Reviews Dodge Durango R/T Tow 'n Go vs Ford Explorer ST
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In recent months, I spent about 4,000 combined kilometres at the wheels of both a Dodge Durango R/T Tow’n Go and a Ford Explorer ST. I wanted to get both of these machines in front of crossover shoppers seeking out a high-performance three-row with strong towing ratings, because these are two of the models you’re likely to be considering. Here I’ll share some data, figures, and impressions on these two machines that will highlight some of the key differences an in-market shopper should bear in mind as they circle around making a final purchase decision.
Dodge Durango R/T Tow ‘n Go
The Tow ‘n Go package is a $5,500 option that shoppers can add to the Durango R/T AWD to create a performance-enhanced version of the Durango with HEMI power, upgraded looks, and a massive towing capacity.
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Significant, motorsport-derived upgrades to the machine’s looks, suspension, braking, and aerodynamics make the Durango R/T Tow ‘n Go a competent performer with entertaining dynamics and an unbeatable towing capacity, with pricing from the low sixties. Driving enthusiasts with heavy trailers need look no further.
Ford Explorer ST
Priced from the high-fifties, the Ford Explorer ST offers shoppers the highest-performing Explorer variant, complete with numerous upgrades and tweaks that really draw out the handling feel and responsive performance promised by the ST badge. A high-tech turbo engine, slick infotainment system, and no shortage of visual and hardware upgrades including a sport-tuned suspension and steering system dial up the appeal, and enthusiast drivers will appreciate the Explorer ST’s abundance of smooth torque, and uncharacteristically-eager handling. It’s an authentically sporty machine that’s easy to live with every day of the year.
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Power and Acceleration
The Durango R/T Tow ‘n Go’s 5.7 litre HEMI V8 makes 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. With AWD and an 8-speed automatic, that’s good for 0-100 in about 6.3 seconds. The Ford Explorer ST runs a smaller 3-litre V6 with twin-turbo, good for 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. With AWD and a 10-speed automatic transmission, that’ll do 0-100 in 5.2 seconds — a full second quicker than the Durango. Between the two, the Durango is the far more assertive machine, complete with a custom-tuned SRT exhaust kit that makes sure everyone within a half-mile can hear that signature V8 soundtrack. Having said that, the Explorer ST’s engine puts more power and torque more easily within reach of its driver, more of the time. On sound effects, the tastefully-restrained howl is satisfying, but not overboard. Both machines are quick, but the Explorer ST feels more responsive to throttle inputs in more situations, with a significant power advantage, and a power curve that’s more easily accessible, even at very low revs.
SUV Review: 2021 Dodge Durango Tow 'n Go
It’s not far off from a Hellcat starting in your driveway. Poke the 5.7 litre HEMI V8 in the Durango R/T Tow ‘n Go into action with the red starter button, and a deep, building-penetrating bark explodes from the up-sized tailpipe artillery, before settling into a deep and pulsating idle that’s anything but discreet. In motion, this hilarious exhaust system has a snarl that responds and morphs with your throttle inputs, and accentuates many gear shifts with a loud snap from the tailpipes. It’s silly, but it’s a lot of fun.
Towing and Fuel Mileage
For driving enthusiasts with heavy stuff to haul, the Durango R/T Tow ‘n Go is pretty much in a league of its own. Standard Durango R/T AWD models can tow 7,400 lbs, but Tow ‘n Go models bump that figure to an unbeatable 8,700 lbs. The Ford Explorer ST’s 5,600 lb. towing capacity should prove sufficient for many families, though with a 3,100 pound advantage, the Durango R/T Tow ‘n Go gives owners plenty more towing capacity to grow into over time.
According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), the Durango R/T AWD uses 16.7 litres of gas for every 100 kilometres you drive it in the city, and 10.9 litres for every 100 kilometres you drive on the highway. Combined, it’s 14.1 litres per 100 kilometres.
The Explorer ST is rated at 13.4 litres for every 100 kilometres you drive in the city, or about 3.3 litres less per 100 klicks than the Durango. On the highway, it’s 9.8, or a little over 1 litre per 100 klicks less than the Durango. Combined, it’s 11.8 litres per 100 kilometres, or on average, about 2.3 litres less fuel for every 100 kilometres you drive.
Your results will vary depending on a multitude of factors including where and how you drive and how well you care for your Durango or Explorer over time, but on average, the Durango will drink about $600 more fuel per year than the Explorer.
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In October of 1973, the Arab Oil Embargo hit the United States like a tsunami. It all began with the surprise attack of October 6 on the nation of Israel; a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria had fired the opening salvo in the Yom Kippur War. By October 19, the White House under President Nixon approved $2.2 billion in emergency aid to Israel. The next day, Saudi Arabia—in conjunction with its OPEC allies—issued an oil embargo against the U.S., slashing production output and drastically raising prices. When you control roughly 80 percent of the world's petroleum reserves and 40 percent of its production, you can do things like that.