What Are The Best And Worst Years For The Dodge Durango?

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Dodge has been producing the Dodge Durango since 1998, and it has been in production ever since.

Like many SUVs at the time, the vehicle’s design was based on a pickup truck, which resulted in a traditional body-on-frame SUV that had three rows available.

The car was aimed to be a middle ground between larger and smaller competitor vehicles and succeeded in providing a nice middle ground between the two.

While Dodge as a company is very talented and the Dodge Durango have earned quite a reputation, there are various models, each with its positives and negatives.

So when it comes to best and worst years for dodge Durango, I will discuss these aspects and rank them according to general opinion and my research.

Best Years for Dodge Durango:

  1. 2021
  2. 2018
  3. 2017
  4. 2016
  5. 2015
  6. 2014
  7. 2009
  8. 2008

Worst Years for Dodge Durango:

  1. 1999
  2. 2004
  3. 2000
  4. 2011
  5. 2005
  6. 2001
  7. 2012
  8. 2002

Let’s find out more about the models in some details and I’ll write some answers for the most popular questions you may have.

List Of The Best Years For The Dodge Durango: What Years To Buy

There have been many amazing models over the years. However, some outshine the rest.

Here are some of those years:

#1 Best Year: 2021 Dodge Durango

The main reason that the 2021 model of the Dodge Durango has been placed at the top of this list of best years is the redesign that this vehicle received this year.

This redesign comes after getting a similar-looking model each year after an entire decade. This model is the second newest installment to the third generation of the Dodge Durango introduced in 2011.

Along with a redesign of the body and overall appearance of the vehicle, there were several improvements to the vehicles interior. With a larger touch screen and built-in features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the car boasts its luxury in a very good way.

#2 Best Year: 2018 Dodge Durango

Coming up on the second spot on this list is the 2018 model of the Dodge Durango. This year’s model is when the High-performance 475-hp SRT variant made its debut. This variant quickly became a fan favorite as well.

This model was also the one where the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and many other quality of life features were made standard throughout all of the variants of the vehicle, which adds to the luxury of the vehicle.

#3 Best Year: 2017 Dodge Durango

Next up on this list is Dodge Durango’s 2017 model. The reason for this is very unusual but not in a bad way. This model was famous for having unusually spacious third-row seats.

This is something that you rarely see in any SUV, and to be honest, sometimes the space is so bad in other SUVs that the third row looks like a gimmick.

That, however, was not the case when it came to the 2017 model of the Dodge Durango, which is deserving of this spot.

#4 Best Year: 2016 Dodge Durango

Personally speaking, the Dodge Durango’s 2016 model seemed to have focused a lot on the vehicle’s interior. The R/T trims of this vehicle gained many new equipments, which were also made standard for this variant of this model.

Other than that, this model saw a lot of improvement in the fuel consumption department, which is a slight step up from its predecessors. The base V6 engine showed some impressive results in both testing and general customer usage.

#5 Best Year: 2015 Dodge Durango

Several things can be said about the 2015 model of the Dodge Durango, but the most important is the comfort that this vehicle provides.

Dodge went ahead and nailed the interior of this vehicle. From the inclusion of Dr. Dre’s Beats audio system to the incredibly designed comfortable seats.

Other than that, there are some cool safety features, like the standard antilock disk brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, and much more, giving the driver ease of mind while driving.

#6 Best Year: 2014 Dodge Durango

Number six on this list is the 2014 model of the Dodge Durango. This model brought fixes for major problems that its predecessors faced.

Specifically, the lack of space in the third row was heavily criticized in SUVs. However, this model brought that much-needed spacious third row with a slight readjustment of the seats.

Other than that, there were improvements made to the vehicle’s fuel consumption as well. The car’s stability and traction controls were very competitive compared to other SUVs on the market, giving it some really strong off-road capabilities.

#7 Best Year: 2009 Dodge Durango

Featuring amazing comfort, riding quality, interior space, and off-road capabilities, the 2009 Dodge Durango is another amazing car which is why I am placing it at 7th place.

This model is available in 3 different trims and offers a lot of new improvements, such as a re-engineered V8 engine with cylinder deactivation for better fuel economy.

Various other features such as fog lights and roof racks are standard, and the car also holds a lot of potential accessories which are optional to buy.

