I never knew road tripping with teens could be so good.
Long road trips with the family can often be stressful. With little kids there’s boredom and lots of stops for bathroom breaks and to let off steam. But with teens? Well, if you’re not there yet, let me tell you there’s light at the end of the family road trip tunnel. Especially with a car like the 2018 Dodge Durango R/T.
Yes, traveling with teens can mean long stretches of quiet while they stare at their phones with earbuds in. But there can also be sing-a-longs, road trip games, video games, and lots of laughs. I recently drove four teenagers, ranging in age from 13 to 19, from New Jersey to Atlanta – all in one day. Here’s how the Dodge Durango family SUV made our trip a blast.
Who this car is for
- Large families
- Families that want a lot of tech in their vehicle
- Buyers who need a lot of cargo space
- Drivers who want luxury combined with power
- Buyers who need an SUV with towing power
What it costs
With the Dodge Durango, you’ve got lots of different options.
- The Durango SXT starts at $29,995.
- SXT Plus adds ParkSense rear park assist and the option of AWD with a base price of $36,090.
- GT trim starts at $37,795. Options include heated first- and second-row seats and a power liftgate.
- The Citadel trim starts at $42,145 and offers fully polished aluminum wheels and Nappa leather-trimmed seats.
- Next you’ve got the R/T (which stands for road and track edition) with its 5.7L HEMI V8 engine, 360 horsepower, performance steering and sport suspension, starting at $43,695
- Finally, there’s the SRT – (which stands for street and racing technology) which they call “America’s Most Powerful Three-Row SUV.” It’s got 475 horsepower and can do 0-60 in 4.4 seconds. This model starts at $62,995
- The model we drove for this review was the 2018 Dodge Durango R/T AWD, priced at $53,870.
There’s no denying this is a good-looking vehicle. From the sharp look of the hood with an air vent to the distinctive “performance front fascia,” or unique grille, to the fiery red interior and classy bucket seats, the Durango R/T is visually stunning.
It’s also incredibly comfortable. As I mentioned, I drove this car for 14 hours (with a few stops for food and gas!) and my back felt fine thanks to the power 8-way adjustable seat and the 4-way lumbar adjustment. If I started to feel a little strain in any area, I simply adjusted the seat and lumbar support to a new position. I loved it.
Second-row and third-row seating is also roomy enough for full-size adults. The second-row has two “fold and tumble” captain’s chairs that offer easy access to the third row. The two seats in the third row are full size and were comfortable for a 5′ 11” tall teenage boy to sit in for 14 hours.
The Durango is Spacious Just Where You Need it to Be
There are three space elements I absolutely loved in the Durango.
- There’s a large space in the center, just under the dash, that is perfect for phones, sunglasses, hats, napkins… You don’t typically find a space this big in that area and with both my daughter and I needing a place for our phones and sunglasses, this was perfect. This is also where you can access two USB ports and the Aux port – very easy to reach.
2. The second row is super comfortable. This model has captain’s chairs that are separated by a floor-level mat with two cupholders embedded in it. No big console in the middle (though that is an option) so the boys had tons of room for their arms, legs, technology, and, of course, snacks!
3. There is a hidden compartment in the trunk. As you can see from this photo, with the third row up, it was a tight squeeze getting luggage and laptops for 5 people into the back. But just when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to fit my bottle of wine or the random snacks we bought, I noticed the handy compartment where I stashed my loose extras!
Tech Every Teen Will Love
The second row is where all the action takes place. The Durango offers two seat-back mounted, 9-inch screens that will play DVDs or hook up to a laptop via HDMI.
I was taking my teenage son and his friends to a gaming tournament in Atlanta. There were preliminary games going on the day of our long drive, and the boys wanted to watch. So they hooked up a laptop to the seat back screens with an HDMI cord and used the hotspot on a smart phone for internet access (you can access wifi through the Durango, too, though it requires a data plan). They were in heaven.
And the cool thing? They could put on headphones and I could listen to a podcast up in the driver’s seat.
The Dodge Durango R/T is equipped with Apple CarPlay, Google Android Auto, a Beats premium audio system, and Dodge’s Uconnect 4C navigation and infotainment system. The teens took turns connecting to Apple CarPlay and even made a game out of it – they each chose a song from their playlist that they thought another person in the car would love. And let me tell you, we had everything from Barry Manilow to Blink 182 to Broadway showtunes!
There are also four USB ports, two HDMI and AV inputs, an aux port and a standard household plug. There’s no way any tech-lover can be unhappy with all those options!
Safety Features That Will Blow You Away
The Dodge Durango is a beast of a car, ready to protect you like a bodyguard. Here are some of the features that will help keep you and your family secure:
- Parksense front and rear park assist
- All-Wheel Drive/4-wheel traction control
- Rear back-up camera
- Rain-sensing windshield wipers
- Rain Brake Support removes water from brake pads by applying a small amount of pressure to the caliper. It engages when the windshield wipers are activated.
- Adaptive cruise control
- Blind spot and cross path detection
- Lane departure warning
- Full-speed forward collision warning
- Advanced multistage airbags that allow for different rates of inflation based on collision severity
While the boys were at their gaming convention, my daughter and I spent our days driving around looking for filming locations from TV shows “Stranger Things” and “The Walking Dead.” There’s a lot of traffic in Atlanta and I often didn’t have a clue where I was going. But the Dodge Durango made me feel safe and secure during our adventures.
What we loved
- The tech! From the Uconnect 4C nav system and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto capabilities to the second-row seat back screens and multiple charging ports, this car keeps you connected and entertained.
- Safety and automated features like rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise, and blindspot detection made driving effortless.
- The 8-way adjustable driver’s seat with 4-way lumbar support is heavenly on a long drive.
- Other useful features I loved were the auto-dimming rear-view mirror, power liftgate, and remote start – super useful on very cold days!
What you need to know
- The Dodge Durango gets 17 MPG combined. That’s about 14 MPG in the city and 22 MPG on the highway.
- 5-year / 60,000-mile powertrain limited warranty.
- 3-year / 36,000-mile basic limited warranty.
- Seats 6 comfortably, including the driver (7 with a center row bench seat option)
What We Listened to in the Dodge Durango R/T
We toured Atlanta seeking out locations from Stranger Things and The Walking Dead. Here’s what filled our cabin during our drive!
The Dodge Durango R/T AWD was loaned to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.