Dodge Durango Vs. Ford Explorer

By Justin Cupler | July 5th, 2019

Crossover SUVs have become so popular, they have to nail it with every key demographic, even those seeking exhilarating performance. The 2019 Dodge Durango and all-new 2020 Ford Explorer offer all that and more for our Saginaw area shoppers. Find out which is better for you below. 

Exterior

The 2020 Ford Explorer is all-new, but it takes a big step toward the past with the rework. It gains a more upright body with bolder shoulders, a larger glasshouse, a standout grille, a higher ride height, and more. This gives the Explorer a look that’s similar to the SUVs of yesteryear, throwing a wrench in the wheel of the crossover segment. While not everyone will appreciate this look, it has plenty of fans. 

Speaking of retro designs, the 2019 Dodge Durango is just that, but it is more natural than the Explorer, as it went through its last redesign way back in 2011. It boasts the classic SUV points like upright glass, broad shoulders, a high ride height, and a bold grille.  

 

Both the Explorer and the Durango have their own performance variants. The Explorer boasts its ST trim that includes a sport-tuned suspension, a special ST grille in gloss black, a sport fascia, and special wheels. 

The Durango has three performance-oriented models: GT, R/T, and SRT. The GT puts show over go with its sport hood, lower ride height, sporty wheels, and a sport fascia. The R/T looks almost the same as the GT, but gains a potent HEMI V-8 and a hood scoop to feed it cool air. The SRT is the standout model of the group with its more aggressive wheels, special hood, sportier fascia, and wild 6.4-liter HEMI engine. 

 

Measurement 2019 Dodge Durango 2020 Ford Explorer Difference
Length 201.2 inches 198.8 inches +2.4 inches
Width 85.5 inches 78.9 inches +6.6 inches
Height 70.9 to 72.7 inches 69.9 inches +1 to +2.8 inches
Wheelbase 119.8 inches 119.1 inches +0.7 inches
Ground Clearance 8.1 inches 7.9 to 8.3 inches -0.2 to +0.2 inches
Curb weight 4,680 to 5,510 pounds 4,345 to 4,969 pounds +335 to +514 pounds

 

Advantage: 2020 Ford Explorer

  • Brand-new looks
  • Smaller, lighter body
  • More ground clearance
  • Sporty ST appearance

Advantage: 2019 Dodge Durango

  • Classic SUV looks
  • Three sporty models to pick from
  • Sporty options on SRT trim
  • Luxurious Citadel trims

Interior

Inside, the 2019 Dodge Durango is simple but clean, giving traditional SUV buyers a look they are familiar with. Despite its simplicity, the 2019 Durango is well-equipped with a standard 7-inch touchscreen Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, but it lacks the standard third-row seating the Explorer has — this is only available as an option. 

 

Moving into the R/T and SRT trims add even more sportiness with their performance seats and Dodge Performance Pages, which includes performance monitors like 0-to-60 time, quarter-mile time, G force meter, and much more, built into its infotainment system. 

The 2020 Ford Explorer’s cabin is all-new and packed with the latest in design features, including its clean dash with plenty of accent trim, a small climate-control interface, a rotary shifter, and plenty of storage. Like the Durango, the Explorer is well-equipped from the base XLT trim with features like an 8-inch touchscreen, 4G LTE Wi-Fi, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay, but it goes a step beyond with plenty to keep everyone safe too like automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and blind-spot monitoring.  But this all comes at nearly a $6,000 premium over the base Durango SXT. 

The Explorer ST sports things up with sport seats with ST embossing, a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, an ST steering wheel, and more.

 

The new format of the Explorer gives it a roomier cabin despite being smaller, as the Ford beats the Durango in every key measurable. Cargo room also falls in the Explorer’s win column. 

