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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Quick Drive: 2017 Dodge Durango GT and Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit

    What do you talk about when you don't have much to say?

    Sometimes, you find yourself scratching your head as you struggle to think if any more can be said about a vehicle. The two vehicles seen here, the 2017 Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee have been reviewed by me numerous times - Durango has two, while the Grand Cherokee stands at three. Not much has changed on either vehicle since I last reviewed them. This puts me in a bit of quandary: What do I talk about? The answer was to delve into the trims themselves and figure out if they are worth the cash.

    The Grand Cherokee seen here is the top-line Summit. Jeep updated this trim last year with new front end treatment consisting of a new grille and LED fog lights. The exterior changes for the Summit do sharpen up the Grand Cherokee, a design which should be noted that has been around since 2011. One design touch we really like are the set optional 20-inch aluminum wheels as they dress up the Grand Cherokee quite nicely. The larger wheels don’t affect ride quality as the Grand Cherokee’s suspension turns bumps into light ripples. Road and wind noise are kept to very acceptable levels.

    The interior now has the option of the “Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package” that brings a leather covering for the dash and center console, and premium leather upholstery for the seats and door panels. My test vehicle came with this package and I am not sure its worth the $4,995. The key reason comes down to the leather used for the seats. I can’t tell the difference between the leather upholstery used for this package and the one used on lesser trims. Aside from this, the Summit retains many of the plus points found on other Grand Cherokees such as a roomy interior, simple infotainment system, and excellent build quality. 

    The Summit begins at $50,495 for two-wheel drive and $53,495 for four-wheel drive. Our test vehicle came to an as-tested price of $60,675 with the leather package, skid plates, and 20-inch wheels. The upside to the Summit is you get most everything as standard such as navigation, premium audio system, sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, and a power liftgate. Personally, I would skip all of the options as fitted to our test vehicle and get a base Summit.

    Now on to the Durango. This one is the GT which can be best described as the R/T minus the V8. This means you get similar exterior tweaks such as a body color grille surround, black mesh inserts, LED daytime running lights, and 20-inch wheels finished in black. Our model came with the Brass Monkey appearance package which adds brushed bronze wheels and blacked-out badges. This makes for a mean looking crossover that doesn’t break the bank - the Brass Monkey package will only set you back $595. The GT is also quite confident in the bends with minimal body roll and nicely weighted steering. 

    Downsides? The Durango is starting to show its age inside. Various materials and the plain design put the Durango towards the back of the pack of the current crossover crop. Also, the value equation for the Durango can go downward with the number of options you add. The test Durango seen here comes with an as-tested of $49,660 with most the option boxes ticked. Not an absurd amount for a three-row crossover, but the Durango is missing out on features that many models feature such as adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, and compatibility for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

    You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned the powertrain. That’s because both models feature the same 3.6L Pentastar V6 producing 295 horsepower and paired with an eight-speed automatic. I have written a lot about this powertrain on both models before and my opinion hasn’t changed. The engine offers strong low-end power and minimal NVH levels. The automatic transmission, for the most part, does a decent job of being in the right gear at the right time. Though we found the transmission to be somewhat slow to respond whenever heavy throttle was suddenly applied. Fuel economy for both models landed around 20 mpg.

    Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are still competitive in their respective classes, despite getting up there in age. Just be careful with your option selection as it can make both models very poor values.

    Disclaimer: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Provided the Vehicles, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Dodge
    Model: Durango
    Trim: GT
    Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT with ESS
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 295 @ 6,400
    Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
    Curb Weight: 4,987 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan
    Base Price: $40,095
    As Tested Price: $49,660 (Includes $1,095 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Premium Group - $2,395
    Rear Entertainment System- $1,995
    Safety/Security and Convenience Group - $1,195
    Second-Row Captain Chairs - $995
    Trailer Tow Group IV - $995
    Brass Monkey Appearance Group - $595
    Second-Row Console - $300

    Year: 2017
    Make: Jeep
    Model: Grand Cherokee
    Trim: Summit
    Engine: 3.6L 24-Valve VVT with ESS
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 295 @ 6,400
    Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,000
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
    Curb Weight: 4,952 lbs
    Location of Manufacture: Detroit, Michigan
    Base Price: $53,995
    As Tested Price: $60,675 (Includes $995 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Signature Leather-Wrapped Interior Package - $4,995
    Summit California Edition - $995
    Skid Plate Group - $295

    Edited by William Maley

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    Both are pricey with no V8. Makes one question the value of buying new rather than waiting for a Lease return and getting it used, low miles and hopefully with the V8.

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    1 hour ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    So far I'm happy w going the CPO route w my 14 GC.  The differences between the 14 and 17 are prettty minor.  

    The addition of Android Auto would cinch it for me.  I am holding out on a vehicle purchase as long as I possibly can till I can get what I want with Android Auto. The only exception would be if I found an excellent integrated looking aftermarket 

     

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    3 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    The addition of Android Auto would cinch it for me.  I am holding out on a vehicle purchase as long as I possibly can till I can get what I want with Android Auto. The only exception would be if I found an excellent integrated looking aftermarket 

     

    True, UConnect has been improved and the older systems can only upgrade to a certain level...Apple Car Play would be nice, but I live without it.

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    Just now, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    True, UConnect has been improved and the older systems can only upgrade to a certain level...Apple Car Play would be nice, but I live without it.

    UConnect is excellent even in old versions. I want to get something that is going to be a long term purchase.  We paid for NAV in the Encore and use our phones to navigate today.  I need NAV, but I'm not paying for it again.   Android Auto is superior to Car Play (which seems kinda forgotten by apple lately) and they just added Waze to AA.  Either one is better than none though. 

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    11 hours ago, regfootball said:

    I'll check back in 10 years, FCA's whole product line will probably still be the same.

    Hardly.  We have a new Wrangler and Ram coming and a Wrangler pickup, the MCE for the Cherokee has already been seen testing, the Renegade is only 3 years old, the Compass is brand new, New LX replacements are coming in 2021 as will replacements for the GC and the Durango along with a good chance the Journey replacement will be based on the Dodge/Alfa platform as the others.  The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are coming and signs are pointing to the return of a Ramcharger as well, all based on the new Ram platform.  Your average vehicle uses the same platform for 10 to 15 years and similar styling.  The 08 to 17 Accords for example were based on the same platform with similar styling, and the Camry is finally changing platforms after roughly 15 years.  Remember, the only reason we got a new malubu for 16 was because the 13 to 15 models were total duds.  They are still making the last gen MImpala introduced in 06 and the crrent Impala hasn't seen any real updates since it came out in 14. 

    Also, GM for example already said they are increasing the times between major updates and redesigns. 

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    39 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

    Until FCA US gets sold...then all that is thrown out.

    Agree, I can see a new Chinese owner dumping everything and moving to their own unified platforms. Especially with a focus on Hybrid and EV's.

    This implies to me that the Big Hemi's are in their last Hurrah!

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    2 hours ago, dfelt said:

    Agree, I can see a new Chinese owner dumping everything and moving to their own unified platforms. Especially with a focus on Hybrid and EV's.

    This implies to me that the Big Hemi's are in their last Hurrah!

    Well that's already the case.  FCA is reportedly working on a twin-turbo version of the pentastar V6 and even a hybrid 4-cylinder for the Ram and possibly Wrangler. 

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    25 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    As an aside, I didn't realize the US-market JK generation Wrangler were all V6s...hasn't been a US market 4cyl Wrangler since the last TJ in '06. 

    Hmm.. I hadn't realized that either. 

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    On 8/16/2017 at 10:52 AM, dfelt said:

    Agree, I can see a new Chinese owner dumping everything and moving to their own unified platforms. Especially with a focus on Hybrid and EV's.

