This is my very first post on the Automotive India forum, thanks to admin and mods for the permission to create an account and post.
I have been a fan of Automotive India for quite some time now and it’s an excellent source of information on the Car scene in India. Though the ownership review here is not related to Cars available in India, I really wanted to share my experience of owning a V8.
I have been blessed and had the privilege of fulfilling a childhood dream of owning a powerful American muscle car. Like every boy I have been a fan of cars from very young age, I remember my mom telling me that whenever she goes to get the milk (fresh from the Doodhwala) I would tag along with her and rub my hands around the white ambassador parked outside the collector’s office. In those years (1980’s) it was such a privilege not to be missed.
I bought my first car a Hyundai i10 Magna in 2009 as we were expecting our first child and I was of the clear opinion that my child won’t travel on a bike. I moved to Dubai 4 years back and by God’s grace owned a Nissan Altima (known as Teana in India) for close to three years and really loved it. It was a value for money car and powerful with 170 horses. But deep inside always wanted to own a powerful SUV as had to compromise on my first purchase due to budget issues and ended up buying the Altima, which was a very practical purchase.
Finally made up my mood set up a budget (180k AED) and started zeroing in on the cars I would like to purchase. Top on the list was Land Cruiser Prado, followed closely by Ford Explorer. Other American cars was not on the list either coz of high maintenance or the price (value for money).
Earlier I was just following my head to go for a low maintenance car with a good resale value, but soon realized the joy is missing.
Prado have some serious stability issues and high body roll if you take a sharp curve or overtake, plus the wind noise is too much. Similar feedback from a friend who recently bought it, ruled it out of the picture.
Ford explorer was a good option, but the stock clearance and discounts were over by the time I made up my mood to purchase.
Finally I thought forget it and stopped the search and then came an email with offer on Dodge which I earlier test driven and obviously loved it, but was out of my budget (Citadel 200K AED). The offer gave me a 20k AED discount and there you go. To compliment it a real good financial jugaad worked out and I settled with a Dodge Durango 5.7L V8 Hemi engine with the Limited trim. It’s fully loaded minus the Blind spot, Adaptive cruise control and Forward collision warning, which are good to have but are not a deal breaker.
I always wanted a V8 as if I needed to buy a V6 I would have opted for Ford Explorer.
And then we brought our Red Bull home in December 2014. As it’s a HEMI and American car I was serious on some mods to the car, though dealer approved and legal mods. Like a Mopar Cold Air Intake and Borla Cat Back Exhaust system to enhance that aggressive growl of the HEMI.
I am just totally in love with the truck, the muscular exterior, rugged looks and the stance of the truck is amazing. It has an excellent road presence and others happily give way to me on the highways ;). The cross hair shaped chrome grills in the front really add character to the car. And the full running race track LED tail lamp, 192 individual LEDs are blended to form one seamless ribbon of glowing red light, adds uniqueness. Cargo and towing capacity (3.3 Tons) is best in the class.
The best thing is in spite of being so big and heavy then its other competitors, the 50-50 weight distribution makes the handling unbelievably smooth and stable. In-fact I find it better than my previous sedan car. They have scored big time here when compared to the competition.
The interior of the vehicle beats hands down to any BMW or Mercedes cars, it’s really amazing and very practical. I have personally opted for Black Leather interiors with Deep Cherry Red, which gives an awesome feel inside the car. However being black its gets dirty and feels a little lack of space. Plus I got a 50% window tinting, so with all the black, there is a perceived feeling of lack of room in the cabin. Many of my frens commented on that, which is actually not the case.
I personally love the center console 8” touch screen control panel, which is very functional and practical with LED cabin lighting.
It has Three-zone Automatic Temperature Control (ATC), which allows the driver and passenger to select and maintain their ideal comfort level. However the problem is if the temperature is too cold and you increase the temperature it starts blowing hot air to quickly adjust the temperature in the cabin, which I really hate.
The voice commands are perfect and it actually understands the desi accent and follows the command with 90% success rate. Love the paddle shifters on the steering wheel to switch to manual Tip Tronic mode and is very responsive.
The Durango has a new 8 speed automatic transmission with an electronic rotary shifter, instead of the conventional stick shift, just like the RR Evoque. Initially I did not like it as I would prefer to rest my hand on it while driving. Now am used to it and is not a big miss.
All your vehicle controls are available in one central location with added hardware keys for climate and volume. The cluster display and Vehicle Information Centre is again a full color 7” TFT screen which is programmable and you can customize it. Like for e.g. you can switch between normal speedo to digital like one in Honda Civic, really cool and neat.
