NEW YORK – Dodge brothers Horace and John were occasional bar brawlers, and the namesake Dodge brand channels their feistiness in a non-violent way for the unveiling of the ’14 Durango fullsize SUV.
At the New York International Auto Show, Dodge CEO Reid Bigland talks about what characters the brothers were. Their photos and “Born of Rebellion” flash on jumbo video screens at the vehicle unveiling.
Chrysler’s Dodge nameplate also has much in common with New York City, he says: “They both have rich histories, colorful characters and a distaste of standing still.”
The Durango was launched in 1998, representing “a breakthrough in power, size and style,” Bigland says. “Now for 2014, we’re upping the ante by making it our most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient and dramatically styled Durango ever.”
He describes it as “a no-compromise” big SUV. Will upcoming marketing follow the brashness of the auto show debut? “Clearly, there is a lot of testosterone in the Dodge brand, and there has been for years,” Bigland tells WardsAuto.
A typical Durango buyer leads an active lifestyle, he says. “It’s someone who is towing, transporting friends, cargo and gear, and is not going to be slowed down going up or down a hill.”
Fullsize SUVs still represent a vibrant segment, but they must be relevant, and that’s where better fuel economy plays a vital role, Bigland says.
Engine choices are a 3.6L V-6 and a 5.7L Hemi V-8 with a best-in-class towing capacity of 7,400 lbs (3,356 kg). A new standard 8-speed automatic transmission helps improve fuel economy up to 9%.
The vehicle comes in five trim levels: SXT, Rallye, Limited, Citadel and R/T, which Bigland describes as “sinister.”
Production is scheduled to begin this fall at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.
“This is the real-deal SUV,” Bigland says, adding that “the battle for market share and sales is fought one vehicle at a time.”