Overview & Reviews
Though the Dodge Durango has long been classified as a midsize sport-utility vehicle, its designers actually made it a half-size larger in order to fill the niche between the midsize and full-size SUV classes. As such, the Durango is often just the right size for those folks who need more interior room and towing capability than a typical midsize SUV can deliver, while not being as bulky and hard to park as a full-sizer.
The first two generations of the Durango were truck-based SUVs in the traditional style. A used model from this period should be a fair choice, though in the later part of the 2000s, the Durango was outclassed by newer crossover SUV competitors. The third-generation Durango, however, has joined the crossover club. It still offers V8 power and stout towing capabilities, but is a much nicer and well-rounded vehicle overall.
Current Dodge Durango
The Dodge Durango is a large crossover SUV that seats seven passengers, though buyers can opt for second-row captain's chairs that lower capacity to six. Four trim levels are offered: well-equipped SXT, midlevel Limited, sporty R/T and plush Citadel.
Both V6 and V8 power are offered. The 3.6-liter V6 has respectable muscle -- 290 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Standard on the R/T and optional on the Limited and Citadel is a 5.7-liter V8 good for 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. All models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. One may also choose among rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive (V6 only) and four-wheel drive with added low-range gearing (V8 only).
In reviews, we've found the Durango confident in terms of handling while still providing a composed and comfortable ride over bumps and ruts. Performance is adequate with the V6, while the V8 provides fairly strong acceleration and added grunt, which would be an asset for those who plan on towing.
Inside, the Durango offers an attractive and upscale design, with class-competitive quality and features, including an 8.4-inch touchscreen display (standard on all but SXT) and an available rear-seat Blu-ray player. The second and third rows offer enough room for most families (the rearmost row can even comfortably sit 6-foot adults), though its seven-passenger max falls one person short of its GM and Toyota rivals. Even so, the Durango comes highly recommended as a choice for a midsize or large crossover SUV.
Used Dodge Durango Models
Revived for 2011 after a one-year hiatus, the current-generation Dodge Durango boasts a full redesign with major improvements in several key areas. A carlike unibody (as opposed to body-on-frame) design notably improved interior space and ride/handling dynamics compared to its forebears. The exterior styling traded the former trucklike look for a more upscale persona, while the cabin followed suit with big improvements in fit and finish. Both the V6 and V8 came with a five-speed automatic. The following year brought a six-speed automatic transmission for V8 models, available second-row captain's chairs and revised trim levels.
Potential buyers should note that these Durangos lack the current version's eight-speed automatic transmission, refreshed styling and updated cabin that offers additional upscale features, including an 8.4-inch touchscreen display and a rear-seat Blu-ray player.
The second-generation Durango was produced from 2004-'09. It was first offered in ST, midgrade SLT and Limited trim levels and it came with one of three engines: a 210-hp V6, a 230-hp 4.7-liter V8 or a 330-hp 5.7-liter V8. These were offered with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with low-range gearing. Alternatively, a single-speed transfer case could be specified on select 4WD models, which essentially meant that you could get a Durango with all-wheel drive. All Durangos came with automatic transmissions as standard -- four speeds for the V6, five for the V8s.
For 2008, the V8 engines were given a welcome nudge in power. The 4.7-liter now produced 303 hp and was more fuel efficient as well, while the Hemi produced 376 horses. In an interesting side story, the Durango Limited HEV hybrid was produced briefly for 2009. It was a so-called "two-mode" hybrid featuring a Hemi V8 (345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque), two electric motors (87 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque) and a dual-mode transmission with variable ratios.
There were other changes during this Durango's life. Side airbags and refreshed styling arrived for 2006 and the ST trim level was renamed SXT. Two years later, new options such as a back-up camera, a CD/MP3 player, DVD-compatible audio and a MyGIG multimedia infotainment system with a hard drive to store digital music files made the Durango more competitive in an increasingly high-tech market. An Adventurer trim level also debuted, slotting between the SXT and Limited.
