- - Sunday, October 2, 2016

The 2016 Dodge Durango has family written all over it. Quite utilitarian, the Durango has a big boy, assertive attitude and one trim even has a V8 engine to back it up. Of course, there is a V6 standard too. This year, a stop-start mechanism has been added to the base trim and higher trim levels have had some impressive standard features added.

This Dodge Durango does seem to flash a bit brighter than the other three-row crossover choices, but still it keeps the family-friendly vibe even with a stylish personality. The competition includes the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and the Mazda CX-9. The Durango has only a seven passenger maximum versus eight in the competition, but there is still plenty of room even for adults in the third row.

There are four trims levels the SXT, Limited, Citadel and R/T. On some trims, you can opt for captain’s chairs in the second row meaning the Durango can only fit six passengers.

The base SXT has 18-inch wheels, load-level rear suspension, a sport mode driving option, automatic headlamps, fog lights, heated mirrors, keyless ignition/entry, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 60/40-split folding/reclining option in the second row and a 50/50-split folding seat in the third row. On the base trim, you get cloth upholstery with Bluetooth connectivity, five-inch touchscreen and a USB port.

To this base trim, you can add a Customer Preferred Order package that will give you a leather-wrapped steering wheel as well as rails and crossbars. The Popular Equipment Group comes with rear parking sensors and rearview camera, heated front seat/steering wheel and Bluetooth.

On the next trim up, the Limited has all the additions from the packages above standard except the sunroof. You also get LED running lights, remote ignition, power-folding mirrors, six-way power passenger seat and heated second-row seats with leather instead of cloth. The packages you can add are the Nav & Power Liftgate with a navigation system and power lift gate. The Premium Group will give you 20-inch wheels, sunroof and different exterior options while the Safety/Security & Convenience package has HID headlamps, automatic wipers, blind-spot and rear cross-path warning and a power-adjustable steering wheel.

The Citadel trim has the Nav & Power and Safety/Security & Convenience goodies standard as well as 20-inch wheels, upgraded brakes, sunroof, leather interior trim and an eight-way power passenger seat. To add to these features the Premium Entertainment package has a Beats audio system with rear entertainment and a DVD/Blu-ray player.

The R/T trim has a V8 engine, lowered sport-tuned suspension, better steering and higher end leather upholstery. If you want to add a sunroof, you can add that separately as well as the rear entertainment system. The add on package for the Citadel and R/T is the Technology Group package with forward collision warning and emergency braking, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert.

The Blacktop package can be added on all but the base trim with black 20-inch wheels, a gloss-black grille and a variety of exterior trim features.

Under the hood, the 2016 Dodge Durango has a 3.6-liter V6 engine throwing out 290 horsepower with 260 pound-feet of torque. On the Citadel trim or the Rallye and Blacktop packages, the horse power is increased to 295, but either way it’s an eight-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive. You can opt for all-wheel drive as well.

On the R/T, you get a 5.7-liter V8 engine with 360 horsepower and 390 pound feet of torque. This engine is also an option on the Citadel. The engine is an eight-speed automatic with rear-wheel drive, the all-wheel-drive is an option.

Safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control as well as trailer sway control and front side, driver knee and full-length side curtain airbags. The rearview camera is an option on the base trim and standard on the other three trims.

This 2016 Dodge Durango is a good choice for a road trip vehicle with the family or a group of friends. Inside the ride is quiet with enough room not to feel cramped, even in the third row. Getting in and out of the back two rows are easy as well.

The maximum cargo space on the Durango is 84.5 cubic feet. But if you keep the second row, you still have 47.7 cubic feet. There is also a cargo cover that will keep the items behind the second and third rows private.

Dodge used soft, touchy feely material on the interior, but without much styling in mind. You get what you see and that isn’t a bad thing. It’s also easy to figure out the knobs and buttons and the Uconnect 8.4 system continually gets good user reviews.

The Durango feels and is quite heavy, but it gives you a feeling of being powerful and sturdy on the road. “Like a large truck” is the way to describe what I thought about the ride, but you know you are quite capable when behind the wheel of this vehicle even if the ride is smooth and the handling excellent. The 2016 Dodge Durango is in a word powerful, so it stands to reason that when you are behind the wheel so are you.

Should You Need to Know: The 2016 Dodge Durango can have a towing package added with a heavy-duty alternator and oil cooler and load-leveling rear shocks.

Miles Per Gallon: On the 2016 Dodge Durango R/T RWD I drove, it came in at 14 miles per gallon in the city and 22 miles per gallon on the highway.

Cost: On the 2016 Dodge Durango R/T RWD I drove, the price tag was $49,170 with the Technology Group Package.

For more auto tips and information, follow Rita @RitaCook13.

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