2012 Dodge Durango R/T: Review notes

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car appraisal  Dodge Durango SUV. MARK VAUGHN
The V8 in the 2012 Dodge Durango is rated at 360 hp. This Durango is parked at Teakettle Junction.

By: Mark Vaughn on 12/29/2011

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SENIOR EDITOR MARK VAUGHN: It was my fault.

I was cleaning the exterior of the teakettle, and a number of of the cleaning stuff got inside. I might contain cleaned it out and not supposed anything, and no one counting contain known. But come again? if present had person's name amazing lethal poisonous or still mildly discomforting or still amazing so as to now tasted funny in the cleaning stuff, despite its "green" list all in excess of the label? It counting be the usual: an investigation, bad press, and booted (again) as of the Family Man of the Year rivalry at Martha Stewart Living. Too a great deal to lose.

So so as to might denote merely one thing--it was occasion for a trip to Teakettle Junction.

It's nothing additional supposed a symbol at the intersection of two grime roads. In the close to the beginning existence of the automobile, populace wanted to get irrigate as of a nearby spring to cool completely rickety car radiators. So a pile of teakettles in progress to accumulate, thus the name. Now present are teakettles hanging all in excess of the symbol at Teakettle Junction. Google it, and you'll see anywhere it is, more supposed a few hundred on foot out in the center of absolutely nowhere, recognized by Death Valley to the south and the Saline Valley to the north, the former crowded by means of German tourists and the last crowded by means of approximately nothing except soaking weirdos in Warm Springs natural spa and the occasional F-18 ogling not any as of a pair hundred get second-hand to off the deck.

It's out there, man.

So construct vehicle to get there? It'd contain to be one so as to was clever to traverse huge stretches of washboard grime street with no whimpering or sniveling and yet amazing by means of sufficient space for a family of four, all completely cog and a possibly poisoned tea kettle, the last wrapped in a artificial 99-cent amass bag to stay any carcinogens or poisonous agents in create sure and off the nice cloth interior.

I'd similar to to say so as to I intended all petroleum out healthy in advance, but it now so happened so as to the melody I was hypothetical to get a Mercedes-Benz CL63 AMG. Somehow I wound up by means of the 2012 Dodge Durango instead. It was a high-quality thing, as the AMG strength not contain had the ground clearance to create it all the way to my final destination.

The Durango was an R/T model, construct meant it got the big 5.7-liter V8 by means of 360 hp and 390-lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed routine broadcast by means of a quick-shifter lever for knocking it downward a pair ratios whenever necessary. You by no means be acquainted with at what time you strength contain to outrun a wayward desert burro or German tourist. All-wheel drive was too fraction of the spec sheet.

So we folded downward the third-row seats, loaded up the 47.7 cubic get second-hand to of resulting storage space room (it's 85 cubic get second-hand to by means of the next row folded flat) and headed out, captivating the scenic way from side to side Adelanto, Red Mountain and good-looking Trona preceding to crossing Emigrant Pass and dropping eager on the north end of Death Valley similar to a big and completely loaded automatic kangaroo rat. On pavement, the new Durango was attractive nice. It is five decrease longer and a small bit inferior supposed the Mercedes GL and Jeep Grand Cherokee by means of construct it shares its essential unibody, so you'd stay for it to do healthy on the highway. Ours rode on 265/50-R20s so as to now intended to seem nice and maybe add to lateral hold on pavement. I strength contain liked tires by means of a senior sidewall for all the grime we'd be heavy on but the dubs by no means faltered on-road or off.

The suspension was self-governing all around, so on one occasion we got onto the dirt, present was in fact fewer unsprung heaviness defeat approximately beneath us supposed you counting get on an old, body-on-frame beast by means of a live back axle. It was similar to a gargantuan WRC entry. Maybe a WRC hold up vehicle. Well, it had an self-governing suspension, anyway.

The R/T trim height doesn't approach by means of rear-seat entertainment standard, so we had to sing a lot of songs and stay pointing out interesting rock formations to stay the hold up crew in the rear seat happy.

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We enclosed a small fewer supposed 100 on foot on the dirt, all of it flat washboard by means of the occasional puddle. With the traction manage in the non-payment "on" position, the Dodge counting tug the Durango rear eager on row approximately corners, a task more frequently supposed not complete by inducing understeer and applying additional brakes supposed we now applying. Even the the majority excellent intended can't brake ,person wheels, so the traction manage did a a great deal improved job of keeping the rig in row on high-speed grime corners supposed we did. With traction manage off in the dirt, the car counting understeer for a while, after that slowly oversteer, but not in a fun way. The AWD too meant present was fewer chance for powersliding approximately corners. In a straight row at concerning freeway speeds, the washboards washed out, and the Durango now kind of floated in excess of them. Gas-pressure shocks reassured us so as to we wouldn't probable suffer any huge suspension failures despite the continuous whanging.

Then suddenly present it was, similar to a little and fewer glittery account of the City of Oz, Teakettle Junction. Actually, it was now a sign. With a small but moving ceremony, we hung our teakettle after that to envoy kettles as of Russia, France, Japan and still Tustin. There wasn't a dry eye in the place.

Then, as extended as we had approach petroleum far, we continued on to a put attract the Racetrack, a dry lakebed so as to featured moving rocks. Google that, too. The tracks of the moving rocks now approximately all flattened by tourists, so you can't see a great deal proof of petroleum strange phenomenon so as to motionless baffles science, but the lakebed itself was the the majority imposing thing. It was a lighter shade of brown supposed El Mirage or Muroc and fewer dusty. Ironically, you can't drive by means of car on the Racetrack. That counting contain person's name fun.

So we hustled the Durango rear to L.A. via a number of additional desert wonderlands, nervousness huge tax of pace on pavement. Dodge underneath city/highway mileage at 13/20 mpg EPA. We got concerning 15.4 by means of so as to grime heavy and 15.0 at superhighway speeds.

The Durango did a comparatively complicated job of handling all the everyday jobs we involvement at it. But present are so a lot of SUVs so as to can do that. Since its total redo for 2011, it has entered the contemporary earth of unibody SUVs and be hypothetical to be on by means of catalog if you're charitable for amazing in the class. Or if you, too, contain screwed up by means of teakettle.

2012 Dodge Durango R/T

Base Price: $38,845

As-Tested Price: $40,265

Drivetrain: 5.7-liter V8; AWD, six-speed automatic

Output: 360 hp @ 5,150 rpm, 390 lb-ft @ 4,250 rpm

Curb Weight: 5,331 lb

Fuel Economy (EPA/AW): 15/15.2 mpg

Options: Sunroof ($850); broken middle 730N counting 40-GB firm drive by means of 20 GB available, GPS navigation, SiriusXM transfer and one-year subscription, SiriusXM Travel Link and one-year subscription, 265/50R-20 three-season presentation tires ($175)



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