2011 Durango Crew and 2010 Subaru Outback
Bottom line: The most reliable wheeled way to move through ice and snow is with all-wheel drive or fourwheel drive. Snow tires and other winter-traction devices, such as tire chains, help improve drivability in heavy snow. The use of common sense is a must. For example, an unplowed street laden with three feet of snow most likely is impassable for a vehicle with a five-inch ground clearance, regardless of wintertraction ware. Also, a vehicle doesn’t have traction on ice. No traction is a driving disaster, regardless of the cost, prestige or technology of your vehicle. Finally, declarations of “snow emergency” are made to get parked vehicles off streets. The absence of parked vehicles facilitates plowing and other post-storm cleanup. Here’s hoping that New York City officials reacquaint themselves with the proper use of snow-emergency declarations. Ride, acceleration and handling: The 2011 rear-wheel-drive Durango Crew gets excellent marks in all three on dry roads. It gets parked in snow and ice. The 2010 Subaru Outback 2.5i is decent in all three on dry roads. It is a superior performer, even superior to substantially more expensive all-wheel-drive vehicles, in severe winter weather. Changes for 2011: The 2011 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5i is virtually unchanged from the 2010 model. The 2011 Durango Crew has been totally redesigned. The Durango is now a work of more car-like unit-body construction, as opposed to the truck-based body-on-frame construction of predecessor models. It has a new, more powerful V-6 (80 more horsepower than the predecessor model). It’s also available with an optional V-8, as well as with all-wheel-drive or dedicated four-wheel drive. Standard engines/transmissions: The 2011 Durango Crew driven for this column comes with a 3.6-liter, 24-valve, double overhead-cam V-6 with variable valve lift and timing (290 horsepower, 260 foot-pounds of torque). It is linked to a five-speed transmission that can be operated automatically or manually. The 2010 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5i used for this column has a 2.5liter, 16-valve, inline four-cylinder engine with variable valve lift and timing (170 horsepower, 170 footpounds of torque). It is linked to a continuously variable (no fixed gears) automatic transmission. Capacities: The Durango Crew seats seven when the third row is raised. The Outback Limited 2.5i seats five. Maximum cargo capacity with the middle-and third-row seats folded is 71.3 cubic feet in the Outback Limited 2.5i. The Durango Crew offers 84.5 cubic feet. The Durango Crew vastly overpowers the Outback Limited in towing capacity— 7,400 pounds for the Durango compared with 2,700 pounds for the Outback. Both vehicles run on regular gasoline (18.5-gallon tank for the Outback, 24.6 gallons for the Durango). Mileage: The Durango Crew averages 22 miles per gallon cityhighway. The Outback Limited gets a combined 23 mpg. Safety: Standard equipment on the 2011 Durango Crew includes fourwheel disc brakes (ventilated front/solid rear) with antilock protection; electronic brake force distribution; electronic stability and traction control. The 2010/2011 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5i also gets four-wheel disc brakes with antilock protection, and electronic stability and traction control. Both vehicles are equipped with side and head air bags. Prices: The base price for the 2011 Subaru Outback 2.5i is $28,895. Dealer’s invoice price is $26,730. Price as tested is $29,225, including a $725 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $27,455. The base price for the 2011 rearwheel-drive Dodge Durango Crew sport-utility vehicle $29,195. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $27,737. Price as tested is $33,195, including an $850 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $31,377.