2011 Chicago Auto Show: 2011 Dodge Durango Heat is ready to melt some snow

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 9, 2011

After the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 and the 2011 Challenger Green With Envy, Chrysler also unveiled at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show, the 2011 Dodge Durango Heat. As expected, the new Heat package was designed to complement the Durango R/T and offers a unique fascia with fog lamps, a color-matched grille and dark headlamp bezels.

Moreover, the Heat package includes wheel lips and rear fascia with integrated dual chrome exhaust outlets but also wheel lips and rear fascia with integrated dual chrome exhaust outlets. The exterior design is completed by the 20-inch Satin Carbon finished wheels but also by a 20-mm lower ride height.

Under the hood we find a fuel-efficient 3.6-liter V6 engine delivering 295 horsepower (216 kW) at 6,350 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. (353 Nm) of torque at 4,500 rpm, as well as a top speed of 130 mph.

According to Chrysler the 2011 Durango will deliver an EPA-rated fuel economy of 16/23 mpg (City/Hwy) for the rear-wheel-drive model and 16/22 for the all-wheel-drive model.

Just like the R/T model, the Heat is offered with Uconnect Voice Command and a premium 506 Watt Alpine audio system with 10 speakers, including a subwoofer.

For those who want to buy this car, they have to know that it will be priced from $30,295 (excluding destination) and will be available at dealerships across the country in the Spring of 2011.

Refinement and excitement are not the only things that the latest 2011 Dodge Durango offers but it also boasts of top performance and a world-class suspension. This is an SUV that has the capability and performance needed on-road but comes with the flexibility similar to that of three-row SUVs.

Even when compared against other premium SUVs available on the market, the 2011 Dodge Durango stands out due to its modern refinement plus the structural characteristics, suspension, and electronics that are typically used in vehicles at higher price ranges.

By using high-strength, and even ultra-high-strength, steels for its unibody structure, it improves the driving dynamics. This is especially true when it is integrated with the body’s suspension and helps lower flex unlike that of body-on-frame designs in the past.

The Dodge Durango itself has a structure where 52% of the body is composed of advanced steels. Unlike that of the Mercedes-Benz GL, its torsional stiffness is greater and this is due to more than 5,500 welds and arc welding of more than 4,100 mm. The front suspension features a short/long arm while the isolated multi-link suspension in the rear has isolated front and rear cradles.

This allows for enhanced comfort and on-road handling. The large sway bars enable it to handle body roll that typically happens during hard turning maneuvers. It helps as well that the Dodge Durango has assertive spring and shock rates. Since it also offers standard electronic stability control in addition to the electro-hydraulic performance steering, it contributes to maintaining the grip of the tires and with it the vehicle stability.

The Dodge Durango continues to have the trailer tow capability that is considered as the best in its segment. This is all due to the amazing stability, impressive braking, and robust structure. For models that have the Pentastar V-6 engine, it can tow at most 6,200 pounds.

This figure is larger when compared to the prior version of the Durango. This is true whether the unit is equipped with a V-6 engine or a small V-8 engine. With the HEMI 5.7-liter V-8 engine, the towing power of the 2011 Dodge Durango is increased to a maximum of 7,400 pounds.

This is larger than a trailer or even a 24-foot boat. Its coefficient of drag is estimated at 0.35, resulting in aerodynamics that is 14% better compared to the previous model. This also improves the fuel efficiency and makes the cabin quieter.

For the interior, the 2011 Dodge Durango has 28 possible seating configurations and since it offers storage and cargo areas of around 85 cubic feet, there is still plenty of room for the gear and the passengers.

The second row and the third row seats can be folded, and when they are, one can even put in a 6-foot couch with enough space left for the coffee table. It can even store enough wood to make a treehouse. The reason for these enhancements is that usable cargo space and versatility have long played a major role in this segment.

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