Dodge gives Durango a face-lift, preps for hybrid
Mary Connelly - Automotive News - April 5, 2006
DETROIT - On Wednesday, Dodge will show a face-lifted 2007 Durango that goes on sale in August.
Engineers also have prepped the SUV for a hybrid engine that will be offered in the 2008 model year.
The reworked 2007 model will be shown at the Dallas Auto Show on Wednesday. The fascia, grille, hood, headlamps, fenders and wheels are redone. Ten features are being added, including an electronic stability program, tire pressure monitoring system, rear park assist and a one-touch lane-change signal, Dodge says.
Durango sales are off 39.4 percent to 20,090 units in the first quarter of 2006, compared with the same period a year ago.
The updated model is needed in showrooms, says Joe Eberhardt, Chrysler group executive vice president of sales and marketing.
"Durango probably could do a little better. It had a very strong first two years," Eberhardt says.
The 2008 Durango will be offered with a hybrid powertrain. Engineers modified the floor, second-row seats and electrical system in the 2007 model to pave the way for the new engine.
The Durango Hybrid Electric Vehicle will be powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine. Dodge anticipates a 25 percent fuel-economy boost. The hybrid powertrain was jointly developed by DaimlerChrysler AG, General Motors and the BMW Group.
The 2007 Durango equipped with a 4.7-liter V-8 is E85 ethanol compatible, earning a flexible-fuel vehicle designation, the company says. Drivers can operate the vehicle on E85 ethanol, gasoline or any mixture of the two, Dodge says. The E85-compatible engine is standard on all four-wheel-drive Durangos.