Having been redesigned for 2004, the Dodge Durango enters 2005 with only a few trim changes. There’s a new Adventurer package, priced at $1,060, featuring satin silver tubular side steps and roof rack side rails, reversible slush mats, washable cargo liner with built-in organizer, unique machine-finished aluminum wheels, and mineral grey side mouldings and fascias.
Other changes include heated cloth or leather seats available on the SLT, Adventurer and SLT Plus; available automatic headlamps on all models; a 50/50 split third-row seat becomes standard on the SLT Plus and Limited, replacing the single-seat unit; a full-screen navigation system is optional on Limited models; a leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls is packaged with the Infinity stereo system; and a Mineral Grey exterior colour replaces Graphic Metallic.
The Durango is available with a 4.7-litre V8 in the three lower levels, or a 5.7-litre Hemi V8 in the Limited; unlike in the U.S., where rear-wheel-drive and V6 models are available, all Canadian Durangos come with part-time, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive (a two-speed transfer case with low range is optional on all models). The four trim lines all come with seven-passenger seating.
The base SLT comes with the 4.7-litre and includes four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, power locks with keyless entry, fog lamps, cloth seats with eight-way power driver’s seat, power 5x7-inch mirrors, front and rear air conditioning, cruise, full-size spare tire, power windows, variable intermittent front and rear wipers, 17-inch aluminum wheels and CD player with four speakers. The Adventurer adds the trim package mentioned above.
The SLT Plus adds an overhead console, HomeLink universal transmitter, automatic headlamps, illuminated visor mirrors, cargo net, leather seats, six-CD/MP3 stereo with eight speakers, and security alarm.
The Limited uses the Hemi engine, and adds automatic temperature control, luxury floor mats, driver’s memory system, power-adjustable pedals, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, Infinity Adrenaline audio system with subwoofer, heated 6x9-inch power mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming, electronically-controlled throttle and power sunroof.
Boldly designed with the new huge Ram-style grille, the Durango is a big vehicle, with a matching cargo capacity and, unfortunately, a correspondingly large thirst for fuel. Despite its bulk, it’s surprisingly nimble, driving more like a big car than a truck thanks to its quick and direct steering. Both engines move it out well, but for its weight, it benefits from the beefier Hemi engine. Its body-on-frame construction with a solid rear axle gives it a towing capacity from 2585 kg (5700 lbs) to as high as 3924 kg (8650 lbs) when properly equipped. Its size also means that, unlike with many vehicles, third-row passengers don’t have to be Munchkins to fit, and the optional split third seat adds versatility. The Adventurer package’s built-in organizer lifts and opens to form a divided storage crate for smaller items.
The Durango is built in Newark, Delaware.
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