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Head and leg room is ample in all but the third row, and the seats are comfortable and roomy. The large centre console touch screen features some mercifully intuitive software, and syncing smartphones takes mere seconds. The console computer can apparently support for-purchase Dodge apps as well, though none were loaded when we took it out. Another large screen appears behind the steering wheel, in place of a traditional instrument panel. This is customizable to show speed in miles or kilometres per hour, and can also show tire pressure, range or virtually whatever else you’d like to see. The traditional gear shifter on this 8-speed automatic has been replaced by a clever selector knob,

which is round and flat and takes up very little room. Turning this knob to switch gears was a new and novel experience, while paddle shifters on the knob provided additional engine control when desired. A smart key fob and push button start, plus a driver’s seat that remembers the seat and mirror positions for multiple drivers, make a powerful impression. It’s clear Dodge has gone to some lengths to make driving the Durango a pleasurable and relaxing experience, with a minimum of effort required. To keep your kids distracted during long trips, this wellequipped Durango had an impressive backseat entertainment system with CD/DVD and two sizable flat screens. Each came complete with

power plugs plus USB, HDMI and RCA hookups. Conceivably, you could hook up two game systems at the same time. In a similar vein, the centre console has an auxiliary audio jack, and also accepts USB and SD cards. Add these to standard Bluetooth, and the Durango accepts virtually every audiovisual format except cassette tape. Gadgetry aside, the Durango is a decent vehicle to drive. The driving position is very high, and there is ample ground clearance, giving a sense of safety and control. It drives through six inches of snow like it’s not even there, and doesn’t have as severe a body roll as expected in hard turns. Given its significant weight and girth, the Durango isn’t a fast vehicle. It emits a hearty growl when you put the pedal down, but it’s nothing too exciting. To keep the Durango’s thirst in check, there is an eco-mode button on the centre console that limits RPMs to 3000, ensuring reasonable fuel consumption. Long road trips are made easy and safe thanks to a system called

adaptive cruise control. With this engaged, the Durango will match the speed of cars ahead of it, instead of merely plowing into them. Other sensors are located on the rear corners, and sound an alarm when they detect cars coming from odd angles in parking lots. For many years the Durango was more or less overlooked by the lion’s share of the North American SUV market. This is likely because it somehow doesn’t quite pass the price versus value sniff test. For the $52,000 you’d shell out for a wellequipped Durango, you could have a true luxury ride like the Acura MDX, Audi Q7 or BMW X5. Compared to the Dodge, these have much better quality and breeding. All in all, the Durango is a lot like Burgundy himself: charismatic, charming and certainly well groomed … but just a little lacking in class. Feedback? Text it! (306) 881 8372

@VerbSaskatoon jdavis@verbnews.com

39 Nov 15 – Nov 21 /verbsaskatoon

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Verb Issue S273 (Jan. 17-23, 2014)  
Verb Issue S273 (Jan. 17-23, 2014)  

Verb Issue S273 (Jan. 17-23, 2014)

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