Durangos and other Utes?

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#1
I'm in the market for a new SUV for my wife. So far she likes the Durangos, Grand Cherokees, and Toyota Highlanders. Others in consideration are the 4Runner and Pathfinder. We will most likely buy new but will have the SUV for 7 or so years so reliability is a MAJOR issue. I know the Nissan and Toyota's have good reputations but we are leaning toward the Durangos and G Cherokees. As you can see we are in the market for a mid-size ute. Do any of you have experience with these cars and would like to share your experiences? She only drives 20 miles a day to work and I would use it on the weekends to tow my bike. Thanks for the help!
 

CRGuy

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#2
What about?

Why not the new Chevy Trailblazer. It will last just as long as any of those other's and maybe longer. If the Jeep's trany is like the Chrysler sebring Don't buy it.
CRG
 
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#3
If you buy a Durango DO NOT get the 5.9 V8 unless you own stock in a gas company! I owned one for 6 months and liked the truck, I just couldnt believe how BAD it was on gas. 12-13 mpg at the best. I have a Dakota Quad Cab with the 4.7 V8 and it is worlds better than the 5.9 on fuel. It has better performance in my opinion also than the 5.9. How much weight are you towing. The Toyota has the lowest tow rating by far (GVWR), but probably the best reliability of the bunch. The Highlander is just a minivan that sits up a bit higher.
 
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#4
Scottyr - I don't think they have the 5.9 in the '01's, if they do I haven't seen one yet. Either way I won't be towing that much weight, at most 2 bikes on a trailer and not very often. The Highlander is probably the least rugged of the bunch, because it is built on the Camry's platform.

CRGuy - We hadn't even looked at the Trailblazer, my wife owned a '94 Blazer for a while and loved it. She never had an problems with it other than incompetant service techs (for some reason they always left plug wires off). Well now that I think about it, she had major brake problems, they finally removed part of the system and sent it to HQ for testing. Thanks for the input so far!
 

NVR FNSH

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#5
I've spent some time in a '94 GC - not sure if the new ones are significantly different. The problem I have with the '94 GC is the driver foot well is very narrow for my size 13 shoes & there isn't much room between the driver seat & the center console. Not very comfy for a 6'4"/250 guy. I also have the same complaints about my wifes Explorer......

Brian
 

zio

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#6
I love my Pathfinder. 140k miles on all original equipment. That 3.0L (now 3.3) V6 is bulletproof. Plus- they'be bumped up to a whopping 270hp I think!!! They're a little on the sheepish-looking side, but that can be fixed with a wheel & tire upgrade

My dad's Chevy S10 Blazer ('91) is still going strong after 180k miles. Sure, it's on it's third tranny, and it's slowly falling apart, but the engine (4.3L V6) is a champ.

If you're going to buy American, just opt for the extended warranty as added insurance against the inevitable. American cars are getting better, but not up to Japanese standards yet.
 
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#7
Ditto on the S-10 Blazer

I've owned two with the 4.3, each I bought new and drove for 140K miles. Defiantly the best vehicle I ever owned. The mileage is good and it has plenty of cargo space & will pull a decent load. I had a friend with a Honda SUV and I was always bringing something home for him that wouldn't fit in the back of his.

I have a quad cab Dodge truck now with the 5.9 and it gets worse gas mileage than my 69 Camaro did & it was a hot rod!
 

JuliusPleaser

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#8
GM BRAKES!

I checked out a new Trailblazer last week, and I couldn't believe what I saw. GM finally put 4-wheel discs on a truck! GM has catapulted into the 1980s! I didn't drive one, but the brakes looked like they were big enough. GM brakes have always sucked, but it looks like they've finally addressed the problem.
 

CRGuy

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#9
Our Tahoe has disc's all the way around. We tested the brake's the second day. A 18 wheeler pulled out in front of us. We stoped way in time. 45ft of road left or so from 50mph. I would take a good look at those new trailblazer's. The trailblazer has a v6 but make's 8 power.
CRG
 

Jeff Allen

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#10
The Trailblazer has a straight 6 that makes V8 power...somewhere around 250 HP and a ton of torque if I remember correctly.
 
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#11
Re: GM BRAKES!

I can 2nd the GM brakes, glad to hear that they made some changes. My 95 S-10 Blazer did require brakes every 20 - 30k miles but the worst was my 96 Tahoe, I hated that p.o.s.! Everything on the Tahoe sucked and parts aint cheap. It started with the A/C twice, the fan clutch, rattles that would drive you crazy, busted diaphram in the brake booster, transmission, starter, fuel pump (located in the gas tank) and that was all before 100k miles.

Oh yeah, the brakes always pulled one way or the other.
 

justql

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#12
We own a 99 Durango 4 X 4 with the big motor and love it. Fuel mileage will dip down to 14-15 in town, a little better on the highway. It has the most room of anything we looked at.
 

WoodsRider

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#13
After my wife's '92 convertible Dodge Shadow turned into a car-b-q in rush hour traffic, I swore off ever buying another Chrysler product. And I was die-hard Mopar fan for many years. IMHO the only thing they make that's worth looking at is the 3/4-ton p/u with the Cummins Turbo Diesel.

That being said, we've been very happy with our '95 4-Runner Limited. Yes with 15-city, 19-hwy, mileage could be a little better. Other than the required timing belt at 60k miles we haven't had a single problem at 97k miles now.
 

justql

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#14
I understand Woodsrider. Thats the way I feel about Fords. I won'y say that I'll never own one again but I sure don't plan on it.
By the way I just bought a new pickup. Yep it's a new 3/4 ton Dodge Deisel.:p
 

mtngoat

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#15
I've got an 01 GC and so far I really like it. It's my third and prior models both had differential problems. All three have been leased by my company and up till now, I wouldn't buy one, due to reliability. I'm hoping Jeep has improved its reliability.

The newer GC models are much improved. Engine is now OHC and much more responsive, brakes are enlarged (much needed), suspension seems improved, spare is finally out of the cargo area and several small refinements in the cockpit have been added. It's very capable off-road too. I'm probably one of those rare SUV owners who actually go off road.

The GC is considerably lighter than the Durango (although not near as roomy), which was important to me for mountain driving/agility. Mileage is decent (15/16 mpg avg).

I also like the Pathfinder. Great motor with VVT and 240HP this year, but it doesn't feel like 240HP until it's rev'd. Light and a great handler. Great historical reliability and their US marketing guys are finally influencing more attractive body design. Not as roomy as the GC.

The Highlander looks like a Camry in SUV clothing. I'm sure it's well made and reliable, but I like my SUVs to look and be a little more "manly".

The 4Runner is un-questionably a great SUV, but it's lacking in power and has dated suspension and non-unit-body construction. It also commands a bit of a Toyota "brand premium" compared to what you can get for the same money.