By KBB.com Editors
Despite the growing popularity of crossover utility vehicles, or CUVs, for those with serious towing and hauling needs there are few substitutes for a full-blown, body-on-frame SUV. Among the more notable is the 2009 Dodge Durango, a seven-passenger muscle machine with a rugged and distinctive style, a fairly plush interior and the option of a HEMI V8 under the hood. Although not as large as a Chevrolet Suburban, the Durango has grown large enough to compete head-on with such competitors as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Ford Expedition. Dodge's MDS (Multiple-Displacement System) technology helps save some gas, and a new hybrid-model goes even further. Alternative fuel fans will be sad to learn the 4.7-liter Flex-Fuel V8 has been dropped.
If you need a roomy SUV but the thought of a full-size Suburban turns you off, check out the 2009 Dodge Durango. It offers seating for seven and still has a fair amount of room for cargo behind the third-row seat. Environmentally conscious power freaks will love the optional 5.7-liter HEMI Hybrid.
The Dodge Durango isn't big like a Chevrolet Suburban, but it's still big and thirsty on gas. The Durango's bold styling may not be everyone's cup of tea and may grow old fast.
A new two-mode HEMI Hybrid models joins the line, promising a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy with a 40 percent jump in city driving. The SXT nameplate changes to the SE, while the Adventurer trim is sent wandering off into the sunset.
Driving Impressions On the road, the Durango delivers a noticeably smoother ride than several others in the class. The quiet interior is free from the intrusive wind and tire noise of the...first generation. The steering is pretty impressive for a vehicle of this size, with good response and feedback that allow the driver to make exact lane changes and easily negotiate tight turns. Power for the base Durango is supplied by a sturdy 3.7-liter V6, with the 4.7-liter Magnum and the mighty 5.7-liter HEMI V8s as options. The base Durango is rear-wheel drive and offers the option of on-demand four-wheel drive but only when equipped with the 4.7-liter V8; V8-powered Durangos have a tow/haul transmission setting that reduces gear searching by remaining in a lower gear for better pulling power.
The powerful HEMI V8 engine adds less than a thousand dollars to the price tag without a huge penalty in fuel economy.
Optional Heated Cloth Front Seats
Available on the SLT and Adventurer trims, these seats add warmth without having to add expensive leather as well.
The available split-folding third-row seats can be folded flush, and a flip-and-tumble second-row seat greatly aids entry and exit for rear passengers. The handsome dash is clean, simple and easy to use, with controls well within the driver's reach and logically arranged. Low-back rear seats won't block the driver's rearward view and feature headrests that can extend high enough to accommodate the tallest passengers. A nice option is the heated quad bucket seat package available on the Limited trim level.Exterior
The 2009 Dodge Durango's styling remains as bold as the first Dodge Durango. The Durango's newest look basically exaggerates the original model's popular styling by enlarging the grille and front headlamps and giving a new look to the rear. Large six-by-nine-inch side mirrors improve driver visibility, while optional 20-inch chrome wheels are sure to increase the Durango's ability to get noticed. Total up all the little changes and the effect is one strikingly imposing vehicle that looks every bit as tough as it claims to be.
The 2009 Dodge Durango SE features a V6 engine, air conditioning, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), rear defroster, power locks, express up/down front window, power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD, speed control, side-curtain air bags, Electronic Stability Program, traction control, tilt wheel, fog lights, 17-inch painted wheels and a rear wiper/washer. The SLT trim adds a power driver's seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, 115-volt outlet, MP3-compatible six-disc CD changer, eight Alpine speakers and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The Limited features a 5.7-liter HEMI V8, 18-inch chrome alloy wheels, power liftgate, leather seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control and ParkSense rear park assist.
Options include a 4.7-liter V8, 5.7-liter HEMI V8 or a 5.7-liter HEMI Hybrid, rear-seat DVD entertainment, six-disc CD/MP3 in-dash changer, uconnect tunes with 30-gigabyte hard drive, leather seats, shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, third-row seat, uconnect gps navigation, heated front and rear quad bucket seating, power rear liftgate, ParkSense rear park assist, ParkView rear back-up camera, remote start, electronic transfer case, aluminum wheels, power sun roof, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and power-adjustable pedals.
