2021 Dodge Durango

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Robert Duffer Robert Duffer Senior Editor
March 25, 2021

Buying tip

If the Hellcat and SRT are too much for the whole family, the R/T compromises little and tows tons.

features & specs

Citadel AWD
Citadel RWD
GT AWD
MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
MPG
19 city / 26 hwy
MPG
18 city / 25 hwy
MSRP
$51,020
MSRP
$48,420
MSRP
$39,270

If you came to Durango, you came for power. Three V-8 options might leave you in the past, but the past was fast.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Dodge Durango? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Dodge Durango three-row crossover SUV seats up to seven passengers and has the most powerful engine and highest tow rating of any mid-size SUV. When equipped with a Hellcat supercharged V-8 engine, it doesn’t compare to anything except the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in the same FCA family. As a three-row SUV with more modest but still blistering powertrains, it competes against the Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-9, and many others. 

Is the 2021 Dodge Durango a good SUV?

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For towing and performance in a three-row mid-size SUV, the Dodge Durango is hard to match. For efficiency and safety, not so much. Though it’s old, it comes well equipped and earns a solid TCC Rating of 7.0 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Dodge Durango?

Refreshed for its tenth anniversary, the 2021 Dodge Durango’s changes might be overshadowed by the addition of a 710-horsepower 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 Hellcat engine used in Dodge’s fire-breathing muscle cars. In addition to a sharpened face, the gracefully aging Durango gets a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen as standard, and an electronic gear shifter replaces the mechanical one for a wider cockpit that orients itself to the driver. The switchgear gets narrower, but Dodge added buttons for available heated and cooled seats so you don’t need to go through the touchscreen. 

The Durango carries itself like a Dodge muscle car, aged but timeless, buff but more from free weights than Pilates. Optional hood scoop and vents flex the Durango’s intent even more. The inside is more toned, and draped in mostly black soft-touch surfaces and more storage space than in years past. 

A V-6 and three V-8s all mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission present the shopper with many choices, all of them made for speed. The SRT Hellcat 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 outdoes the SRT 392 cubic-inch V-8 with a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds. Certain Durangos tow up to 8,700 pounds. All that V-8 power comes at a cost at the pump, as even the most efficient V-8 with cylinder deactivation is rated at just 17 mpg combined. The V-6 gets 21 mpg.  

Despite all that sick performance, the Durango can ride relatively quiet and composed when not at full bore. Firm but comfy front and second-row captain’s chairs provide plenty of support, and the 50/50-split-folding third row opens up more than 43 cubic feet of cargo space. 

The 2021 Durango comes well equipped with a large touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, four USB ports, and keyless entry and ignition, but it lacks the advanced driver-assistance features standard on many competitors. Even on mid-grade trims it’s only available as a package. Couple that with poor crash-test ratings and gobs of power, and the Durango is behind the times where it counts. 

How much does the 2021 Dodge Durango cost?

Offered in SXT, GT, R/T, Citadel, or SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat editions, the 2021 Durango has a price spread greater than every SUV in this class, except for the Grand Cherokee. The base SXT costs $33,260, though we’d step over it to the GT for the third row and more available packages, including safety.

At the Hellcat end of things, the top Durango SRT Hellcat costs $82,490. 

Where is the 2021 Dodge Durango made?

Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan.

7

2021 Dodge Durango

Styling

Though a decade old, the Durango muscle SUV still looks swole, bruh.

Is the 2021 Dodge Durango a good-looking car?

Yes. Like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango rides on a frame and design that’s a decade old, but it still looks good. It fits in well with Dodge’s design ethos that everything is a muscle car and V-8s need long, large hoods with optional scoops. The revised interior for 2021 adds another point to get it to a 7.

All but the base Durango rolls on 20-inch wheels to complement the flex on the body. A honeycomb grille stretches the front over a lower intake that looks like a mouth sucking in air. It looks more traditionally boring at the boxed rear end. A hood scoop flanked by vents bulge the hood on SRT models, and available racing stripes further equip the muscle SUV. 

