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2014 Dodge Durango Rallye

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Published on Wed, Apr 2, 2014

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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2014 Dodge Durango Rallye (Harvey Schwartz)

It started life on a body-on-frame Dakota platform. Three and a half generations later, the Dodge Durango scraps the truck in favor of a unibody platform it shares with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Now it's the ideal ride to get the hell out of Dodge. We test one out with some added flavor in the form of the Rallye package. Harvey Schwartz reports. By Harvey Schwartz The new 2014 Dodge Durango SUV gets major upgrades to its exterior, interior and powertrain this year. I tested the new V6 powered Rallye Package that gives the Durango bolder styling with its sinister monochromatic Granite Crystal Metallic clear coat paint, aggressive lower aero body kit, 20X9 inch Hyper Black alloy wheels shod with 265/50R20 inch Goodyear all-season performance tires and rear dual bright exhaust tips. Also new this year is the eight-speed automatic transmission with a rotary shifter dial located on the center console. There is also a 8.4-inch color touchscreen with Uconnect Access including Wi-Fi capability, mobile apps, hands-free calling, hands-free texting, streaming music via Bluetooth, a remote USB port, Pandora and iHeart radio, voice recognition and navigation with 3D mapping. The new instrument panel is a seven-inch customizable thin-film transistor (TFT) full-color cluster, with a new tilt-telescopic/ heated/ leather -wrapped three-spoke steering wheel with standard aluminum paddle shifters, audio and cruise-control buttons. Our test Durango featured the optional second-row captain’s chair with a standard pass-through center console that makes for easy travel between second-and third-row seats. A new capless fuel fill makes for easier fuel fill up, and safety and security features including Auto Crash notification 911 call button, Adaptive Cruise Control with stop function and Forward Collision Warning with collision Mitigation.

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The side profile (Harvey Schwartz)

The new look maintains the muscular body customers expect from Dodge. The new face is still distinctly Dodge and features a new, slimmer ‘split crosshair’ grille with black mesh textures. Combined with the redesigned projector-beam headlamps and a raised front bumper with splitter and spoiler at the bottom, the new Durango has an even more menacing look than before. LED daytime running lamps run horizontally along the bottom edge of the headlamp to form a unique ‘hockey-stick’ shape. Furthermore, the new front-end design features new projector foglamps and fog lamp surrounds and matching crosshair grille texture. Combined with a taller front bumper, the new lower fascia gives the 2014 Dodge Durango Rallye a wider and more aggressive look. Benchmarked against premium performance SUV’s in the market, Durango delivers modernized refinement with electronics, suspension and structural characteristics that are usually found at much higher prices. A robust structure, impressive 13-inch front vented disc brakes clamped with dual-piston calipers and 13-inch solid rear discs clamped with single-piston calipers contribute to Durango’s great stopping power and Durango’s trailer tow capability of up to 6,200 pounds when powered by the 3.6 liter V6 engine. Named one of Ward’s 10 Best Engines for three years, the standard 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine features DOHC’s, 24-valves, all-aluminum block and heads with VVT for excellent low-end torque. It generates 295 horspower at 6,400 rpm in the Rallye Package with 260 pound-feet of torque at 4,800 rpm.

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View from the rear (Harvey Schwartz)

