2014 Dodge Durango Citadel
2014 Dodge Durango Citadel. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Justin Pritchard

Fresh out of a mid-cycle update and slathered with Dodge’s recent brand of style, character and confidence, the 2014 Durango hits the family-hauler crossover scene with new goodies, seven-passenger seating and available V8 jam, all riding on the same platform as the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is a good thing.

The tester in question is a Durango Citadel – namely the top-line model with room for seven, V8 power and all the goodies.

Two types of people drive V8-powered SUVs: cops and serious dads. And your writer, for a week or so, during which he found the Durango to be a highly tempting offering for a crossover shopper after some performance and style underlying a product with many strengths.

Like its muscle-sedan cousin, the Dodge Charger, Durango offers up a rare-in-the-segment V8, all of the latest in toys and high tech, and a unique, highly recognizable on-road presence. Further, and more importantly when it comes to courting shoppers, it’s loaded with character and thoughtfulness. There’s an athletic, confident demeanour combined with an array of delightful little touches, features and design bits that show Dodge sweat the small stuff, here. Largely, Durango is a crossover ute that goes that little bit further in several areas to help earn its price tag.

Styling is one example. Durango is low-slung, has a sleek and aggressive fascia and numerous distinctive styling elements so you won’t lose it in the Costco parking lot. A relative rarity in the crossover market, Durango’s styling does its own thing, doesn’t mimic anything, and is likely to get complimented. The headlights, complete with xenon projectors and LED accents, create a slick lighting signature after dark, and the LED light-pipe ‘racetrack’ taillamp looks kickass.

2014 Dodge Durango Citadel2014 Dodge Durango Citadel2014 Dodge Durango Citadel
2014 Dodge Durango Citadel. Click image to enlarge

Thoughtful touches in the top-line tester included the power tailgate, which cleverly waits a moment before lowering, so you can grab that last bag of groceries with your free hand before getting out of its way. The remote start fires up the heated seats and steering wheel when it’s cold. There’s a cap-less fuel neck, which saves a step at the gas station. And since washer fluid only runs out when its 30 below and very windy, drivers will likely appreciate the nearly fist-sized filler neck for quick and waste-free refilling. Incidentally, there’s a clever bin in the cargo area sized almost perfectly for a jug of washer fluid, too. A self-recharging flashlight is mounted above it. There’s even a button drivers can press to fold down the rear-seat headrests for visibility’s sake if passengers leave them up. The list goes on.

Up front, by relegating the gear shifter and transfer case to small rotary dials, there’s more handy storage space left for other items – including multimedia and electronics which all get nearby inputs or outlets. There are two USB ports within the driver’s reach, as well as an SD card reader for calling up videos and photos on the central screen.

The Citadel’s cabin was styled and trimmed with tasteful restraint. It’s a Dodge, not a Cadillac – and your writer appreciated the absence of over the top trim, glitzy chrome and glossy wood paneling. I’m a fan of cabins that are big on luxury but bigger on sportiness – and if you’re of the same mindset, you’ll like it in here.

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