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 (18 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

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




In love

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

I have always owned Mini-Vans and we had a Ford Explorer, Never again. I am so in love with this SUV. Yeah gas millage is low but it's worth it to me because this is just such a cool and fun SUV to drive. Handles like a dream, rain or shine. I haul kids every where so dependability and room along with comfort are a most and I got all that and then some.




Nice ride

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

I bought this car about a year and a half ago. it barely had 14000 miles on it and was in perfect condition. I paid $15.5k for it and got it for a steal. I had heard a lot of bad things about the Durangos but for the price, I could not pass it up. I have driven this car across the country twice and have not had ANY problems with it.




Extreme fun

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

Just bought my '03 SXT 2wd. I love it. It handles like a sports car. I own a '02 Intrepid and I have never had a problem with it as well. There are so many possibilities with this truck. I can't wait. I am a forever Dodge owner from now on. I have 4 kids and they love the comfort of the seats and the drive.




Won't buy anything else but

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

This is my second Durango, and they have been the best cars I've ever owned. Very reliable, sturdy, and fun, I will always have a Durango as part of my family.




Durango devil

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

Refreshing for an American built SUV. Ride is somewhat sporty and pretty predictable in manuvering. Good bang for the buck with a touch of German quality and engineering. Almost has a "hotrod" appeal.



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