2009 Dodge Durango Review


Pros & Cons

  • Powerful V8 engines, generous towing and cargo capacities, simple interior controls, hybrid model's fuel economy and power.
  • Poor gas mileage of regular models, cramped second-row legroom, rough ride, numb steering, subpar interior quality, hybrid sticker shock.
List Price Estimate
$5,376 - $8,316

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Unless you need to tow a boat or a big trailer, the 2009 Dodge Durango's moment has passed -- even the new hybrid's.

Vehicle overview

Truck-based chassis. Fifteen mpg combined fuel economy. Less passenger space than a big crossover. With all of that going against it, the 2009 Dodge Durango is looking like a dinosaur in the final moments before that comet smacked into Yucatan. A new "two-mode" hybrid model is a last-minute attempt to adapt to a changing climate, but it seems unlikely to sway many people interested in purchasing an SUV.

The current-generation Durango debuted five years ago, and it follows the traditional SUV playbook with a body-on-frame design (rather than the increasingly more common carlike unit-body design of crossover SUVs) and rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. This rugged construction lends itself better to towing and off-roading. Among midsize and full-size SUVs, the Durango is a "Goldilocks" choice: bigger than choices like a Ford Explorer or Nissan Pathfinder, but smaller than something like a Chevrolet Tahoe. It's also one of the most powerful choices you'll find. Its optional Hemi 5.7-liter V8 engine cranks out an impressive 376 horsepower. As expected, fuel economy is pretty dismal, though this big V8 features cylinder deactivation technology, helping return fuel economy no worse than the Durango's smaller V6 and V8 power plants.

For the best fuel economy, there is the new-for-2009 Dodge Durango HEV hybrid. Utilizing so-called "two-mode" hybrid technology co-developed by General Motors, BMW and the company formerly known as Daimler-Chrysler, this powertrain features a detuned version of the Hemi, plus a pair of potent electric motors and a trick transmission with variable gear ratios, which maximizes the efficiency of both power sources. The result is combined fuel economy of about 20 mpg, a 5-mpg increase over a regular 5.7-liter V8-equipped Durango. Unfortunately, all that hybrid hardware jacks the Durango's price up by approximately $5,000 over the similarly equipped non-hybrid Limited trim level. Even after federal tax credits, it could take years to recoup the cost purely through fuel savings.

The Dodge Durango is really only a viable choice for those who need loads of family space and the ability to tow heavy objects. And if that's the case, the bigger Chevy Tahoe is a better pick anyway. Meanwhile, newer crossover vehicles like the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Flex and Mazda CX-9 offer more passenger-friendly accommodations, the same or more cargo capacity and good fuel economy. The Durango Hybrid matches them in the last regard but is considerably more expensive. Overall, we think most SUV shoppers will find something better suited to their needs than a 2009 Durango.

2009 Dodge Durango models

The 2009 Dodge Durango midsize SUV is available in SE, SLT and Limited trim levels. There is also the Limited HEV trim, which denotes the hybrid. Standard equipment on the SE includes 17-inch steel wheels, foglamps, air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a tilting steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split second row and a four-speaker stereo with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The Tech Group adds remote ignition and satellite radio. The Popular Equipment Group adds 18-inch alloy wheels, running boards, a two-person third-row bench seat and rear heating and air-conditioning. All trims can be equipped with a tow package.

The Durango SLT adds 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlamps, a power driver seat, reclining second-row seats, stain-repellent upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and an eight-speaker stereo with a six-CD changer and satellite radio. Optional is the Tech Group II, which adds remote ignition, a power tailgate, rear parking sensors, a rear back-up camera, a three-person third-row bench seat, Bluetooth, a touchscreen stereo interface, an iPod interface and a 30GB hard drive for digital music storage. The Leather Interior Group adds leather upholstery, power-adjustable pedals, heated front-row seats and running boards.

The Durango Limited essentially comes standard with the equipment in the Tech II and Leather Interior Groups. It also has 20-inch wheels, auto-dimming interior and driver exterior mirrors, driver memory functions and upgraded speakers with a subwoofer. A navigation system, running boards, remote ignition and second-row heated seats are available on the Limited. Both the SLT and the Limited can be equipped with a sunroof and a rear-seat entertainment system with Sirius Backseat TV.

The Limited HEV hybrid is equipped similarly to the Limited but adds a hybrid powertrain, 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, running boards and a standard navigation system with real-time traffic information and a hybrid system energy-flow monitor.

2009 Highlights

The big news for the 2009 Dodge Durango is the addition of a hybrid model that combines V8 power with V6-like fuel efficiency. For the regular Durango line, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 makes more power for 2009 with no fuel-economy penalty, thanks to cylinder deactivation. Sirius Backseat TV is now included with the rear-seat entertainment system. The Adventurer trim level has been discontinued, while the SXT trim level is renamed SE.

