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2009 Dodge Durango Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Dodge Durango was new.


Performance: 7.6

Despite a comfortable ride and adequate handling, many reviewers say the Durango isn't as able a performer as others in the class.

  • "Although the current-generation Dodge Durango handled well for its class at its debut a few years ago, newer and more refined competitors have put the Durango in a less forgiving light." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Durango is available with a 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V6,  a 4.7-liter V8 flex-fuel engine that makes 303 horsepower or a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that makes a hefty 376 horsepower. The V6 engine is almost universally panned, but test drivers love the HEMI V8. Base models get an EPA rating of 14/20 mpg city/highway, which is atrocious for an SUV with two-wheel drive and a V6 engine. Durango models with the HEMI V8 and four-wheel drive gets the same 14/20 mpg rating as the V6, so most test drivers recommend opting for the largest engine. The 4.7-liter V8 is fairly powerful, but surprisingly gets worse fuel economy than both of the other engines, at 14/19 mpg city/highway in two-wheel drive models and 13/18 mpg city/highway in four-wheel drive models.

  • "The base V6 barely gets out of its own way, however, so we recommend one of the optional V8s for most buyers. When equipped with the powerful 5.7-liter V8, the 2009 Durango is one of the quickest SUVs available for the money." -- Edmunds
  • "Although the V6 looks impressive on paper, the Durango's newfound weight makes for slow going with the base engine." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The V6-powered Durango is best avoided; its marginally better fuel efficiency is quickly outweighed by its general under-hood inadequacy." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The 4.7-liter V8 is strong off the line, but lacks passing punch." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The optional Hemi offers great gobs of power for acceleration or towing." -- Car and Driver

Handling and Braking

Unlike the criticism heaped on the Durango's base V6 engine, almost all reviewers praise the handling and braking of the Durango as among the best in its class. They say it offers surprising control on the road and isn't as truck-like as other traditional SUV competitors, though they note some dramatic body roll.

  • "In spite of its generous proportions, the Durango manages to deliver both a smooth, composed ride and nimble handling around corners." -- Edmunds
  • "The Durango stayed well planted despite high levels of body roll." -- Motor Week
  • "The steering is pretty impressive for a vehicle of this size, with good response and feedback that allow the driver to make exact lane changes and easily negotiate tight turns." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Durango experienced only moderate dive in hard braking for such a large vehicle." -- AutoWeek

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