For 2006, the Dodge Durango undergoes a few changes. The 5.7-litre Hemi V8 engine gains Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which seamlessly shuts off four cylinders when full power is not required, for improved fuel efficiency. All models receive 17-inch wheels, and there are new 18-inch wheels available. Electronic stability control becomes standard equipment on all models, and as a result, traction control is no longer available.

A power liftgate becomes standard equipment on the Limited model and is optional on the SLT, Adventurer and SLT Plus models; a Satin Silver-accented roof rack and embossed ram’s head logo on the front seatbacks is added to the Limited; all optional running boards on Limited models are painted Mineral Grey; a three-passenger 60/40 third row seat replaces the two-passenger 50/50 seat previously available; remote start is available on all models; roll-sensing technology is added to the side curtain air bag system; and exterior Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat replaces Deep Molten Red Pearl Coat.

The Durango is available as the SLT, SLT Plus and Limited; an Adventurer package of cargo management system, reversible rubber slush mats, cargo mat with integrated bin liner and satin silver tubular side steps is available.

The Durango’s base engine is a 4.7-litre V8; the 5.7-litre V8 is standard on the Limited and is available on all models. All come with part-time, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive (a two-speed transfer case with low range is optional on the 5.7-litre). The five-speed automatic transmission offers a “Tow/Haul” feature that holds the lower gear longer, to reduce gear searching.

The base SLT comes with the 4.7-litre and includes four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, power locks with keyless entry, fog lamps, cloth seats with eight-way power driver’s seat, power 5×7-inch mirrors, front and rear air conditioning, cruise, full-size spare tire, power windows, variable intermittent front and rear wipers,17-inch aluminum wheels and CD player with four speakers.

The SLT Plus adds an overhead console, HomeLink universal transmitter, automatic headlamps, illuminated visor mirrors, cargo net, leather seats, six-CD/MP3 stereo with eight speakers, and security alarm.

The Limited uses the Hemi engine, and adds automatic temperature control, luxury floor mats, driver’s memory system, power-adjustable pedals, auto-dimming rearview mirror, four-way power passenger seat, heated front seats, Infinity Adrenaline audio system with subwoofer, heated 6×9-inch power mirrors with driver’s side auto-dimming, electronically-controlled throttle and power sunroof.

Boldly designed, the Durango is a big vehicle, with matching cargo capacity and, unfortunately, a correspondingly large thirst for fuel. The MDS on the 5.7-litre should provide some relief at the gas pumps. It’s surprisingly nimble and drives more like a big car than a truck; both engines move it out well, but for its bulk, it benefits from the beefier Hemi engine. Its body-on-frame construction gives it good towing power, and its size means that third-row passengers enjoy more legroom than in some of the competition. The new three-passenger seat also turns the Durango into an eight-passenger vehicle.

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