Performance & mpg

The 2009 Dodge Durango is offered in several drivetrain combinations. The standard engine on the two-wheel-drive Durango SE and SLT models is a 3.7-liter V6 that produces 210 hp and 235 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is standard. Optional on the SE 2WD and standard on the SE 4WD, SLT 4WD and all Limiteds is a 4.7-liter V8 making 303 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque, attached to a five-speed auto. Although called 4WD, the 4.7 actually has a full-time all-wheel-drive system with no manual transfer case. Fuel economy with the V6 engine and 2WD is 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 16 mpg combined, while the 4WD models with the 4.7-liter V8 rate 13 city/18 highway and 15 combined.

Optional on the SLT and Limited is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 good for 376 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed auto is standard. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but a 4WD system with electronic transfer case is optional. Equipped with cylinder deactivation technology, the big Hemi with 4WD manages to return 13 city/19 highway and 15 combined. Two-wheel drive improves the highway number by 1 mpg.

The Durango Limited HEV hybrid (4WD only) is powered by a "two-mode" hybrid system consisting of a Hemi V8 (345 hp and 380 lb-ft of torque), two electric motors (87 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque) and a "two-mode" transmission with variable ratios, which maximizes the gasoline and electric power plants. Estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg city/20 mpg highway.


Antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, trailer sway control and side curtain airbags are standard on all 2009 Dodge Durangos. In government frontal crash testing, the Durango earned a perfect five-star rating for its protection of front occupants.


Although the current-generation Dodge Durango handled well for its class at its debut a few years ago, newer and more refined competitors have put the Durango in a less forgiving light. Numb steering and a rough, unsophisticated ride confirm the vehicle's truck-based heritage. Four-wheel-drive versions are quite capable off-road, offering plenty of wheel travel and responsive manners. The base V6 barely gets out of its own way, however, so we recommend one of the optional V8s for most buyers. When equipped with the powerful 5.7-liter V8, the 2009 Durango is one of the quickest SUVs available for the money.

Driving the new 2009 Durango HEV hybrid is a bit odd: It still feels trucky, but the Hemi roar has been replaced by a Prius-like whir at low speeds. Plentiful power is always on tap, with the electric motor providing endless torque. If you drive prudently, the Durango can remain in electric mode at low city speeds, thus maximizing fuel economy.


Modern and functional, the Dodge Durango's cabin was designed with family-style versatility in mind -- but not high-quality materials. Chrysler's latest batch of digital entertainment options (a 30GB hard drive, satellite radio and TV) in particular should appeal to kids and tech-savvy parents. Depending on third-row seat style, it can carry up to seven or eight passengers. The front seats are roomy and comfortable, but storage areas are lacking and the second row is very short on legroom. The third row is surprisingly spacious, with decent legroom (more than a Chevy Tahoe), but it's probably best left to the kids. Large crossover SUVs like the Ford Flex and GMC Acadia are far more passenger-friendly. Most buyers will find cargo capacity more than adequate, with more than 68 cubic feet available when the third row is folded into the floor, and as much as 102 cubic feet total.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Dodge Durango.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

New technology fun drive
old mariner,02/18/2009
Limited HEV 4dr SUV 4WD (5.7L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
This was a trade up from the old style Durango for me. The ride is much smoother and it has a lot more room. Driving the hybrid takes a little getting used to but that seems to be some of the fun driving experience.
Good SUV
SLT 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)
I've had my Durango for about six months now. Its a comfortable machine with good power. I know Edmunds rates it bad, but I didn't want a crossover as I need to tow a 5K boat. It rides fairly well. Gas mileage is a couple miles less then the bigger Tahoe though, but I got this way cheaper then a comparable tahoe.
Great vehicle
Israel Apodaca,05/21/2016
Limited HEV 4dr SUV 4WD (5.7L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A)
Great Power! Sad to see the Big SUV go!
SLT 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A)
I have owned my 09 Durango for two years. I drive allot, about 30K a year. Love the hemi power, I towed my 30 ft camper a couple times but did not like the "swaying". It has all of the power you need to tow 6K-8K lbs. I think the wheel base being short makes the swaying of the trailer a bit worse. If you want a big SUV for allot less than the Tahoe this is it and it will tow more than the Tahoe. The resale values have really tanked since my purchase. I think the used ones are a great deal right now. Get the hemi!


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2009 Dodge Durango

Used 2009 Dodge Durango Overview

The Used 2009 Dodge Durango is offered in the following submodels: Durango SUV, Durango Hybrid. Available styles include SLT 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A), SE 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A), SLT 4dr SUV (3.7L 6cyl 4A), SE 4dr SUV 4WD (4.7L 8cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV (4.7L 8cyl 5A), and Limited HEV 4dr SUV 4WD (5.7L 8cyl gas/electric hybrid 4A). Pre-owned Dodge Durango models are available with a 4.7 L-liter flex-fuel (FFV) engine or a 4.7 L-liter gas engine or a 3.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 303 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2009 Dodge Durango comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic, 4-speed automatic. The Used 2009 Dodge Durango comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a unlimited yr./ unlimited mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Dodge Durango?

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Which used 2009 Dodge Durangos are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Dodge Durango for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Dodge Durango.

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Should I lease or buy a 2009 Dodge Durango?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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