 

Measurement 2019 Dodge Durango 2020 Ford Explorer Difference
First-row headroom 39.9 inches 38.9 to 40.7 inches -0.8 to +1 inches
First-row legroom 40.3 inches 43 inches -2.7 inches
First-row shoulder room 58.5 inches 61.8 inches -3.3 inches
First-row hip room 57 inches 59.2 inches -2.2 inches
Second-row headroom 39.8 inches 38.2 to 40.5 inches -0.7 to +1.6 inches
Second-row legroom 38.6 inches 39 inches -0.4 inches
Second-row shoulder room 57.7 inches 61.9 inches -4.2 inches
Second-row hip room 55.5 inches 59.1 inches -3.6 inches
Third-row headroom 37.8 inches 38.9 inches -1.1 inches
Third-row legroom 33.5 inches 32.2 inches +1.3 inches
Third-row shoulder room 50.4 inches 54.6 inches -4.2 inches
Third-row hip room 42.4 inches 40.9 inches +1.5 inches
Cargo room (behind third row) 17.2 cubic feet 18.2 cubic feet 1 cubic foot
Cargo room (behind second row) 43.3 cubic feet 47.9 cubic feet -4.6 cubic feet
Cargo room (behind first row) 85.1 cubic feet 87.8 cubic feet -2.7 cubic feet

 

Advantage: 2020 Ford Explorer

  • More standard features
  • Loads of options
  • Big-time safety equipment
  • Sporty ST seats

Advantage: 2019 Dodge Durango

  • Clean, classic design 
  • Great value for the features
  • Dodge Performance Pages
  • Throaty sound inside the cabin in SRT and R/T models

Performance

The midsize three-row crossover segment has become a realm where efficiency and performance meet, and the Durango and Explorer are great examples of this.

 

The Durango comes standard with a 3.6-liter V-6 that pounds out up to 295 horsepower for a respectable 7.4-second 0-to-60 time and 6,200-pound towing capacity. The Durango R/T adds a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 that produces 360 horsepower for an invigorating 6.4-second 0-to-60 time and a 7,400-pound towing capacity. Topping the Durango range is the SRT with its 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 that produces 475 horsepower for a wild 4.6-second 0-to-60 sprint and an 8,700-pound towing capacity. 

The Explorer is also quite powerful, but it takes the modern turbocharging route. The base 2.3-liter turbo four-pot pumps out 300 horses for a 5,300-pound towing capacity, but there are no 0-to-60 times available yet. The Limited Hybrid trim uses a 3.3-liter hybrid powertrain that delivers 318 horsepower, giving it a 5,200-pound towing capacity. The ST trim delivers SRT-rivaling performance, as its 400-horsepower twin-turbo V-6 delivers a 5.5-second 0-to-60 time and a 5,600-pound towing capacity. Finally, the Limited trim uses a detuned 3.0-liter turbo V-6 with 375 horsepower. 

With the 2020 Ford Explorer moving the model back to a rear-wheel-drive platform, both the Explorer and Durango come standard with rear-wheel drive and optional all-wheel drive. 

 

2019 Dodge Durango 2020 Ford Explorer Difference
Standard engine 3.6-liter V-6 2.3-liter turbo 4-cyl
Horsepower 293 to 295 hp at 6,400 rpm 300 hp -7 to -5 hp
Torque 260 lb-ft at 4,000 rpm 310 lb-ft -50 lb-ft
Transmission 8-spd automatic 10-spd automatic
Driveline RWD (std.) / AWD (opt.) RWD (std.) / 4WD (opt.)
0-60 time 7.4 seconds
Towing capacity 6,200 pounds 5,300 pounds (4WD) +900 pounds
MPG City 18 to 19 mpg 20 to 21 mpg -3 to -1 mpg
MPG Highway 25 to 26 mpg 27 to 28 mpg -3 to -1 mpg
MPG Combined 21 mpg 23 to 24 mpg -3 to -2 mpg
Optional engine 5.7-liter V-8 3.3-liter hybrid V-6
Horsepower 360 hp at 5,150 rpm 318 hp +42 hp
Torque 390 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm 322 pound-feet +68 lb-ft
Transmission 8-spd automatic 10-spd automatic
Driveline RWD (std.) / AWD (opt.) RWD (std.) / 4WD (opt.)
0-60 time 6.4 seconds
Towing capacity 7,400 pounds 5,200 pounds (4WD) +2,200 pounds
MPG City 14 mpg 16 mpg -2 mpg
MPG Highway 22 mpg 23 mpg 1 mpg
MPG Combined 17 mpg 19 mpg -2 mpg
Optional engine 6.4-liter V-8 3.0-liter high-output turbo V-6
Horsepower 475 hp at 6,000 rpm 400 hp +75 hp
Torque 470 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm 415 lb-ft +55 lb-ft
Transmission 8-spd automatic 10-spd automatic
Driveline AWD 4WD
0-60 time 4.6 seconds 5.5 seconds -0.9 seconds
Towing capacity 8,700 pounds 5,600 pounds (4WD) +2,100 pounds
MPG City 13 mpg 18 mpg -5 mpg
MPG Highway 19 mpg 24 mpg -5 mpg
MPG Combined 15 mpg 20 mpg -5 mpg
Optional engine
3.0-liter turbo V-6
Horsepower
365 hp +110 hp
Torque
380 lb-ft +110 lb-ft
Transmission
10-spd automatic
Driveline
4WD
0-60 time
Towing capacity
5,600 pounds (4WD) +2,100 pounds
MPG City
18 mpg -5 mpg
MPG Highway
24 mpg -5 mpg
MPG Combined
20 mpg -5 mpg

