First Look: 2011 Dodge Durango Heat

Interested in the 2011 Dodge Durango R/T, but wish you could exchange Hemi power for six-cylinder fuel economy? Good news: the 2011 Dodge Durango Heat, revealed this morning at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, may appeal to your sensibilities.

From afar, you might mistake the Heat for the new Durango R/T, which was also rolled out in Chicago. For the most part, the two are virtually identical – both receive a unique front fascia with fog lamps and an aggressive chin spoiler, unique side sills, body-colored grille surround, xenon HID headlamps, performance-tuned suspension calibration, and unique 20-inch satin-finish aluminum wheels.

The difference, however, is only noticable once you pop the hood. While the R/T is fitted with the 360-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, the Heat falls two cylinders short. Instead, it’s fitted with Chrysler’s new 295-horsepower, 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. Although the six-banger may not excite true power junkies, it will appease owners when it comes time to top off the 24.6-gallon tank. The EPA rates rear-wheel-drive Durango V-6 models at 16/23 mpg (city/highway), while all-wheel-drive models attain a 16/22 mpg rating. In contrast, V-8 models are rated at 14/20 mpg and 13/20 mpg, respectively.

Opting for the Heat will also save buyers in the showroom. Chrysler says pricing for the Heat – which slots in between the base and midlevel Crew trims – will start at $31,145 (including $850 in destination charges) for a two-wheel-drive model; adding all-wheel-drive bumps that figure to $33,145. Tthe Durango R/T, on the other hand, is priced at $36,315, or $38,715 for an all-wheel-drive model.

Like the R/T, the 2011 Durango Heat is expected to roll into Dodge dealerships across North America later this spring.

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16 City / 23 Hwy

Cargo (Std/Max):

NA / 84.5 cu. ft.