The Dodge Durango’s engine has evolved quite a bit since the vehicle first hit the market in 1997. Before we had the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine, we had several Magnum V8s and Corsair V8s included under the vehicle’s hood. As you’ll learn, these changes are certainly a good thing.
Before you go shopping for a Dodge Durango in Miami, see how the nameplate’s engines have evolved over the years…
When the SUV first hit the market in 1997, it was equipped with the hulking 5.2-liter Magnum V8. At the time, it was one of the most impressive and powerful units that the brand produced, as it was capable of pumping out 230 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet of torque. After three years as the standard choice, the 5.2-liter was replaced with the 4.7-liter Magnum V8 (235 horsepower, 295 pounds-feet of torque).
Dodge actually offered a special all-wheel-drive performance version of the Durango, the R/T. That version included it’s own specific 5.9-liter Magnum V8, which could pump out 250 horsepower and 345 pounds-feet of torque. The limited-edition Shelby S.P.360 also had its own specific motor, the supercharged 5.9-liter Magnum V8. The motor’s 360 horsepower and 412 pounds-feet of torque translated into a 142 mph top speed and a 0-to-60 time of 7.1 seconds.
Two more engines were available before the Durango’s switch to the second generation. When the two-wheel drive version of the SUV was released in 1999, it included a 3.9-liter Magnum V6 (175 horsepower, 225 pounds-feet of torque), although that version didn’t prove to be so popular. In 2000, engineers included a new 5.9-liter V8, which pumped up its power specs to 250 horsepower and 345 pounds-feet of torque.
For the next generation of Durangos, the engine distribution was based on the trim level. The 4.7-liter Power-Tech V8 engine was standard throughout, as any Durango owner can appreciate the 235 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet of torque. Most Durango customers (except SXT owners) could also opt for the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 (335 horsepower, 370 pounds-feet of torque), which eventually included the fuel mileage-improving multi-displacement system.
The 3.7-liter Power-Tech V6 was standard on the SXT trim between 2004 and 2007. Capable of producing 210 horsepower and 235 pounds-feet of torque, the unit ended up replacing the 5.7-liter HEMI V8. The other option, the 4.7-liter Corsair V8, was available late during the second generation (2008 through 2009). That unit could produce 303 horsepower and 330 pounds-feet of torque.
The next generation of Durango was joined by a pair of new engines. The base option was the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, which could deliver 290 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque. The unit was accompanied by the five-speed automatic transmission.
The 5.7-liter Hemi VVT V8 was also available. The hulking system could deliver the ultimate power specs, including 360 horsepower and 390 pounds-feet of torque, and it was supplemented by a 545RFE five-speed automatic transmission. The Hemi engine also contained “fuel-saver” technology, an appreciated inclusion for such a big engine.
The Durango’s engines and mechanics have clearly evolved over the years, but this certainly shouldn’t be interpreted as a bad thing. In fact, it’s quite encouraging. The brand’s willingness to test out new technology proves that they want to evolve. The alternative would have been to stick with what had worked previously, which we often see from some automotive brands. Luckily, that’s not the case with Dodge.