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STYLING | 8 out of 10
a modern shape that appears athletic, strong and modern
There's no groundbreaking design here, but the dash is shapely and attractive
Edmunds' Inside Line
new lower fascias and bigger wheels lend the Durango a sportier, contemporary stance
The five-speed automatic, however, does hold the powertrain back, often hesitating on downshifts and sometimes refusing to shift into the lowest possible gear.
Handsome in a less attention-grabbing way than before, the Durango was redesigned in the 2011 model year and hasn't changed much since. It's somewhat less muscular than before, maybe a bit less distinctive--but still identifiably an SUV, while most every other big crossover has softened its standards.
The Durango's lost some of its bulk and bravado in translation. Now that it shares the Jeep Grand Cherokee's underbody structure--itself related to the Mercedes M and GL Class SUVs--some of the brawny, bulging character's also gone. From some angles, especially at the rear, there's plenty of Toyota Sequoia to go around, and not quite enough of the flared fenders and aggressive sculpting that gave Dodge its niche in the class. Still, there's a big crosshair grille up front, and that sets up the classic SUV stance. And that makes all the difference in distinguishing the Durango from the more carlike creatures that don't have its more rugged underpinnings.There's more visual impact in the cockpit, where some of that more authoritative, truck-like heritage has been carried over. Like the Grand Cherokee, the new Durango sends outdated, hard-edge plastics to the recycling bin. Instead, there are tightly fitted, superb cabin appointments, with big red-needled gauges, simple climate-control knobs, and backpedaled touches of bright and soft metallic trim. With leather upholstery, woven red inserts and red stitching, and white trim rings on the dials, even the R/T feels bold yet very tastefully done. In any case, the Durango feels less like an on-a-budget utility vehicle and more like a luxury SUV, done right.
It might be less Ram-like than ever, but the Dodge Durango's a handsome SUV from almost every angle, and it has one of Dodge's best interiors.