With passion and utility: Dodge Durango R/T - thick V8 all-rounder at a bargain price

In the midst of advancing electric mobility, Dodge is still offering a classic piece of automobile with the Durango, complete with plenty of space and a solid eight-cylinder under the hood.

With passion and utility: Dodge Durango R/T - thick V8 all-rounder at a bargain price

In the midst of advancing electric mobility, Dodge is still offering a classic piece of automobile with the Durango, complete with plenty of space and a solid eight-cylinder under the hood. On request, its 5.7-liter engine can run on cheap liquid gas, i.e. LPG.

Can an engine with a displacement of 5.7 liters still be contemporary? Adherents of the ecologically motivated restructuring of all transport and energy issues may ask questions of this kind. "Contemporary" is not the category in this debate, it's more about how the masses are motorized. Highly efficient and increasingly electric, of course. The Dodge discussed here is not only a combustion engine and a giant displacement, but also a vehicle for rather special car fans with a preference for practical utility.

The fact that the multifunctional expert Durango, which has been built since 2010, still catches the eye may be due to its striking appearance on the one hand and its rather attractive simplicity on the other. Not that it hasn't undergone modifications over the years, but the basic flow is clear: lots of displacement, simple cylinder head with overhead valves (albeit controlled by a variable camshaft) - and great sound. Inside there is a lot of plastic instead of elaborate architecture, why not. The hanger is his engine, of course.

After all, the Stellantis group (to which Dodge now also belongs) has also been no slouch when it comes to automatic transmission and infotainment. A meanwhile well-maintained eight-speed torque converter transmits the 529 Nm of the displacement monster (364 hp), and the 5.11 meter giant pushes on correspondingly smoothly. And while you unwind many kilometers in a comfortable way, at least the passenger has the opportunity to try out the intuitively operated touchscreen.

Ultimately, the navigation system may not be entirely modern, but it calculates quickly and can be easily fed with destinations. If the integrated guide is not acceptable, the user can still switch to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Why exactly Durango? It's hard to find a vehicle as useful at such a fair price - starting at €78,590 for the R/T - with such an appealing V8 under the hood. The US SUV looks more spectacular at the front than at the back with its striking daytime running lights and the conspicuous scoops on the hood for better ventilation. The rear, on the other hand, seems almost irrelevant - at least during the day. After dark, the continuous light strip delights with its characteristic design.

Three rows of seats with flexible use allow the transport of up to seven people or optionally luggage with a volume equivalent of over 2400 liters. If you need a flat trunk floor, you can even fold down the backrests simply by pressing a button - it works really easy.

And whether with or without luggage - the all-wheel drive vehicle covers long distances comfortably and spoils you under load with its typical V8 sonorous nature. According to the brand, the material and workmanship are rather down-to-earth, but that's exactly what makes them likeable. Just please don't misunderstand the basic eight-cylinder, it's not an insane source of performance. Although the naturally aspirated engine pulls quite a bit on the two-and-a-half ton truck as the speed increases, it doesn't turn it into a racing car. However, 7.5 seconds for the standard sprint from 0 to 100 km/h is by no means sad.

Oh yes, that the Dodge is also blessed with active assistants, he hardly hides. They are designed so conservatively that they sound the alarm if you drive a little faster at the traffic light towards a vehicle that has already come to a standstill. Then the lettering "Brake" in warning signal red appears on the display and there are also loud beeps. In this context, the cruise control is of course also adaptive and brakes the Durango down to a standstill in stop-and-go traffic. However, caution is advised, because instead of braking until the vehicle in front drives off, the brakes are released again after a few seconds - and the Ami rolls off. Then manual braking is announced, you should know that.

Anyone who unwinds many kilometers with the extremely spacious Durango should also order the liquid gas system from Prins, which costs 3490 euros. Incidentally, the importer gives a three-year guarantee on them. Because it makes a difference whether you pay around 1.80 euros per liter of fuel (Super) or sometimes less than 1.10 euros for LPG (Liquified Petroleum Gas).

Even under the proviso that LPG operation is slightly more fuel-efficient than driving with premium petrol (13.8 l/100 km combined according to NEDC), you would still save around six euros per 100 kilometers driven. This would have already brought in the purchase price for the LPG system after two (with an annual mileage of 30,000 kilometers) and would even still be within the warranty period. And some customers drive 50,000 kilometers and more per year.

Handling the gas system is very simple - as soon as you fill the gas tank, the Dodge runs on LPG. If the liquid gas content runs out, the system switches to petrol operation. The level indicator is to the left of the steering wheel in the lower area of ​​the dashboard and is neatly integrated into the surface as a small unit with the corresponding LEDs.

Perhaps you should also know that the Dodge Durango is not a gray import in any way, but is offered by the Auto Export Corporation (AEC) as the official importer of the Dodge and Ram brands with the blessing of the Stellantis Group. The AEC even has a homologation department and adapts the vehicles for the European market. The products are therefore available with a factory guarantee and support in the workshops of the 150 European AEC trading partners. Please hurry if you still want to get hold of an eight-cylinder - because downsizing and electrification are already on the way at Dodge too.

Conclusion: The Dodge Durango R/T is definitely out of line as a utility offer. Where else can you get such a large and spacious car for this course, which also has such a melodious eight-cylinder under the hood? Dodge knows how to occupy this niche. However, the same applies here: The days of pure V8 enjoyment are unfortunately numbered at Dodge too. So if you can, you should strike quickly.