Dodge Durango Heat is R/T Without the V-8

The Dodge Durango launched for 2011 as a thoroughly redesigned version of Dodge’s three-row body-on-frame SUV. The Durango, like the Grand Cherokee, moved to a unibody platform that better serves the needs of what the marketplace is demanding.

Dodge’s debuts at the Chicago Auto Show have been mostly about performance – the Charger SRT8 made an appearance, as well as new R/T variants for the Journey crossover and Dodge Caravan minivan.

For 2012, Dodge is looking to provide Magnum customers looking for extra sportiness the option to do so without upgrading to the R/T.

The Heat is a way to do that, looking the R/T part but ditching the powerful V-8 under its hood. What the Heat model does is add 5 horsepower over the Magnum’s standard V-6. The result is 295 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Certainly nothing to sneeze at, hence the addition of the Heat model for those who want something more aggressive purely in appearance.

The R/T’s chromeless-look, sportier front fascia and side skirts continue to the Heat model. Lowered suspension and 20-inch wheels are part of the package as well. Curiously, Dodge also ditches the third-row for the Heat model in order to save on weight.

That could result in quite a few less customers opting for the model. The Magnum Heat achieves 16 mpg city, 23 mpg highway. Both figures are up on the V-8 R/T model, two for city driving and three for the highway.

The Heat will check in at $30,295 for the standard front-wheel drive model – all-wheel drive will set you back $32,295. Will the Heat model find many takers? It’s hard to say with the deletion of a third-seat, but regardless its good to see Dodge offering options like this to increase diversity in the model lineup.

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