Miss Lori wonders if she is truly an SUV Mama in the 2011 Dodge Durango

Earlier this week I wrote about my experience with the 2011 Dodge Caravan. It felt like home because I have been driving a minivan for the last 8 years. It was a fabulous vehicle, though it would be so much better if it was a hybrid! (Just sayin’!) But even with all of that I don’t know if at heart I am a Minivan Mom or…an SUV Mama! So I got behind the wheel of the 2011 Dodge Durango to discover my true nature.

As a mother of three really tall children space is very important to me. That’s why I have always gravitated towards minivan’s. But the Durango was up to the challenge.

As I always do when I demo cars, I climbed into the backseat myself. I figure if my 5’8″ frame can rest comfortably back there then most people will do fine. In all of the SUVs I have profiled this year, I have had to squeeze into the third row. Some were bareable, but none were comfortable until the Durango.

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I couldn’t believe how much room I had back there! Room for my legs, room for my head, room for my arms. It was amazing, and such a surprise. The Durango presents on the outside like the midsize SUV that it is. But inside, there is hidden capacity! At first I thought that the downside was in “getting into” the third row. But then my 13 year old son stepped in and set me straight.

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And it’s not just the third row. The second row was pretty scrumptious too, and toasty. My kids have been complaining all years when we get cars that have seat warmers in the front seat. They feel very left out. “We want toasty buns too Mommy!” Well, in the Durango their prayers were answered.

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So the kids are happy, but what about functionality? I am not very worried about aesthetics, but form and function, those are big for me. Especially in the Summer when I have to tour around Illinois performing my WTTW PBS Kids Health and Literacy concerts. So much equipment that I need to haul. But the equipment can’t take up all of the space, because I have bring my kids too. That’s why having a trunk space, a real trunk space, is important. Most SUV’s have next to nothing behind the third row, but once again the Durango surprised me.

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And it only takes one hand to access everything. Which is great because my  hands are usually full. Not just my hands, but my brains to. That’s why having the Uconnect, just like there is in the Caravan was a great extra. If I forgot my earpiece for my phone I didn’t have to feel disconnected to the World, all I had to do was sync my phone to the car and I am good to go for hands free driving. But the absolute best feature on the Dodge Durango for me had everything to do with safety, and it was a feature I never saw coming. Just like so many cars on the highway that sneak up along side of me when I want to change lanes. but not in the Durango. No No No.

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The Durango has my back literally. The car is watching out for me making sure that my pathway is clear for moving over and forward. An intuitive feature that will help me be a better and safer driver not just for me, but for those around me.

Well, all this is well and good Miss Lori, but let’s get to the heart, what about the gas mileage? Yes, as you know, in this economy gas mileage ranks first in my list of concerns when choosing a car. I was frustrated by the Caravan because the MPG wasn’t much better than my beat up minivan that I have now. I know that what gets me the most is all of my idling. But as a mother of three Idling is a huge given. I was worried that the Durango would fall even shorter than the bar the Caravan set, as many SUV’s are famous gas guzzlers. All week long I seemed to be hovering in the low 15′s, but then, when it was time to film, I got yet another surprise.

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My last day I had to take a couple of trips that went a little longer so it pushed my total MPG up to 17.5. That was is city driving. 17.5 in an SUV in the city is a good get. But you know me, I want more. I bet I would get it too if the Durango was a hybrid. (Just sayin’.)

So there you have it. The Dodge Durango is a big SUV in a medium package. Filled with comfort and helpful features. I really did love driving it. The seats were especially luscious and energizing. But I loved the Caravan too. Oh me oh my. What am I truly, a Minivan Mom or and SUV Mama? It’s so hard to decide. What do you think? I think I need more time in both of them, you know, to really understand which side of the road I belong on. Don’t you? (Hint Hint Dodge.)

Stayed tuned next week as I wrap up both experiences and determine my true title, Minivan Mom or SUV Mama.

SMILE On!

ML

This is a * Level 1: Some or all of the products or services mentioned were provided to Miss Lori free of charge.

Miss Lori can be found Musing from her Minivan at MissLori.TV , Wearetherealdeal.com , YoungChicagonista , ChicagoMomsBlog , and ChicagoMoms.com. You can also see her Activating to Be Great at Miss Lori’s CAMPUS on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

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