The 2020 Dodge Durango handles well and its standard AWD gives off-road ability as well, though only the turbo model offers spirited performance.
The R/T doesn’t come cheap, but it’s the specification that really lets the Durango flex its muscles. With standard V8 power, a 7,400-pound towing capacity and a sporty stance, the R/T is family-friendly transportation with attitude. Go with any number of the interesting paint colors, such as F8 Green, In-Violet or Reactor Blue to shake up the school run. (READ: Dodge Attitude 2020 Specs)
When a car company sells what passes for a family sedan with 707 horsepower, it should come as no surprise that its take on a three-row SUV should be, let’s say, a little different from what other manufacturers offer. With its aging platform, the 2019 Dodge Durango remains the stubborn outlier in the ever more car-based three-row SUV segment, offering not just a healthy V6 engine but two stout V8s, class-leading towing capacity and muscle-car styling cues.
If the Durango looks familiar, that’s because you’ve seen this current generation on the road since the 2011 model year. That’s an eternity compared to nearly every rival, but Dodge has kept this three-row crossover relevant. For 2019, there’s even more to like. Changes this year include new exterior styling on the GT trim level, a new 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, and a new integrated trailer brake that is included with the Trailer Tow package.
The Durango’s fundamentals — including extraordinary towing capacity, available V8 power, and adult-size space in the third row — are key to its enduring appeal. On the other hand, as one of the most muscular (and oldest) vehicles in its class, the Durango is also one of the heaviest — by a lot. That weight takes a toll on maneuverability, real-world fuel economy, and acceleration with the V6 engine. It also bolsters the argument for choosing one of the exuberant V8 engines, fuel bills notwithstanding.
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If you can find a powertrain that suits your needs, whether a V6 or a V8, there’s a lot to like. Even at this advanced stage in its life cycle, the Durango remains one of the most capable and well-rounded three-row crossovers you can buy.
2019 Dodge Durango configurations
The 2019 Dodge Durango is a three-row crossover SUV available in five trim levels: SXT, GT, Citadel, R/T and SRT.
All Durango models except the SRT are rear-wheel-drive and offer optional all-wheel drive. The SRT is only available with all-wheel drive. Seven-passenger seating is standard in the SXT, the GT and the R/T, while second-row captain’s chairs (reducing capacity to six) are standard on the Citadel and the SRT and optional on all others. If you need to prioritize cargo over passengers, you can order the base SXT with just two rows of seats, or you can order the Lightweight Performance package on the SRT that also removes the third row. The other trims are three-row only.
The base SXT comes standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine (295 hp, 260 pound-feet of torque) matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a load-leveling rear suspension, foglights, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, keyless ignition and entry, three-zone automatic climate control, a 60/40-split folding and reclining second-row seat, a 50/50-split folding third-row seat with power-folding headrests (or alternatively, an option to remove the third-row seat), cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Technology features include Bluetooth, two USB ports, a 7-inch touchscreen interface, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a six-speaker sound system.
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The GT adds 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, rear parking sensors, remote ignition, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a 115-volt power outlet, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and satellite radio. For 2019 the GT now shares the LED foglights and aggressive front fascia found on the R/T, along with a new hood that’s similar to the one on the SRT.
Going with the Citadel gets you xenon headlights, power-folding mirrors, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, upgraded brakes, front parking sensors, roof-rail crossbars, a sunroof, a cargo cover, leather and vinyl upholstery, additional leather trim, heated front- and second-row seats, a six-way power passenger seat, a power-adjustable steering wheel with heating, driver-seat memory settings, an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface, a navigation system, and a nine-speaker Alpine audio system with a subwoofer and HD radio.
An optional Anodized Platinum appearance package adds upgraded leather upholstery with silver accent stitching and special interior trim. There’s also an optional 825-watt, 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, which is also available as an option on the R/T and the SRT.
The R/T moves into high-performance realms with the 5.7-liter V8 engine (360 hp, 390 lb-ft) as standard, an upgraded steering system, upgraded brakes, a lowered ride height, a performance hood design, LED foglights, leather and simulated-suede upholstery, and a nine-speaker Alpine audio system. The Citadel’s standard roof rails and sunroof are optional. The 5.7-liter V8 is also optional for the Citadel.
Some of the higher trims’ standard features are also offered on lower trims as options. A Technology Group package for the Citadel and the R/T adds adaptive cruise control, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, a forward collision warning system with automatic braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist. You can also add full leather upholstery bundled with ventilated front seats to the R/T and the Citadel.
Optional on the GT and the R/T is a Brass Monkey appearance package that adds a gloss-black grille, black headlight bezels, 20-inch bronze-painted wheels, and extra body-colored trim. An optional Blacktop appearance package (also for the GT and the R/T) is similar and fits the Durango with 20-inch black-painted wheels and a variety of black-out exterior trim items. The Blacktop package also bumps engine power up to 295 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Other options include black running boards and bright pedals (Mopar Running Board package); a second-row console with an armrest and storage (includes an in-console 12-volt power outlet and a USB charge port); a dual-screen rear entertainment system (with Blu-ray compatibility); and a trailer-tow package, which now includes trailer brake control.
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Finally, the SRT trim level tops it off with a 6.4-liter V8 engine (475 hp, 470 lb-ft), performance-tuned steering, an adaptive high-performance suspension, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, upgrade Brembo brakes, SRT Performance Pages (various configurable performance parameters), auto-leveling headlights, upgraded leather and simulated-suede upholstery, and ventilated front seats.
SRT options include a sunroof, full leather upholstery, the rear entertainment system, the SRT Interior Appearance Group (which includes carbon-fiber accents and a soft-touch headliner), the Technology Group and the Lightweight Performance package, which removes the third-row seats.
Options on every Durango include a blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning system and a CD player.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Dodge Durango Limited (3.6L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Durango has received some revisions to appearance packages and standard equipment at various trim levels. Our 2015 Durango tester’s Limited trim is similar to today’s GT. Otherwise, our findings remain broadly applicable to this year’s Durango.
The best value in 2020 Dodge Durango is a base model with manual gearbox, but it’s still decently priced after adding fancy audio, leather, and a moonroof.