Dodge plans to introduce a face-lifted 2007 Durango in August.
Engineers also have prepped the SUV for a hybr id engine that is expected to be offered in 2008.
The reworked 2007 model was shown at the Dallas Auto Show this month. The fascia, grille, hood, headlamps, fenders and wheels are redone. New features are being added, including electronic stability, tire-pressure monitoring, rear park assist and a one-touch lane-change signal, Dodge says.
Durango sales are off 39.4 percent to 20,090 units in the first quarter of 2006, compared with the same period a year ago.
The updated model is needed in showrooms, says Joe Eberhardt, Chrysler group executive vice president of sales and marketing.
"Durango probably could do a little better," Eberhardt says. "It had a very strong first two years."
The Durango due in 2008 will be the first Chrysler group vehicle offered with a hybrid engine. Engineers modified the floor, second-row seats and electrical system in the 2007 model to make room for the new engine.
The Durango Hybrid Electric Vehicle will be powered by a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine. The hybrid engine was jointly developed by DaimlerChrysler AG, General Motors and the BMW Group. Dodge expects a 25 percent fuel-economy boost.
The 2007 Durango equipped with a 4.7-liter V-8 is E85-ethanol-compatible, earning a flexible-fuel vehicle designation, the company says. Customers can operate the vehicle on E85 ethanol, gasoline or any mixture of the two, Dodge says. The E85-compatible engine is standard on all four-wheel-drive Durangos.
You may e-mail Mary Connelly at [email protected]