 

Advantage: 2020 Ford Explorer

  • Great power across the board
  • Wildly powerful ST trim
  • Better fuel economy

Advantage: 2019 Dodge Durango

  • Big towing advantage
  • Potent V-8 engines
  • Classic HEMI growl
  • Quicker to 60 mph

Pricing and Features

The 2020 Ford Explorer has five trim levels — XLT, Limited, Limited Hybrid, ST, and Platinum — and their starting prices range from $36,675 to $58,250. 

 

There are eight trim levels in the 2019 Dodge Durango lineup: SXT, SXT Plus, GT, GT Plus, Citadel, R/T, Citadel Anodized Platinum, and SRT. Their starting prices range from $30,445 to $63,245. 

2020 Ford Explorer Key Features and Pricing by Trim

XLT: $36,675

  • 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • 10-speed automatic transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • Electric parking brake
  • 18-inch five-spoke Sparkle Silver-painted wheels
  • Body-color door handles with black inserts
  • Black mesh grille insert with a chrome surround
  • Black lower body cladding
  • Black wheel-lip molding
  • Body-color bumpers
  • Body-color rear spoiler
  • Black, heated, power mirrors with LED turn signals and puddle lights
  • Power mirrors
  • Chrome liftgate applique
  • Daytime running lights
  • LED taillights
  • LED high- and low-beam headlights with automatic on/off
  • LED signature lighting
  • Black lower body-side molding with chrome inserts
  • Black rear bumper step pad
  • Black roof-rack side rails
  • Power liftgate
  • Tinted rear glass
  • Acoustic front glass
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Rear wiper
  • Black metallic center stack
  • Center floor console
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Stretch Diamond instrument panel appliques
  • 6.5-inch driver-information center
  • Unique cloth seating
  • Cruise control
  • Door-sill scuff plates
  • First- and second-row floor mats
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Ebony instrument-panel trim
  • Five 12-volt power outlets
  • Rotary gear shifter
  • Cloth seating
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • 20/40/20 split-folding second-row seat
  • 50/50 split-folding third-row seat
  • Tilt and telescoping steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down front glass
  • Four cargo-net tie-downs
  • Four cargo-area tie-downs
  • FordPass Connect
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Remote ignition
  • Parked-vehicle locator
  • SYNC 3 infotainment system
  • Enhanced voice recognition
  • 8-inch touchscreen
  • Applink
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/MP3/SiriusXM audio system
  • Dual second-row smart-charging USB ports
  • Keyless unlock and ignition
  • Ford MyKey
  • SOS post-crash alert
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Forward-collision warning
  • Rearview camera
  • Hill-start assist
  • Post-collision braking
  • Reverse parking sensors
  • Perimeter alarm
  • SecuriCode keyless entry keypad

 

Limited: $48,130

  • All XLT features, plus
  • Heavy-duty rear brake calipers
  • Gloss-black mirror caps
  • Body-color door handles with chrome inserts
  • Dual chrome exhaust tips
  • Bright silver grille with a painted mesh insert and chrome bars
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Liftgate scuff panel
  • Satin roof-rack side rails with black caps
  • 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels
  • Ambient lighting
  • Door-sill scuff plates with bright inserts
  • Noce Wave instrument panel applique
  • 10-way power passenger’s seat
  • Leather seating with micro-perforation
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Two-position driver’s seat memory
  • Second-row heated seats
  • Second-row power-assist folding seats
  • Third-row power-folding seat
  • Second-row sunshades
  • Power tilt and telescoping steering wheel
  • Heated, leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Paddle shifters
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Power-folding side-view mirrors
  • SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • 110-volt power outlet
  • 12-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen
  • Wireless charging pad
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Universal garage-door opener
  • 360-degree camera
  • Intelligent adaptive cruise control
  • Lane centering
  • Speed sign recognition
  • Evasive steering assist
  • Voice-activated navigation
  • Forward parking sensors

 

Limited Hybrid: $52,280

  • All Limited features, plus
  • 3.3-liter Hybrid powertrain
  • Four-wheel drive

 

ST: $54,740

  • All Limited features, plus
  • 3.0-liter high-output turbocharged V-6 engine
  • 20-inch machined-aluminum wheels
  • Sport-tuned suspension
  • Black mesh grille insert
  • Black liftgate applique
  • Black lower body-side cladding
  • Black roof-rack side rails
  • Gloss-black mirror caps
  • “ST” projector puddle lights
  • Black front and rear skid plate elements
  • Class-III trailer tow
  • Body-color door handles with black inserts
  • Chrome quad-exit exhaust tips
  • “EXPLORER” hood emblem
  • Unique blackout treatment on headlights and taillights
  • Black carpeted floor mats with ST logos and City Silver stitching
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument panel
  • Hexacut instrument panel accents
  • Sport captains chairs
  • Leather seating with City Silver stitching with ST logo
  • Heated steering wheel with ST logo
  • Active Park Assist 2.0
  • Reverse brake assist

 

Platinum: $58,250

  • All Limited features, plus
  • 3.0-liter turbocharged V-6 engine
  • Class III trailer-tow package
  • Quad-exit chrome exhaust
  • LED taillights
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Satin-aluminum door handles
  • Satin-aluminum liftgate applique
  • Satin-aluminum lower body-side cladding insert
  • Premium silver-painted skid plate elements
  • Twin-panel moonroof
  • Unique grille with a satin-aluminum finish
  • 20-inch bright machined-face aluminum wheels\Unique quilted door inserts
  • Black floor mats with Brunello stitching
  • Illuminated door-sill scuff panels
  • Real wood trim
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument panel
  • Leather-wrapped armrests
  • Leather-wrapped instrument panel and door rollovers
  • Tri-diamond perforated leather seating with accent stitching
  • Front-row Platinum-branded embroidery
  • Active Park Assist 2.0
  • Reverse park assist

2019 Dodge Durango Key Features and Pricing by Trim

SXT: $30,445

  • 3.6-liter V-6 engine
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Electric power steering
  • Eco suspension with rear load-leveling suspension
  • Sport mode
  • Selectable steering modes
  • Automatic engine stop/start
  • Chrome headlight bezels
  • LED taillights with red accents
  • Remote proximity key
  • Body-color fascia with accent-color lower fascia and a bright insert
  • Bright-chrome-trimmed grille with black accents
  • Automatic-on/off halogen headlights
  • Projector fog lights
  • Body-color, power, heated mirrors
  • Accent-color wheel-lip molding
  • 18-inch Technical Gray aluminum wheels
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers 
  • Rear window wiper
  • 7-inch digital gauge cluster
  • Rear climate-control vents
  • Three-zone automatic climate control
  • 12-volt cargo-area outlet
  • Cargo area cover
  • Full-length center floor console
  • Overhead console with LED lights and sunglasses holder
  • Luxury front and rear floor mats
  • Double Cross mesh cloth seating with Carolina Cloth bolsters
  • Fold-flat front passenger’s seat
  • 60/40 split-folding second-row seat
  • Third-row delete
  • Cargo tie-down loops
  • Anodized gunmetal interior accents
  • Platinum chrome bezel instrument panel
  • Perforated-leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Tilt and telescoping steering wheel
  • Media hub with two USB ports
  • Six-speaker audio system
  • Uconnect 4 infotainment system
  • 7-inch touchscreen
  • Android Auto 
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Dual charge-only USB ports
  • Keyless unlock and ignition
  • Hill-start assist
  • Rearview camera
  • Rain Brake Support
  • Ready Alert Braking

 

SXT Plus: $34,440

  • All SXT features, plus
  • 50/50 split-folding third-row seat
  • Power eight-way driver’s seat
  • 60/40 Fold-and-Tumble second-row seats
  • SiriusXM
  • Integrated roof rail crossbars
  • Bright side roof rails
  • Rear parking sensors

 

