Dodge Durango R/T Blacktop AWD: Taking One For The Team

2015 Dodge Durango
No compromises: the crew is happy in the 2015 Dodge Durango

Soccer – er, Ultimate Frisbee mom weekend in the Dodge Durango.

When my middle daughter was recruited to a travel soccer team, our friends bought a minivan and declared one seat was hers. That was our weekend plan – all day, every day, at a tournament, driving two or three hours each way, or staying in a sub-standard hotel off an interstate and doing it again the next day.

By the third kid, the charm has worn off. Our youngest is in her senior year in high school; it’s like pulling teeth to get parents to drive to a tournament.

Not so when we had the Dodge Durango, which had so many great features I wanted to drive both days.

2015 Dodge Durango

No compromises: the crew is happy in the 2015 Dodge Durango (note – for photo only – there are only 2 seats in the 3rd row)

And the girls on the team wanted to be in this car – it was kitted out with a dual screen Blu-Ray compatible entertainment center and leather seats, captain chairs in the second row and Wi-Fi.

Room for six or seven, and that’s just the sports bags; six (0r seven) people fit, too – plus a dog

2015 Dodge Durango

The third row is easily lowered for more cargo space

With three rows and fold flat sets, the SUV offers plenty of space and flexibility but keep in mind that if you opt for second row captains chairs, you only have room for six in the vehicle; the third row seats just two. We tested and three teens could technically fit in that third row, but there are only two seat belts.

2015 Dodge Durango

Plenty of room for gear, even with the third row up

There was plenty of space for gear – cleats, extra clothing, food, sunblock – though we were just driving back and forth a state over, you would have thought we were trekking to Patagonia the way they filled the car.

2015 Dodge Durango

Center console cup holders in the 2015 Dodge Durango

What was particularly useful were the cup holders throughout. I am a big fan of hydrating before intense physical activity, so we made sure each girl had a full water bottle and we had our coffee, plus water, plus a bunch of frozen Gatorades – yes, we were going to have enough to drink, and space to store all the beverages.

With all this tech, no one is left unplugged

2015 Dodge Durango

Um, yeah. It’s the answer I got when teens were asked if they wanted to take the Durango to the Ultimate Frisbee meet. Clearly it was the DVD system, not the company, they were coveting.

While the DVD player with two nine inch screens was cool, no one wanted to watch movies – they chatted, Snapchatted with girls in other cars, texted and emailed – all while using up no more data on their phones. The Durango has WiFi, and the Uconnect system, allowing you to give voice commands for navigation.

2015 Dodge Durango

The 2015 Dodge Durango’s nav system made getting there easy; I especially love that the display gives you the speed limit of the road you’re on (lower right corner)

We also used the nav system via the touchscreen and it has that annoying shut down when the vehicle is in motion. I vote for a passenger override so someone else in the car can manually enter an address. The system was flawless however, with ample warning for upcoming turns and exits.

There are steering wheel audio controls as well, fun to use because the steering wheel was wrapped in sumptuous leather and I couldn’t keep my hands off it.

Smart key with keyless entry left us looking like a Keystone cop routine

2015 Dodge Durango

Keystone cop-esque fun was had with the smart key; it took me a while to get used to it

Whoever invented remote keyless entry has no OCD tendencies. I am the type that always double-checks to make sure I turned the oven off before I leave home, and I like to check that I locked my front door, and the car doors. Not with the Dodge Durango. If you walk up to the SUV with the key fob on you, you just pull the handle and the door opens. I get that; it’s great that you don’t have to fumble for a key.

But when you leave the car and lock it, you can’t check the security of that lock. Pull on the handle and guess what? The car opens up again. I did this a couple of times and looked like a crazy person at The Home Depot. I just had to take a deep breath and trust that the car was locked.

It was.

Outstanding in the Ultimate [Frisbee] field–and standing out in a field of SUVs

2015 Dodge Durango

Brooklyn badass: the 2015 Dodge Durango in the Blacktop Appearance package–notice the lack of bling– keeps a low profile on streets of Brooklyn (or in a parking lot filled with minivans)

The vehicles in the parking lot both days were all SUVs and minivans. The Dodge Durango stood out with Blacktop Appearance Package: a glossy black grille and mirrors and 20 inch aluminum wheels that begged to go off road, the Durango has a bad-boy look about it that says ‘the people inside this vehicle are cool, even if they are being driven around by their mom.’

Advanced safety features keep the team safe on the road

2015 Dodge Durango

The 2015 Dodge Durango’s “R/T” seats indicate the car is a “Road and Track” edition, designed for performance as well as comfort; these seats are designed to hug the passenger during the drive

The 2015 Dodge Durango is also loaded with safety features: Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop–great for long trips–and Forward Collision Warning, both of which will bring the vehicle to a complete stop if a crash is imminent.  Durango’s ParkSense Rear Park Assist System gives an audible warning if you are about to hit something while in reverse. The Uconnect system provides both roadside assistance and emergency assistance via a 9-1-1 button.

2015 Dodge Durango

Maybe my favorite feature of the 2015 Dodge Durango: someplace to put my purse!

What we loved

  • Rear DVD entertainment center
  • Premium leather seats
  • Bad-boy Blacktop Appearance package
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Second row captain chairs, great for going out with another couple
  • Uconnect system is both easy to use and great peace of mind
  • Navigation with speed limit indicator
2015 Dodge Durango

What Karat loved about the 2015 Dodge Durango: someplace to sit!

What you need to know

  • Gas mileage will make the eco minded shudder; 14 mpg in the city, 22 on the highway; 16 overall
  • Takes regular gas
  • Base price: $42,295; price for the model we drove, with advanced technology package, rear DVD player, second row captain chairs and leather trimmed seats: $51,260
  • Powertrain warranty: 5 year / 100,000 miles
  • Roadside assistance:  5 year / 100,000 miles
    2015 Dodge Durango

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    Disclosure: Dodge provided the Durango for my test drive; opinions expressed here are all my own.

Judy Antell, who is's Free in 50 States editor, lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with her husband and... More about Judy Antell