In this comparison guide, we take a close look at the 2018 Ford Explorer and Dodge Durango. If you're reading this, you're probably looking at midsize sport utility vehicles wanting seating for the family but like a little power. Read on and we'll show how these two stack up against each other.
Safety: 2018 Ford Explorer
National crash tests rate the safety of vehicles sold here. On a scale of 1 to 5, we get a general assessment of the car's ability to keep you and your passengers safe by preventing accidents or lessening their effect. The 2018 Ford Explorer received a 5 out of 5 in crash test ratings from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Explorer also received good marks for the presence of forward collision warning, lane departure warning, crash imminent braking, and dynamic brake support. It sounds like the Ford Explorer would do a great job keeping you and up to 6 passengers secure.
By comparison, the Dodge Durango received only 4 out of 5 stars from NHTSA testing. The Durango was dinged in head-on collision tests. Like the Ford, the Dodge did well with safety tech in preventing crashes, but if those systems aren't enough, front crashes posed a problem. Given those comparative scores, we'd go with the Ford Explorer.
In a competition between powertrains, we're calling this one a tie. In fact, these two SUVs almost indistinguishable. Both SUVs offer three engine options. The base engine on the 2018 Ford Explorer is a 3.5-liter V6 that serves up 290 horsepower and 255 lb-ft of torque. There's also a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-4 that produces slightly less horsepower but plenty more torque. Finally, there's the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine generating 365 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. That's gotta be fun to drive. Each of the three engines is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The 2018 Dodge Durango also boasts some incredible horsepower and torque. The standard engine is a 3.6-liter V6, producing 293 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Next up is a 5.7-liter V8 engine, making 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque. At the top-tier SRT trim is the 6.4-liter V8 engine, serving up 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. If you pay top dollar (starting at $65,000) for the best engine, you're better off with the Dodge Durango over the Explorer. But if that's out of your price range, this competition is about even. Their fuel economies are even within 1 mpg of each other.
Exterior: 2018 Ford Explorer
It's hard to top the Explorer's styling. This Ford SUV bulges as if with musculature around the wheel wells and on the hood. Depending on trim level, the Explorer is dripping with chrome or sporting black rims and grille. LED lights on every trim level and bold styling make the Explorer a winner in our book.
Meanwhile, the Dodge Durango has a long, sloped hood, a small grille bisected by in the middle, and otherwise muted features. The SRT trim, with its vent on the hood improves the image substantially, but the rest of the trims don't have its aggressive styling. We're calling this one for the 2018 Ford Explorer. The Durango is forgettable but the Explorer stands out in our minds.