SOURCEThe updates are designed to make the Durango more competitive against the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander.
Engine stop-start technology lowers emissions and saves fuel by shutting the engine off when the vehicle comes to a complete stop.
The EPA has not released fuel economy numbers on the 2016 Durango.
The optional 5.7-liter V8 engine does not receive stop-start.
The Brass Monkey Appearance package, which will be available late in the model year, adds 20-inch Burnished Bronze wheels, Gloss Black grille and exterior badge, body-color door handles, exterior mirrors, front fascia, rear fascia, sills and wheel flares.
All 2016 Durangos get a Sport mode button for what Dodge calls a "more responsive driving experience." Sport mode adjusts the steering and pedal calibration and shift pattern.
Other changes for the new model year include a tweaked look for the Durango Citadel model, which now features standard 20-inch fully polished wheels and a monochromatic exterior look with body-color front fascia, rear fascia and wheel flares.
The Platinum Appearance package will be available on the Durango Citadel model later in the model year. It features 20-inch Satin Carbon wheels with platinum exterior mirror caps, grille surround, foglamp bezels, exterior badging, door handles and lower sills.
New for 2016 on Durango SXT is a standard Satin Carbon finish on the 18-inch wheel.
Four new exterior paint colors are Red Pearl, Luxury Brown, Light Brownstone and Ivory Pearl Tri-coat.
Edmunds says: New trim packages and technology will make the big Dodge SUV attractive to buyers in this competitive segment.
Ford’s Expedition and Chevy’s Tahoe can climb near $70,000. The Durango Citadel tested for this review, with everything on it, entices you with a price tag of about $55,000.
Moreover, unlike the GM and Ford SUVs, the Citadel is not built like a pickup truck with a body plunked down and bolted to a steel frame. Nope, it is a fraternal cousin of the Jeep Grand Cherokee with a car-like unit body like most of the newer crossover sport utility vehicles.
Mimicking the Grand Cherokee, the Durango with four-wheel drive has plenty of off-road qualifications, including a low-range transfer case for muddling about off-road, backing up trailers and hauling big boats out of the water. It also can be flat-towed behind your motor home thanks to a neutral slot in the transfer case.
The difference between it and the Grand Cherokee is that the Durango has a stretched body to accommodate a third row of seats. It can be ordered as an eight-passenger vehicle with a second row bench seat or as a seven-passenger with second row captain’s chairs—the choice if you have a couple of close friends who enjoy cruising the hinterlands or sampling local feedbags with you and your significant other.
Even the third row delivers decent head and knee room for modest sized adults.
In those travels, you all will settle into the Citadel’s soft Nappa leather upholstery. Your bottoms will be soothed up front with heated and cooled seats, and in back with heated seats. But back-seaters will be compensated by the choice of watching a Blu-ray movie instead of conversing with the hosts in front.
The reward for the driver will be the silky smoothness of the Durango’s drive train—the 360 hp Hemi V8 engine with 390 lb-ft of torque shoving its power through an easy shifting eight-speed automatic transmission with paddles on the steering wheel in case the wheel person wants to take over the shifting.
Want a side trip? The Durango will confidently leave the pavement and traverse terrain without so much as a logging road. However, don’t expect it to compete with any of its lesser cousins like Jeep Wranglers. It is simply too big to negotiate tight turns and mighty mounds.
In truth, especially in the tested Citadel version, the Durango is more comfortable on snow covered streets lined with upscale clothing and jewelry emporiums. However, it also works well for minivan-averse small families on beach vacation trips where the priority is engulfing the kids with a load of umbrellas, sand chairs and water toys.
The Durango was introduced in 1998 as Dodge’s answer to the popular Ford Explorer. A midsize sport utility vehicle, it was based on Dodge’s in-between Dakota pickup truck with body-on-frame construction. It grew to full size stature and, finally, in 2011, adopted the unit body architecture of the Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as other components including engines and transmissions.
There are four versions: SXT, Limited, R/T and the tested Citadel. The SXT, which starts at $31,490, comes standard with eight passenger, three row seating and a decent level of equipment. For 2016, all Durango versions with the 295-hp V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission get stop-start technology to improve fuel economy.
On the road, the Citadel cruises in quiet comfort with decent handling for so large a vehicle. Given the price and kinship with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango Citadel should be worth a look for customers who covet luxury features and need to carry up to eight people.
Model: 2016 Dodge Durango Citadel four door sport utility vehicle.
Engine: 5.7-liter Hemi V8, 360 hp, 390 lb-ft torque.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with programmable all wheel drive.
Overall length: 16 feet 9 inches.
EPA passenger/cargo volume: 134/17 cubic feet. (to 85)
Weight: 5,397 pounds.
Towing capability: 7,400 pounds.
EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 14/22/16 mpg.
Base price, including destination charge: $44,590.*
Price as tested: $54,660 (2015 prices; 2016s not immediately available but expected to be slightly higher).