In our tests, we found the second-generation Durango handled adequately for a traditional body-on-frame SUV, though car-based crossover SUVs of the time were noticeably superior at providing carlike driving dynamics. Interior quality was a couple notches below what we've come to expect from family-friendly utility vehicles, and its interior space was inferior to bigger truck-based SUVs and large crossovers. Given the Durango's mass, the V8s are preferable for towing and acceleration, but fuel economy was poor no matter what engine you picked. As such, we'd suggest looking at a 2008 or later Durango and even then only if you need a big SUV that can tow and haul a lot of heavy stuff.
Launched in 1998, the first-generation Dodge Durango brought big-rig looks to a segment full of what essentially were tall station wagons. Then, as now, the Durango was larger than the typical midsize SUV but it looked and felt more like a shrunken full-size SUV. It was a sport-ute for the truck person: a vehicle that sat eight, but in pretty much every other way was the antithesis of a minivan.
The Durango was offered with several engine choices, including a wimpy V6, a couple of V8s and even a rare performance-oriented Shelby model with a high-powered V8, a lowered suspension, big wheels and racing stripes. None of the Durango's engines were particularly sophisticated, nor were they very fuel-efficient. Generally, we suggest looking for a used Durango equipped with a 4.7-liter V8 (offered from 2000-'03) or the 5.9-liter V8: The 4.7-liter delivered the best mileage out of the lot, while the 5.9-liter offered the most torque. Despite its rugged underpinnings, the first-gen Dodge Durango had better road manners than most truck-based SUVs of this era thanks to its long wheelbase, wide track and carefully tuned suspension.
If image projection and midsize-plus packaging were the first-generation Durango's strengths, its chief weakness was quality -- both real and perceived. Gaps between body panels were sizable and inconsistent, while interior fit and finish was lacking compared to the competition. Furthermore, ergonomics revealed the utilitarian pickup underneath, and the third-row seat was uncomfortable for all but children. Still, among families who needed a real workhorse, the original Dodge Durango made many friends.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 1,399.00
Total let-down. :( - 2014 Dodge Durango
By Zoomn - January 4 - 6:54 am
This car has been plagued with issues from week one of ownership when I was left stranded in an intersection two hours from home. Over my first year it spent over 45 days at the dealer for various repairs and has one electrical concern with the audio system that not only remains, but has no apparent fix available in the foreseeable future. The sad part is that it's a really nice vehicle to drive and has some nice design touches, but between some of the dealer experiences and all of the problems I simply cannot, in good faith, recommend it.
To Durango or not to Durango? - 2015 Dodge Durango
By Audra - December 21 - 8:06 pm
My husband and I have expanded our family with a new baby so it was time to upgrade our vehicle. We looked at several SUV’s from Chevy to Toyota, crossing Buicks and Fords, we even visited the jeep. The Durango was the very first vehicle I drove (test) and none of the other really gave us what all we wanted not only in space and safety but also price and comfort. We also have a 21 foot camper we haul therefore whichever vehicle we bought would need appropriate towing capabilities. Our dealership really hooked us up with some awesome warranties and life time powertrain coverage (with stipulations). Thus our buying experience was very pleasing after 10 days of running around everywhere comparing. Now I have owned my new Durango for almost a month. My review…I love how it drives and hugs the road. My children have their own separate seats and there is no issue with crossing each other’s paths. I am pleased that if one of them turns on the lights in the back, it does not cause any distractions with my driving I do not even know it’s on actually. Most of the extras like heated seats and multi adjusting seats are nice to have for convince and comfort. My husband is 6”6 and husky. I am 5”9 and a lil fluffy and we have plenty of room together no matter who’s driving. I can also sit in the back seat and tend to my newborn comfortably. Third row seats, my four year old love them. The GPS is a pain is the bottom though. It is one that I am working on figuring out. The voice recognition is not exactly my cup of tea. It’s like asking for a representative when you call the IRS… I do have a slight accent so I am not sure if this is the issue. Works good for making phone calls but if I want to go somewhere new I have to add 5 minutes to my itinerary to mess with it and pray I don’t hit it with a hammer. The Automatic high beams are not as punctual as I would like them to be. I feel I blind a quarter of the other drivers and another quarter thinks I am a vixen because the high beams flash on and off at times making it seem as though I am asking them to dim their light…thus I get flashed back. And last the rear hatch door does not seem to have a safety sensor for object in the way while it automatically shuts. So push the button and shuffle quickly out of the way. The good thing is, is that all my issues can be resolved by disabling them through the vehicles settings. I hope this helps anyone looking into this vehicle, as for me I will be keeping mine for a while!
