Dodge Durango 2007 - 2009, including the Dodge Durango Hybrid
The Durango was redesigned with considerably more bulk just before gas prices rose, in an example of traditional Chrysler timing; sales were not at expected or desirable levels, and many felt that the new Durango had lost the styling advantage of the original. Chrysler responded with uncharacteristic speed, answering the most serious charges against the Durango - bad gas mileage and unfortunate styling.
The 2007 Durango builds on the 2006 model’s tough frame and strong towing capabilities with a redesigned nose (including fenders, hood, headlights, and grille), a hybrid-electric system to be available in 2008 with considerably better (if not terrific) gas mileage, an immediate 20% boost in gas mileage on the Hemi model through multiple-displacement, and the option of operating the 4.8 liter V8 on E85 ethanol or gasoline.
Dodge also added a number of features inherited from Mercedes, including electronic stability control, ultrasonic rear parking assistance, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Meanwhile, the Durango continues to seat up to eight adults, or hold up to 102.4 cubic feet of cargo.
For 2009, the Durango got the new Hemi, at 365 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque, as well as the hybrid system. Other changes included a new teal color, satellite video added to the rear-seat video, and a 30-gigabyte hard drive stereo option.
Hybrid-electric 2009 Durangos
Chrysler’s first hybrid vehicle, using a system created by General Motors, BMW, and Chrysler itself, will be the Durango (and Aspen). The system cleverly integrates the electric motor into the transmission, so that it can be put into existing vehicles with a minimal new engineering and tooling investment; in the Durango’s case, the floor, second row seats, and electrical system are revised. The hybrid is used with the Hemi engine, providing up to 25% better gas mileage on top of the 20% improvement from the current MDS (cylinder de-activation) system.
"The advanced two-mode hybrid system, which we will first offer in the Dodge Durango, leapfrogs traditional hybrid design by improving fuel economy and performance at higher speeds as well as city driving cycles," said Frank Klegon, Executive Vice President – Product Development. "Delivering significant fuel economy – up to 25-percent improvement – the advanced two-mode full hybrid system will provide great performance in a wide range of applications."
Actual gas mileage appears to be around 18 city, 19 highway, rather than the usual 13 city, 18 highway. We have reviewed the hybrid system.
Other Durango features
The 2007 Durango also has standard stability control, the same excellent system used by Mercedes and the Chrysler LX series; side curtain airbags; and tire pressure monitoring. New options include ParkSense® ultrasonic rear park assist, one touch lane-change signal, YES Essentials stain-resistant fabric, express-up-and-down front windows, dual-zone automatic temperature control, 115-volt outlet, quad bucket seats, remote start, and 20-inch wheels. The Infinity stereo was changed over to Alpine for 2006.
Dodge Durango styling changes for 2007
Dodge designers introduced taut new angles and planar surfaces to Durango's front-end appearance. Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design, wrote, "Durango's new grille and body-mounted front and rear fascias feature chiseled, sharp angles, and new rectangular headlamps that prominently wrap the corners of the vehicle, providing a distinctive, confident high-quality appearance."
The chromed crosshair grille features a more chiseled, ingot appearance with sharp, squared-off edges and a small three-dimensional ram's head. Headlamps with new dual-halogen bulbs wrap the corners of the new fenders. A one-piece body-mounted front fascia with integrated fog lamps and a chrome appliqué accents Durango's appearance. A new hood features strong character lines.
The profile of the 2007 Dodge Durango features a deep-body section and high belt line. Short front and rear overhangs, not typical of a full-size SUV, contribute to the vehicle's forceful expression (and more important, increase cornering ability). New bodyside moldings were standard on SXT, SLT, Adventurer and Limited models. New optional 20-inch wheels are surrounded by huge wheel arches, and the roofline dips slightly at the rear to distinguish the silhouette. New exterior color offerings included Marine Blue, Steel Blue, and Brilliant Black.
The rear design of the Durango features "afterburner" taillamps and a center high-mounted stop lamp integrated into the rear roofline. A new, wider chrome appliqué accentuates the rear liftgate and features a centered, three-dimensional ram's head.
