"As a fan of the previous generation Durango's versatility, I'm pleasantly surprised with the new interior materials, fit and finish, and closer attention paid to the details." –Editor Dan Ward

Handling was also addressed, with the most obvious change being the new unibody construction. Despite the 0.8-inch lowered ride height and stiffer coil springs, the Durango does an excellent job of providing a smooth ride with confidence when the road begins to get twisty. Thanks to a 50/50 weight bias and rear load-leveling air suspension, cornering doesn't induce truck-like body roll, rather a certain amount of flow is introduced that is more commonly found in the crossover market. With the Hemi under the hood, the Durango can tow up to 7,400 pounds, making it a truly versatile SUV, and outmatching the sportier SRT8 by 2,400 pounds.

The Durango's 5.7L Hemi produces 360 hp and 390 lb-ft and propels the rear-wheel-drive R/T to 60 in 7.0 seconds, while going down the quarter-mile in 15.1 seconds at 93 mph. Not too shabby for an SUV marketed as a family hauler with attitude. Given the Durango R/T's $38,065 as-tested price, we'd have a hard time arguing against an SUV with HID headlights, two-tone leather-trimmed seats, and a thirst-conscious Hemi. Whereas the SRT8 is chock-full of performance inside and out, if your appetite doesn't hunger for a sports car cloaked in an SUV's body, the well-rounded and sporty R/T may just edge the Jeep for family bragging rights.


Year Make Model: 2012 Dodge Durango R/T
Base Price: $35,795
As-Tested Price: $38,065

Engine:
Type: 5.7L OHV V-8
Displacement: 345ci
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Horsepower: 360 @ 5150 rpm
Torque: 390 @ 4250 rpm
Recommended Fuel: Regular Unleaded

Drivetrain:
Layout: Front engine, RWD
Transmission: Six-speed Auto 65RFE
Brakes: 13.8-inch front 13.0 rear disc
Wheels: 20x8-inch
Tires: 265/50R20 Kumho

Performance:
Tow Capacity: 7,400 lbs
0-60: 7.0 seconds
¼-mile: 15.2 @ 93 mph
60-0: 122 feet
Observed Gas Mileage: 17.1