You may know Dodge more for the Hellcat twins. Or maybe for their award-winning lineup of pickup trucks. But nestled between all-out horsepower and the capability to haul, tow, and wrassle anything on the face of the planet is the Dodge Durango. It’s not quite a Hummer, but will never be confused with a Tesla Model X. To many drivers, the Durango represents a dying breed.
All the same, Dodge continues the nameplate with a 2020 model worth checking out. If you can’t have your Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT (which actually costs about the same as the top-of-the-line Durango), but still want some muscle to get around town, the Durango will pick up the slack.
Dodge equips the 2020 Durango with a choice of V6 or one of a pair of V8 engines. Models equipped with the V6 engine can tow up to 6,200 pounds when properly equipped. That number jumps to 7,400 to 8,700 lbs for the V8 twins, depending on which one you choose. All three engines are paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive are available.
The V6 engine, a 3.6-liter, is capable of 293 horsepower with a single exhaust. It gets a small uptick to 295 horsepower with dual exhaust. You can expect around 260 lb-ft of torque as well. The 5.7-liter V8, the smaller of the two, puts out 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers climb to 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque in the 6.4-liter V8.
Available Color Schemes
Which of the following colors do you want your new 2020 Durango painted in?
- DB Black
- Octane Red
- White Knuckle
- Ice White
- Reactor Blue
- Redline 2
- Destroyer Gray
- F8 Green
Trims and Pricing
There are five different trim levels available on the 2020 Durango. Here’s a quick rundown.
Base models start out just over $30,000. Equipped with standard rear-wheel drive, this Durango model features cloth seating, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, push button start, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and tri-zone climate control. Additional features come at a premium, though. However, goodies such as a powered driver’s seat, leather, a sunroof, and foldable second-row seating may be worth it to the right customer. Choose the Popular Equipment Group package for even more, with heated seats and steering wheel, a power liftgate, and auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Many of the upgrades found in optional packages on the SXT model are standard equipment on the GT model. For instance, buyers of the GT will receive the folding second-row seating, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener. Upgrades to this model include leather and suede seating, the power liftgate, auto headlights, and rain-sensing wipers. The price starts at $35,000.
Jumping up to at least $43,000 is the Durango Citadel. If heat is your friend in the cold winter, choose the Citadel. Heated first and second rows make the cold vanish quickly. The GPS navigation will keep you on the right path even when the weather gets bad. A nine-speaker Alpine stereo blasts the tunes in the best way possible. Plus a sunroof lets the sunshine in when the weather finally turns nice again.
Known as the entry-level performance V8 model, the R/T certainly has enough oomph to get you down the road in a hurry. The steering in this model is performance-tuned and there’s even rear load-leveling suspension to set you up right. It’s slightly more expensive than the Citadel version, starting a just under $45,000.
With a price tag starting around $63,000, the SRT model doesn’t mess around. All-wheel drive is standard — actually, it’s the only option for this model. So are Brembo brakes, ventilated front seats, and Nappa leather and suede seating. And oh yes, a “high-performance adaptive damping suspension” too. Sure, it’s a big jump in your payments. But the SRT is quite clearly the most power and equipped Durango.
The 2020 Dodge Durango doesn’t achieve perfect ratings when it comes to safety. However, it did receive 4 out of 5 stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It also napped a nearly perfect “Good” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, it was in the “small overlap front: driver-side” test where the Durango fell short, with a “Marginal” rating.
These shortcomings could potentially be addressed by looking at the (lack of) standard safety features Dodge gives the 2020 Durango. Included with the price are typical airbags and safety deployment systems — and a rearview camera. That camera might only be there because it’s legally mandated in many places now, though.
If you want the full suite of safety features on your 2020 Durango, it’ll cost you extra. That said, you’ll have access to front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. A word to the wise: keep a bit of wiggle room in your budget for a few of these features. They may save your life one day.
According to Kelley Blue Book, the fuel efficiency ratings for the newest Durango aren’t going to win any awards. But hey, who buys a beefy SUV to stay under the speed limit or pass by others with the quiet whine of a Tesla?
The base V6 engine achieves 19 city and 26 highway EPA-estimated miles-per-gallon (MPG) when in rear-wheel drive configuration. All-wheel drive loses a point in both scenarios.
Remember these numbers when it comes to the V8 twins. You won’t see more than 14 city and 22 highway MPG from the 5.7-liter. The 6.4-liter drops down to 13 city and 19 highway MPG. So maybe add some more room into your budget for fuel costs as well. Especially if you’re eyeing up one of the V8 Durangos.
Known as “essentially the muscle car of the three-row crossover-SUV class,” the 2020 Dodge Durango has been characterized as “a hulking machine of excess” by many. The experts agree the “Durango’s platform is both old and heavy.” It’s not the nimblest SUV out there, nor will it modestly sip fuel at the pump. It certainly soaks up the road well enough. However, that can make it a bit harder to get around town. On the other hand, let’s not ignore the vast amount of power and capability beneath the hood of this lumbering speed demon.
Really, that’s a category many competitors can’t touch. Sure, the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, and Honda Pilot make for better resale value when the car starts to rack up mileage. And the Mazda CX-9 retains the styling cues but without the high price tag of the Durango. But can you really get the feeling of the wind in your hair as you grip the steering wheel and mash the pedal in a Subaru Ascent or Toyota Highlander? The Durango truly shines when you need a big burst speed of speed or a wallop of power.
The Last Word
The 2020 Durango may strike you as a dinosaur in an age of electricity-fed, fossil fuel naysayers. However, this SUV is still alive and kicking. It has the power to pull off the line against the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT and the styling to attract any luxury car owner’s eye. Head over to your nearest Dodge dealer today and give the 2020 Durango at least a look-over. You may just find yourself joining the Dodge family.