The Dodge Durango and the Jeep Grand Cherokee are both dominant nameplates in the midsize SUV market segment. They often come as the top two choices among people looking for mid-sized SUVs that have that all-american appearance.
What consumers often don’t know is that they’re both manufactured by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and are built on exactly the same platform. As a result, these two unibody SUVs have a lot in common.
But there are also major differences between the two. Most notably, the Durango is a 7-seater whereas the Grand Cherokee is a 5-seater.
To help give you a better understanding of what separates these two models, let’s explore the features and attributes of them in closer detail.
The Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee are both manufactured by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and share the same platform. Performance, features and interior styling is largely the same, but the Dodge Durango is 10 inches longer and has a third row of seats.
The base model of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Laredo E, starts at $31,765, and the pricing soars up to $69,410 for the SRT® Hellcat model. The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk model is the most expensive, with a starting price of $87,915.
The 2021 Dodge Durango, on the other hand, starts at $31,765 for the SXT model, and the price climbs to $80,995 for the SRT® Hellcat model.
Therefore, despite being the bigger vehicle, the Dodge Durango’s price is virtually indistinguishable from that of the Grand Cherokee.
The new Jeep Grand Cherokee has a modern take on its classic design. Its iconic 7 slot front grille, which represents Jeep traveling across all 7 continents in its history, is ringed by two slim headlights which give it a mean and lean look.
By comparison, the Dodge Durango has a more classic design that pays homage to the iconic Dodge muscle cars of the 1960s. Its longer body makes it a less capable off-roader than the Jeep, but on the highway few cars will have as much presence as the Durango.
While things look very different on the exterior, it becomes easily apparent that both the Durango and Grand Cherokee share the same blood once you step inside. Aside from a few superficial differences here and there, the basic interiors are practically identical.
Size and Capacity
Despite belonging in the same size segment, the Dodge Durango is larger than the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
It is 201.2 inches long, 75.8 inches wide, and 70.9 inches high while the Jeep Grand Cherokee is 189.8 inches long, 76.5 inches wide, and 69.3 inches high. The Durango’s wheelbase is also 5.1 inches longer than that of the Grand Cherokee.
On the inside, the Durango also offers a much roomier cabin with a total passenger volume of 141.4 cubic feet as opposed to the Grand Cherokee’s total passenger volume of 105.4 cubic feet.
Although the difference is significant, passengers in the first and second row of the Durango won’t have any more room than the Grand Cherokee. That’s because the Durango can accommodate up to 7 passengers while the Grand Cherokee only carries up to 5. So the Durango’s extra passenger volume only becomes noticeable when you’re carrying extra passengers.
When it comes to cargo space, the Durango again handily beats the Grand Cherokee with its total cargo volume of 85.1 cubic feet when its 2nd-row and 3rd-row seats are folded down flat.
The Grand Cherokee offers up to 68.3 cubic feet when its rear seats are folded down. Once again, this result is expected, since the Durango is 10 inches longer than the Grand Cherokee.
Power and Performance
Both the Dodge Durango and the Jeep Grand Cherokee also offer a range of engines depending on the trim.
The Dodge Durango SXT, GT, and Citadel models come equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 295 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The R/T model gets a 5.7-liter V8 engine rated at 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque, while the range-topping SRT® model gets an even more powerful 6.4-liter V8 engine rated at 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. All of these engines come matched with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is also offered with several engine options, and in most cases shares the exact same engine as those found in the Dodge Durango. Most of its models are offered with a standard 3.6-liter V6 gasoline engine that generates 295 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. Its Limited, Overland, High Altitude, and Summit models can be had with an available 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine that develops 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque, or alternatively, a 5.7-liter V8 engine that produces 360 horsepower and 390 lb.-ft. of torque.
Like the Dodge Durango SRT®, the Grand Cherokee SRT® model also gets a 6.4-liter V8 engine rated at 475 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. However, the Grand Cherokee goes further and offers a track-tuned Trackhawk model that houses the most powerful engine of all – a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine that develops 707 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque. The Trackhawk boasts an incredible 0-60 mph acceleration time of just 3.5 seconds.
Both the Dodge Durango and the Jeep Grand Cherokee offer comparable convenience features. Some of the features that the Durango offers in all its trims include a three-zone automatic climate control system, keyless entry with push-button start, a rearview camera, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and a 7-inch Uconnect® touchscreen infotainment system that offers smartphone integration via both Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™.
Its higher trim levels add features like an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, heated front seats, a 9-speaker Alpine® audio system with a subwoofer, a dual-screen rear entertainment system with Blu-ray compatibility, and much more.
No doubt because both models are made by the same manufacturer, the Jeep Grand Cherokee has a very similar list of standard features. This also includes a keyless entry system with push-button start, dual-zone automatic climate control system, a 7-inch Uconnect® touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ compatibility and a 6-speaker sound system.
The Grand Cherokee’s higher trim levels add features like a 19-speaker Harman Kardon® audio system with a subwoofer and amplifier, leather upholstery, auto-dimming driver-side and rearview mirrors, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support, a dual-pane panoramic sunroof and more.
There’s no doubting that the Jeep Grand Cherokee is the preferred choice for the masses. Jeep is growing faster than any other American automaker and the Grand Cherokee is only second to the Ford Explorer in its segment.
But there’s definitely something special about the often underappreciated Dodge Durango.
While it may not be as iconic as the Jeep, it’s hard not to be drawn to its classic American styling. It also carries an extra two passengers should the need arise, all the while costing slightly less than the Grand Cherokee.
Overall, we think the Dodge Durango is the way to go if you don’t need the Jeep badge and want to set yourself apart from the Ford Explorers and Jeep Grand Cherokees that dominate US roads.
Related: Jeep Cherokee vs Grand Cherokee