2014 Durango Citadel - My First Impressions...
your mileage may vary.
I just came from a 2008 Honda Ridgeline which I was mostly happy with. But I wanted an enclosed vehicle with less road noise and better safety features. The 2013 Pilot was an option, but I could not get any of the Dealers to work with me. When Dealers refuse to quote by email, it's a real deal-breaker.
And I do understand that I'm comparing a near-bottom-of-the-line RTX Model Ridgeline vs. a top-of-the-line Citadel. So some of this is unfair.
Things I miss in the Citadel vs. the Ridgeline:
a) Less shoulder room feeling. I think the physical space is close, but the Ridgeline and Pilot "feel" more roomy. I guess because of their boxy design -- which I like.
b) Way too few cubby-holes for storage in the Citadel, by comparison. The Honda has tons of little places to put things, and hooks on the backs of the seats to hang purses or grocery bags. My small telescoping umbrella cannot even fit in the oddly-shaped door pockets on my Citadel.
c) My feet aren't trained, yet. It might be a carry-over from the Ridgeline, but it has a specific foot-rest for my left foot in the drivers position. The Citadel does not, and I find my left foot interfering with my right as they both end up in the center are when braking. I'm sure I'll adapt but it was noticeable within a few days.
d) No place for a trash receptacle in the Durango. The Ridgeline has open floor space in front of the center console -- perfect for a small soft-sided trash box. The Durango is all console up to the dash. My brother commented he has the same problem in his Nissan Rogue, and he can't put it in the back because his grandkids constantly kick it over. I will need to find a solution.
e) Small Center Console storage area in the Durango. The Honda is voluminous in this regard, and has dividers to compartmentalize it, as well as several slider options for the cover(s).
f) Sliding armrest in the Honda for the center console. Allows you to move it out of the way, or slide it forward when needed the most. Not so with the Durango, but it's a different design. There's a lift-up tray concept here in the Durango that's kind of interesting -- but it doesn't engage properly all the time. Pinch one side of the release latch and the tray is revealed. Pinch the other side and you see the bottom compartment.
g) No irritating reflections in the Ridgeline. My Citadel has one -- it's the left outside mirror, which gets the vent surround (chrome) that is left of the Steering Wheel reflected in it nearly all the time. Dangerous? Nope. Irritating? Yep. I'll have to get used to it, I guess.
Things I love in the Citadel vs. the Ridgeline:
a) Really quiet cabin. Jesus! The road noise in both the Ridgeline and the Pilots (which I've test-driven, and taken one roadtrip in) is deafening after awhile. This was one of my reasons to give up the Ridgeline. I have no doubt that I can have a perfectly decent conversation with someone as far back as the third row in the Citadel.
b) Remote Start and Keyless Entry. My version of the Ridgeline did not have these. I believe the newer ones might, and many of the Pilot models do.
c) Killer stereo in the Citadel! I just listened to Eric Clapton and Billy Joel and Styx on a dinner trek and it was really enjoyable. I had upgraded the stereo in my Ridge, but it never sounded this good -- possibly because of inherent cabin noise. I could hear the finger snaps and harmony on Billy Joel's album like never before.
d) Killer uConnect System in the Durango! I think Honda's latest efforts get good reviews, too. Dodge (Chrysler) has really done a great job with their latest iteration of the User Interface.
e) Killer looks on the Durango! I like both designs. But the Ridgeline has virtually no bling or extras. Let's call it drab. Must be my age. I like women that dress nice!
f) Ease of access on the Durango. I find the Durango easier to get in and out. On the Ridgeline, I had to turn my body to put my butt in first because of some odd positioning of the steering column. With the Durango I can step in with my right leg first -- like a real vehicle. This may vary for every person. And it may be due to my next liked feature...
g) Incredibly-adjustable Seating on the Citadel. The Ridge was set-and-forget, but there was no lowering of the seat. Maybe it wasn't necessary because there is tons of headroom in both the Ridgeline and Pilot. But the seat height adjustment makes all the difference in the world for myself and elderly relatives with bad hips, or lack of flexibility.
h) Technology in the Durango! Honda has not refreshed the Ridgeline or Pilot in over 5 or 6 years. No Cross-path Detection. No Auto-sensing Cruise Control. No Crash Avoidance (unless I missed this). I think the Hondas might have Blind Spot Monitoring. My Ridge did not.
i) Auto Climate Reaction upon starting! The Durango can tell when it's freaking cold outside. Remote start the vehicle and the Heated Steering Wheel and Heated Seats come on. This might be dependent upon settings I'm not aware are activated, but ME LIKEY!!
j) More Power Outlets. I thought the Ridgeline had plenty of Power Outlets, but the Durango has them in areas I never expected. Nice touch!
k) More Hand-Holds. My passengers immediately commented on these when climbing into the second row seats, particularly. The Ridge had one only on the Passenger Front Pillar. I think. I cannot swear to that.
l) Luggage Rack design is very good on the Durango. The bars are concealed to eliminate wind drag. And they include tie-downs for bungee cords! My Ridgeline did not have any luggage rack, except as an option. Again, this might be unfair due to the trim levels.
m) Auto-folding Head Restraints in the Rear. I love this feature. In the Ridge I had to pull the Rear Head Restraints out and store them when not in use. Then find them and reinstall. A PITA!!
n) Turning Radius! 37-ft, roughly, vs. 42-ft, roughly. Makes a big difference, and is more fun. The Durango matches the Jeep Grand Cherokee in this regard.
o) HEMI!! I don't have enough miles broken-in on the engine to really floor this thing. But there's something to be said for the EFFORTLESS acceleration into highway situations that I'm sensing, so far. I added a K&N Filter to my Ridge to boost the horsepower a bit, if that tells you anything. The K&N added a nice little growl to that truck (which I still get a kick from). And the Pilot only offers the exact same engine while being a heavier vehicle. Whereas, the Ridge got down the road just fine, the Citadel with a V8 does it with authority. But, really, the feeling is more like "gliding" than feeling like I'm having to do some of the "pedaling" -- if you can understand what I mean. And I haven't even tapped all those cylinders, yet!
One more thought...
Running Boards. I thought I really wanted those, but I've come to hate them. A colleague has the exact same Ridgeline and every time I ride in his the running boards bang into the back of my calves and ankles. It's yet another uncomfortable "thing". And they're always dirty, it seems. I left them off my Ridge, and was glad I did. I will not put them on the Citadel. Another reason besides comfort is simple -- they actually make it more difficult for elderly relatives to climb in. It creates a step many of them have difficulty with. Then their head is too high to let them enter the vehicle easily. It becomes a twist-and-turn or bend-awkwardly moment. They might be perfect for children and dogs. I know this will get some comments. If you are tall, running boards might not be an issue. But I'm 5-ft 10-in and I simply can't clear them well-enough to also enter the vehicle comfortably. I urge you to test these for comfort before buying them. If they offered a small disappearing step that slid under the vehicle when the door was closed -- that might be something I would consider. Maybe I need to invent it!
The tubular style might be more comfortable than the board style, now that I think about it. But they do not look as nice, to me.
Okay. I've only owned this a week, and I've only put about 115 miles on it. These are initial impressions vs. a 5 year old vehicle that I was mostly happy in. I have a lot of respect for Honda. Their cars last FOREVER and I've owned three with never a problem. And I think they really do their homework. But I'm not regretting the switch -- even at the big increase in price. I hope these good impressions increase in quantity as the next several months go by. I think Dodge has a real sweetheart of a vehicle in its stable! The accolades in the Press are not simply hype.