Dodge’s midsize SUV shares most of its hardware with its pickup brother, the Dakota, and for this they share a new model designation, the SXT. With the SXT, the Dodge seeks to create an entry level Durango that comes with just enough of the good stuff that buyers don’t feel short charged if they can’t afford all of the bells and whistles of a loaded SLT. Specifically, the SXT comes standard with a CD player, floormats, 16-in. alloy wheels and bucket seats. There’s no mistaking the SXT for other models, thanks to graphite color fender flares and front and rear fascias, SXT markings and the graphite grille. Matching running boards are optional. The SXT is the most visible change, but there are more substantive changes hidden away. Side curtains airbags for front and second row seats have joined the equipment list. The newest version of Dodge’s 45RFE 5 speed automatic transmission will make its debut midyear. Designated the 5-45RFE, the new transmission will add a second overdrive ratio to the gearbox, which should improved fuel economy while quieting the engine at highway speeds.
It will be joined by a new generation engine controller that combines the engine and transmission control function into a single computer. The 5-45RFE will only be available with the 4.7 liter V8. There are no manual transmissions available in the Durango. The Durango offers two engine choices. The base powerplant is the sohc 4.7 liter V8, rated at 235 bhp and 295 lb-ft. of torque. The top engine is the ohv 5.9 liter V8 that generates 245 bhp and 335 lb-ft. of torque. The pushrod 5.9 is teamed with a 4 speed automatic transmission.