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The 2016 Dodge Durango: Best-in-Class SUV

The 2016 Dodge Durango is a work of art, and completely different looking than the one my Grandmother used to drive. Now, it’s a bold and strong looking SUV; with a touch of refinement. The 2016 Durango is the best looking one yet, and it has some qualities too match this redesigned look. Thanks to its power and fuel economy, the Durango was able to grab best-in-class in both of those areas, and has a few features that are honorable mentions.

With a best-in-class ranking combined with drop-dead gorgeous looks, it’s no surprise this SUV is a competitive player on the market.

Best-in-Class Power

Best-in-class power all starts with the engine, and the one the 2016 Durango is sporting is top-notch. While the standard Pentastar is nice, you need to upgrade to the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 if you want to nab that best-in-class power. The engine is able to put out best-in-class power – 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque; which are some powerful numbers for an SUV.

It’s no surprise that, because it lands best-in-class power, it also gets best-in-class V6 and V8 towing. With the standard Pentastar equipped, the Durango can tow up to 6,200 pounds, which is just heavier than the base curb weight of a Ram 3500; meaning this SUV can haul the king of towing down the road. With the Hemi V8 on board, the Durango can tow even more weight, and it bumps the capacity up to a whopping 7,400 pounds.

Even though the Pentastar didn’t land best-in-class power for the Durango, the 3.6-liter V6 award-winning engine is still worth mentioning. It’s able to deliver the perfect blend of power and fuel-efficiency for an SUV this size, and it generates 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.

These numbers make it one of the best SUVs on the market for performance, so let’s take two of it’s biggest competitors for comparison purposes. The 2016 Honda Pilot only comes with one engine option, so there’s a disadvantage already. The V6 on the Honda Pilot can only put out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque; which translates to a towing capacity that’s 1,200 lbs less than the Pentastar, and 2,400 lbs less than the Hemi V8. Even with the same engine class equipped, the Durango is able to beat it in towing.

The 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport does slightly worse than the Honda with its highest trim option, and considered abysmal with its standard trim engine option. The Inline 4-Cylinder Turbo engine on the Sport 2.0T only puts out 265 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque, and the base Inline 4-cylinder just puts out 190 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. Again, even the standard engine on the Pentastar crushes both options for the Hyundai, and the Hemi V8 completely demolishes it.

The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport can only get a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, which is less-than half of what the 2016 Dodge Durango can get when equipped with the Hemi V8.

Best-in-Class Fuel Economy

I bet you thought best-in-class fuel economy was going to be thanks to the 3.6-liter Pentastar; which is where you are wrong. As a pleasant surprise, the same engine that gets best-in-class power also lands it best-in-class fuel economy. Thanks to the VVT, Fuel Saver Technology, and silky-smooth shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, the Durango with a Hemi V8 is able to get up to 14 mpg city and and 23 mpg highway. This may seem like small numbers, but remember; the V8 is pushing a vehicle down the road with a base curb weight between 4,838-5,133 lbs (depending on trim) with 360 horsepower. Taking that into account, it sounds like some pretty good fuel-efficiency to me.

If you want an even more fuel-efficient Durango, then opt for the 3.6-liter Pentastar. It’s able to achieve 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, which is even more disheartening for its competitors. Why? because the Durango is able to get a significant increase in power with a negligible decrease in fuel economy.

Again, looking at the Honda Pilot and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, we see just how efficient the Durango really is. While the Durango might not get as much mpg, it’s still far more efficient. Because keep in mind; the engines in these vehicles are both much smaller than the one in the Durango. The Honda Pilot and it’s dinky V6 gets 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, which is not that far off for the Durango with a Pentastar equipped. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport with its whining 190 horsepower engine gets 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, and the slightly-less whiny Turbo engine in the higher trim gets 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

The fact that the Durango offers the Hemi V8 is what gives it best-in-class fuel economy with best-in-class power, and it pioneers a new path for the SUV market. The V8 allows the Durango to perform like it’s never performed before, and sets a high bar for SUVs in the future.

Honorable Mentions

There are a few qualities that pair well with this SUVs best-in-class status, like the bold exterior and comfortable interior. The exterior is a strong and powerful design, and Dodge says they wanted it to look that way. Especially since other manufacturers started producing SUVs with watered down looks. This bold design paid off, and Dodge now has an SUV that is easily the most rugged and handsome one on the market.

The interior of the Durango is worth mentioning as well. The outside is rugged and handsome, while the inside is elegant and refined. It still has a bold feel to it, but it’s not as in-your-face as the outside of the Durango is. Which is nice, because the contrasting toned-down interior provides a luxurious and comfortable driving experience; making you feel like you are driving a 5-star hotel room down the road.

Conclusion

The Durango offers you five different trims to choose from: the base SXT, SXT Plus, Limited, R/T, and Citadel. As you go up in trim and price, so does the quality of the vehicle. All trims come standard with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, and the Limited and Citadel trims come with the Hemi V8 optional. Depending on engine and trim choice, you are looking at a price anywhere between the SXT’s starting MSRP of $30,495 to the Citadel’s $45,085 price-tag; with the Hemi V8 equipped.

With an powerful engine combined with bold looks and a handsome interior, it’s easy to see why the Durango is reigning supreme in the SUV market. It might be a little more pricey than the competition, but it’s a classic case of getting what you pay for. If you dish out enough dough to buy the Citadel, you’re grabbing an SUV that’s capable of towing a heavy-duty truck, and getting a great fuel-efficiency to performance ratio; which is why the 2016 Dodge Durango also comes with a best-in-class ranking.

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