Pros: Lots of room, loads of options and always ready to take a ride.
Cons: Gas Mileage! UGGHHH!!!
I am a Broker for an Oregon Real Estate firm and traded in my Jeep Cherokee for my '98 Durango. Yes, when I traded in "Bailey", I cried then too. You see, in my business, I can only depreciate my primary vehicle for two years thus I have to part with, most times, cars and trucks that have become special to me in that I have been able to rely on them, they've gotten me out of tight situations, etc.
When these trucks (I know, 'sport utility', but in my defense, they are set on a Dakota- truck-platform) first came out I was immediately enamored with them. Their design is daring, never seen before anywhere and I wanted one right then but thought, might be better to wait and see what their performance is over the next couple of years.
Well, my bratty (spoiled) daughter got hers before I got mine. Hers is of the 360 cid variety and to make my decision complete, I asked to borrow it one weekend. Her being my daughter and still living under my roof part-time couldn't possibly say no. Well, the truck itself offers a bevy of creature comforts. It's leather in this genre is supple, warm and oh so comfy on long trips. This vehicle doesn't wear you out driving it. Once I drove my daughter's truck, I was hooked.
My personal Durango offers the 318 Magnum V8, while not much better on gas mileage (14.5 combined) it still sports the same comforts as the SXT. The gauges are easy to read and operate, everything is within a fingertip's reach and easy to memorize so that you don't have to look away constantly to find the radio or the heater switches. I like the cruise control in that it is virtually identical to my old Cherokee's set-up. (Duh, built by Chrysler). I added the K&N intake and air filter system and managed to eke out an additional mile per gallon. Very important in these high gas prices times. The overhead console with its multi-functions has become something I rely on but believe me, when you read the DTE display, don't disbelieve it-it's nearly dead on.
One of the main reasons for choosing this truck other than my lust for the vehicle itself was room. I had a 6'5" client that I folded and spindled to fit in the backseat of my Cherokee even though my seat was all the way forward for him I could barely drive safely. I actually think at one point in time I had my left leg hanging out the Jeep's window. Not so with the Durango. Trista offers loads of room even with her power seat all the way back. I have had no close calls or smashed into the dash incidents with her. Her cargo area with the third seat folded down is very roomy and allows me to haul signs, up to eight bags of grain, tools, and the like. This vehicle offers a ton of versatility.
As far as handling goes, this is where the truckness goes away. Trista handles like a dream. She corners very well without a lot of roll. She's quite quick off the line too and if I get a little anxious or impatient, that little 318 will bark the tires a bit.
She now has approximately 85,000 miles and knock on wood, has been virtually maintenance free other than the standard every 3000 mile oil changes. The engine is quiet (a little too quiet although the K & N has given her a little throatier exhaust) and I have no runs, leaks or errors. The 4-wheel drive works effortlessly in its operation when I need it and trust me, neither muddy hillside roads, steep driveways nor boggy pastures have ever stopped this big girl and me. Note, if you have driven a smaller sport utility, it will take you a few days to get accustomed to this truck's size. I think my first comment when I sat in one was..."this thing's a bus".
I only have a little over six months left with this terrific Sport Utility and will most likely not just cry when I trade her in but actually bawl or....maybe I'll retire this one and buy an altogether different replacement. Long and short, never have I owned a vehicle that was as versatile, dependable and head turning as this one. I'd buy another in a heart beat.