2004 Dodge Durango SLT 4.7 V8 gasoline from Philippines

Summary:

A macho looking SUV that is powerful, but be prepared for higher gasoline and maintenance bills!

Faults:

November 2004 - On its first and last trip to Baguio, there was a glitch found in the ABS. We had it disabled in a gas station near Session Road and we were forced to drive back to Manila without ABS. Had it fixed the next day.

Early 2005 - Left rear speaker malfunctioned.

November 2005 - Big time battery problem.

December 2006 - Parking brake almost broke.

Early 2008 - Tailgate light started to fall off when bringing it down.

March 2010 - Aircon failed. Nothing was coming out, even just warm air.

May 2010 - An oil leak was discovered just a month after the aircon was fixed.

September 2011 - Aircon failed again. Same thing happened, no air was coming out.

July 2012 - Check engine light appeared, even though the engine was working perfectly fine.

October 2012 - Check engine light appeared again.

April or May 2013 - We were on a vacation in Europe, but our driver makes sure that our cars still run even though it's only around the corner. Aircon failed again, although the problem was less serious, there was still warm air coming out. A month later, we drove it in heavy rain and we had to wipe off the moisture on the windshield. We felt like we were in a delivery van! Arghhh!!!!

July 2013 - Check engine light appeared again. Did not bother fixing it again, because the engine still runs very well.

August 2013 - Left brake light does not work anymore.

General Comments:

At first we wanted the new model Pajero, however due to the scandals hounding Mitsubishi at that time, we looked at other SUVs like the Ford Expedition and the Chevrolet Tahoe. Also, we had a relative who was a top executive in the distributor of Chrysler and Dodge at that time, so we ended up with this!

This is a very rare SUV in this country. In fact, our Durango is the only one with a “fire red” color in this country. We bought this brand new back in March of 2004. Our relatives back then were the official distributor of the Chrysler brand here in the Philippines. Its name is Transfarm Motors. Today that company only brings in Chinese car brands. Chrysler is now distributed by CATS Philippines today. But their service center in Mandaluyong is still owned by Transfarm, and that is why when the car gets its PMS or needs to be repaired, we get the best service!

Now let’s take a review of this car. It has a 4.7 V8 engine. It is a very fast car. Our Durango can reach as much as 200 kph. In fact it has already reached that speed on the STAR Tollway when it was still brand new and the SCTEX back in November of 2008. It’s so fast that it had already become a target of speed cameras in NLEX the last time we took it out of town last year. Although, we use the Camry more often for out of town trips in recent years, we still use this Durango from time to time for out of town trips. In recent years, the government has become stricter in implementing speed limits on the expressways. This car is meant to be driven out of town, not in the city where traffic is horrendous. Although this car is useful in the city during the rainy season. I remember last June 13, it rained so hard that it caused flooding in UST where I study (floods are normal in UST during the rainy season). We happened to use this car, and we were thankful because we didn’t expect that it would rain very hard and flood.

Comfort for this SUV is below our expectations. The front is alright, but the back is not ideal for big people. The back part I believe is as uncomfortable as the Mitsubishi Pajero in the 1990s and early 2000s. This is an SUV that is meant to be driven, not to be chauffeured in. The comfort of the Ford Expedition is much better. Even a Montero Sport, as they say, has better legroom in the back.

Fuel-efficiency is not something you should expect in an American SUV. When filling up a full tank of gas for a long road trip to the countryside, you will notice at the end of the road trip that the fuel needle is already somewhere near ¼! It’s a really a gas guzzler, but it is worth it because the car runs fast; it has the ability to overtake slowpokes, especially tricycles.

Reliability during our first 5 years of ownership was great. However, due to the repairs and things that needed replacement, reliability has somehow gone down in recent years.

This is one great looking SUV! It's a stunner compared to the usual SUVs you usually see here like the Fortuner, Montero, and even the Expedition and Tahoe. It is still a head turner and people say it’s a great looking SUV. Many people say that this car is great for famous people like celebrities and politicians.

The biggest problems with owning these kind of SUVs are the cost of maintaining one and the amount of fuel it consumes. We bought a new Camry as a replacement for our old Galant last June, and ever since this Durango only runs once a week. My dad is planning to get rid of this car early next year and replace it with a Toyota Fortuner or a Toyota Hilux. It will be painful when we let go of this car! Honestly if I had my way, I would replace it with probably a Ford Explorer or a Toyota Prado.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 16th August, 2013

8th Feb 2014, 09:04

UPDATE: Today, we took our Durango to the dealer to have it serviced and disable the check engine light for the last time. When we get the car from the dealer a few days from now, we will take it to our mechanic to fix the dents and dings. After that, we will sell it immediately.

9th Feb 2014, 10:01

* and replace it with a Fortuner. We'll probably wait for the new model to be released next year.

10th Feb 2014, 07:12

I had mine smoked at the service shop and the check engine light quit. Tiny leak in a vacuum line. I sold my 2003 with nearly 300000 miles on it. Same engine, 2 trans. Dealer couldn't believe mine had so many miles. It was at White Glove all the time, very clean.

3rd Mar 2014, 02:08

UPDATE: We already sold our Durango at a used car dealer this morning. We got a very low price for the car because of its condition and it being rare on the road (Php 160,000). Our final reading on the odometer is 50,860 km.

2004 Dodge Durango Limited 5.7L Hemi from North America

Summary:

Buy one, especially with the 5.7L HEMI, best SUV out there, period!

Faults:

Very minor maintenance required!

3 recall items performed with no problem beforehand.

Driver power seat sometimes makes pop sound when reclined or brought forward, but works fine otherwise.

General Comments:

EXCELLENT vehicle, especially for an SUV!

Dodge should have continued to make the Durango.

Chrysler should have continued to make the Aspen.

Too bad US Government intrusion killed a great US SUV!

I wanted to buy the Hybrid version when new during the only year they made it (2009), but wasn't ready to upgrade then. I don't know whether I'll buy a used SUV.

Very good traction in wet weather - MUCH BETTER than my dangerous 1998 Toyota 4-Runner, which spun out 3 times.

Excellent interior dimensions given the exterior size. More room than other SUVs except for Suburban & Expedition, which are too long for my garage.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th January, 2011