2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2019 Dodge Durango

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/18

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Dodge Durango doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Pre-Collision System optional in the RX Series as “Superior.” The Durango scores only 1 point and is rated only “Basic.”

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Durango doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The RX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Durango only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the RX Series and the Durango have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

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

RX Series

Durango

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Lexus RX Series is safer than the Durango:

RX Series

Durango

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

2 cm

9 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

1.3/2 kN

5.3/2.5 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

6%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.71/.66

1.53/.59

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 Lexus RX Series is safer than the Dodge Durango:

RX Series

Durango

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

110 G’s

112 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

14 inches

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Durango was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty

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The RX Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Durango’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Dodge covers the Durango. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Durango ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The RX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Durango’s (6/unlimited vs. 5/60,000).

Reliability

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For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the RX Series have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Durango.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RX Series’ reliability 37 points higher than the Durango.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series first among midsize premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Durango isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 72 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Dodge is ranked 21st.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the RX 350 3.5 DOHC V6 is faster than the Durango Dual Exhaust 3.6 DOHC V6:

RX Series

Durango

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

8 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.7 MPH

86.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/18

On the EPA test cycle the RX Series gets better fuel mileage than the Durango:

MPG

RX Series

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

450h 3.5 DOHC V6

31 city/28 hwy

3.5 DOHC V8

19 city/26 hwy

Durango

RWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the RX Series Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Durango doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Lexus RX Series at emission levels ranging from “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Dodge Durango is only certified to “Low Emissions Vehicle” (LEV) standards.

Transmission

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The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Durango doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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The RX Series’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Durango V6 are solid, not vented.

The RX Series stops much shorter than the Durango:

RX Series

Durango

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

142 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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The RX Series has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the RX Series flat and controlled during cornering. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The RX Series offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The RX 350 handles at .79 G’s, while the Durango GT 4x4 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The RX 350 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Durango GT 4x4 (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the RX Series’ turning circle is 2.2 feet tighter than the Durango’s (38.8 feet vs. 41 feet).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Durango (8.2 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Lexus RX Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 700 pounds less than the Dodge Durango.

The RX Series is 8.7 inches shorter than the Durango, making the RX Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Lexus RX Series amounts to more than styling. The RX Series has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the Durango (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the RX Series get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The RX Series has 3.8 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear hip room than the Durango.

Cargo Capacity

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The RX Series has a much larger cargo volume than the Durango with its rear seat up (18.4 vs. 17.2 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Durango doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the RX Series’ available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Durango doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 77% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

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The RX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Durango doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The RX Series’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Durango’s parking brake has to released manually.

The RX Series’ front and rear power windows all 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 Durango’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The RX Series’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Durango’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The RX Series’ available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Durango’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Durango doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the RX Series offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Durango doesn’t offer cornering lights. The RX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the Durango is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the Durango because it costs $18 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RX Series than the Durango, including $56 less for a fuel pump and $293 less for front struts.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/18

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Dodge Durango isn't recommended.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Dodge Durango by 26% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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