First Impressions: The 2014 Dodge Durango Citadel
Recently Dodge reintroduced its harbinger 7 seater SUV, the 2014 Dodge Durango. It’s an industry norm that automaker reintroduces their products for omni presence, ironically this hardly happens as it remains a Herculean task because by the time the car is reintroduced it’s already old; the only thing left to identify their model though out the product life cycle is a mid-life face-lift.
Dodge Durango was originally launched in 2011 as the third-generation. Dodge shed-off the old truck-like “body-on-frame” construction for the modern and strong platform called ‘Unibody’ construction also shared by Mercedes, exclusive for its similar size M-Class, R-Class & GL-Class, SUV vehicles. Hence Durango is a total departure from the medieval ideology of being Johnny Bravo towards being smart ideology present times that will lead will into the future. What does it mean, how does it translates for the customer? It’s the most crucial point that automaker has to identify and then answer as well. Something that is not only visible and make sense at the same time; nevertheless, it also boasts features that are behind the curtain, yet equally important. Here Dodge made a smart move and addressed all the concerns. Rearview Mirror will discuss them all; keep reading as all will be revealed!
If I say Chrysler group (Jeep, Dodge & Chrysler) are traditionalists, then I am not wrong. Most of their cars feature “True American” design. This leaves a lasting impression, even in a pool of all look like alike. This Dodge Durango looks apart from any SUV (most call their car SUV when they aren’t!) Standing in the flesh is the Dodge Durango “Citadel” model. This design wise Durango is more a kin with Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Bold with flashing chrome, as I mentioned earlier: Traditionalist and True American, design with inspiration drawn from the classic Coca-Cola bottle.
Exterior wise the 2014 Dodge Durango features a high-tech look; the car is huge yet with a sleek body line and rakish front wind screen conveys a sporty, aerodynamic look. The brand-new face of Durango features sleeker “split crosshair” design incorporating mesh texture grille, which is unique to model grade. Furthermore, new to all 2014 models are the projector type headlights inspired of a Hockey-Stick “J” design. The Limited, Citadel and R/T model comes standard with Bi-xenon projector beams, which also feature auto-leveling technology that allows the light beam to adjust according to the elevation. However, the entire Durango trim-line is fitted with beautiful Daylight Running Lights. Co-driver, Naveed chuckled his usual “tongue-in-cheek”: if Audi inspired the whole world with LED lights to lit up the front, Dodge is teasing the tail gating drivers with its bottoms.” And that’s true as 2014 Durango has the Charger inspired “racetrack” style end-to-end tails lights that incorporate 192 individuals LEDs. Nevertheless, here as well what is now unique to Dodge Durango is instead of the glow from the beading LEDs the whole light forms a seamless ribbon. This not only increases the individuality, but also the brand recognition!
There are very few cars that inspired inside out. Some are just better looking poser from their exterior looks, but once you are inside you just wish that you are better outside. However, this is not the case with Dodge Durango. As The interior exudes the premier feel. The big comfy front captain seats are swathed with Nappa leather with beautiful raised stitching combined with the trim level embroidered on the seat backs. In our case, it was “Citadel” inscribed over the seat backs. The seats are also heated and cooled a feature that will change anyone’s buying decision specially the summer we endure here in Middle east. The materiel upgrade fit and finish are certainly posh! Albeit, there are few areas that are mixed with hard plastic but can easily be ignored. The first thing that you will notice is the absence of the conventional gear lever with rotary shifter and behind the steering wheel paddle shifter, standard on all models. The instrument pod is design in a very driver centric perspective. The 7-inch TFT digital screen provides vital information. You can access these informations via smart steering wheel. In the normal driving mode, you can opt to view a conventional speedometer with simple white lettering and red needle, or if you feel the pulse raising activity, it can be turned into big digital clear-readout. The center dash board now features large 8.4-inch Uconnect Touchscreen comes with 3-D maps. Furthermore, you can access various infotainment menus, and luckily here; you don’t need to spend time to learn, in fact, Dodge done a great job with easily identifiable icons.
