True to its promise of reinventing itself for the new year, Dodge is coming to the 2011 Chicago Auto Show with a roster of R/T edition models, one of which is the hulking mass of power, the Dodge Durango R/T. Joining the Durango R/T at show will be four other R/T models, including the Charger R/T, the Challenger R/T, the Grand Caravan R/T, and the Journey R/T. Incidentally, the last two models are the first of its line to be outfitted with Dodge’s road & track setup.
Similar to the Durango Heat revealed earlier, the Durango R/T comes with a bevy of aesthetic improvements and performance modifications. Essentially, both the Durango R/T and the Durango Heat are the same models except for one pretty important aspect: engine performance. Regardless of the different powertrains, Dodge has set high expectations for both the Durango R/T and the Durango Heat within the full-size SUV segment.
At the Chicago Auto Show, we’ll get a pretty good idea on whether these two gnarly machines are up to the task.
Details on the Dodge Durango R/T after the jump.
Exterior and Interior
Similar in appearance to the Dodge Durango Heat, the Durango R/T comes with a load of features, including a sports-tuned suspension, new rear shocks, a tuned-up suspension, an integrated dual chrome exhaust system, an exclusive “Redline Red” optional exterior paint color, a unique monochromatic front fascia with a lower air dam and fog lamps, a new grille that comes with xenon HID headlamps, and a set of 20” wheels with all-season performance tires.
Inside the Durango R/T, we’ll find a number of custom additions, including leather trim on the seats with a special “R/T’ stitching embossed on it, power driver seats that comes with a four-way lumbar adjustment, and the same Uconnect Voice Command and 506-watt Alpine audio system with 10 speakers that the Durango Heat comes with.
This is where the Durango R/T makes its money over the Durango Heat. Unlike the latter’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine with an output of 295 horsepower and 260 lb/ft of torque, the Durango R/T is powered by the loaded 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine that produces an impressive 360 horsepower and 390 lb/ft of torque.
With the added power, the Durango R/T beats out the Durango Heat’s towing capacity, 7400 lbs to 6,200 lbs. On the flip side, the Durango Heat’s less powerful engine allows it to be more fuel-efficient compared to the R/T. The latter comes with an EPA rating of 14 mpg for city driving and 20 mpg for highway driving.
The Dodge Durango R/T is scheduled to hit dealerships in a few months and those interested in making a purchase will have to shell out a minimum of $35,465.
Comparing the Dodge Durango R/T with an SUV like the new Ford Explorer is like Lebron James playing one-on-one basketball with a college freshman. It’s really not fair.
Instead of the Explorer, the HEMI-powered Durango will take on an SUV of it’s own size or power: the Chevrolet Trailblazer.
Numbers are pretty even between the two considering that the Trailblazer’s engine – an LS2 6.0-liter V-8 with an output of 390 horsepower and 395 lb/ft of torque – is similar to the Durango’s HEMI-powered 5.7-liter V8 with 360 horsepower and 390 lb/ft of torque. Slim a margin as it may be, the advantage still goes to the bigger Trailblazer.
In terms of towing capacity, the Durango R/T has the Trailblazer by the proverbial horns with a better towing weight of 7,400 lbs to 6,800 lbs.
Take your pick between the two, although if you ask us, we’re going to give a slight nod over to the Durango R/T, only because it’s a much newer model than the Trailblazer.
HEMI-powered engine is love
Ridiculous 7,400-pound towing capacity
Not a lot of aesthetic upgrades to make it stand out
More fuel efficient offerings out there
A little pricier than the Durango Heat