Car Review

2012 Dodge Durango: Used Car Review

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author photo by Ron Sessions September 2014

The 2012 Dodge Durango continues in 2012 with its sleek, Coke-bottle shape, 4-wheel independent suspension and unibody construction. Built off a stretched version of the highly regarded Jeep Grand Cherokee platform, the Durango offers 3-row seating with 28 different configurations, 85 cu ft. of cargo space, and up to 7,400 pounds of towing capacity with the available 5.7-liter HEMI V8. New on the Durango for 2012 are optional second-row captain's chairs and an automatic transmission for HEMI models that offers six speeds when shifted manually. The SXT base trim replaces last year's Express trim, while the Heat model has been discontinued.

The 2012 Durango is a smart used-vehicle choice for buyers desiring an SUV with full-size capabilities that drives smaller than its size.

What We Like

Muscular styling; seamless all-wheel-drive operation; upscale interior materials; engaging ride and handling; available HEMI V8; Uconnect infotainment

What We Don't

Fuel economy could be better; high cargo liftover height; R/T model ride quality can be choppy

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2012 Durango has two available engines. The SXT, Crew and Citadel come with a Pentastar 3.6-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) V6 with 290 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both rear-wheel-drive and 4-wheel-drive models have an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. A 5-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick sequential shifting is standard.

Standard on the Durango R/T and optional on Crew and Citadel models, the 5.7-liter overhead-valve (OHV) HEMI V8 produces 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. It runs on regular unleaded, but midgrade is recommended for best performance. A fuel-saver mode shuts down four cylinders when the vehicle is cruising with a light load. Rear-wheel-drive models are EPA-rated at 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy, while 4-wheel-drive Durangos get a 13 mpg city/20 mpg hwy rating. V8 Durangos are equipped with a new 6-speed automatic transmission with AutoStick manual shift control.

Standard Features & Options

The 2012 Dodge Durango comes in SXT, Crew, R/T and Citadel trim.

Typical SXT equipment includes automatic trizone air conditioning, rear A/C, 7-passenger seating, cloth seat trim, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with auxiliary audio controls, remote keyless entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, auto headlamps, fog lamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, stability and traction control, trailer-sway control, hill-start assist, anti-lock 4-wheel disc brakes, the 3.6-liter V6 with a 5-speed automatic transmission, and power door locks, mirrors and windows.

Upgrading to the Crew trim adds remote starting, a roof rack, a power lift gate, power front seats with lumbar control, a driver's seat with memory, an auto-dimming mirror, a garage-door opener, a rear cargo shade, rear park assist with a camera, push-button starting, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a 115-volt rear power outlet, and an Alpine premium DVD audio system with a 6.5-in touchscreen, a 28-gigabyte hard drive and voice command.

Selecting the R/T trim adds the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with dual exhaust, body-color grille surround, suede seats, a 6-speed automatic transmission, HID headlamps, an auto-leveling sport suspension and 20-in alloys.

The Citadel trim is the all-in choice, featuring rain-sensing wipers, high-intensity headlamps with automatic dimming, a sunroof, 20-in chrome wheels, perforated leather seats, heated front- and second-row seats, a heated steering wheel, a power tilt-telescopic steering column, adaptive cruise control, a blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-path detection, forward-collision control, Sirius Traffic and navigation.

Popular options such as trailer towing, a rear DVD entertainment system, and upgrades such as leather seating, navigation, a sunroof, a heated steering wheel, 20-in wheels, adaptive cruise control, a backup camera, a blind spot monitoring system, forward-collision warning and more are available from the many option packages.


Although the Durango doesn't have the interior space of a Grand Caravan or Town & Country, it's still quite a versatile and capable large SUV. At the same time, its muscular good looks and carlike ride and handling give it curb appeal that is sometimes lacking in less stylish and less capable competitors. Expect sporty rear-wheel-drive Durangos to maintain their value in the Southeast, Southwest and California, while all-wheel-drive models will command higher prices in the snowy Northeast and Upper Midwest.

To get a good idea of the prices of 2012 Durangos, check out the used-car values at You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2012 Durango:

A corroded vacuum-brake booster may admit water. If the water freezes in cold weather, the booster may not be able to provide sufficient braking force, increasing the risk of a crash.

High pedal effort on Durangos with Ready-Alert Braking may increase stopping distances, leading to a crash.

Some V6 engines may suffer connecting-rod bearing failure due to debris in the engine block.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA rated the 2012 Durango at four stars for frontal impacts, five stars for side impacts and three stars for rollover protection.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2012 Durango a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seats.

The Chrysler Group covered the 2012 Durango with a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty with roadside assistance, along with 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain and corrosion-perforation warranties.

Dodge certified pre-owned (CPO) cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Durango undergoes a 125-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 3-month/3,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus a 7-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty from the car's original date of sale. Also included is a Carfax report, 24-hour roadside assistance, car-rental allowance and a 3-month trial of SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

Other Cars to Consider

2012 Ford Explorer -- This car-based 3-row crossover can be equipped with a 240-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, EPA-rated at 28 mpg hwy, or a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6, rated at 23 mpg hwy. Its 5,000-lb maximum towing ability, however, can't match the 7,400-lb rating of the Durango with its available 5.7-liter HEMI V8.

2012 Toyota 4Runner -- Legendary for durability and off-road capability, the 4Runner is an old-school SUV, right down to its high step-in height, sparse selection of amenities inside and a stiff, trucklike ride. A 4.0-liter V6 with 270 hp and matched with a 5-speed automatic transmission is the only powertrain offering.

AutoTrader's Advice

Smaller and more stylish than the full-size-truck-based Ford Expedition and Chevy Tahoe SUVs, yet more muscular and expressive than front-drive-car-based crossovers, the Durango is unique in the market. We like the Crew trim, which has many features that buyers are looking for and can be configured with either the 290-hp 3.6-liter V6 or the 360-hp HEMI V8. If you tow, the HEMI is a good choice, but the V6 offers considerably better fuel economy. Always get a vehicle-history report to be advised on the vehicle's background. Look for a certified pre-owned Durango, if possible, and make sure the Durango that you're looking at has had any applicable recalls performed.

Find a Dodge Durango for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2012 Dodge Durango: Used Car Review - Autotrader