May make the move up to a 2007 or newer Expy, but all I read are horror stories (as with any automotive message board). Is the tranny issue absolutely widespread or in small numbers? Any other issues to look, feel or watch for during a test drive? Good experiences would be appreciated to hear about too.
I bought my '07 in February '07 and it has been bullet-proof. It now has 47K miles and still has the original tires! It's well built and I feel the main differentiator is the combination of independent rear suspension and the 6 speed transmission which makes for a great ride coupled with performance. No issues with the tranny. The DVD and build-in navigation get a lot of use too.
Having come from '98 Durango RT with 110,000 miles I feel like a caveman that has discovered fire.
My XLT is a month older (January '07) and has had no service other than scheduled maintenance. She's due for 35,000 mile service next month. I tow our 5000 pound camper with this a couple times a month April - October.
I bought my 07' XLT in July of 07' it now has 24,000 mile with no problems. We have a 24' 6,000lb camper that I tow about 3,000 miles a summer and a 20' enclosed trailer that I also tow a couple of thousand miles a year. I love the 6 speed transmission it works excellent. It does have a bog when you take off if you don't come to a complete stop before you start going again. The transmission doesn't like to down shift to 1st gear unless you come to a complete stop. It's one of the smoothes riding and driving vehicles I have ever drove. My Expy has been an excellent car I have no complaints.
Bought mine in July 07 and have 40K miles on it with no major issues. Just a couple of squeaks that I've had fixed. Nice riding vehicle. Only complaint would be that the wind noise is more than I like.
I've had my 07 since last sept and currently have 48k miles on it. The only major issue with the tranny was the shift timing which I had adjusted, it wasn't covered in the extended warranty so it cost me.
I also get a lot of wind noise but I'm not sure if that was because I installed the wind deflectors.
Bought my '07 in Nov '06 and really have no complaints regarding performance or tranny issues other than the fact that if I do not come to a complete stop at a stop sign, the truck tries to take off seemingly in 2nd, or maybe 3rd gear, but then realizes it should downshift, hesitatates, and takes off with my foot in the gas a little more than I otherwise would have if I were in a lower gear in the first place. This is sometimes annoying and I understand the Dealer could reprogram it and eliminate the problem, but I have never taken the time to go there, so I just come to complete stops, and no problem.
Apart from that, just got back from a 4000 mile trip and averaged 19.2mpg. Got there, got back, and have to say it was one of the more comfortable trips I have ever taken in my life. The truck drove like a dream and handled flawlessly.
BTW, I am seriously thinking of selling the truck. It has only 8000+ miles on it and has been garaged since I bought it. So if you are looking for a like new '07 EL EB edition with a towing package, PM me and let's talk.
PS, I only get here once a week or so, so be patient if I don't reply right away.