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The Dodge Durango is an excellent example of late 20th century marketing and automobile cleverness. The Durango was built to attract a consumer who wanted power towing, interior comfort, and decent cargo space as well as that extra third seat so the kids could get away from their parents in the car.

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The Durango replaced the Ramcharger in their model lineup. It looked like a full size SUV thanks to its body design, but it handled more like a small truck even though the standard 5.2 litre 230 horsepower with 300 ft-lbs of torque Magnum V8, and the 5.9 litre 245 horsepower with 335 ft-lbs of torque were gas fiends in 1998 and 1999. A smaller more gas friendly 3.9 litre 175 horsepower with 225 ft-lbs of torque was also available.



Durango engines flexed their towing muscles thanks to low end torque. The 5.9 litre could tow 7,300 lbs and handle an 1800 lb payload in the interior. That kind of power put the Durango at the top of the SUV leader board with boat and trailer owners. The Durango was a decked out modern day SUV gladiator, but the 4-wheel drive as well as the 2-wheel drive versions were chastised by some for their excessive drinking habits.



Some folks thought the Durango was in the Suburban’s league when it came to fuel consumption. Chrysler had a plan and it was revealed in 2000 when a 4.7 litre PowerTech V8 was an engine choice, plus the vehicle was getting a lot of Hollywood attention in a variety of movies, so sales of the Durango continued to grow.



In 2004 the Durango had a metal facelift as well as an engine tweaking. Sales started to climb again so Chrysler had a hands-off policy until the 2007 model year. That’s the year Chrysler put their signature engine under the hood. The 5.7 litre 340 horsepower Hemi V8 was the Durango’s power source that year, but that change didn’t impact sales so the Durango was a candidate for the SUV history books.



Chrysler announced the shut-down of their Newark, Delaware plant in 2008, and that stopped Durango production until a Durango hybrid was introduced for 2009. The new Durango engine was the 5.7 litre 340 horsepower Hemi with the Multiple Displacement System as well as a Two-Mode Hybrid System.



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