By Kelsey Mays on February 9, 2011
Dodge unveiled R/T versions of an array of vehicles today — some of them unlikely candidates for a performance badge the brand has had since the 1960s. The Road and Track group adds sportier styling cues and, in some cases, additional performance. Dodge is renewing it on the Journey, Charger, Durango, Grand Caravan and Challenger.
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The Grand Caravan, Journey and Durango R/Ts go on sale this spring. The Charger and Challenger R/Ts are on sale now.
So what does R/T get you? Like before, stepping up to the R/T in the rear-drive Challenger means you get Chrysler’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which makes 376 horsepower in the six-speed manual Challenger R/T, or 372 hp with the five-speed automatic. Dodge says the Challenger’s suspension has been redesigned this year, with the electrohydraulic steering from the Charger and Chrysler 300 now installed. Thicker stabilizer bars should mitigate body roll better than before, Dodge says. The manual has been refined for smoother shifts as well, and Dodge intends the R/T’s styling enhancements — a larger air inlet on the front bumper and a larger front underbody spoiler — to bolster its ground-hugging downforce. Inside, Challenger R/T buyers get redesigned seats and unique gauges, among other enhancements. The trim runs $29,670.
Like the Challenger, the Charger R/T gets the Hemi, making 370 hp. The redesigned V-8 sedan comes with rear-wheel drive standard, though all-wheel drive is optional. Dodge will also offer various R/T packages: the upscale R/T Plus, performance-oriented R/T Road & Track and Super Track Pak, and top-of-the-line R/T Max. Prices range from $30,170 for a rear-drive R/T to $38,145 for an all-wheel-drive R/T Max.
The Durango R/T gets performance steering, suspension and exhaust tuning; 20-inch wheels; a 0.8-inch lower ride height; and fog lights and unique ground effects. Bolstered sport seats come upholstered in a suede-like material — Dodge calls it “digital suede,” and for this sort of price, we can only surmise that means it’s not the real deal — as well as R/T emblems. The Hemi V-8, which delivers 360 hp in this application, comes standard. It’s optional on the Durango Crew and Citadel, which slot on either side of R/T in the trim lineup. (Citadel, really? Please make it stop.) The Durango R/T starts at $35,465 for the two-wheel-drive version.
On the Grand Caravan, the R/T includes a performance-tuned suspension, unique 17-inch alloy wheels and body-colored grille and side moldings. Inside, the cabin gets exclusive black leather seats with red accents. A subwoofer-equipped premium stereo is also included. Chrysler’s 283-hp Pentastar V-6 goes untouched, unfortunately. It’s plenty capable for this car, but we would have liked to see the V-6 Challenger's 305-hp version make it here. The R/T runs $30,595, making it the top dog among Grand Caravan trims. That’s competitive with the sport-tuned Toyota Sienna SE, whose $30,850 price is midway up the pyramid of Sienna trims.
The $28,995 Journey R/T, in contrast, slots below the nameplate’s $30,000-plus top trim, Lux. It gets a performance-tuned suspension and steering, as well as better tires. Inside, the R/T’s power front seats get red and black cloth upholstery, while the steering wheel and shift knob also have red stitching. Tri-zone automatic climate control, 19-inch satin-finished alloy wheels and body-colored exterior details are also included. All-wheel drive adds $1,700. Both drivelines have Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6, which remains unchanged.
Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey