The 2021 Dodge Durango R/T gains a new Tow-n-Go package that allows the latest 5.7L V8-powered SUV to tow up to 8,700 lbs and do it with a sporty flair. The powertrain remains mainly unchanged, but the suspension, brakes, exhaust, wheels, tires, and more – all get an upgrade. I put it on the Ike GauntletTM – the world’s toughest towing test, to see how it does.
The Ike is the world’s toughest towing test because of its steep grade and very high elevation. It’s an 8-mile stretch of I-70 with a 7% grade and a maximum altitude of 11,158 feet above sea level. I hitched a Cimarron 4-horse trailer (that we got at our friends at TransWest.com) to the new F-150. The added ballast brings the total trailer weight to about 7,000 lbs. This is exactly the same weight and trailer that we recently used when testing a new 2021 Chevy Suburban.
2021 Dodge Durango
The 5.7-liter V8 in the Durango produces 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The Tow-n-Go package costs $4,995 and includes many mechanical components that are also found on the Durango SRT. It includes adaptive Bilstein shocks, performance exhaust system, and an integrated brake controller.
The 2021 Durango also gets a minor front exterior refresh, as well as an updated interior with a new 10-inch center infotainment screen and the Uconnect 5 interface.
On the way down the mountain, we leave the SUV (or truck) in Tow/Haul mode and count brake applications. The goal is to test the grade-shifting ability of the transmission and the vehicle as a whole. We specifically do NOT set the cruise control system or manually shift the transmission during the downhill portion of the test. In the end, the 8-speed automatic downhill performance was not as aggressive as I hoped. I recorded 9 brake applications on the way down, which is on the higher end of the spectrum.
On the way up the mountain, the V8 did its job and was able to hold the 60 MPH speed limit for most of the run. The benchmark time up the mountain is 8 minutes. The Durango Tow-n-Go did it in 7 min 49 seconds. We do not award extra points for going up the mountain quicker than 8 minutes. However, we do subtract points if the vehicle is slower. The trip meter reported a good 4.7 mpg – when compared to other vehicles on the mountain.
In the end, after all the points have been counted and considered – the 2021 Durango registered 80.5 points (out of a maximum of 100). This happens to be the exact same score as with the 2021 Suburban, although the Suburban arrived at that score in a different way.
When we perform our official 2021 Gold Hitch competition deliberations next year, a vote will brake the tie. Check out all the details in the video below.