After taking a hiatus for the 2010 model year, the Dodge Durango returns all new for 2011. The Durango is an important vehicle for Dodge. It hopes to build on its sales momentum. September 2010 was a great month for the Chrysler Group, which makes Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram vehicles. Overall the company sold more than 100,000 units for the month with Dodge sales climbing 71% in comparison to September 2009.
The 2011 Dodge Durango is built on a unibody frame that shares its platform with the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The platform is derived from Mercedes-Benz. The new Grand Cherokee has sold well since its June 2010 debut. However, the vehicles have many differences, with Durango having a distinctive front fascia similar to what is seen in Ram pick-ups. The Durango also has a slightly longer wheelbase and offers third-row seating.
The Durango has a high quality, luxurious interior with features that can include HID headlamps, power lift gate, hill start assist, push button start, and a new Alpine premium auto system. It also has advanced safety features such as blind-sport warning, collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and active head restraints. Seating configurations will be for five or seven passengers. Rear wheel drive is standard with an all-wheel drive option on all trim lines.
The Durango will be offered with two different engines in the U.S. The new 3.6-liter, 290 horsepower, Pentastar V-6 engine with 5-speed automatic transmission will power most models while the R/T trim will have the 5.7-liter, Hemi V-8 with an estimated 360 horsepower. Fuel economy is expected to be 16-mpg city/23-mpg highway for the V-6 with four-wheel drive and 14-mpg city/20-mpg highway for the Hemi V-8. European countries will get a diesel engine option, a V-6 producing 195 horsepower.
The Durango is one of the few midsize SUVs to offer a V-8 option. Even with the gas V-6, the Durango will be able to tow up to 6,200 pounds, which is among the leaders in its class. The Hemi V-8 has a maximum towing capacity of 7,400 pounds. The Durango competes against such models as the Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot.
The 2011 Dodge Durango is being assembled in Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. It offers an attractive package of SUV capability, performance, and crossover versatility. The Durango is expected to go on sale by the end of 2010 with a starting price of about $30,000.