Compare the 2021 Dodge Durango

 

2021 Dodge Durango vs. Chevrolet Traverse & Ford Explorer: Compare Midsize SUVs in Highland

Who says a family vehicle has to be boring? While many midsize SUVs are content with their utilitarian roles, the Dodge Durango adds a layer of excitement that's hard to match in its segment, with rousing driving dynamics and prodigious powertrains. Add in a healthy dose of daring and assertiveness, and you've got a menacing muscle SUV unlike any before.

But while mammoth V-8 powerplants like the SRT 6.4-liter and Hellcat Supercharged 6.2-liter are guaranteed to capture headlines, the Dodge Durango is about much more than what's under the hood. It's also remarkably practical, with spacious passenger accommodations, versatile cargo capacity, and a wide array of comfort and convenience amenities. Durango is also loaded with tech, including the all-new 10.1-inch Uconnect® 5 Navigation system and a full array of advanced driver-assistance features.

Of course, it's important to have options when shopping for a new family mover, and Farmington and Novi certainly have plenty. But while any three-row SUV can provide extra seatbelts and cargo, few, if any, offer an experience as unique and thrilling as the 2021 Durango. Here's a glimpse at how Durango compares to two of the segment's most prominent competitors, Chevrolet Traverse and the Ford Explorer.

Dodge Durango vs. Chevrolet Traverse

At first glance, the Durango and Traverse seem pretty similar. They're both quite roomy, with ample passenger space in all three rows and vast maximum cargo capacities. They also feature base-model V-6 engines and standard amenities like 18-inch alloy wheels, tri-zone automatic climate control, and smartphone integration. But when you get past the basic functions of a midsize SUV, Durango offers several advantages that give it a clear edge.

 

Style

For 2021, Dodge gave the Durango a significant mid-cycle refresh, including a mild facelift, new headlights, and modern interior refinements. The Traverse was also due for a few updates, but they ended up getting put off for another. As such, unless you spring for the RS or Premium trim, Traverse maintains its clean but rather uninspiring interior and exterior aesthetics.

Infotainment

The Dodge Durango now comes standard with Uconnect® 4. This award-winning infotainment system has drawn praise from customers and critics for its intuitive interface and crisp, responsive 8.4-inch touchscreen. Even better, the all-new Uconnect® 5 NAV is available on Durango GT and standard on all higher trims. This next-gen system features a high-resolution 10.1-inch display and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

For now, the Traverse comes offers a standard 7-inch touchscreen, which is upgradable to an 8-inch display. And the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system doesn't support wireless smartphone integration.

Adaptive Cruise Control

Both SUVs offer this desirable advanced driver-assistance technology, but it's available in the lower half of Durango's trim lineup. To get adaptive cruise control on Traverse, you have to option it on the top tier.

Performance

It's no secret that Traverse has no match for Durango's three available V-8 powerplants, which deliver 360, 475, and 710 horsepower, respectively. Still, when comparing base V-6s, Durango slightly outperforms Traverse, despite making lower power ratings (295 hp, 260 lb-ft vs. 310 hp, 266 lb-ft). The RWD V-6 Durango and FWD V-6 Traverse deliver 0-60 times in the low 7s, but the Dodge boasts a max towing capacity of 6,200 pounds, while the Chevy tops out at 5,000 pounds.


Dodge Durango vs. Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is one of the longest-running nameplates in the modern SUV era, a testament to its well-roundedness and appeal. It also benefits from last year's bumper-to-bumper redesign, giving it the edge over Traverse for styling, performance, and features. Still, when compared to the Durango, the story is similar. From a high level, both Durango and Explorer offer large, flexible interiors, generous feature lists, and robust engine upgrades. But when you take a closer look, it's clear Durango is the more compelling option.

 

Ride Comfort

No matter the trim level, Durango offers a quiet and inviting cabin with attractive design elements, ergonomic accommodations, and ample passenger room in all three rows. Durango's finely tuned suspension, planted on-road feel, and supportive seats combine to deliver a supremely comfortable and composed ride quality that stands up to the miles.

The Explorer offers nicely contoured and comfortable front seats, but adult-sized second and third-row riders will find themselves running out of room pretty quickly. Explorer also isn't as quiet as Durango, and its ride quality is less refined.

Infotainment

Durango and Explore both offer larger standard touchscreens (8.4" vs. 8.0", respectively) and larger 10.1-inch optional displays. However, Durango's 10.1-inch Uconnect® 5 NAV system is available on the second-tier GT trims and standard on all higher trims. Explorer's 10.1-inch upgrade is only available on the top-tier ST and Platinum trims, and even then, it's only optional. Additionally, Uconnect® 5 supports wireless smartphone integration, while Explorer's SYNC 3 system does not.

Performance

Standard Engine: Comparing base engines, Explorer's turbocharged 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine holds an edge with a 0-60 time of ~6.9 seconds. Still, Durango's 6,200-pound max tow rating handily outmuscles the 5,000-pound Explorer rating.

Available Engines: However, for Waterford MI drivers looking for ultimate performance, the 2021 Durango is the unequivocal victor:

  • 5.7-liter V-8 (360 horsepower; 390 pound-feet of torque): Standard on R/T and available on Citadel, Durango's first engine upgrade enables these models to tow up to 8,700 and 7,400 pounds, respectively. It clocks a 0-60 time of 6.2 seconds.

  • 6.4-liter V-8 (475 horsepower, 470 pound-feet of torque): Exclusive to the AWD SRT 392, this mighty powerplant propels the burly SUV from zero to 60 mph in an expeditious 4.4 seconds.

  • Supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 (710 horsepower, 645 pound-feet of torque): It was never a question of if we would see a Hellcat-powered Durango finally hit the streets, but when. That time has finally arrived, and the Durango SRT Hellcat is every bit as formidable as it sounds. Despite Durango's considerable heft, this enormous horsepower factory rockets it to 60 mph from a standstill in a jaw-dropping 3.5 seconds.

The Ford Explorer offers two versions of its high-performance turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. The Platinum trim makes 365 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque; slightly more horsepower than Durango's 5.7-liter, but less torque. The Explorer ST gets a higher-tuned version that achieves 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. That's good for an impressive 5.4-second 0-60 time, but it's quickly outpaced by the SRT 392, and left in the dust by the Hellcat.


Test Drive the 2021 Dodge Durango near West Bloomfield, MI

It's the SUV for muscle car people with families. If you're in the market for an accommodating family mover but still want to enjoy an energetic and engaging driving experience, Szott M-59 Dodge invites you to explore the 2021 Durango in our Highland, MI, new Dodge inventory. Give us a call or contact us online for more information about the available engines, trims, packages, and financing offers. And if you'd like to see for yourself what separates Durango from the competition, come see us for a test drive. We'd love to give you a tour.

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