For the 2014 model year, Chrysler gave the Dodge Durango a fairly extensive refresh. Sadly, it won't matter how much the updates help Durango sales, as the Durango nameplate will be phased out in the next few years for an all-new three-row Jeep Grand Wagoneer.
However, don't let that bit of planned obsolescence trick you into ignoring the updates applied to the 2014 Durango. The changes are mostly aesthetic and help to tie the Durango in with newer Dodge models like the Charger and Dart. Now the brand's trademark, the Durango gains a set of somewhat squared-off "racetrack" LED taillights; however, unlike the sedans, the SUV's LEDs are less of a dot-matrix-like design. Up front, the Durango sports a more angular grille and revised headlights with hockey-stick-shaped LED running lights. Inside, the cabin is upgraded, and uses the same large touchscreen and digital gauges found elsewhere in Chrysler's lineup. There is also a new rotary shifter for the automatic transmission.
That transmission is the big mechanical change for the 2014 Durango. A new ZF-licensed eight-speed automatic is standard on both V-6 and V-8 models. The extra cogs nets a 10 percent increase in V-6 fuel economy -- Dodge estimates 25 mpg highway -- without sacrificing towing capability, which is rated at 6200 lbs. A 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is also still available.
It's too bad that the Grand Wagoneer is coming soon -- the 2014 Dodge Durango looks great, and it will be sad to see it go so soon.