Best & Worst Dodge Durango Years

We've taken a closer look at every Dodge Durango from 1998 until the latest model and categorized the best & worst years in this guide.

Always pick the best Dodge Durango model year. In this ultimate guide, we analyze the best and worst Dodge Durango model years for you.

The Dodge Durango has traveled a long road since its inception, with certain years performing better than others. In this article, we’ll navigate the best, neutral, and worst years of this iconic SUV, helping you to make more informed purchasing decision.

Drawing from extensive research and comprehensive data from renowned sources like Consumer Reports, NHTSA, and owner reviews, we’ll provide the specifications of each generation, providing insights on performance, reliability, and resale value.

You’ll discover which model years you should rely on and which to approach with caution based on tangible performance metrics and owner feedback.

To start with, let’s dive into the different Dodge Durango generations.

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Table of ContentsShow

Dodge Durango Generations

Dodge Durango has seen three distinct generations since its launch, each bringing its own set of enhancements, features, and sometimes challenges.

For clarity and to aid decision-making, especially for potential buyers, let’s analyze the timeline:

1st generation (DN)1998-2003
2nd generation (HB)2004-2009
3rd generation (WD)2011-Present

Understanding these generations offers a clearer overview, as significant changes often transpire between them, potentially influencing purchasing decisions.

Dodge Durango Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

Our categorization is data-driven: it’s based on extensive research. We consider an array of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

Here’s a visual representation of combined ratings from the aforementioned sources, illustrating Dodge Durango’s performance over the years.

Dodge Durango Car Smite Score (Combined Overall Score) (1)

Now, in the following table, we categorize all model years of the Dodge Durango into the Best, Neutral, and Worst categories.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation (DN)1998
2nd generation (HB)2007
3rd generation (WD)2016

‘Neutral Years’, refers to models that don’t shine exceptionally in any positive or negative aspect. They might have a balanced mix of pros and cons or simply stay average in performance and reliability.

A significant factor that negatively influences a car’s categorization is NHTSA recalls. A higher number of complaints and recalls, unsurprisingly, implies a lower reliability score.

With that understanding, let’s go deeper into the specifications of the best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Dodge Durango 1st Generation (1998-2003)

Dodge Durango 1st generation 1998 model
The 1998 Dodge Durango

The 1st Generation of the Dodge Durango made its debut in 1997, introducing a mid-size SUV that was both rugged and stylish. With its bold design and promised performance, it captured the attention of many.

As with all vehicles, some years of this generation performed better than others.

The Best Years: 2002, 2003

The SUV was built with a focus on towing capacity, making it a favorite among families and adventurers alike. As the model matured, the 2002 and 2003 years saw various improvements, including enhanced suspension systems and better fuel efficiency.

Despite some initial hurdles in the inaugural year, the decision to swap out the 5.2L Magnum V8 for the 5.9L Magnum V8 in the subsequent models was positively received by the market. This upgrade drastically reduced criticisms and bolstered the Durango’s reliability.

Such upgrades, combined with the refinements in 2002 and 2003, solidify these as the best years of the 1st generation.

The Neutral Years: 2000, 2001

During 2000 and 2001, the Durango underwent subtle refinements. The 2000 model year marked the introduction of the 5.9L Magnum V8, which promised and delivered more power and efficiency.

Interior upgrades for better comfort and minor tweaks in the suspension system for smoother rides were also seen during these years.

The 2000 and 2001 models are categorized as neutral primarily because, while they did see improvements, especially with the engine switch, they didn’t entirely escape the shadows of previous issues.

The lingering suspension complaints, combined with the decreasing but still present engine issues, made these years stable but not standout.

The Worst Years: 1999, 1998

Chief complaints for the 1998 model revolved around engine issues. Many owners reported sudden and unexpected drops in oil pressure, which often culminated in engine failure. Alongside these engine troubles, suspension complaints were rampant, accounting for more than half of the reported issues.

The 1999 model, unfortunately, didn’t fare much better. This year saw a spike in total engine failure complaints, especially regarding the Magnum V8, with scenarios ranging from sudden stops to failures while in motion.

The 1998 and 1999 models are labeled the worst years due to the volume and severity of the complaints registered. The 1998 model, being the launch year, is somewhat understandable in its shortcomings.

However, the 1999 year’s inability to substantially improve upon these glaring issues was a significant letdown for many owners.

Notably, the engine problems and widespread suspension issues of these two years overshadowed the model’s positive aspects, thus marking them as the most problematic of the 1st generation.

See NHTSA 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Dodge Durango recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Dodge Durango 2nd Generation (2004-2009)

Dodge Durango 2nd generation 2004 model
The 2004 Dodge Durango

The 2nd Generation Dodge Durango, running from 2004 to 2009, showcased a boulder and more aggressive design while promising improved performance. Incorporating several technological upgrades, it was a clear evolution from its predecessor.