The new interior features a cockpit that cants to the driver but also has a wider feel. An electronic gear shifter that looks like the mechanical shifter it replaces opens up some space in the center console. Buttons for heated seats and steering wheel eliminate the nuisance of going through the touchscreen. Awash in black soft-touch surfaces and contrast stitching that matches the chrome-ish switchgear and trim pieces, the Durango has the timeless but unoriginal style of the black sport jacket.

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7

2021 Dodge Durango

Performance

With a V-6 or three V-8s to choose from, the Durango can be a family hauler or a cat out of hell.

If you came for power, you came to the right place. Even the base V-6 rumbles the chest. 

The 5.7-liter V-8 might be closing in on the most popular powertrain choice, but the V-6 serves as the basis for our 7 out of 10 rating, with a point awarded for peerless towing capability and potent powertrain. Making a cameo for 2021 only, the Durango SRT Hellcat would warrant an 8. 

How fast is the Dodge Durango?

About that Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat...the muscle SUV uses the 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 from the Challenger and Charger muscle cars to generate 710 horsepower and 640 pound-feet of torque with 91 octane fuel. The Durango Hellcat launches to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds, according to Dodge, with a quarter-mile time of 11.5 seconds. It reaches a top speed of 180 mph. 

The Hellcat V-8 fires up with a snarl and provides sudden, jolting power from a stop. Any number of those 710 horses are easy to access at any rpm, thanks to the sheer quantity of power, all-wheel drive, and the responsive 8-speed automatic transmission it's paired to. Stiff damper tuning falls short of harsh, but makes the ride busier and firmer than many families would prefer. Big brakes and lots of cooling make this three-row SUV capable of track duty as well as grocery runs. It tops the spec chart in price, too, at $82,490 including $1,495 destination. 

Next down is the SRT 392 with a 392 cubic-inch (or 6.4-liter) V-8 making 475 hp. Also employed in the Charger and Challenger, the SRT 392 Durango handles and moves remarkably well given its size. An independent front and multi-link rear suspension includes Bilstein adaptive dampers that help it corner like a brick half its size. It hits 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. It costs $64,490. 

Both SRT models come with standard all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission, and a towing capacity of 8,700 pounds. That exceeds the capability of several truck-based full-size SUVs. 

No slouch itself, the 5.7-liter V-8 engine (360 hp and 390 lb-ft) equipped with the Tow ‘n Go package on R/T trims can tow 8,700 pounds. It’s $54,395. Otherwise, it can tow up to 7,400 pounds with rear-wheel drive and costs $46,800. 

Even the base 3.6-liter V-6 and its 295-hp and 260 lb-ft can tow much more than the competition at 6,200 pounds. The V-6 with all-wheel drive can hit 60 mph in the 7-second range. The 2021 Durango SXT with rear-wheel drive costs $33,260. 

Is the Dodge Durango 4WD?

The base Durango comes in rear-wheel drive, though all-wheel drive is available for $2,600 more on SXT, GT, R/T, and Citadel trims; it’s standard on SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat. In all but SRT trims, the Durango’s rear platform provides sporty performance, precise steering, and a ride that tends to the firm side of three-row SUVs. 

The Durango rides a little lower than the Grand Cherokee, and the revised front end includes a splitter and, on SRT models, a unique rear spoiler for improved aero. The SRT models track well by moving nimbly but they stay planted. Under less duress, it rides stiff and the 20-inch wheels can feel out all of our crumbling infrastructure. If you’re thinking of taking a toddler for a nap time spin, consider a walk with a wagon.

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9

2021 Dodge Durango

Comfort & Quality

The 2021 Durango can fit up to seven people and hold plenty of gear.

The Durango can seat five in base SXT trim, seven in GT or RT trims, or six in Citadel and SXT models equipped with captain’s chairs in the second row. It can store 17 cubic feet of gear behind the seats, or up to 85 cubic feet with the seats folded flat. It earns a point each for firm but spacious front seats, good back seats, room to seat at least five adults, and above average cargo space to get a 9.

The firm front seats with power adjustments on all but base SXT provide equal amounts of comfort and support on long road trips. The available second row captain’s chairs do the same, but the standard bench can be a pinch for an adult riding the hump in the middle. Same could be said for the two seats in the third row, which split 50/50 to fold into the floor. Like many mid-size three-row SUVs, those seats can handle adult passengers around town, but for the family road trip, it’s best for grade schoolers.

