In the real world, the Durango is very easy to drive, thanks especially to its impressively small turning circle. Even with its tighter, sedan-like handling, the ride is still smooth and compliant. Throw it at a turn and the Durango will lean a bit, but even two-wheel-drive variants hold tight to the road in emergency maneuvers, giving up only gradual understeer when pressed hard.

If there's any place the old Durango needed polishing, it was inside the cabin. That's why it's been completely redesigned with higher-quality materials, tighter panel gaps, and fewer seams. The result is impressive, with comfortable seats, good visibility, improved ergonomics, and a vastly improved Garmin-based navigation system. Stretching 10 inches longer than the Jeep, there's plenty of second-row legroom and a third row that can actually seat two average-sized adults comfortably.

If you'd asked us two years ago what it would take to make the Durango a serious competitor, our answer may well have involved fairytale plotlines. Truth being stranger than fiction, Dodge has pulled it off with a little help from their Italian friends. Now they just have to convince the market that this carriage isn't a pumpkin in disguise.

2011 Dodge Durango Crew 2011 Dodge Durango Citadel
Base price $36,045 $42,645
Price as Tested $37,035 $46,825
Vehicle layout Front-engine, AWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV Front-engine, RWD, 7-pass, 4-door SUV
Engine 3.6L/290-hp/260-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6 5.7L/360-hp/390-lb-ft OHV 16-valve V-8
Transmission 5-speed automatic 5-speed automatic
Curb weight (f/r dist) 4889 lb (49/51%) 5307 lb (50/50%)
Wheelbase 119.8 in 119.8 in
Length x width x height 199.8 x 75.8 x 70.9 in 199.8 x 75.8 x 70.9 in
0-60 mph 8.8 sec 7.3 sec
Quarter mile 16.6 sec @ 86.1 mph 15.5 sec @ 91.8 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 120 ft 125 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.74 g (avg) 0.76 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 28.4 sec @ 0.55 g (avg) 28.3 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 16/22 mpg 14/20 mpg
CO2 emissions 1.13 lb/mile 1.20 lb/mile
On sale in the U.S. Currently Currently