The recently relaunched Dodge Durango is completely and utterly redesigned from the tire treads up for 2011, and the result is the new standard in excellence in the SUV realm. Quite simply, the only item the previous generation Durango and the new 2011 Durango share in common is the name.
The nucleus of this complete redesign is the Durango’s all-new unibody construction that helps transform the Durango from an SUV that rides like a truck into an SUV that rides like a luxury sedan, yet can still haul up to 7,400 pounds with ease.
Just by looking at the five- or seven-passenger 2011 Durango (available in Express, Heat, Crew, R/T, CrewLux and Citadel trims) you can tell how significant this new SUV is. Every inch of the machine oozes quality, style and elegance. From high-grade interior leather to the sharp and clean instrument cluster gauges, the Durango surrounds you with quality you’d expect in a vehicle costing far more than its starting MSRP of $29,195.
The Durango Citadel engine is an all-new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. With Variable Valve Timing (VVT), 290 hp and 260 lb/ft of torque, the Citadel’s powerplant delivers V8 power with the fuel efficiency of some four cylinders, returning as much as 23 highway mpg.
And of course, this is a Dodge we’re talking about here, so the 2011 Durango Citadel does have an available HEMI® V8. The 5.7-liter legend with VVT puts down serious muscle to the tune of 360 hp and 390 lb/ft of torque while still returning 20 mpg on the freeway through its Fuel Saver cylinder deactivation technology, a system that only uses four cylinders in highway traffic or under light throttle.
The 2011 Durango Citadel has incredible presence. The centerpiece of the Citadel – the most luxurious Durango available – is Dodge’s signature cross grille, emblazoned in chrome and black texture. Standard HID headlamps featuring Auto Leveling technology adjust according to cargo load and further enhance the Durango’s quality appearance. Citadel models come standard with 20-inch chrome-clad wheels.
Even more than all its styling changes, what’s most pleasing about the new Durango is its transformation into a nimble SUV that handles winding roads with eagerness and athleticism. This newfound agility can be credited to the Durango’s unibody construction and near 50/50 weight distribution, two characteristics completely uncharacteristic for a traditional SUV.
Body roll is minimal, steering is positive with ample communication and firmly applying the brakes doesn’t send the Durango into fits of unsettled rage as it can in other SUVs. The new Durango’s handling characteristics actually have more in common with a car than they do an SUV. Even on the highway, the Durango excels due to its best-in-class wheelbase. Hill Start Assist and Trailer Sway Damping are also standard in Citadel models. For those who want extra traction and enhanced handling in all conditions, Active All-Wheel Drive is available, and models equipped with AWD feature heavier duty antilock disc brakes.
Inside, the Durango Citadel offers a slew of luxury features including Nappa leather upholstery with “Citadel” embroidered logos, heated and ventilated power adjustable front seats with memory, heated reclining Fold and Tumble second-row seats, a power liftgate, Keyless Enter-N-Go™ and Remote Proximity Keyless Entry, pushbutton and remote engine starting, Blind Spot and Rear Cross Path Detection and Adaptive Cruise Control.
And that’s just the beginning because the Citadel is also outfitted with an express opening and closing moonroof, a perforated, heated leather steering wheel with audio controls, ParkView® Rear backup Camera, ParkSense® Rear Park Assist System, uconnect™ Navigation with SIRIUS Travel Link and SIRIUS Traffic and a Forward Collision Warning System that detects when a vehicle may be approaching too quickly, warning you with an audible chime. A nine-speaker Alpine audio system is standard as well. The Durango also has more than 45 standard safety features including electronic stability control, Active Head Restraints, front and rear seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags in all rows and seat-mounted pelvic and thorax airbags.
The 2011 Dodge Durango represents an incredible balance of truck-like utility and roominess for seven passengers with car-like luxury and handling. With a base price starting a $41,795, the Durango Citadel offers a remarkable number of features and amenities for the money, only a few of which are mentioned here. Add in the Citadel’s No Cost Maintenance Plus Package (worth $1,100), which includes oil changes, recommended maintenance, roadside assistance, car rental allowance and trip interruption protection, and you have one of the best luxury SUV values on the road today.
If you’re in the market for a new luxury SUV, you owe it to yourself to stop in and take the 2011 Dodge Durango Citadel for a test drive. You’ll be impressed.