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2

2021 Dodge Durango

Safety

Poor crash-test scores and limited driver assistance features might put the brakes on buying the 2021 Dodge Durango.

How safe is the Dodge Durango?

Unfortunately, the size of the Dodge Durango and its big brakes might be its safest attributes. One of the drawbacks to its decade-old body is the same crash-test ratings year over year. Those ratings aren’t good. The lack of standard safety features makes it worse. It’s a 2. 

The NHTSA gives it a four-star rating overall, and all-wheel-drive models get only three out of five in rollover tests. The IIHS faulted the small front overlap test on the driver’s side with a “Marginal” rating. We’ll see if the new LED projector headlights help it in the eyes of the IIHS. 

The frustrating part of the safety scorecard for the Durango is that Dodge boasts more than 60 available safety features, but doesn’t equip the Durango with the kind of active safety features that come standard on the competition. Automatic emergency braking and active lane control are not available on the base SXT model, and are part of a $2,600 Technology package on GT and R/T trims. It’s standard on the posh Citadel trim. 

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7

2021 Dodge Durango

Features

Skip the SXT for the GT, or if towing matters most, the R/T with the Tow n Go package.

Despite the lack of standard safety tech, the 2021 Durango three-row SUV comes well equipped with as many options as a BMW. Good infotainment and available features earn a point each to a 7 for the Durango.  

Which Dodge Durango should I buy?

We would skip the base SXT if you’re in the market for a three-row SUV, because SXT doesn’t come with a third row; unlike the other trims it only seats five. For $33,260, it comes with the V-6 engine, a 8.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, four USB ports, cloth bucket seats, keyless start, and 18-inch wheels. 

The GT also has the V-6 and comes with a few more creature comforts, such as an 8-way power driver’s seat. It also seats seven with the third row. It has more available packages, including safety, so that would be our recommendation if max performance and max towing are not your max concern. 

For towing, the 5.7-liter V-8 in the R/T with the Tow ‘n Go Package for $54,395 can’t be beat. It comes with SRT 20-by-10-inch wheels and Pirelli Scorpion Zero all-season tires, Brembo 6-piston brakes, additional drive modes, and a towing capacity of 8,700 pounds.

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Dodge Durango?

Since the Durango is priced based on powertrains, we listed the costs in the “Performance” section. The Durango SRT Hellcat tops the range at $82,490, but for more modest yet still chest-thumping performance with all the features and Dodge’s finest interior, that takes us to the $51,900 Durango Citadel with all-wheel drive. Standard with the V-6 or available with the 5.7-liter V-8, it comes standard with towing equipment, load-leveling rear shocks, full-size spare tire, and a heavy-duty engine cooler. Chrome accents trim the exterior and dual exhaust, and it rolls on 20-inch wheels. It seats six with heated captain’s chairs in the middle, comes with heated and cooled nappa leather front seats, a 10.1-inch touchscreen with Uconnect 5, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and all the driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control down to a stop and automatic emergency braking.

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4

2021 Dodge Durango

Fuel Economy

The Durango concerns itself with fuel efficiency like Earth concerns itself with humans: It doesn’t.

Is the 2021 Dodge Durango good on gas?

I don’t think you’re reading this. In case you are, no, the Durango is not good on gas. Based on the base V-6, however, it earns a 4. 

The V-8s would drop it to a 3. To be fair, cylinder deactivation on two of the V-8s conserves fuel while cruising. 

The 3.6-liter V-6 gets an EPA-rated 19 mpg city, 26 highway, 21 combined with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive lowers the city and highway rating by 1 mpg, but it still gets 21 mpg combined. 

The 5.7-liter V-8 gets 14/22/17 mpg with either drive system, and the SRT and Hellcat models do worse, though the EPA hasn’t posted their ratings. Expect 13-15 mpg combined.

Review continues below

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$32,570
MSRP based on SXT Plus RWD
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6.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 9
Safety 2
Features 7
Fuel Economy 4
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2021 Dodge Durango Pricing Insights

  • 2021 Durango on sale in good numbers
  • Lease: From $372 for 36 months
  • Rebates: Up to $2,750 off
  • Finance: From 0% APR for 72 months
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