2003 Dodge Durango SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2003 Dodge Durango SUV

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Dodge Durango Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.7 L V 8-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 235 hp @ 4800 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/18 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2003 Dodge Durango

  • A solid sport-ute all around, but a little long in the tooth to call a class leader.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Strong V8 engines, smooth-shifting transmission, excellent ride quality, rugged good looks.

  • Cons

    Dismal gas mileage, dated design.

  • What's New for 2003

    Entry-level Sport model gets bigger wheels (16s versus last year's 15s) and all Durangos now have four-wheel disc brakes. Inside, you'll find a six-disc CD changer as a new option. A redesign is due for 2004.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (136 total reviews)


2003 durango slt 4.7

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Durango SXT 4WD 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

We bought our Durango new in 2003. It had a couple of issues which were covered under warranty.The exhaust manifold was leaking due to 3 broken bolts.Also,the a/c unit had a few issues. Since then it has been a very capable and reliable vehicle.We have the required maintenance done at the proper intervals and haven't had any issues since warranty expired. I recently got an enclosed trailer to haul 2 snowmobiles.I am pleasantly surprised at how well it tows the trailer. We live in Utah,and towing sleds requires going up hills(mountains). On grades over 6%,I have to put it in 2nd,but it still maintains 40 mph no problem. Overall,we are happy with this vehicle.




True love from day 1

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Durango SLT Rwd 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

We bought our Durango new as the 1st replacement for our minivan era as our oldest began high school. It has faithfully, stylishly, comfortably moved 2 kids across country to college and I don't want another car. I wish it would last forever. I love it! Solid, dependable, built to keep a family safe and on the move! And nothing more than normal maintanance...and one water pump! 152,411 miles and still runs like day one! And I swear the mileage is improving...it would have to!



7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Built like a sherman tank

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Durango SXT Rwd 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

i really do love my Durango. its survived a bad dealership trying to put it in the ground. its been rearended numerous times bulldozed a prius into oblivion and a few random deer into a sticky mess and the only damage its ever taken was a slight dent with a paint chip and a busted light. the engine is super tough pulled a fully loaded trailer across the country. as well as a regular pull of the horse trailer. only problem it ever had on its own was a bad water pump. main cooling fan went out and it never overheated, in phoenix in the middle of the summer. it could probably survive a nuclear bomb, my burnt skeletal corpse still holding the steering wheel and still be running



2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great suv, great buy!

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Durango SLT 4WD 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

I got my '03 Durango a few months ago with 130k miles on it, and I love it. It handles great - not much body roll, feels lighter than it is. Seats are very comfortable, and it has a LOT of power. The drivetrain is very responsive & the engine feels like it's bigger than 287 Cu. In. I DO wish there was more legroom for the 2nd row passengers as I am a big guy & leave my seat very far back. And yes, the gas mileage is poor (13/18 MPG), but I knew it when I bought it (probably why the car was so inexpensive). I like the styling & features of this generation of Durango. I'll write another review after I put some serious miles on it. After 5k miles so far I love it!




Hands-down: this truck is a

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Durango R/T 4WD 4dr SUV (5.9L 8cyl 4A)

I bought this truck new and the love affair I've had with it hasn't dimmed since. I wanted something that could haul a car trailer & my '67 Fury, as well as maneuver well in the snowy N.Eastern PA mountains in winter. This truck has surpassed every expectation I had. While the mpg. aren't great, it wasn't a factor since I commute by rail 5 days a week. When I travel to the mountains with my 150# dog, luggage, and 3 other people - this truck still gets it done. Comfortably. With 150K on the clock, I've only replaced a fuel pump. I love this truck so much, i can't bear to trade it in. I've promised it to my mechanic, who admires it as much as I do. Say what you want about Dodge, I LOVE mine.



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Good car

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Durango SLT 4WD 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

I got screwed by the dealership... The sold me a demo saying they were going to discount it $2k and then they secretly added it back in and smooth-talked me into believing they were honest until I went home and double checked the math. But this car has been reliable as hell even though it has been a gas hog. I blame the dealership and Dodge Headquarters for not responding to my complaint... but the vehicle itself is not to blame.



