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Joining the Early Truck Platform SUVs

The Durango debuted with a 1998 model on a body-on-frame design that was based off the Dakota platform. It was labeled as a compact SUV, but it could fit up to eight people and had a spacious interior. Strong power derived from a 5.9L V8 with 245 horsepower and 335 foot-pounds of torque was another asset. Other engine options included a 3.9L V6 with 165 hp, and a 5.2L V8 with 230 hp. It also came as four-wheel drive and a base and SLT trim level. However, the Durango's most notable setback since its inception is that its powerful engine comes at the expense of mediocre gas mileage.

The Durango's Improvements

In 2000, a 4.7L V8 replaced the 5-liters on four-wheel drive models and a new Sport model was offered. Two-wheel drive was now an option, transforming the SUV into an everyday type of vehicle. Following up on its well-deserved success, a second generation came out in 2004 that offered ST, SLT, and Limited trims. The ST and SLT came with either a 3.7L V6 with 210 hp or a 4.7L V8 with 230 hp, and the Limited trim came with a 4.7L V8 or a 5.9L V8 with 330 hp. Other trims were introduced such as an Adventurer for off-roading and an SXT Sport trim. A hybrid HV briefly stinted for 2009 and could reach up to 345 hp along with an electric motor, but it would be discontinued in 2010 along with the rest of the line.

It wouldn't be long before the Durango returned. It restored life into the SUV market with a new unibody design that allowed the Durango to grow in size and improve its handling. It featured a five-speed transmission and came with Citadel, Crew, Express, R/T, and SXT trim levels. It would set the page for the current Durango, which still fits itself between the mid-size and full-size SUV class, along with the CUV class with its new unibody design. Today, the transmission has been bumped up to an 8-speed with a rotary dial replacing the classic handle, and it still features a powerful engine with a 5.7L V8 that can reach 360 hp and 390 foot-pounds of torque. It can tow 7,400 pounds, handles great on and off the road, and features an attractive and comfortable interior. Lower trims feature a five-inch screen display and the high-level Limited trim features an 8.4 inch screen. The Durango also features Blu-ray and HDMI technology.  Though the trunk space is tight, the SUV comes with some innovative features in the back like a rechargeable flashlight as well as a removable panel on the bumper that uncovers an optional trailer receiver. Though the Durango still struggles with mediocre gas mileage, it is arguably the best-towing SUV in its class. As it continues to improve, it still stands as the one of the top hauling SUVs that can pull serious weight like a truck and drive with performance that's as smooth as a car.

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