    This implies to me that the Big Hemi's are in their last Hurrah!

    @ocnblu My friend you can down vote all my EV posts you want but the future is not going to go backwards. China has made it very clear that starting next year and moving forward they are on an aggressive 5 year hybrid / EV everything only for their country. It is why the Grand Wagoneer is a Hybrid first before anything else as Jeep has stated they will sell it in China as well as the US. 

    Trust me when I say you will come to love the Torque Monsters that EV's can be with high speed.

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    On 8/19/2017 at 11:40 PM, dfelt said:

    @ocnblu My friend you can down vote all my EV posts you want but the future is not going to go backwards. China has made it very clear that starting next year and moving forward they are on an aggressive 5 year hybrid / EV everything only for their country. It is why the Grand Wagoneer is a Hybrid first before anything else as Jeep has stated they will sell it in China as well as the US. 

    Trust me when I say you will come to love the Torque Monsters that EV's can be with high speed.

    Indeed, the future is coming whether you, or anyone, likes it or not.

    I've adjusted my thinking here as well.  When the Pruis and Insight were the only hybrid options, I never would have considered one. But now there are hybrid options that I'm looking into.  I'd prefer to go plug-in if possible, right now, the only one(s) that meets our needs are the Volvo XC60 PHEV and XC90 PHEV.  The Benz's and BMW's EV only ranges are too short to be worthwhile.  The Volvo is bare minimum (20 miles) in the XC60.  Here in hilly western PA, using Pure mode which favors EV as much as possible would probably produce some good results by regenerating on the downhills and using gas on the up hills.   If Toyota made a plug in Highlander or Honda made a plug in Pilot, that might get us over there. 

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    5 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    The real world is always the ultimate test, and electrified vehicles do not pass.  They continue to flunk.

    Maybe in your reality, but I don't think Tesla owners think that way... the real world isn't all an Amish paradise..

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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    5 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    The real world is always the ultimate test, and electrified vehicles do not pass.  They continue to flunk.

    How do you justify that they have flunked? They are growing and CA just showed that 5% of all auto sales are electrified. 

    Back at the beginning, if we use what ever justification you are trying to apply to EV's you would have to say that the early 1900's ICE auto's failed. So they should have just quit and not continued to build and design auto's?

    Please expand on your statement that they continue to flunk?

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    On 8/24/2017 at 3:31 PM, Drew Dowdell said:

    I like electrified vehicles because they offer better torque delivery than plain gasoline engines. 

    Yes but you shoot your wad early and the recovery time is too long before you can go again.  Real men know this is not optimal.

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    9 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    Yes but you shoot your wad early and the recovery time is too long before you can go again.  Real men know this is not optimal.

    So Mr. Musk and all His Tesla X drivers that beat ICE equal CUV's are not men then? :o

    Interesting :scratchchin:

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    2 hours ago, dfelt said:

    So Mr. Musk and all His Tesla X drivers that beat ICE equal CUV's are not men then? :o

    Interesting :scratchchin:

    How can you be a man when you're locked inside your fancy golf cart with those stupid doors dfelt

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    On 8/27/2017 at 8:22 AM, ocnblu said:

    Yes but you shoot your wad early and the recovery time is too long before you can go again.  Real men know this is not optimal.

    I don't take advice on being manly from a guy who's manliness is so fragile a taller overdrive gear and an underbody shield on a Cruze can be shattered by it. 

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    On 8/27/2017 at 8:22 AM, ocnblu said:

    Yes but you shoot your wad early and the recovery time is too long before you can go again.  Real men know this is not optimal.

    You've got much to learn, young padawan...

    Oh...Good morning Mr. Tyler, going...down?

    If you are a REAL man...It really is not about how long before shooting your load...

    Dont take my word for it...straight from a lady...

     

    tenor.gif

    And if you really cant understand all that what is going on...you are completely hopeless.

     

    Now back to cars...and electric vehicles

     

     

     

    Edited by oldshurst442
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