Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2013 Dodge Durango VS 2012 Toyota Rav4 Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2013 Dodge Durango

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2012 Toyota Rav4

Safety Comparison

The Durango R/T/Citadel offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The Rav4 doesn't offer a collision warning system.

The Durango (except SXT)’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Durango (except SXT)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Compared to metal, the Durango’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Toyota Rav4 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Durango and the Rav4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all-wheel drive.

The Dodge Durango weighs 1057 to 2037 pounds more than the Toyota Rav4. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Dodge Durango is safer than the Toyota Rav4:




4 Stars

3 Stars



4 Stars

4 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

264 lbs.

306 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

837/556 lbs.

681/931 lbs.



3 Stars

2 Stars




Chest Compression

.9 inches

.9 inches

Neck Stress

72 lbs.

199 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Dodge Durango is safer than the Toyota Rav4:




5 Stars

4 Stars

Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

185 G’s

243 G’s

Hip Force

220 lbs.

455 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

3 Stars




Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

75 G’s

Hip Force

266 lbs.

1153 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

2 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

16 inches




Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

78 G’s

Hip Force

666 lbs.

1102 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( IIHS) performs roof strength tests. In that test the Durango earned the top rating of “Good” because its roof supported over four times the Durango’s weight before being crushed five inches. The Rav4 was rated lower at “Acceptable.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the general design of front seat head restraints for their ability to protect front seat occupants from whiplash injuries. The IIHS also performs a dynamic test on those seats with “good” or “acceptable” geometry. In these ratings, the Durango is safer then the Rav4:



Overall Evaluation



Head Restraint Design



Distance Below Top of Head

18 mm

42 mm

Dynamic Test Rating



Seat Design



Neck Force Rating



Max Neck Tension



(Lower numerical results are better in all tests.)

For its top level performance in frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Durango as a “Top Pick” for 2012, a rating only granted to 137 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Rav4 was not a “Top Pick.”

Warranty Comparison

Dodge’s powertrain warranty covers the Durango 40,000 miles longer than Toyota covers the Rav4. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Rav4 ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Dodge dealers as there are Toyota dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Durango’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Durango has a standard 160-amp alternator (180-amp - Durango optional and 220 optional). The Rav4’s standard 100-amp alternator and largest (optional) 150-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

Engine Comparison

The Durango has more powerful engines than the Rav4:



Durango 3.6 DOHC V6

290 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Durango SXT Rallye 3.6 DOHC V6

295 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Durango 5.7 V8

360 HP

390 lbs.-ft.

Rav4 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

179 HP

172 lbs.-ft.

Rav4 3.5 DOHC V6

269 HP

246 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Dodge Durango V6 is faster than the Toyota Rav4 4 cyl.:



Zero to 60 MPH

8.4 sec

9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

23.8 sec

27.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

8.6 sec

9.4 sec

Quarter Mile

16.5 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87 MPH

84 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Durango V8’s fuel efficiency. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Durango has 8.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Rav4 (24.6 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Durango’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Rav4:


Durango HD


Rav4 7-Passenger/V6

Front Rotors

13 inches

13.8 inches

10.8 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13 inches

11.2 inches

11.2 inches

The Durango’s standard brakes have 35% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Rav4 (537 vs. 398.7 square inches), so the Durango has more braking power available. The Durango HD’s brakes have 39% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Rav4 7-Passenger/V6 (556 vs. 398.7 square inches), so the Durango HD has more braking power available.

The Durango HD’s optional front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Rav4 are solid, not vented.

The Durango stops much shorter than the Rav4:



70 to 0 MPH

176 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

120 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Durango has larger tires than the Rav4 (265/60R18 vs. 215/70R16). The Durango SXT/Crew’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Rav4 (265/60R18 vs. 235/55R18).

The Durango SXT/Crew’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rav4’s standard 70 series tires. The Durango’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the Rav4 Sport’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Durango SXT/Crew has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Rav4. The Durango’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Rav4 Sport.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Durango has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Rav4’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Durango offers an optional automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Durango’s wheelbase is 15.1 inches longer than on the Rav4 (119.8 inches vs. 104.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Durango is 2.3 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Rav4.

The Durango’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the Rav4’s (57.4% to 42.6%). This gives the Durango more stable handling and braking.

The Durango Crew handles at .75 G’s, while the Rav4 4WD pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Durango Crew 4x4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.8 seconds quicker than the Rav4 (28.2 seconds @ .57 average G’s vs. 30 seconds @ .52 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Durango has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Rav4 (8.1 vs. 7.5 inches), allowing the Durango to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Durango has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Rav4 can only carry 5.

The Durango has 3.2 inches more front hip room, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, .3 inches more rear legroom, 3.6 inches more rear hip room, 3 inches more rear shoulder room, .6 inches more third row headroom and 1.5 inches more third row legroom than the Rav4.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Durango’s cargo area provides more volume than the Rav4.



Behind Third Seat

17.2 cubic feet

12.3 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

47.7 cubic feet

37.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.5 cubic feet

73 cubic feet

The Durango’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Rav4’s swing out door blocks loading from the passenger’s side.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the Durango R/T/Crew/Citadel has a standard power rear liftgate, which opens and closes completely automatically by pressing a button on the key fob. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a power right swing out.

Ergonomics Comparison

The engine computer on the Durango automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Rav4’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

When different drivers share the Durango (except SXT), the optional memory system makes it convenient. Each keyless remote activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle and radio stations. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Durango (except SXT)’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Rav4 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Durango’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge –, which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Rav4 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows standard on both the Durango and the Rav4 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Durango is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Rav4 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Durango’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Rav4’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

On a hot day the Durango’s driver can lower the front windows using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Rav4 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Rav4’s power locks don’t automatically lock the doors. The Durango’s standard power locks automatically lock the doors when a certain speed is reached. This is an important feature for occupant safety. Locked doors are proven to open less often in collisions, and they are also effective in preventing crime at traffic lights. (The power lock’s automatic feature may have to be activated by your dealer.)

The Durango’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Rav4’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Durango’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

The Durango has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Rav4 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Durango (except SXT/R/T) detect other vehicles, which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Rav4 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Durango’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Rav4 and aren’t offered on the Rav4 Base.

The Durango’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Rav4’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

When the Durango with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Rav4’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Durango offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors, which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Rav4 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the Durango and the Rav4 offer available heated front seats. The Durango also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the Rav4.

The Durango (except SXT/Crew)’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The Rav4 doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.

The Durango has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Rav4 Limited.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Durango has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Rav4 doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Durango R/T/Citadel offers an optional Adaptive Speed Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Rav4 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

With optional voice command, the Durango offers the driver hands free control of the radio, cell phone and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The Rav4 doesn’t offer a voice control system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Durango is less expensive to operate than the Rav4 because typical repairs cost much less on the Durango than the Rav4, including $23 less for a water pump, $452 less for an alternator, $52 less for a starter, $27 less for fuel injection, $67 less for front struts and $750 less for a timing belt/chain.

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