Daimler/Chrysler, Dodge Division, first introduced the Durango in 1998. All Durangos have been, and continue to be, produced at the Daimler/Chrysler Newark production facility in Newark, Delaware.
In the late 1980's, designers at Chrysler wanted to build an SUV based on the Dakota pickup truck. This idea did not fly at that time because the newly-acquired Jeep division was scheduled to introduce the Grand Cherokee as the company's prime SUV. The Durango that was introduced about ten years later was a truck-based SUV designed to tow as much as 6,700 pounds and transport as many as seven passengers. But the design had transmission and other drive-train issues, most likely because the Durango was a heavier vehicle than the truck upon which it was based, the Dakota. The driving habits of the Durango's main purchasing group, mostly mini-van and car drivers, also contributed to these problems.
For the 2000 model, the 5.2 liter engine was replaced by the 4.7 liter powerplant. Also this year, a special all-wheel-drive performance version called the R/T became available. It featured a 5.9 liter V8.
In 2001, there were a few revisions. These included new seats, dashboard, and door panels for the interior, and redesigned aluminum wheels and some minor trim changes for the exterior.
The Durango was redesigned for 2004. Like the Dakota pickup, it has a lot in common with the large Dodge Ram pickup, including a fully-boxed frame. Similar to the first generation model, its front grill resembles that of the Dakota's. This Durango is two inches wider, seven inches longer, and three inches taller than the prior generation and is almost full-sized, although still classified as a mid-sized SUV. Plans call for Chrysler to introduce its own Durango-style vehicle in 2007: the Chrysler Aspen.
To stop a sales decline, the 2007 model has been reworked. This includes a different grille, hood, and headlights, a modified front clip with a new fascia, plus modified wheels and fenders. Other new features include rear park assist, tire pressure monitoring, an electronic stability program, and a one-touch turn signal design. The 2007 model also has a redesigned electrical system, a modified floor and reworked second-row seats - all in preparation for a hybrid version in 2008.
SXT, 2004 to present; SLT, 2004 to present; SLT Plus, 2004 to present; Limited, 2004 to present; and Adventurer, 2005 to present.
2004 to present: a 210 hp 3.7 liter PowerTech V6, a 235 hp 4.7 liter Magnum V8 or a 335 hp 5.7 liter Hemi V8.
2007 to present: a 235 hp 4.7 liter flex-fuel Magnum V8.