Full 2003 Dodge Durango Review

What's New for 2003

Entry-level Sport model gets bigger wheels (16s versus last year's 15s) and all Durangos now have four-wheel disc brakes. Inside, you'll find a six-disc CD changer as a new option. A redesign is due for 2004.

Introduction

Back in 1998, if you wanted eight-passenger capability in an SUV, it meant having to step up to a full-size beast, such as a Ford Expedition or GMC Suburban. Smelling an opportunity, Dodge designed its Durango SUV to fill the gap between midsize SUVs and their larger brethren.

The Durango offered a third seat that the Explorers and Blazers of the day didn't. The Durango was (and still is) based on the Dakota and shared many components, including chassis, powertrain, some body panels and many interior pieces. Power came from either a standard 5.2-liter V8 or an optional 5.9-liter V8, and all first-year Durangos had four-wheel drive.

As the years went on, a two-wheel-drive version became available, a more efficient 4.7-liter V8 replaced the old 5.2, a sporty R/T model debuted, the cabin was redesigned and curtain-style side airbags became optional.

Now the Durango faces a number of freshly redesigned or new challengers, such as the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet TrailBlazer EXT and Honda Pilot. All have third-row seats as well as more refined cabins. But this truck-based sport-ute doesn't try to be all things to all people and makes no apologies for its somewhat tougher character. With its class-leading towing and hauling capabilities, the Durango remains a solid choice for folks who need plenty of seating and serious hauling capacity in their midsize-ute.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

Five versions of the Durango are offered: entry-level Sport, well-equipped SXT, luxury SLT, even plusher SLT Plus and the muscular R/T. For most folks, the SXT will be sufficient, equipped as it is with popular features such as a CD player and roof rack along with the Sport's standard fare that includes air conditioning, alloy wheels and power windows, door locks and mirrors.

Powertrains and Performance

All Durangos can be had with either two- or part-time four-wheel-drive, except the R/T, which comes only as a full-time four-wheeler. SLT models, however, do offer the full-time system as an option. The standard power plant for all but the R/T is the contemporary 4.7-liter V8 that pumps out 235 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Teamed with a five-speed automatic, this engine furnishes crisp throttle response with power accessible from a broad rev range. The 5.9-liter V8 (245 horsepower, 335 lb-ft) is standard on the R/T and optional on the SLTs; it comes paired with a four-speed automatic gearbox. Both engines like their gasoline; we've noticed that either one seems hard-pressed to average more than 13 mpg.

The Durango is ready to work, with maximum payload and towing capacities that, at 1,770 and 7,550 pounds, respectively, outmuscle the competition.

Safety

Side curtain airbags (that provide protection for the head and upper torso in side-impact collisions) are available, a feature that's rare in this class. In terms of crash tests, the Durango scored four (out of five) stars in frontal impacts and rated "Acceptable" (which is tantamount to three out of four stars) in frontal offset tests. There is no side-impact data available.

Interior Design and Special Features

Anyone familiar with the Dodge Dakota should feel right at home in the Durango, as the two share most cabin components, such as the dash and seat designs. What this means is large gauges and simple controls and, in lower trim levels, a somewhat bland decor. All but the Sport and SXT come with a third-row seat that increases passenger capacity to seven. On the SLT, a front bench seat is available, which would allow up to eight to ride in a Durango.

Driving Impressions

In terms of handling dynamics, body roll is well controlled and, with the help of responsive, tight steering, the Durango can run through twisty two-lane roads with confidence, sans the tippy feeling that some other utes are plagued with. And even when carrying a full load of passengers, the suspension handles the burden with little effort, providing an excellent ride without bottoming out on bigger bumps. As far as power, the smaller V8 is fine, and along with the alert automatic gearbox, provides brisk all-around performance for this 4,500-pound SUV.

Talk About The 2003 Durango

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 13
  • cty
/
  • 18
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs