The Dodge Durango is one of the most recognizable sport utilities on the road. As one of the original crossover-SUVs on the market, the Durango made its name for its combination of muscular good looks and powertrain options to back up those looks. Today, the Durango sees a few updates meant to give it a more aggressive exterior, a few interior tweaks for ergonomics, and some added tech.
Among the lineup of 2021 Durango offerings, though, the Durango R/T fits right in the middle of the trim levels and offers a compelling amount of muscle for the price being paid. The R/T is the only Durango model sporting the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with only the SRT and SRT Hellcat also offering V8 engines, though those are both larger displacement and supercharged. As it is, the 2021 Dodge Durango R/T is about $20,000 cheaper than the SRT with its 6.4-liter V8, making it the most realistic (in pocketbook terms) of the V8-powered Durango lineup.
The Durango R/T produces 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard in this rig and all-wheel drive is optional. The R/T features 20-inch wheels, a 9-speaker audio system, a 10.1-inch touchscreen, navigation, LED accent lighting, rain-sensing (automatic) wipers, a wireless phone charging port, leather seating, and more. We like the convenience features like the power-folding and heated side mirrors, power liftgate, remote start, and so forth that are also included.
Best of all, the R/T can have the Tow N Go package added, which brings towing to a remarkable 8,400 pounds.
The base model 2021 Durango R/T gets started at about $50,000 and is pretty loaded for that price. The growling V8 engine and its respectable 22 mpg highway rating are also great–and nearly match the less aggressive V6’s MPG ratings.
We enjoyed the drive quality and feel of the well-balanced Durango R/T and really liked the way the V8 puts out the angry when asked and otherwise stays fairly quiet. It’s a nice setup and it makes driving a family rig like this a lot more appealing.
Our greatest complaint with the 2021 Dodge Durango R/T is in its bulk. It isn’t necessarily larger or physically more robust than its rivals, but it drives and maneuvers like it is. That can be added charm for some, though, making the Durango feel more aggressive than it looks. Which may be a reason it’s so popular.
Whatever the case, for the money being spent, the Durango R/T delivers more than most. There aren’t many V8 options left in the crossover-SUV market and this one balances power with some realism. Nicely done, Dodge.