City fuel economy can be frightening but I was surprised at how good this truck is, even when taking advantage of the new 120 km/h speed limit on the Coquihalla highway…
There’s nothing like a summer road trip in British Columbia, where we are spoiled with some of the most scenic beauty the world has to offer.
My last adventure was from Vancouver to Kelowna to visit some friends and hang by the lake, get a bit of tubing time behind our gracious host’s boat and take full advantage of some B.C. wine.
The wonderful thing about my job is that I get to hand pick the vehicle for heading out on the highway and I always like something roomy and powerful with cars German often on the top of my list. Instead of an Audi A7 diesel, this time around I selected the full-size truck-based Durango SUV from Dodge and surprisingly it does have some German roots.
My family and I are no strangers to the latest Durango; we had the very same grey Citadel version over the Christmas break last year. Same thing, I wanted something big to move people around over the holidays. That stretch was mostly city driving, this time it was wide-open road. What many people might not realize is the basis of the Durango was developed by Mercedes-Benz for its GL-Class vehicle and Dodge in turn took that same platform and made it into the Durango. My two boys, Jack,12, and Charlie, nine, love the big doors, the easy to access back seat and were surprised at how huge the cargo area is when the third row of seats is folded flat. My youngest Charlie helped me load and unload and he noticed the low power lift gate switch that shorter people can access easily.
Any time you get four people in a car for over four hours the high and low points of the interior design bubble to the surface. My wife instantly loved the two-tone black and beige leather seats that are heated, and more importantly, cooled for hot summer days. She also appreciated the big 8.4-inch uConnect screen that is only offered on this top Citadel trim, the lower trimmed cars get a 5-inch unit. The boys in the back noticed that the seats recline for more comfort and legroom is massive. On the way out of Vancouver Charlie instantly fell asleep and didn’t wake up until Chilliwack for a Tim Horton’s break, so the seats must be comfy. Jack on the other hand spent the better part of the trip playing on his iPhone but the Citadel is equipped with flip-up screens for gaming consoles and DVD movies.
My seat was a good spot to take stock of a few things, primarily fuel economy. This is a big rig and was equipped with the 5.7L Hemi V8 with 360hp, moving all that power to four wheels through an 8-speed automatic. City fuel economy can be frightening but I was surprised at how good this truck is, even when taking advantage of the new 120 km/h speed limit on the Coquihalla highway. The Durango put in a solid 11.8 L/100km, with more than 900 km driven. Keep in mind I didn’t soft foot may way to or from Kelowna. I did notice that the fuel economy improved vastly the closer I stayed to 100 km/h. The handling is a bit top-heavy in the corners, especially at higher speeds but after some initial body roll, the Durango is very stable. One notable feature is the automatic fantastic adaptive cruise control, making the ride very enjoyable.
If you drive in the city, the base 3.6L V6 engine might be a better choice based on fuel consumption but if you drive a lot on the highway or tow a boat (3,265 kg towing capacity), the Hemi is the right choice. Power was always there to pass and pull up a hill and the fuel economy can be good if the driver watches their speed. The V8 has the ability to switch off four of the eight cylinders when the truck is under light load and accessing this as often as possible makes a big difference. Another thing to consider is price, the Durango is not inexpensive, starting at $39,995 for the V6 and running up to $52,495 for the top Citadel V8. My family loved spending time in the Durango, we all had a lot of space and the trip was effortless. Our next adventure is to Portland Oregon in the Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel, I can’t wait to see how that new truck compares.
Power: 3.6L V6 with 290hp or 5.7L V8 with 360hp
Fill-up: 15.6L/9.1L/100km (city/highway V8)
Sticker price: $39,995-$52,495