My comments is that there are alot of people that trash talk certain mfg'rs products. Dodge did indeed have tranny issues in the past, but the posts I see on this forum and the other forums I have visited seem to indicate that the trannies are not a problem when properly used and properly maintained.
I tend to look suspiciously on anyone that denigrates a brand due to some mechanical difficulties they experienced in the past. The worst problem vehciles I ever had were GM. That said, my wife has a 97 Chevy venture and I love it. Great vehicle.
All car companies have some problems and all cars are prone to problems, but I am convinced that Durangos are solid vehicles with no more problems than average for american made vehicles.
I agree with CanyonD it all comes down to personal experience... i had an explorer that gave me constant trouble, brakes, transfer case... the tranny was always reliable. I had a bad experience, but I wouldnt totally write ford off, maybe just the explorers, but we had an 89 Bronco that was a workhorse at 213K we retired it and it sat in the garage for two winters, becaue of leaky head gasket. It started on a dime after sitting for so long when we sold it, and it drove like a charm, the only problem was that the engine overheated after a few hours of driving becuase of the leak. So i would buy a bronco again in a heartbeat if i had to get a good utilitarian SUV.
I Love MY D so far, and i have found that the transmission is pretty smooth for such a big truck. The 5 speed auto in the V8s works very well, there is lag in the 4.7 compared to the HEMI when going over a hundred.
The 4 speed in my brother in laws Magnum is pretty smooth as well.
To each his own... as long as it can get you from A to B with out any major problems then its all good.