Our Four Favorite Features of the 2016 Durango

December 4th, 2015 by

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Details on the 2016 Dodge Durango are still few and far between, but several car writers have had the opportunity to test Dodge’s SUV. Therefore, we’ve received several of the vehicle’s features and capabilities, allowing us to choose our favorite. Sure, we haven’t actually tested any of these functions, but based on the early reports, they certainly sound like they’re worth waiting for. Whether it’s the sporty driving experience, the updated technology, the variety of packages, or the Durango’s design, there are several reasons to be excited about the vehicle’s release.

The 2016 Dodge Durango still won’t hit lots for a couple weeks (although ordering is now available), but we can still anticipate our favorite attributes of the rugged vehicle. To learn more, continue reading after the break…

Driving Experience

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The Durango has always been regarded as a rather sporty vehicle (and we’re not talking about the fact that it’s a SPORTS utility vehicle). This year, the engineers have taken the vehicle’s athleticism to another level, presenting a unique driving experience that you don’t often find in SUVs.

With the new Sport mode capability, drivers can expect their Durango to deliver a “more responsive driving experience.” How does the SUV improve an already-great ride? The system revamps the steering calibration, pedal calibration and shift pattern, and with the more sensitive controls, the vehicle can improve its on-road performance. While you’ll be operating an SUV, it will feel like you’re driving a much smaller vehicle.

The engine’s stop-start technology doesn’t only help you save money on fuel, but it also lowers the vehicle’s emissions. The standard system accompanies the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, shutting down the unit when the engine is at a complete stop. This may seem a bit peculiar, but you wouldn’t even realize the engine was off unless you had been told.
All of the vehicle’s included features (like radio, gauges, air conditioning) still operate, giving the appearance of a working engine. When it’s time for the vehicle to move and for you remove your foot from the brake, the unit automatically starts back up. Besides the improvement in fuel economy, the technology will also help improve the vehicle’s feel while you’re accelerating.

To further complement the engine’s stop-start technology, engineers also upgraded the start and battery systems. The starter is now secure in a “stronger case, heavy-duty flywheel teeth and a more robust starter solenoid.” The system’s voltage will be monitored via the battery sensor, stopping the ESS if it determines there’s a low battery charge.

New Technology

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If you’ve used Dodge’s UConnect system previously, you may find an updated (and improved) operating system with the 2016 Durango. If your vehicle is equipped with the 8.4-inch touchscreen, you’ll receive a variety of new features with your infotainment system.

The interface now features a drop and drag menu bar, meaning the driver can customize their screen to adapt to their needs and wants. If you find yourself constantly browsing reviews on Yelp or playing with the heated and cooled seats, you can access both via the one-button access.

For more basic requests, you can simply use the Siri Eyes Free technology (compatible with Apple iPhone 4S or later). Using voice commands, the driver can send texts, play music, make calls, and access navigation… all without taking their eyes off the road. If you end up receiving too many texts or too many phone calls, you can ask for some privacy via the ‘Do Not Disturb’ and ‘Reply with Text Message’ feature. With these capabilities, you can send callers to voice mail, or you can have you phone respond with a customized response (via text message).

Finally, the SiriusXM Tune Start allows you to determine your favorite music artists and bands. When one of the satellite radio service’s hundreds of channels plays one of your favored group’s songs, it will give you the option to automatically switch to the station.

Variety of Packages

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There are a number of trims and packages for the 2016 Durango, and they each include at least one new feature.

We can all appreciate fancy-looking wheels, and the brand included a pair of new options for the 2016 Durango Citadel. 20-inch fully polished wheels now come standard on the vehicle, as does the “monochromatic exterior appearance,” which includes the same-colored front fascia, rear fascia and wheel flares. If you own the Citadel trim, you can opt for the Platinum Appearance Package, which upgrades the wheel to Satin Carbon and includes platinum “exterior mirror caps, grille surround, fog lamp bezels, exterior badging, door handles and lower sills.”

Looking at the R/T trim, a buyer can anticipate the inclusion of new 20-inch low gloss Granite Crystal wheels. Head to the inside, and you’ll find ventilated Nappa leather seats (with Black or Radar Red Nappa leather), a heated steering wheel, the 8.4-inch premium touchscreen, a cargo net and cargo compartment cover, and a SmartBeam HID headlamp. The R/T also include a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a rain-sensitive windshield.

The Limited model includes 18-inch wheels (with Granite Crystal pockets), but if you opt for the optional Premium Group, you’ll receive 20-inch polished aluminum wheels (with a body-color lower front fascia, rear fascia, sills and wheel flares). If the Premium Group isn’t the trim for you, you could opt for the funkier Brass Monkey Appearance Package. This add-on offers 20-inch Brass Monkey (burnished bronze) wheels, Gloss Black grille and exterior bags, and plenty of body-colored amenities.

Finally, the Durango SXT will be adding Satin Carbon finish on the trim’s 18-inch wheels.

Stylish Design

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Don’t worry, you’ll still get the familiar Durango look with the 2016 model. As the vehicle’s press release read, the engineers wanted to convey “how advanced the Durango is, while maintaining the muscular body and confident personality customers expect from Dodge.”

Based on all reports, it seems like they’ve succeeded. While we’ve seen three-row SUVs before, many of these vehicles (including previous Durangos) didn’t have the same kind of handling as their smaller competitors. That won’t be the case with Dodge’s upcoming SUV, as the vehicle’s short/long arm front suspension and isolated multi-link rear suspension (with isolated front and rear cradles) help deliver a superb driving experience, both in regards to comfort and actually being behind the wheel. Furthermore, when this system is coupled with the four-wheel independent suspension, you can expect a solid and durable ride… as well as a fun and enjoyable driving experience.

There’s also the available all-wheel drive, enhancing the experience from the standard rear-wheel-drive-based drivetrain. Via the V8 or Pentastar V6 engine, drivers will feel improved traction and handling. With the included low-range transfer case, you can also expect easier maneuvers, an essential function in such a big vehicle.

Finally, there are four new exterior paint colors available for this year: Red Pearl, Luxury Brown, Light Brownstone and Ivory Pearl Tri-Coat. Your Durango wasn’t only designed with style in mind, as the engineers clearly considered the vehicle’s aerodynamics and driving ability. Therefore, it’s quite impressive that they produced such an attractive vehicle.

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