Crossover & Midsize

How Reliable Is the Dodge Durango?

As Dodge’s largest SUV, the Durango has the bold styling of its siblings the Charger and the Challenger. You can even opt for the Dodge Hemi V8 engine if the standard V6 isn’t enough of a beast for you. This SUV feels like a muscle car yet it has enough utility to transport people and cargo easily. But, because it’s a Dodge, you might wonder just how reliable the Durango is. Consumer Reports has answers.

What Consumer Reports has to say about the Durango

Over the years, Dodge has gotten a reputation for low reliability. Last year the brand ranked ninth in Consumer Reports’ list of 10 least reliable car brands. Although the automaker recently redeemed itself by ranking eight in CR’s top 10 list of most reliable brands for 2020, the Durango still is its least reliable vehicle this year. 

CR gives the 2020 model year a score of 63 out of 100 overall. In the pack of 30 mid-sized SUVs that CR looked at, the Durango’s rank position is 22. Its predicted reliability is a dismal two out of five.

The most insight into the 2020 Durango’s reliability is revealed in CR’s comparison chart for SUVs in the segment. The score for each vehicle, which ran from zero to 100, comes from an average of the model’s overall reliability for the newest three years. The Durango’s score was 32%, which was lower than other SUVs in its class such as the Subaru Ascent, the Kia Telluride, and the Nissan Pathfinder. Only the Chevrolet Traverse and the Volkswagen Atlas scored lower than the Durango.

2019 Dodge Durango SRT
2019 Dodge Durango SRT | Dodge

While CR doesn’t yet have an overall reliability verdict for either 2019 or 2020, it does have one for 2018. The 2018 Durango’s overall reliability verdict was at the bottom of CR’s scale and was the worst since the 2013 model year. Consumer Reports expected that it would have far more problems than other models that year based on the reliability ratings averaged from three years immediately prior. It rated one out of five for its overall reliability verdict and ranked last in reliability for SUVs in 2018. 

The most common trouble spots reported by owners for the 2018 model were the SUV’s in-car electronics which rated a one out of five. Minor transmission problems, body hardware, and power equipment had ratings that rated two out of five. Our takeaway from this information is that the Dodge Durango has had a history of problems with reliability.

Is Dodge’s low reliability only limited to the Durango?

To find out if reliability is just a Durango problem, it might help to look at the Dodge Journey, the smaller SUV in the Dodge lineup. The 2020 model has not yet been tested. The 2019 model has an overall score of 46 out of 100, not just because of reliability problems but also due to safety issues and low owner satisfaction scores. Still, the Journey’s predicted reliability score for both years is unimpressive at two out of five. 

The only year that CR has for an overall reliability verdict is 2012, and the rating for this year was the lowest, as was owner-reported reliability. Consumer Reports has no comparison chart with other vehicles for reliability for the Dodge Journey.

2018 Dodge Durango
2018 Dodge Durango | Dodge

Among the trouble spots, those that were rated as the worst were those related to major and minor engine problems. Major transmission trouble spots were rated as the least problematic but minor transmission trouble spots were also rated as the worst, as was the case with the Durango.

The drive system was rated second to worst among trouble spots. The electric and climate systems, as well as the brakes and body integrity, had the worst rating. And like the Durango, the Journey’s in-car electronics had CR’s lowest rating.

So, it looks as if the Durango might not be an outlier where the reliability of Dodge’s cars is concerned. The Journey’s reliability is at least as bad, if not worse.

A look at the Durango’s platform-mate, the Jeep Cherokee

To get a different perspective on the Durango’s reliability, we’ll compare it with its corporate cousin, the Jeep Cherokee. These two SUVs share a platform, powertrain options, some tech, and a parent company, Fiat Chrysler. While there are some differences between the two, they have enough systems and components in common to find out if they have similar reliability issues.

The 2020 Jeep Cherokee has an overall score of 73 and a predicted reliability score of three out of five, which makes it look a bit better than the Durango. Its overall reliability verdict for 2019 was in the middle on CR’s five-point scale from better to worse. And like both the Dodge Durango and Journey, the most common trouble spot was the Cherokee’s in-car electronics. This problem was rated as next to worse on CR’s scale.

The Consumer Reports chart that compared the Jeep SUV with other models was also telling. The Cherokee ranked second at 59% behind the Nissan Murano at 63%. The Ford Edge and the Honda Passport had lower scores than the Jeep.

The final verdict

While not flat-out terrible, the Dodge Durango comes up short on reliability. For the 2020 model year, Consumer Reports has given it a low score for predicted reliability as well as low scores for overall predictability in earlier model years.

To add to the Durango’s low reliability, owners have reported numerous trouble spots over the past few years. Some of them, such as power equipment and in-car electronics have been persistent over time.

A comparison of the Durango’s reliability to another Dodge SUV, the smaller Journey, has revealed that the latter shares many of the same reliability issues. Comparing the Durango to its platform-mate, the Jeep Cherokee seems to hint that reliability might be more of a Dodge issue and not necessarily one for FCA.