“2018 Dodge Durango R/T AWD”
A Versatile, Attractive and Powerful SUV
The 2018 Dodge Durango lineup consists of seven available models with base prices ranging from $29,995 to $62,995. Leading off at the low end is the Dodge Durango SXT, followed by the Dodge Durango SXT Plus, the Dodge Durango GT, Dodge Durango Citadel, the Dodge Durango R/T and the King of the stable, the Dodge Durango SRT. A special Dodge Durango Citadel Anodized Platinum edition falls in between the R/T and SRT models in terms of features and pricing. All but the SRT version are available in either RWD or AWD. The SRT comes in AWD only.
Three longitudinally mounted front engines are available to power specific models: a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 producing 293 or 295 horsepower; a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that generates 360 horsepower; and a 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that pumps out 475 horses. Gearing energy to the driving wheels is an 8HP70 Eight-speed automatic with overdrive and paddle shifters. Towing capacity on the low end is 6,200 pounds with the R/T capable of pulling up to 7,400 pounds and the SRT able to tow up to 8,700 pounds.
Seating accommodations are provided for up to seven in this big full size three row SUV which tips the scales at roughly 1,000 pounds more for HEMI V8 powered models.
My test 2018 Dodge Durango was an R/T set up for seating six with captain’s seats for the front and second rows and a 50/50 split folding third row. The exterior was sprayed Granite metallic complemented by a Black leather interior. The base sticker read $46,295., while the final tally rang up at $56,555. after factoring in the optional fare and Destination Charge. Options included: the Technology Group; Lane Departure Warning; Rear DVD Entertainment Center with Blu-Ray compatible dual screen video; Trailer Tow Group IV; Second Row fold/tumble Captain’s Chairs; Second Row Console with armrest and storage; a Power Sunroof; and HandWrapped Dash with Live stitching.
Visually, the Durango R/T’s exterior displays a look that is both sinister and powerful. Up front, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 resides behind and beneath the Performance front fascia and scooped hood. Edges are sculpted with smooth curved contours and molded bodyside character lines offer the suggestion of fenders. In the rear, the large back window and distinctive “race-track” taillamp assembly, along with the exhaust sculpted into the rear fascia.
Inside the cabin, there is sumptuous leather seating and a smooth, symmetrical arrangement that is not only attractive but user friendly as well.
SUMMARY: The 2018 Dodge Durango R/T certainly makes no compromises, particularly in the AWD configuration, but if you’re not intending to seriously journey off-road under challenging conditions, RWD is all you will really need.
The 5.7-liter HEMI V8 features an Eco mode, which optimizes the new 8-speed transmission’s shift schedule and throttle sensitivity as well as employing Fuel Saver Technology with cylinder deactivation. The Technology also manages interactive deceleration fuel shut-off when coasting. The transmission, which is controlled by a console-mounted rotary knob, renders quick shifts, particularly when the Sport mode is selected. The paddle shifters seemed to have a slight delay in making shifts, while the automatic mode appears to be more efficient.
Acceleration is brisk and on demand when nailing the throttle, and smooth and refined when in cylinder deactivation – where the operation is seamless.
The rotary knob shift, in addition to being unique, is easy and intuitive to use. Acceleration is brisk on demand when nailing the throttle, and smooth and refined when in cylinder deactivation – where the operation is seamless.
The ride quality is civilized and quite comfortable, and the handling and steering feel is spot on. The Dodge Durango holds the road well, with surprising stability, considering its overall mass, which is in excess of two tons.
This latest iteration Dodge Durango displays a most stylish look with an aggressive stance. It is considerably more attractive than ever before, especially with its stylish grille and taillamp designs. There are more than 60 safety and security features \with providing confidence and peace of mind while protecting vehicle occupants. With all of its build combinations, the new Durango appears to offer something for anyone who’s shopping for a full sized SUV with three seating rows. Connectivity and Infotainment are both abundant and impressive.
In the final analysis, the Durango Durango R/T is a driver’s SUV that is sure to please the entire family with its good looks, loads of versatility and functionality, and satisfying performance attributes. It’s appropriate to think of Durango R/T as the Dodge Charger of SUVs.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Dodge Durango R/T AWD
Base Price: $46,295.
Price as Tested: $56,555.
Engine Type and Size: 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with sequential multi- port fuel injection, MDS and VVT.
Horsepower (bhp): 360 @ 5,150 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 390 @ 4,250 rpm
Transmission: 8HP70 Eight-speed automatic with overdrive
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / All Wheel Drive
Suspension: Front – Independent SLA
Rear – Multi-link
Brakes: Power-assisted front discs/rear drums with ABS, ESC, BA, Roll stability Control and Driveline Traction Control.
Tires: Bridgestone Ecopia H/L 422 Plus P265/50 R20 107T mounted on 5-“Y”-spoke graphite painted aluminum alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 119.8 inches
Length Overall: 201.2 inches
Width: 75.8 inches – without mirrors
Height: 71.9 inches
GVWR Cap: 7,100 lbs.
Turning Circle: 37.1 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 24.6 gallons – Approx.
EPA Mileage Estimates: 19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed
0 – 60 mph: Not tested
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.