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1998 4x4 of the Year Models: Dodge Durango SLT Plus
4 Wheel & Off-Road

1998 4x4 of the Year Models: Dodge Durango SLT Plus

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About Dodge Durango

Intro

Most Dodge trucks are known for their durable natures and dependable mechanics; the Durango is no exception. This SUV does have a unique feature that sets it apart from the others in its class. While it is technically classified as a midsized SUV, Dodge made the Durango slightly larger than the others. In this manner, the Durango became an interesting hybrid between the manageable midsized and the enormous full-sized SUV. It turns out the gamble paid off as consumers seem to appreciate the extra space, while avoiding the hazards of maneuvering and parking a large SUV.

Origins

It is no secret that to the American car buyer, bigger is almost always better. For this reason such noted automakers like Ford and Chevrolet have enjoyed a great deal of success with their various truck and SUV product lines in addition to cars. Also among the big contenders for the prize of most successful SUV lines is Dodge. This American auto manufacturer has also enjoyed a lot of success designing, engineering, and producing some of the most popular lines of trucks and SUVs. In the 1998 model year, Dodge chose to offer the public yet another option in the midsized SUV category and rolled out with the Durango.

The first generation of Durango may not have enjoyed as much success as later editions, but this SUV marked yet another chapter in the American love affair with sport utility vehicles. While not quite a car or a truck, these vehicles are an ideal combination of both. They provide towing and hauling capabilities with plenty of interior room. For those who don't want a minivan and need the more diverse functions of a SUV, the Durango appeared at the perfect time.

About

In a class where many of the contenders feature softer, car-like exterior body designs, the Durango gives itself over to its masculine truck background. Many experts and Durango fans alike often describe the front end styling of the Durango as almost big rig like in appearance. There is no denying the Durango is more truck in looks and performance than other SUVs in the midsized class.

For the 2013 model year, Dodge decided to once again offer the Durango SUV as a new vehicle. This version is all about choices.

Features

In its standard form, the Durango is designed to seat a total of seven passengers. Here is where the options start. Consumers are being given the choice of the traditional second row bench seat or two captains' chairs which would lower the available seating to six. Cabin configuration isn't the only choice to make either. The 2013 Durango is offered in four trim levels, the base SXT, Crew, the R/T, and the high end Citadel.

In essence every SUV is a truck under the hood, at least most of the time. The Dodge Durango for this model is equipped with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine or a 5.7-liter V-8 motor depending on the trim level and available options. All vehicles equipped with the V-6 engine are paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. Those sporting the larger V-8 engine are given a standard six-speed. With the V-6 equipped models, the choice is given between rear-wheel and four-wheel drive. The V-8 editions are available with all-wheel drive complete with added low range gears.

Evolution

The first generation of the Dodge Durango showed up on the scene in 1998. As noted, this generation lacked the initial success one would have expected. This may have had something to do with the line's lack of quality. This generation suffered from poorly constructed interior features as well as some lackluster engine choices. Dodge learned from its early mistakes however and the second generation turned out to have better luck.

Introduced to the buying public in the 2004 model year, the Dodge Durango in the second generation arrived with some significant changes. The available powertrains were amped up to keep up with the growing reputation the Durango developed as a SUV with work ethics. The interior was spruced up and more carefully constructed for an improved image.

In an interesting twist, Dodge didn't offer the Durango new for the 2010 model year, but brought it back in the current and third generation in 2011. Some of the most significant changes include changes to the body design, giving the Durango less of tractor looking appearance and adding refinement. In the cabin, updates include advancements in the fit and construction of the panels and other features.

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