First Look: 2011 Dodge R/T Models

It's no secret that Dodge has lost its way over the past 20 years or so, but Chrysler is looking to change that. In a continuing effort to regain its sport credentials, Dodge is showing a number of refreshed R/T models at the 2011 Chicago auto show, including one model you may not have expected.

"We have customers who love cars, who love the thrill of driving, but can only afford one car," said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO of Dodge. "Our Dodge R/T models give buyers the chance to stoke their love of driving while still taking care of their families and responsibilities. Driving these R/T models will absolutely leave a smile on their face."

Much of this list you've already seen and we've already reported on, including the Charger R/T and Challenger R/T. The long-missing Durango R/T we've heard about, but is just now getting its due. Rejoining the class for 2011 is the Journey R/T and making its first-ever R/T appearance is the 2011 Grand Caravan. Conspicuously absent from the list is the refreshed Avenger, which used to have an R/T model. To no one's surprise, the Caliber and Nitro are nowhere to be found.

"We're going back to our roots, when Dodge R/T meant a higher level of dynamic capability," Gilles added. "In addition to exterior design cues and sporty interiors, every Dodge R/T vehicle will have unique handling characteristics, high-tech, high-performing engines, special exhaust tuning, a sport-tuned suspension and performance tires that grip the road. These Dodge R/Ts have definitely earned their stripes."

The biggest question mark is the Grand Caravan R/T. Has Dodge actually made a sporty minivan? They certainly think so. With the Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 onboard now, the Grand Caravan claims best-in-class power with 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, 86 ponies and 30 pound-feet over the old 3.8-liter V-6. All Grand Caravans get the new mill and its six-speed auto, though, so what makes this an R/T? A performance-tuned suspension, Dodge says, but won't get any more specific. R/Ts also get an all-black interior, leather seats with red accent stitching, a leather steering wheel and shift knob and a nine-speaker, 506-watt stereo with a subwoofer. The 2011 Dodge Caravan R/T will start at $31,430 including destination.

Dodge also re-upped the Journey's R/T model for 2011. Like the rest, it too gets the 3.6-liter V-6 and six-speed auto providing the motivation. Providing the R/T cred is new suspension geometry, a redesigned steering system and "premium" tires, all of which Dodge says give the vehicle better response and road feel. As with the Grand Caravan, the Journey R/T gets an all-black interior, albeit with black cloth seats and red accent stitching. Leather can be found on the steering wheel and shift knob and you'll also get 19-inch wheels on those fancy tires. The 2011 Dodge Journey R/T starts at $29,745 for front-drivers and $31,445 for all wheel-drive.

Rejoining the R/T club after a long hiatus is the Durango R/T. To make a handler out of the burly SUV, the rear wheel-drive-only Durango R/T gets the optional load-leveling rear shocks standard and picks up new suspension tuning, "performance steering," 20-inch wheels with "performance" all-season tires (or optional three-season high-performance tires), a tuned exhaust and a 20-millimeter lower ride height. Power holds steady at 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet. R/T models also get a unique front fascia with blacked-out headlights, body color grilles, HID headlights and new fog lights, along with a body color body kit and twin chrome exhaust tips molded into the rear fascia, not to mention a new "Redline Red" paint color. Inside, you'll find an all-black interior with, you guessed it, red accent stitching and leather on the steering wheel and shifter. You'll also pick up the premium 506-watt stereo with 10-speakers including the subwoofer. The 2011 Dodge Durango R/T starts at $36,315.

The last two you already know. The Challenger R/T has been updated with new suspension geometry all around, thicker anti-roll bars and an electro-hydraulic power steering system. Minor improvements have also been made to interior and exterior styling. The Charger R/T, meanwhile, has been thoroughly updated for 2011 with an all-new interior and exterior and all-new suspension tuning. A 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T can be yours for as little as $30,495 while a 2011 Dodge Charger R/T will run you $30,995 to start.

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