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Dodge equips 2014 Durango full-size SUV with 8-speed for 9% boost in fuel economy

Chrysler’s Dodge brand introduced the 2014 Dodge Durango full-size SUV at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. The three-row SUV is equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission that improves fuel economy up to 9% (for the V-6 model) as well as a range of other enhancements. (The 2013 model range offered a choice of a 5-speed or 6-speed automatic.)

EPA fuel economy estimates are not yet available.

SUV segments in the US are showing strong growth. The new Durango competes in the full-size SUV segment, which with 900,000 units sold in 2012, has jumped 82% since 2009. The full-size SUV and full-size crossover segments combined are up 48% since 2009, outpacing the industry. Of those full-size SUV and crossover sales, approximately 60% are three-row vehicles.

The new eight-speed automatic transmission with rotary shifter and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters is standard equipment on all models. Fully electronic, the eight-speed automatic features on-the-fly shift map changing, with manual shifting capability using steering-wheel paddle controls. More than 40 individual shift maps for specific conditions optimize shift quality and shift points for fuel economy, performance and drivability. The intelligent software is attuned to the performance requirements of almost any driving demand.

The transmission efficiency and wide ratio spread provide the best possible fuel economy by operating at a lower engine rpm in both city and highway environments. The addition of more gear ratios also helps reduce the gaps normally associated with upshifting and downshifting.

Gear changes are nearly imperceptible due to the evenly spaced gear steps between each gear ratio. Internally, the transmission has four gear sets and five shift elements (multi-disc clutches and brakes). Only two shift elements are open at any time. With fewer open shift elements, drag losses due to multiple parts rotating relative to one another are reduced, improving fuel efficiency.

Durango’s standard 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine generates 290 hp (216 kW) and 260 lb-ft (353 N·m) of torque, and can tow up to a best-in-class 6,200 pounds.

The available 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine produces 360 hp (268 kW) and 390 lb-ft (529 N·m) of torque with a tow rating of 7,400 pounds. The 5.7-liter engine’s Fuel Saver Technology with cylinder-deactivation alternates between four-cylinder mode when less power is needed and V-8 mode when more power is in demand. This optimizes fuel economy when V-8 power is not required, without sacrificing vehicle performance or capability.

The 2014 Dodge Durango features a new Eco Mode that contributes to its improved fuel economy. Eco Mode optimizes the transmission’s shift schedule, as well as throttle sensitivity, and Fuel Saver Technology with cylinder deactivation in V-8 models, to maximize fuel economy. The Eco Mode also manages interactive deceleration fuel shut-off (IDFSO), which cuts fuel delivery when the vehicle is coasting to reduce fuel consumption.

Eco Mode is automatically engaged upon vehicle startup. A button on the Durango’s center stack allows drivers to disengage Eco Mode if more spirited performance is desired.

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