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Friday, January 27, 2023

Next Dodge Durango could go back to body-on-frame

Rumors outlining what the future holds for the Dodge Durango are rampant. While some claim that the SUV is headed towards extinction, an unverified report suggests it will return for a fourth generation as a body-on-frame model aimed directly at the Chevrolet Tahoe.

Citing anonymous sources, enthusiast website Mopar Insiders wrote that the current-generation model will retire at the end of the 2023 model year, which seems to be a date that every report agrees upon. Its successor will allegedly enter production before the end of the 2023 calendar year on a model-specific version of the body-on-frame architecture that underpins Jeep’s born-again Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models. If the rumor is accurate, the Durango will return to its roots; the first two generations featured a body-on-frame design.

Shifting away from a unibody design makes sense from several perspectives. First, it would allow Dodge parent company Stellantis to reap the rewards of economies of scale. Towing capacity — which has always been one of the Durango’s big selling points — will increase, though it’s too early to provide a specific figure. And, it would give Dodge a true alternative to the Tahoe, one that will presumably be positioned as more of a mainstream model than the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer, which spearheaded Jeep’s upmarket expansion.

One of the next Durango’s available engines will reportedly be a turbocharged, 3.0-liter straight-six that will soon be introduced by Jeep, and a plug-in hybrid system should be available as well. There’s no word yet on whether the V8 will make a comeback. We know one fits, if it goes into the Wagoneer there’s no reason to assume it wouldn’t be able to go into the Durango, but we don’t know if Dodge will offer it.

Interestingly, the same sources told Mopar Insiders that production of the fourth-generation Durango will take place at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Michigan, that currently builds the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer. The factory also makes the Ram 1500 Classic, but the publication learned that the truck will go out of production before the next Durango begins rolling off the assembly line.

Keep in mind that none of this is official. Dodge hasn’t commented on the report, and it hasn’t shed light on what’s next for the Durango. In the meantime, the 24-year old nameplate soldiers on for the 2022 model year with more standard features and fewer available paint colors.

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