The new 2012 Dodge Durango SUV has been redesigned to lead the mid-size SUV market, and is both lighter and stronger than previous models. The Durango's engine is a 3.6 liter V-6, which comes highly rated, offering 290 horsepower for easily moving a variety of cargo. The transmission is an intuitive five-speed automatic, changing gear just as you need to. The structure is unibody, rather than the separate body/frame construction of the older version, and the exterior pampered with sheet metal for less weight and better handling. The intention was to improve fuel economy, which is now at a respectable 16 city and 23 on the highway. With 50/50 distribution of weight, matching torque split, low center of gravity, and a long wheelbase that tops 119 inches, handling is accurate and solid in all weather and road conditions. Slow and stop with confidence as the Durango has four-wheel disc brakes, and stability control. Depending on your driving plans, you can choose from the standard rear wheel drive or all wheel drive, bearing in mind this will increase fuel consumption.
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Three rows of seats easily facilitate up to seven passengers for a smooth ride on an independent suspension system. Without passengers, there is 84.5 cubic feet of cargo space, making it easy to travel with moderately sized loads. The interior of the Dodge Durango SUV can be reconfigured in 28 distinct ways, offering many combinations for varying types of cargo combined with varying numbers of passengers. For example, all of the seats can be folded against the right side of the SUV, for longer items like construction materials or long furniture. Rear doors are wide enough to give convenient access to both the second and third rows. This SUV is rated to tow a load up to 6,200 pounds.
Safety features on the standard Durango include hill start assist, fog lamps, trailer sway control, and electronic stability control. Because many drivers indicate that looking out the rear windshield is difficult, if at all possible, consider some of the accident-avoidance options that mitigate this issue, including rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, rear cross-path detection, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and blind spot monitoring.
The 2012 Dodge Durango SUV has not been rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; however the very similar 2011 model did receive designation as a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Performance in those front, side, rollover, and rear crash tests all scored "good" (the top possible rating), and the electronic stability control is standard on all 2012 Dodge Durango SUVs.