It seems to us that over that past few years, minivans have lost much of the appeal that has previously been enjoyed with the mommy set. As millennial’s transform into motherhood and start families of their own, they are looking for a more athletic looking larger vehicle to transport the little ones and enjoy their free time as much as possible, without being tied to the pavement all the time. Dodge has come up with the perfect answer in the recently redesigned Durango, part minivan, part SUV and all sprit in the Citadel edition, which sported more family friendly accoutrements that would keep even the rowdiest children quite during a long family vacation.

We had the opportunity to take the Citadel on a long Sunday Drive the week we had it. We drove up and over the Nebo Loop road from Payson to Nephi, the scenic byway rises to over 9000 feet with twists and turns that were handled without any complaint from the Durango. The athletic ability was evident from the moment we entered Payson Canyon taking on the twisty road with little to no effort from Craig at the wheel, the electronic steering kept him in touch with the road with all the confidence he could have ever wanted.

The new 8- speed transmission that Chrysler is putting most all of their new cars performed extremely well no matter if we were asking for a quick down shift to handle the steep climb, or needed a moment of quick acceleration on the freeway coming home from Nephi at 80 miles per hour.

We should point out at this point that the new Citadel comes standard with only a 3.6 liter V6 that put out a very nice 290 horsepower, and would be fine for pretty much any family to use every day or on the long family vacation. During out day out in the mountains and throughout the rest of the week we never one wanted for more power from the Durango. There is a Hemi option for those that might need the extra 70 horsepower for towing, but mpg drops a couple of points also.

Not being built on a truck frame as some of the larger competition like Tahoe and Expedition, the Durango has a much smoother ride. From the first day we were very impressed with how nice and comfortable the ride and seating were in the Citadel, comparing it will recent drives in larger SUV’s we would have to admit the Durango would be our choice for a better cursing the open road vehicle.

In fact, Car and Drive lists the Dodge Durango as the number one choice in the midsized SUV and crossover market, ahead of the likes of the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Out of 12 different competitors in this field we were in agreement, especially with the Citadel edition with all the luxury anyone could want form an all wheel drive vehicle.

As we mentioned, the Durango has an extremely athletic look with a low profile front end that is rounded out with the signature Dodge cross grill and LED daytime running lights that are the perfect accent to the high intensity headlamps. In the rear the Citadel is of course rounded out with the another signature Dodge effect of LED tail lamps that go from side to side of the vehicle, at night it will really stand out in a crowd!

The Citadel also comes standard with 20- inch polished aluminum wheels, a power lift gate and what is becoming standard on new Chrysler vehicles a capless fuel port. In other words by hitting the fuel filler button on the inside the small door will open, and attached to is a rubber cap that covers the fuel port. No more losing the gas cap at the station or having to unscrew the cap from the car, and the chances of getting gas on ones hands are down considerably with this type of system. We agree that this is a feature that every manufacture should look at incorporating into their vehicles.

Inside the Citadel had every extra feature we would ever have wanted, starting with the really cool dual video screens that were incorporated into each of the backs of the front seats in a way that they folded down and flush with the seat when not in use. Each screen would also work together or independently of one another so there would be no arguing from the back seat as to what to watch. There were also video and HDMI inputs in the sides of each front seat, and of course wireless headphones were standard.

Another great addition were the second row captain’s chairs that tumbled forward and were heated, for the times when mom and dad want to take friends out on the town instead of the kids. There is also a center console armrest between the two seats with storage for the rear seats, and also included a USB charging port and 12 volt auxiliary power outlet. There were also 2 USB ports for the back seat in the bottom of the front center console and also a 115 volt outlet for running game consoles and such.

Also included of course were many great additions to keep mom and dad comfortable up front, since keeping the kids engaged would not be a problem in the rear. Heated and cooled front seats for starters along with the large 8.4 inch touch screen monitor that we love from Dodge. With that came navigation, SirrusXM radio, and the Chrysler Uconnect system. Bluetooth audio and voice commands made hooking up our phones a snap as usual.

A tri-zone climate system is standard and will keep dad, mom and all the kids as happy as there can be with no one complaining about how hot or cold it should be on those long family vacations. It seemed the more time that we spent with the Citadel, the more it seemed like a mini-van without the stigma of actually being a mini-van.

The Citadel also came standard with things like keyless entry that allowed the driver to open the doors by simply placing a hand behind the handle and locking them with the push of a button on the handle, easy for mom with kids in tow! A remote start made cooling down the vehicle easy before heading out, the rain sensing wipers were awesome in the couple of summer thunder storms we had during the week.

Paddle shifters on the steering wheel will give dad the feeling that he is really in control of how the Durango shifts, although the 8 speed transmission does a great job all by itself. The rotary shifter again took us a day or so to get used to but it is growing on us since Dodge started using it, there really is much more space available on the dash and with it located on the center console it was very easy to access after starting the vehicle with the pushbutton located just above it.

The new Durango Citadel would be a great addition to any family, or even to empty nesters like us that just want to ride in comfort and have the ability to leave the pavement and enjoy some of the hard to get places in Utah. See one today at Doug Smith Dodge 523 West Main Street in American Fork, 801-492-1110, Doug Smith Dodge at 1339 North Main in Spanish Fork, 877-629-6450 or Larry H. Miller Dodge 1825 N University Pkwy, Provo, (888) 245-3833.

Base Price: 43,595

Price as Driven: 49,875

Craig and Deanne Conover have been test-driving vehicles for over 6 years and have had the opportunity to drive many makes and models. They receive a new car each week for a weeklong test drive. Craig has worked in the Newspaper industry for over 21 years and been with The Daily Herald for 13 years - and Deanne is a Veterinarians assistant at Mountain West Animal Hospital for 12 years. They both love having the unique opportunity of trying out new cars. They reside in Springville, Utah. Check out other reviews at heraldextra.com/sundaydrive. cconover@heraldextra.com