I found a lot to like about the sport-utility vehicle, including its drivability and price, and decided that it might make a suitable family vehicle for anyone who doesn’t live in an area that is regularly buried in snow throughout the winter.
I doubt that I had many believers in the New York area because winter 2013-2014 has come to be known by many as “the winter from hell.” Nevertheless, I still contend that the rear-wheel-drive SUV, suitably equipped with winter tires, could be viable in normal Manhattan-area winters.
Anyway, let’s put all of that aside for now and take a look at a second 2014 Durango, a more luxurious, all-wheel-drive Limited version, which may be better suited for snow-belt drivers who will use their vehicles daily.
Like the previously tested, rear-wheel-drive Durango Rallye, the Limited has available seating for up to seven. However, there was room for only six in the test car, which had optional second-row captain’s chairs ($895) and second-row console with armrest and storage ($300).
The available cargo volume ranges from 17.4 cubic feet with all seatbacks in the upright position to 84.5 cubic feet with the second- and third-row seatbacks folded into the floor.
A muscular 360-horsepower V-8 is optional on the Limited, but the test car featured the same powerplant as the Rallye edition --- a V-6 engine that generates 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
It’s quite smooth, sufficiently powerful and reasonably fuel efficient for a 2 ½-ton vehicle. In a week of mostly highway driving, I averaged about 22 mpg. The EPA estimates the Limited will get 17 mpg in the city and 24 on the highway. Vacationers with boats will want to know it can tow up to 6,200 pounds.
Other than the light-duty all-wheel-drive system, which is fine for winter weather but not so capable on rugged off-road trails, the big difference between the two vehicles is the level of luxury --- and the price.
The Rallye topped out at $34,480. The Limited starts at $38,395 and balloons to $47,165 with a full complement of options.
Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, UConnect system with 8.4-inch touch screen, heated first-and-second-row seats, heated steering wheel, back-up camera, rear parking assist, 8-way power driver’s seat and 6-way power front passenger seat.
The extensive range of options includes a Customer Preferred Package ($2,395) that adds 20-inch polished aluminum wheels, power sunroof, navigation system, power liftgate, and upgraded Uconnect and sound systems.
The rear DVD entertainment center costs $1,395, the trailer-towing package adds $995 and the Safety, Security and Convenience Group --- which includes Bi-Xenon headlights, automatic headlight leveling, blind-spot and cross-path protection and rain-sensing windshield wipers --- adds another $1,195.
With an extensive range of choices, Dodge offers a Durango which it hopes will meet the needs of families across a broad spectrum. The Limited edition is for those who want to combine practicality with s long list of comfort and convenience features.