2004 Dodge Durango Review- First Drive

    Now With Hemi Power

    David KennedyPhotographer, Writer

    Larger and more refined than the previous Durango, the '04 model trumps the competition in the performance numbers with styling that sets it apart from the rest of the pack. The family resemblance to the Dodge Ram lineup is strong but also hints at a new midsize Power Wagon-esque look that we expect to see on the upcoming Dakota replacement. The redesigned Durango interior pulls cues from the Ram truck but feels more upscale with cleaner lines and surfaces. People and cargo hauling are the top priority for this SUV and it shows in details like 84-degree opening rear doors that'll let you load almost anything into the back seat. Our initial driving impressions on the winding country roads of Tennessee are that this truck feels and drives smaller than it is with a very quiet ride and great maneuverability for a large family 4x4.

    Thankfully the truck DNA has not been lost on this upscale SUV. A fully boxed frame, huge 13.9-inch rotors, Hemi torque, and a 6,600 GVW combine to give the Durango a higher towing capacity than the Chevy Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia, or Ford Expedition. And though we are disappointed about the lack of an available limited-slip differential, the optional ABS-based traction control system works well for the mild trail use we think these trucks will see. Here are some of the technical highlights we knew you'd want to see.