2016 Dodge Durango vs 2017 Dodge Durango: Which Is Better?

The 2017 Durango swaps out one trim level and ditches another one from the 2016 lineup, but is otherwise quite similar to its previous model year.
Written by Abbey Orzech
Between the two base
trim levels
, the 2017 Dodge Durango costs around $500 more than the 2016 model. But with little to no changes in the driving experience and interior, there may not be a reason to go for the more expensive option.
Released for the first time in 1998, the Dodge Durango has seen over 20 years on the market. In that time, this SUV has garnered a solid rep as a powerful and versatile driving vessel that can be as good for a big family as it is for an individual seeking an athletic, muscular way to get around. While it may not win awards in exterior style or a stocked standard feature list, the Durango remains a popular option for an SUV. 
But what’s really changing from year to year, if anything? Let’s compare the 2016 and 2017 Dodge Durangos to see how they measure up in price, powertrains, fuel economy, safety ratings, and more—just in case you’re mulling over a used Durango purchase and
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2017 Dodge Durango vs. 2016 Dodge Durango: what’s the difference?

Often heralded for its mass and power, the Dodge Durango can sometimes be excluded from its class of midsize SUVs. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s forgotten. Easily Dodge’s most popular SUV, the Durango stands mightily next to its competitors like the Kia Sorento, Buick Enclave, and Ford Explorer—if a little worse in fuel economy and style points. 
But how does one Durango model compare to another—namely the 2017 and 2016 years? Let’s take a look at their key performance and pricing points to get an idea. 


The pricing between the 2017 Dodge Durango and 2016 Dodge Durango depends on the trim level, but expect an increase of $500 to $1,200 between the two model years. Check out the table below for pricing across the different trim levels. 
2017 MSRP
2016 MSRP
Dodge Durango SXT
Dodge Durango SXT Plus
Dodge Durango Limited
Dodge Durango GT
Dodge Durango Citadel
Dodge Durango R/T

General specs

Many people may (rightfully) assume that an increase in price should equate to an increase in available features or power, but that doesn’t seem to be the case between the 2016 and 2017 Dodge Durango models. There are two powertrains for both years and they offer the same power output. 
Perhaps there’s one that performs better even still? Well, not really. Both sets of trim levels come with the standard Sport Mode capabilities at the base trim and above, and the performance-focused R/T trim sports 20-inch wheel upgrades and sport-tuned suspension. All in all, the two model years aren’t switching a lot up besides swapping the 2016 Limited trim for the 2017 GT trim. 
2017 Dodge Durango
2016 Dodge Durango
Base engine (SXT, SXT Plus, Limited, GT, Citadel)
3.6-liter six-cylinder engine (290 horsepower)
3.6-liter six-cylinder engine (290 horsepower)
Upgrade engine (R/T)
5.7-liter eight-cylinder engine (360 horsepower)
5.7-liter eight-cylinder engine (360 horsepower)
Eight-speed automatic
Eight-speed automatic
Rear-wheel drive (RWD), all-wheel drive (AWD) optional
Rear-wheel drive (RWD), all-wheel drive (AWD) optional
Maximum towing capacity
6,200 lbs
6,200 lbs

Fuel economy

As is the case with near-exact powertrains and body builds, you’ll find almost exactly the same fuel economy ratings between the 2016 and 2017 Dodge Durangos. Now, your fuel usage depends on several factors and not just the EPA ratings, but in general, here’s what you can expect to get from your gas tank:
  • 2016 base engine (3.6-liter): 19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway / 21 mpg combined
  • 2017 base engine (3.6-liter): 19 mpg city / 26 mpg highway / 21 mpg combined
  • 2016 and 2017 upgrade engine (5.7-liter): 14 mpg city / 22 mpg highway / 17 mpg combined
Catch that -1 mpg highway between the two base engines? That is credited to the change in EPA testing standards made to better reflect real-world conditions—if the 2016 Durango SXT was rated in present day, it’d likely also drop by 1 mpg.

Safety ratings

Again, we see the very similar makes of the 2016 and 2017 Dodge Durango coming up with the same ratings—this time with safety. Both model years earned four-star safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and neither of them ranked on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick lists. 
In general, both the 2016 and 2017 Durango got high marks in crashworthiness, but found their marginal downfall in ease of
seat belt
use and effectiveness of headlights. However, you’ll find a decent amount of standard safety features including air bags in five spots around the vehicles, brake assist, stability and traction control, and steering wheel controls for hands-on driving. 
But the safety features get an upgrade when you opt for the top Durango trim, the Citadel. Here you’ll find a back-up camera, rear parking aid, HID headlights, rain sensing wipers, integrated turn signal mirrors, and the option for blindspot monitoring, cross-traffic alerts, and lane departure warnings. 
MORE: How to find vehicle safety ratings

Styling and interior changes

At its base, the 2016 and 2017 Dodge Durangos’ interiors may not be anything to write home about, but this SUV is so customizable that you can make them so. The highlights reel of standard style and interior include:
  • 5-inch touchscreen and Uconnect infotainment system 
  • AM/FM/CD radio, Bluetooth, Sirius satellite radio, auxiliary input jack, MP3 support 
  • Leather-trimmed steering wheel 
  • Start-stop technology 
  • Heated power side mirrors
  • Tri-zone climate control 
  • Leather seating (Limited, GT trims and above) 
  • Memory seat, steering wheel, and mirror positioning for two drivers (GT and above)
You can even swap out your bench seating for captain’s chairs, remove or add a third row, and upgrade that V6 to a V8. But if you’re itching for all the comfort and tech goods, including a premium nine-speaker one-subwoofer Beats by Dre audio system, navigation system, sunroof, and heated and ventilated front seats, you’ll want to stick to the top tier Citadel trim. 

Special edition

Despite newer models’ reputation for having bigger, better, and more, it’s the 2016 Dodge Durango that offered a little something extra. For all the Funky Monkeys out there, Dodge released a Brass Monkey Package for the 2016 Durango
This customized version of the Durango could be added to the Limited trim for $995 and would give the owner 20-inch bronze colored aluminum wheels, a glossy black grille and black exterior badge, and an otherwise monochromatic exterior that will match the paint color you select. If a bit of
funky customization
is up your alley—and you don’t mind shelling out another grand—consider hunting down a Brass Monkey Durango! 

2017 Dodge Durango vs 2016 Dodge Durango: which should you buy?

After spending some time getting to know what makes the 2016 and 2017 Dodge Durangos stand apart (or not so much), it seems like the better move to go for the cheaper 2016 option. However, since both model years have had some time to depreciate on the open market, you may very well find a 2017 Dodge Durango for a better price than a 2016 if things line up right. 
Whether you end up with the 2016 Durango or the 2017 Durango, you can feel at peace knowing your driving experience won’t be all that different from what you’d find with the other one. Ultimately, it’ll be up to you, your driving preferences, your budget, and their availability. You can’t go too wrong either way.  
MORE: 7 things to look for when buying a used car
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