The Best Years: 2007, 2008, 2009

By 2007, Dodge had refined the Durango considerably. The vehicle featured advanced safety measures, including enhanced airbags and stability control systems. Technological advancements were evident with the integration of touch-screen infotainment systems and improved navigation.

Performance upgrades in these years focused on better fuel efficiency and the addition of a hybrid variant in 2008, offering consumers an eco-friendlier choice. The latter part of the 2nd generation showcased Dodge’s commitment to adaptability and innovation.

The significant drop in registered complaints for the 2007 model year and beyond, combined with the inclusion of advanced tech and safety features, earmarked these years as the best of the 2nd generation.

The Neutral Year: 2006

The 2006 Durango brought with it modest improvements. There was a slight interior redesign, aiming for enhanced comfort and aesthetic appeal.

While it maintained many of the previous year’s features, additional options such as DVD-based navigation and a sunroof were introduced. 2006 served as a transition year for the Durango.

While it did introduce some enhancements and additional features, it didn’t match the significant progress seen in the subsequent years. It remained largely untroubled by major issues but didn’t shine as brightly as the 2007-2009 models, positioning it in the neutral category.

The Worst Years: 2004, 2005

The early years of the 2nd generation faced several hiccups. A recurring issue was with the integrated circuit in the instrument panel, which had a tendency to overheat and could potentially cause an interior fire.

This problem was significant enough that by April 2007, Daimler Chrysler had to recall 328,424 vehicles from these model years. Additionally, there were reports of transmission failures, electrical malfunctions, and issues with the front ball joints.

The 2004 and 2005 models suffered from teething problems that often come with a newly redesigned generation. The fact that one of these issues led to a major recall significantly impacted the reputation of these years.

See NHTSA 2004, 2005, 2006 Dodge Durango recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Dodge Durango 3rd Generation (2011-Present)

Dodge Durango 3rd generation 2011 model
The 2011 Dodge Durango

The third generation of the Dodge Durango, introduced in 2011, shifted towards a more refined design, improved handling, and focused on advanced technology and safety features.

2016, 2017, 2020, 2022, and 2023 are the best years for the third-generation Dodge Durango, while the worst years to avoid are from 2011 to 2014

The Best Years: 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023, 2024

What is the best Dodge Durango model? The best years for the third-generation Dodge Durango include 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2022-2024.

These models showcased Dodge’s commitment to continuous improvement, featuring a range of powerful yet efficient engine options.

The standard 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine, offering around 295 hp, was complemented by the available 5.7L HEMI V8 engine, delivering up to 360 hp.

In 2020, Dodge introduced the high-performance Durango SRT, equipped with a 6.4L HEMI V8 engine, pushing out 475 hp.

Fuel efficiency is optimized in these models, with the V6 engine achieving approximately 19 city/26 highway MPG.

These years also saw advancements in transmission technology, with an 8-speed automatic transmission providing smoother acceleration and improved fuel efficiency.

The interior of these models was marked by luxury and technological advancements, with higher trim levels offering features like Uconnect infotainment systems with larger touchscreens, premium audio systems, and advanced driver-assist technologies.

Safety features were also enhanced, with adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and advanced braking systems becoming more prevalent.

The Neutral Years: 2015, 2018, 2021

The 2015, 2018, and 2021 Dodge Durango model years are considered neutral for the third-generation Durango.

While they maintained the model’s core strengths, including robust engine performance and a comfortable, feature-rich interior, these years did not see significant advancements or setbacks.

The standard safety features and technology packages remained consistent, offering a reliable and satisfactory driving experience.

These models continued to balance power, luxury, and utility, making them a solid choice for those seeking a well-rounded family SUV.

The Worst Years: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

The early years of the third-generation Dodge Durango, particularly from 2011 to 2014, are the worst years to avoid.

The 2011, 2012, and 2013 Dodge Durango models were affected by recalls concerning fuel pump relay and alternator failures, causing stalling and loss of power brake assist.

The 2014 Dodge Durango experienced issues with rear taillights that could leak water, causing some of the LED lights to burn out.

These years were marred by substantial recalls and reliability issues, impacting consumer trust and the overall appeal of the Durango.

The combination of safety concerns and mechanical reliability issues made these the least recommended years for potential buyers.

See NHTSA 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Dodge Durango recalls and complaints.

Dodge Durango Average Resale Values

The following graph represents the average resale values of the Dodge Durango over the years. Through this, we can observe how various models retain or depreciate their value over time.

Dodge Durango Average List Price (1)


Now, we’ve explained everything you need to know about the Dodge Durango’s most commendable and questionable years. Go for the best and avoid the worst to prevent costly mistakes.

Based on our deep dive, which Dodge Durango year would you consider owning or recommend to someone? And why?

We would like to hear your thoughts. Also, enlighten your friends on social media about Dodge Durango’s best and worst years.

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.