT and Rallye.
Durango’s center console has dual-tier storage; a center storage bin inside the console has an interior volume of six liters and a liner on the bottom to prevent items from sliding around and keeping it easy to clean. The top tier delivers an additional half- liter of storage for easy access to personal items such as a wallet or iPod, while the underside of the lid also has a tissue and pen holder. A lockable glove box has a dampened hinge for smoother movement.
Durango keeps its standard seven-passenger seating, with optional fold-flat second-row captain’s chairs on all models. SXT gets cloth in black or black and light frost; Rallye is all black cloth; Limited has standard Capri leather in black or black/light frost; R/T gets black leather with red stitching or, optionally, perforated, ventilated Nappa leather with red stitching; and Citadel gets the ventilated, perforated Nappa seats in black, black/light frost, or black/tan.
Between the seats is a floor-mounted console that can hold drinks and small objects, designed so passengers could easily walk from the second to third rows between the captain’s chairs. Customers can also opt for a larger center console that has more storage, illuminated cup holders, a USB jack, and a 12-volt outlet.
A fold-flat front passenger seat is standard on models without ventilated seats. Once flat, the seat back panel can serve as a utility table.
The 60/40 split-folding second-row seat folds and tumbles. Second-row seats also are available with heat and 18° recline. Both the second- and third-row seats fold to provide a flat load floor to haul a 6-foot couch with room for a coffee table. A switch in the instrument panel lowers the third-row headrests when not in use.
An overhead console also includes a covered storage bin, optional garage door opener, and switches for the sunroof and liftgate.
Marketing and Models
The new Durango competes in the full-size SUV segment, which had 900,000 sales in 2012 (an 82% jump over 2009), and overlaps with full-size crossovers. 60% of full-size SUV sales were three-row vehicles.
Since the first Durango in 1998, Dodge has sold more than 1.4 million Durangos in the United States, and the Durango name has one of the highest recognition rates in the SUV and crossover segments.
The Durango is the best-equipped base SUV in its class, with even the base SXT having automatic headlights, fog lamps, deep-tint glass, speed-sensitive wipers, 18-inch wheels, paddle shifters, reconfigurable gauge cluster, touchscreen stereo, tri-zone automatic temperature control, rear-seat air conditioning, air filtering, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, full trip computer, and phone controls. Standard safety features include seven standard airbags, active front headrests, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic stability control, and trailer-sway control.
Even on the SXT, options include all wheel drive, power sunroof, heated steering wheel and seats, parking assistance, voice controls, second row captain’s chairs, 8.4 inch touch screen, tow package, and skid plates. The entry price is $29,795 plus $995 destination.
The Rallye adds sporty exterior design cues and an extra 5 horsepower on the V6, dual-exhausts, 20-inch black wheels, body-color grille, wheel flares, sill moldings, and lower fascias, black headlamp bezels, and LED daytime running lights. The interior includes a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel with power driver seat, heated front seats, voice command, rear backup camera, rear park assist, and satellite radio. It costs $3,200 more than SXT.
The Dodge Durango Limited replaces Crew, and adds to the SXT 18-inch polished aluminum wheels with Mineral Gray pockets, LED daytime running lamps, signal repeater mirrors, the 8.4-inch Uconnect Access Via Mobile touchscreen with satellite radio, Capri leather seats, heated steering wheel, heated first- and second-row seats, 12-way power driver seat with memory and power four-way lumbar adjustment, 10-way power front passenger seat, including power four-way lumbar adjustment, remote start, rear park assist and backup camera, tire-pressure monitoring, alarm, power folding auto-dimming mirrors with memory, garage door opener, 115-volt AC, and 150-watt power outlet. A new option is the Blu-ray rear seat entertainment system. Limited adds $3,000 to Rallye, totalling $36,990 including destination charge.
The Dodge Durango R/T has a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch performance tire with 20-inch black aluminum wheels, and a 20 mm lower ride height; and an optional Nappa Leather Group. It has a standard 506-watt audio system with nine speakers and a subwoofer, power liftgate and HID low-beam headlamps. Other standard features on the R/T, over the Limited, include black HID headlamp bezels, and body-color front and rear lower fascias, wheel flares, and sill moldings. On the inside, R/T uses Capri leather interior in black with red accent stitching and R/T embroidery. The 2014 Dodge Durango R/T has a starting U.S. MSRP of $39,990 (including destination).
The top of the line is the Citadel, which is based on the Durango Limited; it adds perforated Nappa leather, heated and ventilated front seats, and heated rear seats, with Uconnect Access 8.4, voice commands, navigation, and live streaming internet radio, remote start, 20-inch polished wheels, and a unique grille, power sunroof, automatic high-beams, rain-sensitive wipers, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power liftgate, and more. It starts at $41,990 with destination.
The 2014 Blacktop package adds gloss-black 20-inch wheels, dual rear exhaust with bright tips, and gloss black crosshair grille, grille surround, side mirrors, exterior badging, headlamp bezels, and body color fascia and moldings. On SXT, the Blacktop Package adds $1,590 to the list price. On Limited, the package also includes HID headlamps and LED daytime running lights, for an extra $1,990. On R/T, the price is $295.
Quality Upgrades, Specifications, and Safety
Each month, five random vehicles from every Chrysler Group model line are pulled off the assembly line so they can be driven day and night to accumulate miles as part of the ongoing effort to find and fix any issues before customers do. Durangos are inspected in a metrics center, where dimensional control tools can find sources of build variation even when components appear perfect to the naked eye.