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SUV options are virtually endless in today’s market, with most of them offering many of the same overworked features. That is not the case with the 2021 Dodge Durango, which takes the SUV market to a high level of fun, versatility, and powerful capability. The Durango has received a reinvigorated design inside and out and is even being offered with the much-anticipated Hellcat engine as part of its refreshed lineup. With styling inspired by the popular Dodge Challenger, the Durango struts a muscle car front end and a sleek, upscale interior centered on the driver.
Exciting power upgrades are now part of the Durango options, with raised towing capabilities and outrageous amounts of torque and horsepower at hand with several engine options. And yet, even the standard V6 engine will translate into plenty of power and capability when it comes time to hit the road. The Durango has room for up to seven passengers with three rows of seats, and interior comfort is undeniably designed for long rides. Technology options have been added this year, with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now a part of the numerous features available.
In terms of performance outside of speeds that leave most other vehicles, even sports cars, in the dust, the 2021 Durango can also translate its power to conquering off-road driving. With available all-wheel drive, transmission features, and intelligent stability and traction control, the 2021 Durango’s capabilities stretch into realms never seen in an SUV. From hauling heavy equipment to being able to zoom from zero to 60 faster than nearly any other SUV on the road, the 2021 Dodge Durango has reached the apex of performance.
Though the 2021 Durango may be inspired by the Dodge Challenger's style, make no mistake: the Durango has its own personality. Looking straight at the grille, especially when the Durango is outfitted with the optional scooped hood, it’s easy to see the Challenger shape echoed in that burly front end. Of course, once the V8 engines roar as you hit the gas, it’s going to sound like a Challenger, too.
But when you take a closer look, those headlights leave a different impression than the round-eyed appearance of the Challenger. Instead, you have almost cat-like LED daytime running lights rimming the LED headlights and a much higher profile with a more imposing presence. A relatively straight line along the sides will lead to the back end, where the taillights line the midsection of the liftgate in a visible LED stripe.
This year’s Durango has lots of room for personalizing, from eleven paint choices to a variety of appearance options that include five different colors of dual racing stripes available on the R/T and SRT trims. Packages like the Blacktop edition, which has black accents and grille with dual exhaust, or the Anodized Platinum package that adds platinum accents and satin carbon wheels can be added for more monochromatic looks that have just a touch of bling or black. To further emphasize the muscle-car look, a scooped hood and vents are also available options.
Sliding into the cockpit of the 2021 Durango will give you a sense of déjà vu if you’ve driven a Challenger, as the dashboard is reminiscent in style and shaping. However, that only lasts for a moment as you situate yourself into a much higher seat with more room in every direction. The instrument cluster provides all the necessary data for the driver’s needs, including steering-wheel-mounted controls for the audio system and cruise control. In the center stack, the standard 8.4-inch touchscreen is tilted toward the driver for easier management of controls on the screen, though Dodge thoughtfully places controls into the stack for the climate control and other on-board systems.
In tandem with the performance aspect of this year’s Durango, control over vehicle performance is a feature sure to please the drivers who want to make the most of their engine’s power. Toggle through the many features in the dashboard touchscreen, and customize performance in the SRT trim. Everything from traction control to launch assist - yes, launch assist - is at your fingertips in the dash so you can tune your vehicle’s driving performance the way you like it. Driving modes, towing performance, and even safety features are all accessed in the system screen pages.
One of the best voice-command systems available from any car manufacturer is the Uconnect 5 system, which is easy to use and gives access to phone connectivity, available navigation, and streaming without having to touch any buttons. Of course, if you do want physical controls, you can opt for a massive 10.1-inch touchscreen. The available Alexa connectivity can even be linked to your home Alexa system to allow for a simple transfer of reminders, shopping lists, playlists of music, and so much more, all just a voice command away. Added just this year are the available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which means your phone can be connected to this convenient feature without having to plug in your device.
Seating in the 2021 Durango is plush and comfortable in every row, front to back. In the second row, a central console gives the rear passengers control over their own climate control settings and provides a pair of USB ports for charging phones or other devices. In the upper trims, controls for the available heated rear seats are also located there. Additionally, an available Blu-ray DVD system with nine-inch dual screens can keep your back seat passengers entertained while you take road trips or have to run errands for long hours.
Despite its power and comfort, the Durango still offers plenty of cargo space for all your needs. With over 17 cubic feet of space behind the third row, you have plenty of space for your luggage and equipment, but you can expand it to just over 85 cubic feet with the seats all folded down. Tie-downs in the rear can keep valuables secure, and available cargo nets and storage options can keep your bags and boxes neat and tidy.
Options are the name of the game with the 2021 Durango, from exterior appearance to interior seating and features. Dodge claims seating for the interior can be arranged in more than 50 different configurations, which includes the number of ways seats can be folded, positioned, or slid forward to gain access to the rear. While most manufacturers only offer a small handful of choices for interior appearance, Dodge has 15 choices of interior upholstery to make the seating and stitching exactly as you like it. For upper trims, Nappa leather upholstery is the most luxurious offering.
Several engines are available as choices for the 2021 Durango, starting with the 3.6-liter V6, which comes as the standard engine in the lesser trims. It can tow up to 6,200 pounds, which is excellent for a V6, and has the best fuel efficiency of the bunch at 21 MPG combined. Two V8 engines are available for upper trims, with the 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter both offering plenty of horsepower and torque for heavy-duty work. However, the cream of the crop is the 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat. This beast offers a hair-raising 710 hp with 645 lb-ft of torque, making it the most powerful engine for the class. Only the SRT Hellcat trim comes with the Hellcat engine, and this trim will only be available for 2021.
All the engines come with an eight-speed transmission, including those with paddle shifters and drive modes. Three different choices for all-wheel drive are available, including the option for a transfer case, though rear-wheel drive is standard for all trims. With all the exterior paint and appearance options, interior upholstery choices, and engine offerings, every 2021 Durango has exponential potential for personalization to make it utterly unique to each buyer. If you want the Hellcat engine, though, get yours early to be sure you don’t miss out on this limited edition.