Although the V6 looks impressive on paper, the Durango's weight makes for slow going with the base engine. The powerful 4.7-liter V8 makes it a better choice for shoppers trying to balance cost with performance. If you can afford an extra $1,000 and want all the performance available, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is the way to go.
210 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
235 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
303 horsepower @ 5650 rpm
330 lb.-ft. of toque @ 3950 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/19 (2WD), 13/18 (4WD),
5.7-liter V8 HEMI
376 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
401 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/20 (2WD), 13/19 (4WD)
5.7-liter V8 HEMI Hybrid
345 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
380 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/22
By jim on Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had the body rust professionally repaired several times and have custom brakes on all four wheels. It also has custom wheels and tires for summer. It has a weston grille guard with the lights mounted in it."
By gcd on Wednesday, April 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 123,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Bought mine used with 25k, loved it, drives smoothly, great in snow, steers like a car, tows like a dream, no issues and only regular maintainance for most part. The issue with gas coming back out when filling up that someone else mentioned was a recall issue so gas tank replaced at no charge ( I had the issue in 2008) but then tierod broke, started having electrical issues-wipers turn on when truck is started, outlets stopped working,heated seats stopped working for a few days, and other various electrical problems. Then at around 100k, blower motor for heat/ac went, the wiring also melted/burned out, all major parts going at once- water pump, trannie line leaks, control arms and wheel bearings/joints...but worst is the electrical issue has magnified to where truck shifts itself in /out of 4wd on its own while driving, 4wd indicator lights go on/off, remote door unlock or even just opening doors triggers he transfer case even if truck is parked and off...googled issue and apparently there are hundreds of Durango and Ram owners with the same issue...mechanics pinpojnt it to a short in the ac or transfer case, mega bucks to fix. I am ready to roll it off a cliff at this point...."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By david on Thursday, February 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 142,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "high stance, great drive, look great"
Cons: "no aux hook up"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I bought this truck used. I bought this truck knowing it had a hemi. So I wasn't surprised with the fuel economy like some of the people on here. An awesome truck! If driven soft, can get 21 mpg. Hard driving will give you closer to 14 mpg. Lots of power when needed. Lots of space. Great feel when driven. Sound very tough when just barely touching the gas. If you want good fuel economy, don't get this truck. If don't mind paying the extra amount to fill it up, one HECK of a truck!"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Bren on Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 227,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Smooth ride, and lots of room."
Cons: "Gas mileage isn't great, but it's a big SUV."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought this car new in 2004. I have always had a 30 to 40 minute commute to work and back. I put 227,500 miles on it so far. I broke down one time only, because of a bad water pump. Other than that I had no flats, or mechanical problems, until now. It is old and tired, and it has served me well. I feel like I am losing an old friend. My kids are grown, and I am downsizing."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By ply72rr on Saturday, January 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Power, interior size/seating, decent gas mileage"
Cons: "Ride, handling in snow (4x2)"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I traded my 2003 Durango in to buy my 2004 Durango new and have loved every minute of owning it. It has loads of cargo space. I've moved my entire house twice using only my Durango. With the Hemi, this thing has plenty of power; however, that power is a downfall in snow. I've had only one real issue with the truck and that was the power steering system, but that appears to have been resolved. I drove the truck for 5 years in South Korea and learned that even as big as it is, it can go down some seriously small roads without any problem. Visibility is good, ride could be better, but it's overall a lot of fun to drive."
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By dan p on Sunday, December 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 180,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "reliable, comfortable, powerful, great 4 off road"
Cons: "bad on gas."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I know most people would not think of the Durango as an off road vehicle. But I lifted mine 4 inches. I also added some 20x12.5 in rims on 33s off road tires. Guessing that added to the poor gas mileage. But with just the K&N intake and straight dual Magnaflow exhaust the Durango feels Powerful and was great on gas, again till i added the big heavy rims. But i have to say some of my most fun moments the Durango has taken me there, and the Arizona trails such as Chiva Falls have been a blast to drive through. My Durango is 10k short of 200000 and still runs like a champ. I truly believe that with regular maintenance my Durango will get me to 300k without any problems as it has been since i got it."
9 people out of 11 found this review helpful