Photo gallery: 2012 Dodge Durango

The Dodge Durango is a tough one for me. While I wouldn't say this is a city-worthy vehicle. I wouldn't say it isn't exactly not a city vehicle either. Enough double negatives for you? I guess what I'm trying to say is: I would rarely recommend a vehicle this large for living in an urban environment. On a day-to-day basis it's cumbersome and a little unwieldy. But ... if for some reason a city dweller needed a large SUV to cart 7 people around in comfort on a regular basis, this would be high on my list.

Durango has a great (read: awesome) turning radius, and I was able to get into and out of my cramped city parking lot without a lot of fuss. I was also able to get into and out of some tight city spaces--think U-turn in an alley--though it wasn't without some skilled (cough) maneuvering. However, there is something that would put this vehicle solidly in the city-worth camp: A rear camera with back-up sensors. This is such a large vehicle that not having these 2 items really puts the Durango at a disadvantage. The good news: If you upgrade to the Entry Navigation/Commuter Group ($695), these items are included.

The other tough thing about this vehicle: fuel economy. The R/T comes equipped with a 5.7-liter V-8 HEMI. And while the Dodge Multi-Displacement System works really well, you're still going to be lucky if you can hit 20 mpg in city driving. EPA estimates city/highway fuel economy of 13/20 mpg. I averaged 15 in combined, which is right in line with the estimates.

The tester was an upper-lever R/T AWD model with a base price of $37,995. Because this model has a lot of great standards (premium cloth that was better than leather, Bluetooth connectivity, push-button start), the only option was the Customer Preferred Package 24S, which had the media center with the 40GB hard drive and HD radio ($395). So the as-tested price with destination: $39,240.

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  • With regard to being "city worthy," this raises the same dilemma as the Ford Explorer/Escape, big GMs (Buick Encore, Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia) vs. Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain, and I am sure comparable pairs from VW or Toyota.The attempt here and in other first examples is to put a full sized SUV on a car body, which supposedly makes it more efficient. One wonders if it does.

    And, in this case, the car doesn't seem any different than a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

    As far as economy, there is still the V6, which probably would provide enough performance for the city.

  • In reply to jack:

    jack -- durango and grand cherokee are virtually the same with some obvious styling changes. and i very rarely think any large suv is city worthy. but i do recognize that even families live here ... so i guess i'm always on the look out for the best of the big. durango is better than explorer, for example ...

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