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Durango with Hemi V8 is SUV on a mission

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The 2018 Dodge Durango’s lethal combo of utility, advanced technology, and class-leading towing, not to mention the aggressive styling, make it a standout in the SUV segment. All that and I have not even gotten to the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 engine.

I recently tested the Durango Citadel, an upscale variation trim line that is capable of being very classy – as well as being very fast. If you tow, the Durango offers a class-leading towing capability of 7,400 pounds. Impressions are made within seconds and my tester had a great-looking exterior that looked athletic, while offering plenty of Citadel sophistication.

Hemi Hops

Of note, when you opt for the Citadel trim level you have the option of a 360-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that delivers. Good for 390 lb.-ft. of torque and 22 mpg on the highway, the Hemi can offset the limitations of driving something as large as the Durango.

This is a big vehicle, 201.2 inches long and a hefty 5,400-plus-lb beast – but it handles the Hemi power with ease and makes driving a big SUV feel refined and (sometimes) fun. Durango owners love to tow things and Dodge offers trailer sway control as a standard feature.

Cabin

This is a spacious and quiet space that easily seats seven adults. My tester featured supple leather surfaces and an appreciated glass surround that produced excellent sightlines for the driver. The huge power moonroof opened up the space even more.

Driver and passenger seats had the expected power adjustments and heated options. Easy reach and control over basic functions is very intuitive and a quick adjustment for the driver.

The latest technology includes a programmable digital instrument cluster, available class-exclusive 9-inch dual screen Blu-ray and DVD player, available Beats premium audio system, 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen radio with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation and a function to view trailed items through the rear mounted camera while the Durango is in motion.

There is an optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system that kids may want to talk you into for those long drives. Available driver’s aids include adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and lane keeping assist.

Cargo & Row 3

My Durango Citadel easily sets the bar in the class for comfortably accommodating full-size adults in its third row. You heard right – seven full-grown people can comfortably occupy the Durango. The flip and folding second-row seats make getting back there a breeze – not something everyone in the class can say. Another byproduct of its spaciousness is 84.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Standards

The Citadel trim package equips Durango in impressive fashion. You’ll find satellite navigation, xenon headlights, automatic high beams, automatic wipers, upgraded brakes, front parking sensors, roof-rail crossbars, a sunroof, a cargo cover, upgraded leather upholstery, additional leather trim, a power-adjustable steering column, a power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats and a nine-speaker audio system with a subwoofer.

At the end of the day (actually the week) I had learned to love my Durango Citadel tester for all its brutish, big spaces and capable power on demand. Dodge Durango Citadel pricing starts at $42,145.