Best of the best - 2003 Dodge Durango
By Russell Galloway - December 21 - 12:17 pm
My 03 Durango is the best suv I have ever owned. I have owned 03 for Ford Escape poor mileage, oil leaks 3 alternators The list goes on and on. My Durango is the best car I have ever owned. In fact I want another one this time a 4 x4. All these reviews talk about bad gas mileage, I get 18 plus around town, if I turn off the AC I get in the low 20s. It is the best value for a used auto you can buy. My Escape was stolen which now was actually a blessing since I got my Durango. I haven't had this much fun driving with so much power ( 4.7 ) since my 1968 Camaro SS. The guy I bought it from purchased it from a buddy who had it sitting in a barn for a year. The lady that owned it didnt check the oil. Well after some partial rebuild this thing screams. I love this auto my only regret is I wish it was a 4x4 but I know with the correct tires and a lift kit you can go anywhere. I hope this helps you in your decision to purchase a Durango. One thing to to consider is the 03s are part of Mercedes partnership with Dodge
If there was a cliff near by.. - 2012 Dodge Durango
By Sean - December 17 - 11:09 am
This was the biggest letdown experience I have ever had in a vehicle purchase. I could not even drive this truck! Every time the vehicle would shift my head would go forward as it lagged until the RPM's slowly got up there and which shift again and my head would go forward and lag.. Anybody to say different its just a Dodge fan and there sticking to their guns.. and that's it!! I have a 2002 trailblazer that the durango don't even come close too! I believe the newer ones with the v6 they put a better transmission in. Dad should have a slap on the wrist for putting this vehicle out I will never buy a Dodge again because of it
Solid Vehicle - Plan to keep for 10+ years - 2015 Dodge Durango
By Gary Hackett - December 16 - 12:31 pm
Purchase experience was excellent - Dealer experience was the best. Great looking vehicle that drives and runs well. Well built, quality SUV that I plan to keep and drive for many years
I like this Durango more than my last - 2014 Dodge Durango
By D Calvert - December 6 - 5:19 pm
Love that RT - 2002 Dodge Durango
By Wobe2002 - November 30 - 5:21 am
Bought it in 2011 w/ 56,000 miles on it, never needed more than regular maintenance on it. Gas mileage leaves a lot to be desired but hey, it's a 5.9 L V8, what really do you expect? Inside and out it's a real looker w/ great performance. Luxury inside and out. Great safety rating as I can attest to, not much can be said for the Toyota Corolla. Still drive it today as a daily driver w/ absolutely no problems up steep hills in deep snow, also no problems pulling a 33' camper up steep hills. All around great vehicle as many other 4x4's will tell you after being pulled out of the snow.
Durango R/T AWD does everything! - 2015 Dodge Durango
By Patrick Krook - November 29 - 1:38 am
We were looking for a family hauler that had a luxury sport presence, also fitting to drive clients around in. This beauty does it all. Handled the 16" blizzard with gusto in regular AWD or 4Lo. Electronics are intuitive, and can be customized to your liking, from full on "nanny" to utterly silent. Handles two iPhones in the car at the same time without issue, Bluetooth phone or USB media input. Built in Detroit, fit and finish rivals anything out of Germany or Japan. Looked at an Audi Q7, cost $10k more equally equipped and the regular maintenance would be four times as much. I'll update this as well continue to drive and enjoy!
Alternator and PCM failure 2011 Dodge Durango - 2011 Dodge Durango
By Mayra L - November 27 - 9:39 pm
2011 Dodge Durango the alternator and PCM go out and they did not cover under recall. All of these Dodge vehicles need to be covered regardless of amps. I will never buy Dodge again!!!!
New suv that lasted only 470 miles - 2015 Dodge Durango
By Brent Bjerregaard - November 25 - 11:33 am
Picked up new at dealer with 33 miles on it. Drove it to Beaver Dam Az. and the trans. went out at about 470 miles. They towed it back to dealer that said it would be about 3 weeks before they could even look at it. So now we are stuck with a peace of junk.