Mated to this award-winning V6 engine is the Chrysler Group’s new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with rotary shifter and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. This state-of-the-art transmission improves fuel economy along with enhanced performance and smoother shifts. Fully electronic, the eight-speed automatic features on-the-fly shift map changing, with manual shifting capability using the steering wheel paddles. More than 40 individual shift maps for specific conditions optimize shift quality and shift points for fuel economy, performance and drivability. The intelligent software is attuned to the performance requirements of almost any driving demand. The transmission efficiency and wide ratio spread provide the best possible fuel economy by operating at a lower rpm in both city and highway environments. The addition of more gear ratios also helps reduce the gaps normally associated with upshifting and downshifting-it’s so smooth. The new Durango also features a new Eco Mode that further contributes to its improved fuel economy. Eco Mode optimizes the transmission’s shift schedule as well as throttle sensitivity. The Eco Mode also manages interactive deceleration fuel shut-off (EDFSO), which cuts fuel delivery when the vehicle is coasting to reduce fuel consumption. The Pentastar V6 and new eight-speed are an incredible combination of performance and fuel efficiency. The interior is roomy, comfortable, luxurious beyond its base price, ergonomic, high-tech connectivity savvy and very safe in the event of a collision. Dodge designers are bringing Durango to the forefront of technology in the three-row SUV segment, while taking nothing away from the utility, build quality and attention to detail. One is surrounded by quality soft-to-the-touch materials. The front bucket seats are very comfortable and cut deep to keep me and my front passenger snug during hard cornering. Families with three of more children will find the Durango’s available captain’s chair with pass through especially helpful as two car seats can stay latched into the second row seats, and there’s still easy pass-through for passengers to walk between to get to the third row. The second-row captain’s chairs will also make adults feel like they are riding in first-class, with comfortable bucket seats with individual armrests, rear dual cupholders and air-vents behind the center console. The available second-row console features dual-hinged door/armrest that when flipped forward, features a hard surface so that the armrest is not damaged by cargo. It also offers class-exclusive storage and features, including USB ports for charging electronics. A fold-flat front passenger seat is standard and by folding forward, the passenger seat provides more utility, which lets customers load and carry longer objects. Once flat, the seat back panel also serves as a convenient utility table. A new active head restraint system adds to the long list of available safety and security features. The third-row seat features a 50/50 split and is easily folded from the rear.

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A rotary shifter for the Durango (Harvey Schwartz)

The most looked at area of the interior, the instrument cluster, also has a premium high-tech appearance with the new dynamic gauge cluster. Standard on all models and featuring a customizable 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) liquid-crystal display, the cluster can be configured more than 100-ways for the ultimate driver-customizable experience. Navigation, audio and fuel economy information and warning indicators can all be displayed in the 7-inch screen. You’ll only find the TFT display in high-priced luxury vehicles. Standard equipment in our Rallye packaged Durango includes power windows with express up/down up front/power door locks, 3-zone climate control, variable speed wipers/washers, rear wiper/washer, dual map lamps up front and reading lamps for the second and third rows, grab handles above each door up front and at the side in the second doors, dual vanity mirrors, a center console with dual cupholders with ring lighting, a deep and wide dual-tiered storage bin that is lighted, a lighted glovebox, map pockets behind the front seatbacks, hill-decent gearing, a six-speaker AM-FM-CD with Sirius Satellite radio, a lighted open storage bin in front of the center console, storage in each door, carpeted floor mats front and rear including an underfloor storage bin in the rear. Standard safety features include front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, front airbags, front-seat mounted side thorax airbags, ABS, BA, ESC, Traction Control, three-row side-curtain airbags, 6-three-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters, front-row active head restraints and a tire pressure warning system. The new 2014 Dodge Durango with the Rallye Package is pure boldness, fun-to-drive around town or on the highway with the latest in comfort, connectivity, automotive high-technology and safety systems to make the time spent behind the wheel even more enjoyable than ever. © Story and pictures by Harvey Schwartz

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Inside looking out (Harvey Schwartz)

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Wyatt Earp would be proud to ride this horse. For more information about Dodge products, go to SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2014 Dodge Durango Rallye RWD Price: $32,990.00 (base) $34,480.00 (as tested) EPA fuel economy ratings: 18mpg city/25mpg highway Engine: 3.6 liter Pentastar DOHC 24-valve all-aluminum V6 engine with VVT Horsepower: 295 at 6,400 rpm Torque: 260 pound-feet at 4,800 rpm

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3.6 liter Pentastar engine (Harvey Schwartz)

Transmission: ZF eight-speed automatic transmission with rotary shifter and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters Drive configuration: Rear-wheel drive (AWD optional) Dimensions Wheelbase: 119.8 inches Track (front/rear): 63.9/64.1 inches Overall length: 201.2 inches Overall width: 75.8 inches Overall height: 70.9 inches Curb weight: 4,756 pounds Payload: 1,330 pounds

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