2008 Dodge Durango SUV (711)

This week we’re looking at the 2008 Dodge Durango SUV. Ok, so SUV’s are a dirty name in today’s world, but for many it is the best vehicle to service their need. Friend Merkel did a lot of research to buy a fuel efficient family vehicle for wife FJ and young sons David and Simon. That 4-seat need resulted in choosing the Toyota Yaris with consistent performance of 38 mpg for them over the past year. FJ was on the last Olympic equestrian team and her teaching requires a big truck and at diesel fuel prices it is very costly to drive, but necessary for all the gear and pulling a horse trailer. In short, there is a need beyond “Want” that justifies individuals owning larger gas hogs.

Meanwhile Toyota will begin manufacturing the Prius in the US as soon as it is able to adjust its facilities to that production – they say about 3 months. With the slow down in truck based products all car makers will replace gas guzzlers with the growing demand for a shift to smaller cars. You likely are beginning to see the Smart Car on US highways and the shift will grow from here on out. Gas prices will not allow us to drive what we want to any longer as long as fanatic ecologists fight against smart energy like Nuclear and domestic pumping of oil estimated at a reserve of over 200 years worth in the ground. There should be a balance and those passionate ecology fighters should be placing their energy on pushing wind and other earth friendly sources of energy while we provide more domestic oil to refineries.

General Info:

Parts –  US/Canadian 75%. Mexico Engine; Transmission US.

Assembly – Newark, Delaware, USA

Class:  – SUV

Cars: – Avenger, Caliber, Charger, Challenger, Dakota, Durango, Grand Caravan, Magnum, Nitro, Ram 15, 25 & 3500, Sprinter Van and Wagon & Viper.


e-mails I’ve received by many exclaim foreign oil use is simply “fueling” the anti American war machine. How could our leaders and “Real” Americans allow this to happen? With oil sands and shale in the US as touted by Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer we have all the oil we need for a very long time. Link follows:  http://www.business.mt.gov/govsenergypage.asp.

People tell me they are mad as hell that we over regulate every segment of our economy that seeks to delay developing alternate fuel technologies. True enough.

The minority puts great energy into fighting against off shore drilling, a teensy weensy part of Alaskan oil fields or anywhere there is an insect, bird, fish or plant that might be inconvenienced. Yet when farmers begin to switch to turning our valuable corn crops into

Bio fuel they don’t really care that the price of consumable corn takes food off tables.

Handling & Performance:

If power is important the 5.7 liter HEMI option will do the trick. 0-60 in about 7 seconds. A 4.7 liter 303 hp V8 is standard. But that power is available with fair fuel economy performance for such a big vehicle because of the Multi Displacement System (MDS) where it runs on 4 of the 8 cylinders when all 8 are not needed on the highway.

I won’t say this is a porpoise but remember the big Buick Road Master – that we lovingly referred to as a road hog. Well this reminds me of the rolling ride of yesteryear, like the shocks were shot.


Typical design with Dodge tough guy look. It is interesting that you must be stopped to use the nav system but finding a radio station is far more difficult yet equally as distracting. I have a suggestion – put knobs back on radios.

Fit and Finish:

Outstanding, thanks to Daimler Chrysler ownership days and influence.


Very good for serviceability level of this versatile vehicle with an exceptional features list. Once again you can save $3,000 by opting out of the Nav system and buy a portable version from Garmin or even Tom-Tom.

Conveniences and comfort:

Outstanding array of things that make life easier. The tire pressure monitor system has alerted me to impending problems on many occasions that often result in being able to take care of a problem before it hit me.

Consumer Recommendation:

There are lots of reasons why a larger vehicle is needed for many family functions. And you will have to be creative in how you travel. Your commute may mean driving a short way to the Metro Link for public transportation and save the difference in fuel cost back to the days when it was half today’s prices.

Above all, don’t panic, thinking you have to give up the big family car, truck or SUV. Just go out and buy another for those times when you don’t need that big car. I suggest you look closely at the Smart Car, Yaris and ask your Chevy dealer when the Volt will be available.

Recognized Competition:

Dodge Durango $27-38,000, Chevrolet Trail Blazer $28-38,000, Buick Rainier $32-34,000, Saturn Outlook $29-33,000, GMC Envoy $28-37,000, Subaru Tribeca $30-34,000, Toyota 4Runner $28-39,000, Hyundai Santa Fe $21-30,000, Mitsubishi Eneavor $28-31,000, Isuzu Ascender $27-29,000, Suzuki XL7 $21-29,000, Ford Explorer $26-37,000, Jeep Commander $28-43,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $29-43,000, Mazda CX-9 $29-35,000, Kia Sorento $21-26,000, Nissan Pathfinder $26-39,000.

Good News:

Robust features list, lots of convenience and space, built Dodge tough with power to spare, Multi Displacement engine for better fuel economy and not the least of which is this vehicle is made in the USA.

Bad News:

More complicated than necessary radio controls.

Standard Equipment:

5.7 liter HEMI multi displacement 335 hp V8 engine, 5-speed auto trans, electronic stability, 4-wheel Antilock disc brakes, front and side curtain air bags, back up camera, tire pressure monitoring system, battery run down protection, variable intermittent wiper/washers front and rear, power lift gate, 27 gal. Fuel tank, air conditioning, rear air conditioning and heating, computer information, reclining 40/20/40 second row seating, overhead console, memory settings for radio, driver seat and mirrors and air, security alarm, remote keyless entry, power windows, power adjustable pedals with memory, power heated front seats with memory, cruise control, leather wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, illuminate vanity mirrors in visors, multimedia system, SIRIUS Satellite radio w/ 1 year included, auto headlights, heated mirrors.


Technology group with GPS nav system, remote start system, hands free communications, Trailer Tow group w/ 4 & 7 pin harness’s, 4-wheel drive – $3,125.

Gas Stats:

$4.41/ Gal avg. July 11, ‘08


for more information.

13 City and 18 Highway MPG


MSRP $37,215 – With options $41,160.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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