Originally launched in 1998 and still trucking strong today, the Dodge Durango’s original design was based on a pickup truck, which transformed into the standard body-on-frame SUV that includes three rows of seating. The goal was for this vehicle to be a middle ground option between a smaller and larger competitor vehicle, which succeeded. While Dodge is a successful and talented brand and the Durango has earned an excellent reputation, different models have different pros and cons.
Therefore, if you’re an off-road explorer or enthusiast who is wondering which were the best Dodge Durango generations, keep reading to learn more!
At the top of the list is the 2018 Dodge Durango, which was the first year including the high-performance 475-hp SRT variant, which quickly became a fan favorite within the off-roading circuit. This high-performing engine allowed drivers to scale major off-roading obstacles with ease. The 2018 Durango also included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which improved the total off-roading experience.
The 2018 Durango offered a new and exciting exterior that set it apart from the mid-size SUV competition. At that time, protruding elements and sharp lines were the trends, but the 2018 model was very filled out and rounded. Another benefit is this model offered a cushioned ride for passengers due to the long wheelbase and soft suspension, which can manage any boulder, ditch, or obstacle while off-roading. Additionally, 2018 sported powerful engine options ranging from the 293hp V6 to the 470hp V8 Hemi.
One of the biggest cons of the 2018 model was the subpar safest scores, specific in crash tests. When you go off-roading, you want to ensure your safety first, so this could be a concerning statistic for many. The other major issue with this vehicle is the unfocused design. 2018 boasts higher performance elements with mini-van-like seating options, resulting in poor safety, low gas mileage, and other trade-offs.
The 2014 Durango brought solutions to numerous issues that the previous several models faced. For instance, the lack of space in the third-row seating was criticized by experts and drivers alike. The 2014 Durango added the must-needed spacious third row with a simple seat readjustment. Also, fuel consumption was improved, so off-roaders could have more time to enjoy what they love. Additionally, the vehicle’s traction controls and stability were highly competitive with other SUV models, which delivered excellent off-road capabilities.
The 2014 Durango offered powerful V6 and V8 engines with eight-speed transmissions so no off-road route is impossible. Also, this model is incredibly responsive and was praised for its exceptional maneuverability. Finally, 2014 boasted smooth a powertrain that can deliver high power to the engine. While the transfer case in this model may not be as good as Jeep’s NP242 transfer case, Durango’s drivetrain can hold its own against the competition.
The main issue with 2014 was the high beltline, which means those drivers that are smaller can have visibility problems, but this is also common when purchasing a mid-size and larger SUV.
The 2009 Durango saw a major upgrade in interior space, riding quality, comfort, and overall off-road capabilities. This model was available in three trims and delivered significant improvements over past models, including the re-engineered V8 engine with cylinder deactivation for improved fuel economy. This overhaul of the engine gave significantly more power to those whose aim was off-road exploring. Also, the addition of roof racks and fog lights as standard accessories combined with the ability to purchase additions greatly boosted its value to the consumer.
The 2009 Durango also offered powerful V6 and V8 engines that have excellent towing capabilities. Also, the vehicle was easy to operate whether you were on the highway or climbing a mountain.
One of the biggest challenges from the 2009 Durango was the lackluster suspension, which presented a rough ride under regular conditions. That means, during an off-roading exploration, the ride could be incredibly uncomfortable.
While these three models offered the best off-roading capability among all options, the Dodge Durango was and continues to be an excellent vehicle to meet the needs of daily commuters or off-road enthusiasts. While it may not be the best option available on the market, these three years will certainly provide excellent safety and high performance when trekking through the backwoods. Overall, the 2018 is the best model to take off-road as it’s the perfect combination of power, safety, comfort, and a smooth ride.