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2012 Dodge Durango

Base MSRP: $28,995 to $42,995
Reviewed
May 2012
by ConsumerSearch
2012 Dodge Durango

Best midsize SUV

Pros
  • Stylish, smooth and comfortable
  • Efficient V6 or muscular V8
  • Roomy third row
Cons
  • V6 transmission is just a five-speed
  • 2012 Durango largely unchanged after 2011 redesign

2012 Durango largely unchanged after 2011 redesign

The 2012 Dodge Durango carries over largely unchanged from the total redesign it received in 2011. The Hemi V8 option is now paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, and second-row captain's chairs are available. Reviewers indicate that even with some areas of possible improvement (such as the V6 engine's five-speed automatic transmission), the Durango simply hits all the right notes. For a more detailed rundown of what reviewers have to say about this SUV, visit our page on the 2011 Dodge Durango.

Roomy and comfortable

Whereas the previous-generation Durango was a truck-based body-on-frame SUV, the unibody 2012 Dodge Durango is more sophisticated in every respect. Testers say that it's one of the best midsize SUVs to drive and ride in, with responsive handling and a composed, comfortable ride. Interior space is plentiful, with three rows of comfortable seating. Overall fit and finish impresses, as when AutoBlog.com says that, with the Durango, "Dodge has nailed the basics, with pleasing soft-touch materials, comfortable seats and generally good workmanship all-around." Reviewers note that the Durango's visually pleasing design is refreshingly modern inside and out.

The Durango performs well, too. The standard 290-horsepower V6 provides ample power and commendable fuel efficiency. Some reviewers point out that acceleration trails that of other rivals, but our view is that in real-world use, most drivers will not see this as being a problem. Unlike most competitors, the Durango can be equipped with an optional 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that produces360 horsepower and 390 pounds-feet of torque. The V8 engine allows the Durango to tow up to 7,400 pounds when properly equipped.

The 2012 Durango's competitive base price and smart array of options makes it an excellent midsize SUV amid many excellent competitors.

EPA Fuel Economy Estimates

V6 (2WD or 4WD): 16 mpg city / 23 hwy / 19 combined

V8 (2WD): 14 mpg city / 20 hwy / 16 combined

V8 (4WD): 13 mpg city / 20 hwy /15 combined

V6 fuel-economy estimates are based on regular-grade gasoline; V8 ratings are based on mid-grade gasoline. Note also that the V6 Durango's engine is flex-fuel compatible and can be run on E85 ethanol if available. Mileage estimates on E85 are substantially worse than those using gasoline. Unless you need the extra towing capacity offered by the optional Hemi V8, the smart play is the standard V6 engine, which delivers more-than-adequate power and clearly superior fuel economy.

NHTSA Safety Ratings:

Front Impact: 4 stars

Side Impact: 5 stars

Rollover Resistance: 3 stars

Overall: 4 stars

IIHS Safety Ratings:

Front Offset Impact: Good

Side Impact: Good

Roof Strength: Good

Named IIHS 2012 Top Safety Pick

For additional details…

Since the 2012 Dodge Durango is mostly carried over from 2011, we invite you to read our full report on the 2011 Dodge Durango for a detailed analysis on what experts think about the car.

Our Sources

1. Edmunds.com

The editors of Edmunds.com provide insightful overviews of all new models, including the 2012 Dodge Durango. This summarizes the staff's findings based on hands-on testing, and notes model-year changes. Observations cover the various trim and powertrain levels available on the 2012 Durango.

Review: 2012 Dodge Durango, Editors of Edmunds.com

2. ConsumerSearch.com

The 2012 Dodge Durango received a few minor changes, the biggest of which is the addition of a six-speed automatic transmission when equipped with the V8 engine. This full report of the 2011 model year provides detailed insights on what reviewers have to say about the SUV, and links to the reviews from which the conclusions are gleaned.

Review: 2011 Dodge Durango, Editors of ConsumerSearch.com, May 2012

3. FuelEconomy.gov

Based on federal fuel economy estimates, the 2012 Dodge Durango gets an estimated 19 mpg combined in base V6 rear-wheel drive configuration, which is average for bigger midsize SUVs. The V8 engine only comes with all-wheel drive, and gets a lower 15 mpg combined.

Review: 2012 Dodge Durango, U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency

4. SaferCar.gov

The 2012 Dodge Durango has been crash tested and rated for rollover resistance by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It gets an overall safety rating of 4 stars (out of a possible 5) from this U.S. government agency.

Review: 2012 Dodge Durango, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

5. IIHS.org

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety designates the 2012 Dodge Durango a Top Safety Pick after performing its own independent crash and roof-strength tests on the SUV. Top Safety Picks achieve the highest score of Good in each testing scenario.

Review: Dodge Durango, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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