Besides being on the driving seat, I must say Dodge Durango provides huge space for the travelers in second row. You can spend a great time here without getting tired or feeling cramped. The thoughtful ergonomic design is present everywhere. Little detail here: It’s the roof mounted nicely lit individual map or reading lights. Just like you get in the aircraft where light comes from the ceiling without disturbing the rest of the passengers in the same row! Conveniently placed USB ports and 115 volts power outlets and then optional behind the front seat mounted Blu-ray DVD screens, ambient lightening throughout the cabin enhances the ride experience. Kudos to Dodge! As far as the third row is concerned, I am happy to tell you that there is ample space with no claustrophobic feelings. While there are no less than 50 combinations present with seats fold and rise. A whopping 84.5 cubic foot of cargo space with the attainable fold-flat front passenger seat back. There are standard 60/40 fold-and-tumble second-row seat and the 50/50 split-folding third-row seat. Still with all 7 occupants there’s enough space and the available mesh net can neatly secure the monthly grocery shopping from your favorite hyper market.
On our 350km journey that started from Dodge Showroom at festival city to Fujairah and back. We had Durango Citadel in white with gleaming chrome. The car was fresh off-the boat and had only 150 Km on the odometer. Before we hit the Wadi and the off-road terrain, lies ahead were the long stretches of empty roads, the 5.7L V8 Hemi was a peach. Just let the pedal meet metal, and you’ll be entertained with pulse raising aplomb in the speed. The aural senses are treated with the superb V8 growl, though the Citadel sans the louder exhaust available on R/T. Somehow we felt that the engine capability to 360bhp delivery was not flexed yet, probably the engine break-in period not finished. It seems that Dodge engineers have decided to stay put where traditions matters. Instead of going for all electronic steering Durango comes with the Hydro-electric steering system. The car felt very natural while lane switching. The Harley Davidson like 20 inches polished alloys with 265/50R all-season tires provided excellent grip, although we felt the ride was bit firm but not in a bad manner. The body motion was kept in check and on turns, the body roll was superbly restraint only allowing the right amount to keep the big SUV poised. NVH was greatly reduced, and we were surprised that just a week back we tested VW Passat, and its 18 inches Bristol alloys transmitted more noise.The new 2014 Dodge Durango comes with biggest news though can ever hardly ever see it (as it was told earlier). It’s the ZF 8 speed electronic gearbox all across the Durango range. Be it the standard award winning Pentastar® V6 generates 290 horsepower (295 horsepower in Rallye) and 260 lb-ft of torque. With Variable Valve Timing (VVT) to maximize power and efficiency. The new eight-speed automatic transmission helps V6 rear-wheel-drive models achieve an estimated 25 highway mpg. V6 all-wheel-drive models deliver an estimated 24 highway mpg. When you add more honey and buy the R/T or the Citadel model with standard 5.7L HEMI V8 mill, produces best-in-class 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. Thanks to dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and Fuel Saver technology combine with new eight-speed automatic transmission. V8 RWD models now offer Best-in-Class V8 fuel economy of 23 highway mpg.
While on the rock-rutted area in the Wadi, with rotary selector dialed into Low range, the car behavior was articulated. Durango’s ride height wasn’t much yet the Durango treaded the area, wasn’t an easy one with some sections was quite narrow. We were surprise the chore was accomplished without any fuss.
Talk About Safety
The 2014 dodge Durango comes loaded with safety features. Available Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop is a driver-assist feature that uses a radar sensor to detect vehicles ahead. Forward Collision Warning System+ uses radar sensors to detect when your vehicle may be approaching another vehicle too quickly it will subsequently give audible warning with in dash visual display and afterwards lastly apply brakes jerk to bring the driver back to response the to the given situation. Blind Spot Monitoring. Electronic Stability Control (ESC). 2014 Dodge comes with seven standard airbags: standard full-length three-row side-curtain air bags and standard front-seat-mounted side thorax air bags offer enhanced occupant protection to passengers in the event of a collision… And the list of goodies is just too long.
The 2014 Dodge Durango is available in the Middle East in SXT (4 x 2 and AWD), Limited (AWD), R/T (AWD) and Citadel (AWD) variants. It is nicely priced starting from AED120000 to AED180000 for the top model. Customers who used to think about fuel price and consumption they would be in for a big surprise, here’s the spoiler alert: it won’t hurt your pocket! It’s a large car and provides ample space for almost all kinds of occupants. Take the Durango for long journey, take it for an excursion trip take it for shopping or a light drive around the city. Tow a boat with class leading 6,200 Lbs for V6 and yet another class-leading tow rating of 7,400 when equipped with V8. There’s enough reason for you to keep on smiling on any occasion because this Dodge Durango surpasses every feat for its price.