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2014 Dodge Durango Citadel AWD Road Test

For $50,000, you may want to look elsewhere.

What It Is
A three-row family hauler loaded with amenities.
Best Thing
Comfortable and quiet interior perfect for road trips.
Worst Thing
Braking and acceleration left us wanting more.
Snap Judgment
The 2014 Dodge Durango Citadel has its pros and cons, but that con list stacks up.


Dodge recently revamped its popular midsize SUV, making it slightly larger than your average vehicle in the segment to accommodate more passenger and cargo room. While this may have seemed like a good idea, the size difference can be felt when driving. However, because of that added space, the third row doesn't feel as cramped as those from competing vehicles.

We took it for the week to see if it held up against its competition. We loved the updated leather-trimmed interior and added technology, but we weren't so sure we needed all the add-ons and extra packages. This model is well-equipped as it sits, but we know that every feature counts in this segment. There was a laundry list of things we loved and hated about the new Durango, but one list had more on it than the other.

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What We Drove

The 2014 Dodge Durango has a base price of $29,995, but our model was the top-of-the-line Citadel, which comes in at $43,395 with AWD. We added on a few things like the Technology Group that features adaptive cruise control, brake assist, forward collision warning, and blind spot monitoring, a Rear DVD Entertainment Center, towing package, second row captain's chairs, and a second row console with armrest and storage. That brought the overall price to $50,570.

Power came in the form of a 3.6-liter V-6 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard features included heated and ventilated front seats, 8.4-inch touchscreen display, navigation, sunroof, and media hub with an SD, USB, and auxiliary hookups. Safety features included advanced multistage front airbags, driver knee airbag, side curtain airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, along with a backup camera and rear park assist.

The Commute

As far as commutes go, our hour drive to and from work through morning traffic on the 405 gives us the perfect testing ground. This is where Bluetooth becomes almost a necessity and comfort and silence are golden.

The Dodge Durango offered an infotainment system that was intuitive and easy to use, with a layout that was both aesthetically and functionally pleasing. It took us no time at all to pair our phone and head out for the drive. Streaming music was just as easy.

We weren't so fond of the acceleration and braking performance. With constant stop and go traffic, smooth brakes are ideal, but the Durango offered anything but. The brakes were jerky, and you almost had to slam on them to really get the vehicle to a complete stop. Acceleration was slow, and although that may be due to the size of the SUV, its competitors offer much better performance.

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The Grocery Run

While the 2014 Dodge Durango Citadel may boast almost 85 cubic feet of cargo room, that's with the back two rows of seats folded down. With all three rows in their upright position, that number dwindles, but it will still hold a handful of grocery bags. Maybe not enough for a family of four to eat for a week, but still a decent amount. If extra room is needed, the third row seats fold easily and lay flat with the floor.

Thanks to the second row captain's chairs, the third row seats are more easily accessible to passengers, but we don't recommend anyone taller than 5'6 sitting there for long periods of time. There's plenty of head and legroom between the first two rows for the majority of passengers, and they will find the seats comfortable and supportive.

Equipped with a backup camera and blind spot monitoring, we had no issues getting in and out of those tight parking spaces or parallel parking on the street. Thanks to a tight turning radius and decent handling, the Durango--despite its size--proved to be deceivingly maneuverable.

The Weekend Fun

Our weekend was a non-stop car ride, and while that may not be the most exciting thing in the world, it let us really test out what the 2014 Dodge Durango had to offer. When just driving around the city, the slow acceleration isn't anything to complain about, but as soon as you hit the freeway, that all changes. Getting up to speed is difficult, and you can feel whenever the Durango shifts gears. With an eight-speed automatic transmission, it's hard not to notice.

As far as road trips are concerned, this may actually be a top choice vehicle. With sleeping passengers, the slow acceleration won't stir them, and its relaxed drive is perfect for those long stretches of road. Our model came with the rear DVD entertainment system and captain's chairs, which turns the back seats into your own personal movie theater. With two separate screens, the chances of getting car/motion sick are reduced as well.

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Summary

For $50,570, we don't think the 2014 Dodge Durango Citadel AWD is worth the money. Yes, it does some things quite nicely, but there are too many things that take away from the overall experience. Acceleration was subpar at best, and you could tell this vehicle was heavy and large.

While it may be a good choice for your next road trip, remember that you'll have to live with it long after the fact. And it doesn't make for a good daily driver. The brakes are less than confident, offering up a shaky ride when coupled with the extremely poor acceleration. However, if we were to buy this car, we'd opt for a mid-level trim with a few options, as all that our test model came equipped with wasn't needed.

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Spec Box

Price-as-tested: $50,570
Fuel Economy
EPA City: 17
EPA Highway: 24
EPA Combined: 19
Estimated Combined Range: 467 miles
Cargo Space: 84.5 cubic feet with second and third rows folded
Child Seat Fitment, Second Row: Good
Child Seat Fitment, Third Row: Good
Intellichoice Cost of Ownership: Poor

Notebook Quotes

"At first I wasn’t sure if I could pay $50,000 for a Durango. At the end of the test, I decided I couldn’t pay that money for this particular vehicle. Although it featured extremely comfortable seats, a large touchscreen, and other features to marvel at, acceleration was slower than I expected, even for a car this size." -Kelly Pleskot, Online Editor

1 comments
tnlakepanda
tnlakepanda

Boy you must have been driving something other then the 2014 Citadel.  Although I feel the V6 does just fine you can opt for the Hemi V8 but unless you are pulling a trailer you really don't need it.  Remember this is an SUV so I would not expect it to accelerate like my Audi A6.  I have not noticed any issues with poor breaking and it test out quite well for it's size and weight.  As for the price no one is paying MSRP.  You can find this vehicle for about $6k under MSRP.  With all the comfort and tech you get I see it up there with the rest of the pack.  Some of the "Luxury" SUV's in that price range can't tow a chicken coop so that alone would x them out for a lot of SUV owners. 

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