Power to spar. The 2021 Dodge Durango is the SUV equivalent of a muscle car. You won’t find too much sophistication or luxury — it’s all about power. No matter where you look in the lineup, horsepower is abundant.

Even the base V-6 engine is strong for the class, with 295 horsepower and a towing capacity of 6,200 pounds. At the other end of the spectrum, the ludicrous SRT Hellcat swaps in the 710-horsepower engine from the fearsome Challenger. So equipped, the Durango rockets from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, putting it among the fastest SUVs on the road.

Most owners will care more about capability than acceleration, but the Durango has this covered, too. Two more V-8s bump the towing capacity up to 8,700 pounds. That’s better than any SUV on the road except the Ford Expedition, which is larger and pricier.

Multiple personalities. The Durango’s exterior fits its bruiser powertrains, with square proportions and a bold honeycomb grille. For even more muscle-car nostalgia, SRT trims get hood scoops and optional racing stripes.

Inside, however, the Durango is more serene. Dodge revised the interior for 2021, freeing up more storage space and updating the materials. It’s effective, and it makes the Durango feel more modern than it is.

The Durango is large for the class, and it makes the most of its cabin space. Passengers get plenty of room to stretch, and even the third row is large enough for adults on short trips. The front seats are supportive enough for long journeys, and they’re power-adjustable on all except the base trim.


Dodge Durango

An aging platform. This year, the current Durango marks a decade on the market. We expect a new version in the next year or two, and a hybrid powertrain is likely in the future.

Despite its age, the Durango handles itself well on the road. Rear-wheel drive is the default, and it pairs well with responsive steering and potent engines. The Durango’s ride is stiffer than many SUVs, especially in SRT forms. If comfort is a priority, steer clear of those.

Elsewhere, the Durango feels old-fashioned. Automatic emergency braking and active lane control are hidden in pricey packages on most trims, and not available at all on the base SXT trim. Crash-test scores are worrying, with mediocre reports from both the IIHS and NHTSA.

As you might expect from a collection of V-8s, fuel economy is atrocious. In EPA-rated combined mpg, only the V-6 powertrain makes it out of the teens.

Pick of the litter. The Durango lineup spans four engines, eight trims, and a price range of more than $50,000. It’s highly customizable, but sorting through the options list can be a challenge.

We’d skip the base SXT trim, which misses out on the third row and safety features. The GT isn’t too much more expensive, and it opens up the safety packages while adding the third row and a few creature comforts. The V-6 engine is potent enough for most buyers, so the GT is our pick for value.

If towing is the priority, the R/T trim is as high as you need to go. It maxes out towing capacity, and it comes with extras like heated seats. If you want to go all-out on a Hellcat, move quickly — it will be disappearing after this year.

Final thoughts. The Durango is undeniably appealing, mostly for its raw power. If you tow frequently, the Durango is one of the best options short of a full-size pickup. That said, the power comes at the cost of a spotty safety record and poor fuel economy. Few competitors can match the Durango’s muscle, but most of them feel more modern.

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