Hemi Durango: Best-in-class Power With Improved Fuel-efficiency
The 2007 Durango continues to offer best-in-class HEMI V-8 power, standard with Chrysler’s fuel-saving Multi-displacement System (MDS). New for 2007, Dodge Durango's 4.7-liter V-8 engine features standard E85-compatibility, earning the Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) designation that provides customers the option of operating their Durango on ethanol, gasoline or any mixture of the two.
"Power barely begins to describe the 2007 Dodge Durango's two available V-8 engines," said Mike Donoughe, Vice President – Body-on-frame Product Team. "By offering MDS as a standard feature on the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine, and E85-compatibility with the 4.7-liter V-8 engine, customers receive the latest in fuel-saving technology, without sacrificing power and performance."
MDS – standard with the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 – seamlessly alternates between smooth, high-fuel economy four-cylinder mode when less power is needed, and eight-cylinder mode when more power from the 5.7L HEMI engine is in demand. The award-winning 5.7-liter HEMI V-8's 335 horsepower and 370 lb.-ft. of torque provides more than ample power for towing and hauling, and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.
The 230 horsepower E85-compatible FFV 4.7-liter Magnum V-8 engine is standard on all four-wheel-drive Dodge Durango models. With 290 lb.-ft. of torque, the 4.7-liter provides smooth and responsive performance. The 2007 Dodge Durango's standard powertrain is the 3.7-liter Magnum® V-6 engine that generates 210 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque.
Ride and Handling
Featuring a refined and quiet ride, the new 2007 Dodge Durango provides a handling edge not normally associated with sport-utility vehicles. A torsionally stiff, fully-hydroformed frame is linked to an independent front suspension with rack-and-pinion steering. Courtesy of frame dynamics, the suspension and steering are finely tuned to deliver a superior ride and precise steering feel.
"Delivering exceptional handling and ride comfort, the 2007 Dodge Durango has the interior room, towing and hauling capability of a large SUV, but achieves the fuel efficiency, performance and maneuverability of smaller full-size SUVs," said Donoughe.
Dodge Durango's rear suspension is configured with coil springs and a solid rear axle that deliver a smooth ride with superior payload and towing capability. A Watt linkage system (first used by Chrysler in the PT Cruiser for its space saving and combination of ride and handling) is fitted to the rear axle, centering the axle and reducing rear-end skate over rough surfaces. The result is a smooth ride and a best-in-class Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 6,600 lbs. and towing capacity of 8,950 lbs.
The 2007 Dodge Durango interior is roomy and user-friendly with a functional, yet elegant design. With best-in-class cargo capacity, offering 68.4 cu. ft. of cargo room with the third-row seats folded, Dodge Durango easily surpasses other full-size SUVs. New for 2007, Dodge Durango offers optional second-row bucket seats with a center console, providing rear passengers a first-class environment. A standard 40/20/40-split second-row seat boasts seating for three adults, with ample shoulder, hip and legroom, available individual climate controls and DVD entertainment system, as well as reclining seat backs.
Dodge Durango's flat load floor, created by folding down the second- and third-row seats, provides 102.4 cu. ft. of versatile total cargo volume. Additionally, the distance between the wheelhouses in the rear cargo area is 48 inches wide – enough to transport standard 48-inch sheets of plywood.
Providing easy loading and unloading of gear, the Dodge Durango offers a power rear liftgate, which opens with the touch of a button. In addition, rear doors open 84 degrees to provide passengers with easy entry and exit.
New larger (six by nine inches) rearview mirrors were heated and folding. A leather-wrapped center console lid was standard on the Limited.
The Dodge Durango has been awarded a Five-star frontal impact rating by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). New for 2007 is standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP), which aids the driver in maintaining vehicle directional stability by providing oversteer and understeer control. Linked to ESP is Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), a system that observes and monitors the vehicle speed and steering rate to estimate the potential for a rollover situation. Also standard is a new one-touch lane-change feature that allows the driver to quickly activate a three-blink turn signal when changing lanes, Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPM) system and side-curtain air bags for all three rows, as well as available ParkSense™.
Advanced frontal multi-stage airbags including a low-risk deployment airbag for the front passenger are standard. All seats in the Dodge Durango feature three-point shoulder belts, including a center-mounted, three-point shoulder belt incorporated into the third-row seating area.
The Dodge Durango is built at the Newark Assembly Plant in Newark, Del.