#8 Best Year: 2008 Dodge Durango

Last but not least on this list, I present have the 2008 model of the Dodge Durango. This model was famous for the debut of the next-generation4.7-liter engine that comes with it.

In terms of the interior of this vehicle, there were several quality of life features also added, like new radio options and a rear backup camera.

All V8 variants of this model have reportedly shown much better performance in fuel economy than previous V8 variants.

List Of The Worst Years For The Dodge Durango: What Years To Avoid

Suffering from hundreds of complaints and various issues, here are the worst models of the Dodge Durango you should avoid:

#1 Worst Year: 1999 Dodge Durango

Being the model with the most complaints from its owners and the most problems in the entire series, the 1999 Dodge Durango is widely regarded as the worst model of the lineup, and according to my research, this is correct as well, which is why I am placing it at the top of my list.

The model only suffered from 5 different recalls, surprising considering that everything from the engine to the brakes was full of issues. The engine had a nasty habit of shutting down while driving which can easily lead to bad situations.

The transmissions were faulty and would not shift properly, and the suspensions had defective ball joints. These are but a few of the dozens of problems the car faced, so you should avoid this year like the plague.

#2 Worst Year: 2004 Dodge Durango

2004 was supposed to be a new and successful generation for the Dodge Durango.

However, it faced heavy criticisms due to the various engine and exterior problems surrounding it. The model suffered from 3 different recalls regarding the airbags not deploying and nine recalls in total.

The engine was the biggest complaint raiser, both from the NHTSA and customers who complained about the engine failing, stalling, and being filled with Oil Sludge. All of this is why I am placing it at 2nd place on this list.

#3 Worst Year: 2000 Dodge Durango

While the 2000 Dodge Durango tried to avoid the pitfalls the 1999 models fell into, it still could not avoid all of the problems affecting it, which is why this is yet another clunky and bad vehicle that you should avoid and is 3rd place on this list.

The suspensions still had ball joint issues and would squeak from the front end. The engine was again responsible for forming a lot of oil sludge and would stall and shut down while driving.

#4 Worst Year: 2011 Dodge Durango

I am placing the 2011 Dodge Durango at 4th place due to the insane amount of electrical issues, engine problems, and eight recalls affecting the model. Many of the recalls affecting the model hurt hundreds of thousands of owners.

The TIPM chip of the vehicle was also extremely defective and caused a lot of electrical issues in the car. The Engine was also in a bad place, stalling and misfiring a lot. The car would also struggle to turn on from the start as well.

#5 Worst Year: 2005 Dodge Durango

Continuing the issues of the 2004 Dodge Durango, the 2005 model followed suit and had a lot of blaring issues such as the airbags exploding when being deployed or the problematic engine and bad fuel system, all of which forced me to place this at 5th place.

The airbag issue led to the famous Takata recall, which affected millions of cars. The engine, however, was not recalled and continued to stall and annoy drivers and passengers.

The fuel system also suffered from a major flaw which caused the fuel to overflow when being filled.

#6 Worst Year: 2001 Dodge Durango

Engine issues, Interior problems, brake defects, and AC problems, along with seven different recalls, all told me what I needed to place the 2001 Dodge Durango 6th place on this list.

The engine was prone to failure, suffering from low oil pressure and various problems which made an annoying ticking sound.

The interior accessories such as the radio and power locks were also faulty and buggy. The air conditioners fan was defective and would not work properly. The car was generally very difficult to deal with.

#7 Worst Year: 2012 Dodge Durango

Suffering from 10 different recalls and various electrical and engine problems, the 2012 Dodge Durango was less problematic than the models above it but still had many issues, which forced me to place it at 7th place.

The engine would not turn over, and due to the faulty TIPM chip, various electrical components of the car stop functioning. The engine had a habit of stalling while driving and constantly misfiring.

Among the various recalls, all of which affected hundreds of thousands of cars each, the biggest was the vanity lamp issue which would short and cause fires.

#8 Worst Year: 2002 Dodge Durango

The 2002 Dodge Durango was a slight improvement from the 2001 model and had fewer problems than the 2012 model but had its issues and concerns, which placed it at the last place on this list.

Once again, oil sludge in the engine was a common slight, along with the engine stalling and dying while driving. The AC was faulty, having a horrible design and not working properly.

Like the AC, the door locks would also not work properly along with the cruise control. The dashboard was also fairly low quality as it would peel off.

