2011 Dodge Durango Revealed

By Chris Haak

We’ve previously seen line drawings from the patent application for the upcoming Dodge Durango’s design, and we’ve seen a few spy photos of Dodge’s resurrected SUV people hauler.  But today, Chrysler released the first official photos of the all-new 2011 Dodge Durango.

Sharing nothing but its name with the previous Durango, this third-generation model actually shares its platform with the brand new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, a vehicle with serious off-roading chops that has been receiving some of the most favorable press reviews on new Chrysler vehicles in several years.  Like the Grand Cherokee, the Durango features unibody construction and the buyer’s choice of either the new 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 or the more powerful (and thirsty) 5.7 liter HEMI overhead valve V8.  However, the Durango adds third-row seating absent in the Grand Cherokee, but subtracts the Grand Cherokee’s sophisticated (and expensive) off-road hardware in its transition to family hauler.

This newest Durango’s name was rumored to possibly be Magnum, and it’s easy to see why; in ride height and shape it more or less falls somewhere between the Magnum wagon and the Durango body on frame SUV.  It’s certainly a clean design, and shows the evolution of Dodge’s design direction away from the  over-wrought, over-muscled shapes such as the Avenger and Caliber.  This Durango is unlikely to win any design awards, but it’s also not likely to be poked fun of as some daring designs have been through the years.  It has nice proportions and is arguably more handsome than some of its front wheel drive-based crossover competition is.

It’s interesting to also see the de-coupling of the Dodge and Ram brands’ identies in this vehicle, which is the first Dodge vehicle since the creation of Chrysler Group’s Ram trucks brand.  It still holds the crosshair grille – which is supposed to go to Ram in the divorce proceedings – but the steering wheel (the only interior photo that was released) has Dodge’s new logo.  Curiously, the new logo for Dodge is a – wait for it – crosshair.  It looks like the logo was shaped to be a ram’s head, only to be changed to the crosshair logo at the last minute.  Perhaps they’re still sorting these issues out; we noticed when we reviewed the 2010 Ram 2500 HD that the word ‘Dodge’ still appeared throughout the truck a number of times as well.

A gallery of the Durango’s images follows below, with the official press release below the gallery.  The Durango goes on sale in the fourth quarter of this year.

Dodge Brand Product Onslaught Begins: Introducing the All-new 2011 Dodge Durango, the Performance SUV with a Soul

September 2, 2010 , Auburn Hills, Mich. –

Buckle in and hold tight. Dodge is jumping back into the sport utility (SUV) segment with the 2011 Dodge Durango, a three-row vehicle spacious enough to carry the entire crew and performance-tuned to thrill anyone who truly loves to drive. Durango will lead the Dodge brand’s new product onslaught for 2011.

From its sleek exterior design to its modern, spacious interior, and intelligent, fuel-efficient and powerful powertrain options, the 2011 Dodge Durango is all-new from the inside out. And the changes are more than skin deep. The Durango’s stiffened unibody structure is engineered with the driving enthusiast in mind. The end result is a vehicle that delivers premium driving performance combined with SUV capability and crossover versatility.

The all-new Durango features two engine options: the standard fuel-efficient 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and the available 5.7-liter HEMI engine with fuel-saving, Multi-displacement system (MDS) four-cylinder mode. Both engines feature variable-valve timing (VVT) and are available with all-wheel drive. In addition to great efficiency, the engines provide exceptional V-6 and V-8 towing capability with standard trailer sway control (V-8 – 7,400 lbs. and Best-in-class V-6 – 6,200 lbs.). When equipped with the HEMI® V-8, the all-new Durango can tow more weight than a 24-foot boat and trailer.

The Durango’s all-new interior is a surprise owners always deserved but never expected. Created by the same interior design studio that designed the much-lauded interior in the Ram trucks and the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango’s luxurious interior materials and thoughtful touches will make owners and their crews want to jump in, hunker down and thoroughly enjoy even the longest drive. Everywhere they touch, Durango passengers will feel materials that are refined and soft to the touch. Not only is it a pleasure to behold, it is extremely functional and gives owners a first-class experience, regardless of the trim level. Durango’s interior is also extremely comfortable for all three rows of passengers, and there’s a surprising amount of interior flexibility. With 22 different seating configurations, there’s plenty of room to store and move plenty of people and their gear.

The all-new 2011 Dodge Durango also offers consumers 45 safety and security features, including standard front seat-mounted side air bags and standard side-curtain air bags that cover passengers in all three rows, as well as all-new standard active head restraints. Electronic Stability Control also is standard. Other available safety and security technologies include Blind-spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path detection, Forward Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control and Keyless Enter-n’ Go.

The best part is, consumers will get all of the all-new Durango’s capability, functionality and flexibility and still get excellent fuel efficiency. In fact, drivers can go more than 500 miles, that’s the distance from San Diego to San Francisco or from Detroit to New York City, without having to stop for fuel.

Built at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Mich., the new 2011 Dodge Durango arrives in showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. Looks good…two comments.

    1. I was surprised to see the crosshairs on the front. I thought this would go to Ram. I do like how they made the crosshair body colored with chrome background and accents.

    2. Where does this leave the 3 row Journey?

  2. On which platform it is based? If it is existing Chrysler – they do not have decent FWD platform. I drove rental Avenger and it was inferior to any other FWD car.

  3. @Chris – the 2011 Charger is also going to keep the crosshairs. I suspect that these two were too far along to ditch them for now, but eventually, they’re supposed to go to the Ram trucks.

    The Journey is smaller and less capable, and will likely cost several thousand less than the Durango. Plus, its top engine will be a V6, while the Durango will offer optional V8 power.

    @ILO – it’s actually a RWD-based unibody platform. It shares a number of parts with Mercedes’ SUV architecture (such as on the ML-Class). It shares no chassis parts with the aforementioned Sebring (or the Journey that Chris asked about above). The Journey does share most of its platform with the Sebring.

  4. I have to wonder how much performance this “Performance SUV” will deliver with the V6.

  5. Well, the V6 is likely to produce in the neighborhood of 290 horsepower, though the Pentastar’s torque is a little light (I forget the number off the top of my head), so it might be all right. Clearly, the Hemi will be the choice for enthusiasts, though. I wonder if they’ll consider a Durango SRT8, since they’re likely dropping the 6.4 Hemi into the Jeeps on the same assembly line at some point.

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