GT: $34,895

  • All SXT Plus features, plus
  • Dual exhaust with bright tips
  • Body-color front fascia
  • Performance-design grille
  • Premium LED fog lights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Body-color wheel-lip moldings
  • 20-inch satin-carbon aluminum wheels
  • Third-row floor mat
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Universal garage door opener

 

GT Plus: $39,245

  • All GT features, plus
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Leather seats with suede inserts
  • Two-position driver’s seat memory
  • 115-volt power outlet
  • Auto-dimming exterior mirror
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Power mirror memory
  • Bright front door sill scuff pads
  • Power liftgate
  • Remote ignition
  • Security alarm
  • Mirror-integrated turn signals

 

Citadel: $43,245

  • All GT Plus features, plus
  • Heavy-duty disc brakes
  • Body-color front fascia with bright inserts and applique
  • Bright chrome grille trim with premium accent
  • HID low-beam headlights
  • Projector fog lights
  • Chrome mirror caps
  • Memory mirror settings with auto-dimming
  • Remote ignition
  • Bright roof-rack rails
  • Sunroof
  • 20-inch polished-aluminum wheels
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Bright cargo-area scuff plate
  • Power tilt and telescoping steering wheel with memory
  • Capri leather with Capri vinyl bolsters
  • Eight-way power front seats
  • SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link
  • Nine-speaker Alpine premium audio system with a 506-watt amplifier
  • Uconnect 8.4 NAV infotainment system
  • Navigation
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Front parking sensors
  • Security alarm

 

R/T: $44,245

  • All GT features, plus
  • 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine
  • Heavy-duty disc brakes
  • Performance-tuned steering
  • Load-leveling sport suspension
  • Performance hood with center air intake and dual heat extractors
  • Power liftgate
  • HID low-beam headlights
  • Power-folding, auto-dimming mirrors with two-position memory
  • Remote-start 
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Rain-sensing automatic windshield wipers
  • Bright cargo area scuff plates
  • Driver’s seat memory
  • Power tilt and telescoping steering wheel with memory
  • Leather-and-suede seats
  • Eight-way power front seats
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • SiriusXM Traffic Plus and Travel Link
  • Nine-speaker premium Alpine audio system with a subwoofer and 506-watt amp
  • Uconnect 8.4 NAV infotainment system
  • Navigation
  • 115-volt power outlet
  • Front parking sensors
  • Security alarm

 

Citadel Anodized Platinum: $46,520

  • All Citadel features, plus
  • 20-inch satin-carbon wheels
  • Black roof rails
  • Platinum-chrome door handles
  • Black headlight bezels
  • Platinum badges
  • Platinum fog light bezels
  • Platinum front fascia
  • Platinum mirror caps
  • Platinum premium grille with black texture
  • Platinum rear lower fascia
  • Sill with platinum accent
  • Luxury leather-trimmed seats
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Hand-wrapped leather dashboard with live stitching
  • Platinum interior accents

 

SRT: $63,245

  • All R/T features, plus
  • 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 engine
  • All-wheel drive
  • Brembo performance brakes
  • SRT performance-tuned steering
  • High-performance suspension with adaptive dampers
  • 20-inch Black Noise wheels
  • Body-color upper and lower fascia
  • Headlight leveling
  • Leather-wrapped center console armrest
  • Black velour floor mats with SRT logo
  • Performance seats with leather and suede
  • “SRT” embroidered seatbacks
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Second-row Fold-and-Tumble captains chairs
  • Premium leather-wrapped steering wheel

Who Should Buy the 2020 Ford Explorer?

The 2020 Ford Explorer is the latest and greatest in the three-row crossover segment, making it a great option for buyers who must have the most recent tech and design. Also, with its turbocharging, the Explorer carefully combines efficiency and power. 

Who Should Buy the 2019 Dodge Durango?

The Dodge Durango’s lower base price suits buyers with a tighter budget. That’s not all it offers, though. Thanks to its wild V-8 options, the Durango suits performance lovers better than the Explorer, despite its great-performing ST trim.

 

Head down to Garber Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM in Saginaw today to see what the 2019 Dodge Durango can offer your family. Whether you need an SUV to commute to work in Saginaw,  to drop the kids off at school in Frankenmuth, visit family in Midland, or to just head to Bay City for some much-needed R&R, the 2019 Durango can handle it all. If you can’t make it to our Saginaw area showroom today, swing by our online inventory page to see all our in-stock 2019 Durango models, choose one that suits you, and schedule a future test drive.