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Dodge And Chrysler - Two Great SUVs

February 17, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 144

The 2012 Dodge Durango is a clear winner when it comes to the SUV market in that it clearly has something for everyone without eschewing what it is that makes an SUV unique. Sharing its running gear and platform technology with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Detroit-built Durango has the following merits that earn it a place as the Best SUV 2012 has to offer: ample power & performance, reliability, stunningly good looks, utility, safety, and a great price.

In the power department, the Durango's Pentastar V6 displaces 3.6L, but the advanced engine produces 290 horsepower at 6400 RPM and a potent 260 lb-feet of torque at a lowly 4800 RPM. It is worth noting that the torque and horsepower curves still provide a great deal of potency at the sub-2000 RPM range that is critical for towing.

In fact, Chrysler claims that 90% of maximum torque is available all the way from 1600 RPM up to the 6400 RPM peak. Those consumers that are serious about power and towing will want to take a look at the revamped 5.7L V8 Hemi that produces a thunderous 360 horsepower at only 5150 RPM and a tree-trunk yanking 390 lb-feet of torque at a generously low 4250 RPM.

Dodge has never been known for reliability, but the entire Chrysler family has been making enormous strides in this area in order to shore up a serious deficiency. While the verdict is out on the overall reliability of the new Dodge Durango for a few more years, the fit and finish speak volumes of the progress the entire Dodge family has made.

Add to this the proven track record of its easy to abuse platform mate, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it seems like a safe bet to declare the Dodge Durango a massive leap forward in terms of build quality and design. It may not yet be ready to challenge the Toyotas and Hondas of the world, but the new Dodge has a lot going for it.

One of the things that the new Durango has going for it is a great looking body. Gone are the mini-semi looking headlight flares that never quite captured the ponderous look of the RAM front end. In its place is a very elegant and clean design that still manages to pack in a reasonable amount of that Dodge attitude that the brand is so fond of marketing.

The good looks carry over into the inside of the vehicle where soft touch materials are available even on the lowly Express trim level all the way up to the aptly named Citadel.

Never before has a 3-row SUV looked or felt this comfortable at this price point, or been packaged so tightly. Competitors such as those from Detroit rival Chevrolet manage to bracket the Dodge Durango, such as the bigger but less comfortable Tahoe, or the less capable but more comfortable Traverse crossover.

This brings up an excellent point about the Duragno: it never sacrifices its truck-based SUV utility to save a penny or a pound. Even the V6-equiped models can town a very generous 6200 lbs while the Hemi-powered Durangos can tow 7400 lbs. Compare this to the Ford Explorer's 5000lb, and the Durango seems as might as it looks.

Only a very well equipped Tahoe can tow more, but the price per additional towable pound is outrageous and the difference is a mere 1100 pounds and the fact that the Durango is downright nimble compared to the ponderous Tahoe, and only those that have the extra money to burn would even consider the Tahoe seriously.

Additional utility comes in the form of the storage options which include a sub-deck storage bin and an ample 85 cubit feet with both sets of rear seats folded down. Dodge claims that this is enough to room to stuff a 6-foot couch into the rear of a 2012 Durango, and that claim seems like it would hold water upon visual inspection of the cavernous rear cargo bay.

Even with all three rows of seats up, the sub-deck storage and rear storage room are sufficient for shopping or even for an out-of-town getaway with a few large pieces of luggage. Creature comforts such as cup holders, storage bins, a power rear litigate with remote control, and more are all available as well.

Bundle all this up in a vehicle with a solid frame, over a dozen airbags, electronic stability, four-wheel anti-lock breaks, and a bevy of high-tech accident avoidance features, and it is hard to tell if power, looks, utility, or safety are the prime focus of the engineers that created the new Durango.

One thing is clear: the best SUV 2012 has to offer is a great value. Starting with the RWD Express that comes in at just under the $30,000 mark all the way up to a loaded Citadel that starts at just over the $42,000 mark, it is hard to argue that you do not get more than you pay for with the new Duragno.

Dodge has something to prove, and it is doing it in the company's typical bold fashion by offering an amazing deal on a vehicle destined to become legendary. It is also worth noting that the Hemi V8 is not all about power, but it can actually be quite fuel-efficient when cruising on level ground thanks to Chrysler's cylinder deactivation technology, and that helps increase mileage to 14/20, while the V6 still manages 16/23. Try getting that with a fully equipped Tahoe!

Peer Merx is an author on various blogs about SUVs and cars. He is expert in large SUVs such as best SUVs of 2012 and 6 passenger SUVs. Read more from him on

Source: EzineArticles
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