Introduced in 1998 to fill the gap between midsize SUVs and full-size vehicles like the Suburban, the Dodge Durango fills the niche nicely providing ample passenger space and a variety of engines.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 3.7-liter V-6, 4.7-liter V-8, 5.7-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Durango SXT, Dodge Durango SLT, Dodge Durango Limited
The 2006 Dodge Durango was fully redesigned in 2004, but there are still quite a few new updates to the 2006 line. Seventeen-inch alloy wheels are now standard. A 5.7-liter, Hemi, V-8 engine gets a multi-displacement cylinder management system to boost fuel economy in certain conditions. New options include stability control, a power rear liftgate, and remote vehicle start. The SLT and Limited models have an optional three-passenger, 60/40-split, third-row bench that boosts passenger capacity to eight.
The 2006 Dodge Durango features the carmaker’s signature crosshair grille and aggressive wheel arches. Single headlight covers conceal dual lights. It has short front and rear overhangs, and a dramatically sloped windshield that somewhat impedes visibility. There is a full spare tire concealed under the car. The base SXT features body-colored front and rear fascias, fog lamps, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Opt for the Adventurer package and get specialized alloy wheels, a roof rack, and ""satin silver"" tubular side steps. The high-end Limited models upgrades to 18-inch wheels, heated door mirrors, and a power rear liftgate.
The 2006 Dodge Durango has comfortable front-row seats and now features more room for second-row passengers. Unfortunately, however, this does not translate into additional legroom – long-legged adults will find it cramped. The second row also has reclining seatbacks. Other standard amenities include cargo tie-downs, cruise control, 12-volt front and rear power outlets, and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel. Options include secondary climate control, a DVD entertainment system, a 384-watt Infinity sound system, satellite radio, and a navigation system. The interior has 19 cubic feet of cargo space with all of the seats up, 67 cubic feet of space with the third row folded into the floor, and 102 cubic feet with both rows folded down. The base SXT model comes with standard power windows, locks, and mirrors, air-conditioning, heated seats, an AM/FM stereo with a CD player, wood-grain cabin accents, and a two-passenger third-row seat. The Adventurer package includes slush mats, a cargo liner, and organizer.
The mid-level SLT and top-line Limited have an optional 60/40-split bench that ratchets passenger capacity up to eight, but the third row is for children only – adults will find it too uncomfortable. Upgrade to the Limited and you will get leather seating, automatic climate control, a three-passenger third-row seat, a nine-speaker Infinity audio system with steering-wheel-mounted controls, auto-dimming mirrors, a universal garage opener, a memory system for the driver seat, mirror, stereo, and climate settings, and a security system.
Performance & Handling
The 2006 Dodge Durango’s fully-hydroformed frame allows for a better ride and handling, and ensures decreased rattles and squeaks down the road. It is available in either two-wheel (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD). The 2DW SXT and SLT come equipped with a base 3.7-liter, V-6 engine, pulling 210 horsepower (hp) with 235 lb-ft of torque. The 2WD Limited and all 4WD models come with a 4.7-liter V-8 that is backed by 230 hp with 290 lb-ft of torque. There is also an optional 5.7-liter, multi-displacement, Hemi V-8 that boasts 335 hp with 370 lb-ft of torque. All cars have automatic transmissions: the V-6 comes with a four-speed automatic, while the V-8 comes with a five-speed automatic with a tow-haul mode. Properly equipped, it has a tow capacity of 8,950 pounds, which is more than most full-size SUVs. Overall, the soft suspension and light steering offer a smooth ride, although handling is not perfect, as the car tends to veer. It does, however, have good off-road capabilities. The base V-6 barely gets the job done, so upgrade your vehicle if possible. Buyers recommend the Hemi, which makes for one of the quickest SUVs in its price range.
The 2006 Dodge Durango comes with standard, four-wheel, anti-lock disc brakes and dual front-impact airbags with occupant-sensing functionality. All vehicles also come with standard child-seat anchors, and front and rear height-adjustable headrests. Roll-sensing side-curtain airbags for all three rows are optional. Stability and traction control come standard on Limited models and are optional on the rest. Power-adjustable pedals are also standard on the Limited, and are optional only on the SLT.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the 2006 Dodge Durango a perfect five-star rating for passenger and driver front-impact crashes, and three stars for rollovers. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety did not test this vehicle.
EPA Fuel Economy
Dodge Durango V-6: 14/19 mpg city/highway
Dodge Durango V-8: 13/17 mpg city/highway
- Nice handling
- Plenty of cargo space
- Strong V-8 engines
You Won't Like
- Poor fuel economy
- Cramped legroom
- Poor visibility
- Difficult entry/exit
Great for large families that like to drive off-road, as long as the frequent re-fuels aren’t a problem.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Chevrolet Tahoe
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