What Are The Most Common Problems With The Dodge Durango?

The Dodge Durango has been on the market for more than two decades, so it is no surprise that it will face many issues.

Here are the most common issues and problems faced by owners of the Dodge Durango:

1. Takata Airbag Issue

The Takata airbag recall is one of the biggest recalls in history, affecting millions of cars across different lineups and companies.

The main crux of this recall was the airbag exploding when being deployed, which would send metal fragments towards the passengers, causing injuries.

The Dodge Durango was also a part of this recall, and many lineup models were affected by this massive recall.

2. Active Head Restraints Random Deployment

The Active head restraints deploy in the event of a crash at the rear end and prevent your neck from snapping back.

Unfortunately, due to poor quality plastic and parts, the system could not handle the force, and as a result, the plastic would crack and activate the restraints deployment at random.

This would cause a random punch at the spine without any warning while driving, which is very annoying.

3. Transmission Issues

Every car gets transmission issues from time to time. However, the Dodge Durango is infamous for having an issue with the transmission, which would get the car stuck in parking.

This issue would happen out of nowhere, and once you parked, there was always the chance of the gears getting stuck in place. This was the direct result of cheap parts and bad design. Luckily, the company issued a recall for the model affected by the issue.

4. Defective TIPM Chips

The Integrated Power Module was responsible for maintaining all of the electrical-related issues of the car, so you can imagine the problems which occurred when the company went and put out defective chips.

This prevented the airbags from deploying. The starter crank burned out, the power windows stopped working, and the fuel pump turned off. A lawsuit was filed, which the company settled and resulted in free fuel pump repairs and extended warranties.

5. Oil Sludge In The Engine

Most oil sludge-related issues are easily avoidable by changing the oil of the car. However, in the case of many Dodge Durango models, due to a specific engine, the models had coolant from the pumps mixed in with this oil, causing a lot of oil sludge to form.

This issue was present in many models of the Dodge Durango from the years 1999 to 2004.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Dodge Durango?

The Dodge Durango is a vehicle that is very sturdy and reliable. This vehicle is built to last long from the engine to the strong body. You can easily expect upwards of 250,000 miles from the Dodge Durango.

With the average yearly mileage of being 15,000 miles, this means that you can use this vehicle for at least 16 years. This is obvious. However, your maintenance schedule will have an impact on this.

For more information, you can also read this article: How Long Do Dodge Durangos Last?

Q2. Which Is Better Ford Explorer Or Dodge Durango?

The short answer is that the Dodge Durango is better. Although the Ford Explorer provides a more efficient engine, it still lags in the overall versatility that the Durango can provide. This is because Durango has a much more luxuriously designed interior.

It also has a much larger fuel tank, so you will need to make fewer stops to refill fuel. Other than that, Durango has a much better safety system.

Q3. What Year Did The Durango Body Style Change?

The most recent remodel of the Dodge Durango’s body came with the 2021 model. The vehicle takes on a much more sleek and modern appearance while retaining its SUV form factor.

There is also a wider range of colors available for purchase, and some of them work well with the design. My personal favorite is the dark red one as it contrasts well with the dark windows and windshields.

Q4. Are Dodge Durangos Expensive To Fix?

The answer to this question is dependent on how old the vehicle is and how well a maintenance schedule has been followed.

However, it is mostly dependent on the age of the vehicle. During the first two years of any brand new model, you can expect to get the vehicle good as new in less than $500, with the probability of any major repair requirements being quite low.

However, after seven years of usage, you should expect to have major repairs done on the vehicle, and the cost goes up to more than $1500. So, overall, this vehicle can be quite expensive to maintain looking at it long term.

Q5. Is Dodge Durango Good In Snow?

The Dodge Durango is an SUV that has been built to withstand all kinds of weather conditions, and snow is no exception.

The all-wheel drive allows you to have some really good control, and the safety features in this vehicle keep you at ease. Other than that, the high design makes sure that the lower part of the vehicle does not touch the snow.

Conclusion

The Dodge Durango is yet another durable and capable vehicle that the company has put it. It is a strong and well-performing SUV with many nice features that offer a lot of comfort and safety.

The best and worst years for Dodge Durango include the 2021 model as the best model yet, while the 1999 model is the most problematic model of the series and should avoid at all costs, along with all of the other bad models.

Hopefully, with this article in mind, you can do just that.