• 18-inch polished aluminum wheels with mineral gray pockets
• Power "6x9-inch" heated power exterior mirrors with supplemental signals
• Auto-dimming driver’s side mirror
• LED daytime running lamps
• Bright front door scuff pads and cargo area scuff pads
• Bright exhaust tip
• Premium Capri leather-trimmed seats
• Eight-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar adjust and memory feature
• Six-way power front passenger seat with four-way power lumbar adjust
• Leather-wrapped steering wheel
• Leather-wrapped shift knob
• Auto-dimming rearview mirror with microphone
• Remote Start System
• Keyless Enter 'n Go
• Memory system for on power driver’s seat, exterior mirrors and radio presets
• Uconnect 8.4A System with 8.4-inch touchscreen and integrated Voice Command with Bluetooth
• Bluetooth Streaming Audio
• Dual remote USB charging ports
• 115-volt auxiliary power outlet
• Alpine premium sound system
• Dual-screen rear 9” Blu Ray and DVD entertainment system
• Tire pressure monitoring sensors
• 5.7L HEMI® V8 petrol engine with fuel saver technology and eight-speed automatic transmission
• 370 HP (266 KW) | 369 LB-FT (527 NM) OF TORQUE
• All-Wheel-Drive (AWD), Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Antilock Brake System (ABS
) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD
) and Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM) traction control
• Rear Park Assist System
• Rear Back Up Camera
• Multi-Displacement System (MDS) - Four-cylinder mode
• Dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT)
• Dual ignition
• Electronic Throttle Control (ETC)
• Interactive Decel Fuel Shut-off – turns off the flow of fuel during deceleration, increasing the length of time the engine can operate without the need for more fuel
• Variable valve timing
• Cylinder deactivation feature (runs on 4 cylinder in cruise)
Safety and Security Highlights
• Advanced multistage driver and front passenger airbags
• Supplemental side-curtain airbags
• Supplemental front seat-mounted side airbags
• Driver’s side knee blocker airbag
• Active front head restraints
• The Sentry Key Theft Deterrent System
When it comes to performance nothing can match a 5.7L HEMI, you can feel yourself being thrown back in the seat when you accelerate. And surprisingly thanks to the cylinder deactivation feature (when running in Eco mode) it actually gives an impressive average of 8-10 Kmpl. The Hemi growl is just out of the world..the same thing which we used to seek in Suzuki Samurai and Yamaha RX100 when we were kids.
• VKool 50% window tinting
• Diamond Brite paint and interior protection (Excellent, highly recommended)
• HEMI 5.7L V8 Chrome Emblem in the rear
• Hemi Logo chrome tire Valve caps
• MGP Dodge logo Red gloss caliper covers (currently on the way from US) MGP® - Dodge Durango 2014 Caliper Covers with Dodge Engraving
• Mopar OEM
Cold Air Intake System Mopar Performance 77070041, Mopar Performance Cold Air Intake Systems - Jeep | Mopar Performance
This is before with the stock intake.
• Borla Cat Back Exhuast (currently on the way from US). Once this is in from US will do a video of the roaring exhaust note for you guys, it’s my much awaited mod. Durango 2011-2015 Cat-Back Exhaust part # 140449
• Am currently considering an engine tuning mod from Hemifever tuning, however this will void my warranty so not really keen on it. But to get the best out of other mods this is the must. All these three will take the Horse power figure to well over 400 horses. Dodge, Jeep & Chrysler Tuning | Jeep Chip | Dodge Programmer & More
The Good and the Bad bit:
Well when you drive a ride like this everything you find is only good. For me V8 Hemi was enough to buy the car, everything else is just a bonus for me. So I find everything to be really good and in love with the car.
There is a couple of things which I prefer should be better, one is the braking as the Car is really heavy it take a little longer to stop. More powerful or bigger discs would have been better. Another similar issue is the car moves in with the foot parking brake on. My previous sedan won’t move if the parking brake is on. But with Durango you don’t even realize it’s on unless the system starts beeping.
Another thing I hate is the side rear view mirrors, which are actually a planar mirrors unlike the convex mirrors in all other cars. This really limits your field of view and blind spot check becomes a challenge had two close shaves. This is actually coz of US regulation of putting planar mirrors. Also getting inside the car is a little difficult as coz of sports seat edges are higher so your head hit the roof while climbing and am not a tall guy. To fix this am getting a side running/stepping board.
Being a tall and big vehicle the Blind Spot is a big issue and you actually need to lean forward before changing lanes. Blind spot may be new thing to Indian drivers as in our desi style of driving nobody cares about checking the blindspot before changing lanes, rather nobody drives in lanes lol :) But anywhere else it could be a matter of life and death.
Guess this is enough for now guys. Hope you enjoy reading the post, will update this as and when more thing happens and more pictures comes in.