While I had the opportunity to drive the 2008 Dodge Durango Limited AWD for a month, I was able to experience a variety of driving conditions. I live in Huntington Beach, California, and to me a sunset cruise down Pacific Coast Highway while listening to the Beach Boys, or making a day exploring the back roads of Bakersfield while singing along with some ol' Buck Owens and country tunes, was time well-spent. I was even able to squeeze in a desert trip to Las Vegas while blastin' some Bon Jovi and Sammy Hagar.
The Durango was a pleasure to drive. Its telescoping, vertical, adjustable steering column and electric seats allow one to dial in the perfect driving position. The middle seats flip and tumble forward, which allows for easy access to the rear seats. Those also lay flat, when combined with the rear seats-that also fold in a matter of seconds. It transforms the comfortable seating into a large, flat cargo cabin capable of handling those trips to the hardware store. The white-faced gauge cluster was clear and easy to read. The steering wheel's crossbar face houses the finger-touch cruise controls. Also, on the backside of the crossbar, your fingertips can change radio channels and adjust its volume without taking your hands off the wheel. After turning on the ignition, the mighty 5.7L Hemi engine awakes to a surprisingly high rpm warm-up idle before settling down to its normal 750rpm idle. When the transmission was put into Reverse, the side mirrors rotated downward for a curb-view, while the rearview bumper cam was activated and viewable on the Alpine head unit screen. The Hemi's 335 hp makes merging into freeway traffic effortless, the five-speed automatic transmission delivers smooth shifts through the engine's powerband. To conserve on fuel, the Hemi features a multiple-displacement system that shuts down half the cylinders when not under-load.
I did have the opportunity to tow a loaded car trailer, testing the Durango's 8,900-pound tow package capacity. It didn't even feel like the Durango had anything hitched to it during acceleration and braking. I found the cornering to be a bit soft, letting the high center of gravity develop some noticeable body roll. The four-wheel disc brakes, however, were prominent and responsive. A firm brake pedal was noticed through its entire travel. Under heavy braking, the front suspension did tend to nosedive deeply. A nice amenity was the set of polished-aluminum five-spoke 20x8-inch wheels, which came as a factory option, and were wrapped in Goodyear Wrangler P265/50R20 rubber, delivering both style and grip.
The Alpine audio sound system features Sirius radio, DVD, and GPS-which gives you all the entertainment options and directions you need-whether making a quick run to the grocery store, or a lengthy trip for a weekend getaway.
All in all, I found the '08 Dodge Durango Limited AWD a pleasure to drive in all categories.