First Impressions: 2015 Dodge Durango Citadel

If it looks like a truck and drives like a truck, can it be family-friendly? Our half an hour turn in the 2015 Dodge Durango Citadel revealed what sets it apart from other truck-like SUVs in its class.

Handling

The Dodge Durango was an enjoyable drive. While it will never be confused with a car based crossover, the truck based SUV handled smaller than it was. Steering was spot on and the turning radius was surprisingly tight. The ride was softened just enough to avoid the jarring effect some trucks send to the driver without the overly soft, floating ride some luxury SUV’s provide.

Infotainment

The Durango featured an 8.4” touchscreen that controls Dodge’s Uconnect system which allows access to navigation and a suite of available apps. All of the infotainment, audio, and HVAC controls are housed with the touchscreen in a frame inset in the center stack. Our testers were split on the setup with one appreciating the controls being inside the frame and the other feeling the area looked cramped and too full.

Steering wheel controls for the infotainment system, audio, and cruise control completely filled the horizontal spokes of the steering wheel making the wheel look crowded. The center console is the exact opposite with an electronic transmission control knob and integrated cupholders making for a clean, almost elegant look.

Exterior

The Durango looks 100% Dodge, and 100% truck. Long broad sides and slightly flared wheel wells give it a look that is big, muscular, and capable. The Citadel model we tested came with a ground effects/molding package that added a level of sportiness to the SUV.

Seating/Storage

The front seats in the Durango were comfortable enough to leave us wishing we had more time to enjoy them. We could see ourselves enjoying a road trip in style and comfort. The second and third rows are set a bit higher with stadium like seating that is fantastic for rear seat passengers. Visibility for even the smallest of passengers is good. The third row was adequate for kids on short trips and was easy to reach with second row seats folding out of the way.

Cargo room was good with the third row up, and grows to massive with the rear row stowed. The rear lift gate was automated which we always appreciate. Dodge had the foresight to put the button to lower the gate just inside the cargo area and well within reach of a hand loaded with grocery bags. Other manufacturers are finally starting to adopt this feature we now view as a must for automated lift gates.

image courtesy of FCA
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