The midsize SUV is becoming increasingly competitive. Several models such as the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Dodge Durango are all-new for the 2011 model year. Performing a Ford Flex vs. Dodge Durango comparison is worth doing if you are in the market for a 6-7 passengers midsize SUV.
The Ford Flex returns for its fourth model year in 2011, one of five Ford SUV models the automaker sells. The Flex comes in four trim levels: SE, SEL, Limited, and Titanium, with the Titanium line being new for 2011. The Flex is a four-door SUV that seats six or seven passengers with three rows of seats. It has boxy, yet attractive styling.
The base Flex engine is a 262-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine. In all-wheel drive SEL, Limited, and Titanium trims, buyers can opt for a 355-horsepower EcoBoost V-6 turbocharged engine. Available features in the Flex include a rear view camera, power lift gate, a four-panel glass roof, and voice-activated navigation system with Ford’s Sync system. The Flex starts at about $29,000 and can top out over $45,000 with the Titanium trim.
The Dodge Durango is significantly improved for 2011. It is a seven-seat, three-row SUV that now has a car-type unibody design that borrows elements from the Jeep Grand Cherokee. All prior Durango’s were built with a truck-based frame. As a result, the 2011 Durango is lighter and more fuel-efficient than 2010 models. All Durangos come with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
The Durango is offered in three trim lines: Express, Crew, and Citadel. Durango’s come standard with a 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine. Crew and Citadel trims offer an available 360-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Later in 2011, Dodge will offer a sport-themed Durango R/T trim. The Durango starts at a retail price of about $29,000 and tops out at near $45,000 for the Citadel trim.
The Durango finished third behind the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee in the 2011 North American International Auto Show North American Truck of the Year voting. It has attractive styling and is now a real competitor in the midsize SUV class. The Durango offers a best-in-class 6,200-pound towing capacity with a V6, and 7,400 with the V8. The Flex’s towing capacity is 4,500 with the towing package.
The Flex is more fuel-efficient than the Durango. It does not offer a V-8 option. Instead it offers the turbocharged V6, which has much better fuel economy than the V8 Durango, 16/22 vs. 13/20 city mpg and highway mpg, respectively. Both models offer either rear or all-wheel drive. The base Flex engine’s fuel economy gets an EPA rated at 17/24 while the Durango is rated at 16/23. The Durango is the only midsize SUV to offer a V-8 engine.
The Durango offers slightly more interior space than the Flex. The Durango has 84.5 cubic feet of cargo room with the second and third rows folded flat, 47.7 cubic feet with the third row folded flat, and 17.2 cubic feet with all seats up. This compares to the Flex, which has 83.2, 43.2, and 20 cubic feet, respectively. Cargo room in both models is considerably less than in a competitor such as the Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. The Flex weights 4,471 pounds compared to nearly 5,000 pounds for the Durango. As a result, the Flex has brisker acceleration with a 0-60 time is more than a second faster than a comparable Durango.
Most of the automotive press rates the Flex higher than the Durango. However, you should perform your own Ford Flex vs. Dodge Durango comparison in determining which 2011 midsize SUV is right for you and your family. Competitors in the class include the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Veracruz, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mazda CX-9, and Toyota Highlander. For more information, you may want to see our Ford Explorer vs. Toyota Highlander comparison.