With Innovative Technology, Focus on Safety, Durango Receives Top Ratings in Government Crash Test

Five-Star Ratings for Driver and Passenger in Frontal Crashes
Patented Frame Rail Technology Improves Crash Performance
“Safety is a Top Priority at Chrysler Group”
AUBURN HILLS, Michigan – Innovative technologies used in the design and engineering of the new Dodge Durango were part of a focus on safety and security that has resulted in top performance in frontal collisions for the industry-leading SUV.
The 2004 Durango received the highest frontal crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – five stars for both driver and front-passenger protection.
Among the technologies used on Durango is DaimlerChrysler’s patented frame rail tips that improve energy absorption in frontal crashes. The octagonal rail tips fold up like an accordion during a crash to absorb as much energy as possible and reduce crash forces reaching occupants in the passenger compartment.
The frame rail tips are produced by a process called hydroforming, which uses water to shape the metal part in ways not possible by stamping to further improve performance in a crash. Popular Science magazine named frame rail design as one of the top 100 technological innovations of 2003.
“Safety is a top priority at Chrysler Group, and we are pleased that the efforts of our designers and engineers have paid off in the crash performance of the new Durango,” said Mike Donoughe, Vice President – Body-on-Frame Product Team.
“We set stringent safety and security targets for the vehicle from the beginning, and our development team made sure that we hit them.”
In addition to the patented frame rails, DaimlerChrysler engineers enhanced Durango’s safety and security performance through development of several advanced technologies:
Enhanced body structure, including crush beads and stiffeners engineered into the vehicle body to absorb energy while preserving the integrity of the vehicle compartment.
Three-point lap/shoulder belts in all seven seating positions.
Pretensioners and constant force retractors on the front seat belts.
Advanced multistage air bag systems with an occupant-classification system for the front passenger that measures conditions for activation or deactivation of the passenger-side air bag based upon the weight of the occupant.
Energy-absorbing steering column.
Front crush sensors located inside the engine compartment that measure the severity of the impact and relay crash information to safety systems in the occupant compartment.
Durango’s crash performance was verified through a program of severe testing that went beyond the current government standards, including a 40-mph offset frontal crash simulating a high-speed vehicle-to-vehicle impact.
“In addition to frontal crash protection, we have done a lot of things to offer additional protection to Durango occupants in all kinds of crashes,” Donoughe noted.
The front bumper and frame were lowered seven inches to make the full-size SUV Durango compatible with the front ends of passenger cars in the event of an impact.
Chrysler Group was among the first companies to introduce side-curtain air bag technology to cover all three rows of seats in the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica. That innovation continues in Durango, one the first SUVs available with this safety feature.
And the driver’s side is also equipped with BeltAlert – a new enhanced seat belt reminder system that periodically activates a chime and illuminates a light in the instrument cluster to remind the driver to buckle up.
“Collectively, Dodge Durango’s structure, features and extensive testing help provide a cocoon of protection to absorb energy and deflect it away from passengers in a crash,” said Donoughe.