FROM HEMI TO ETERNITY
2012 Dodge Durango R/T HEMI AWD
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Wed, Sep 19, 2012
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
RIDING THE CREST OF TODAY’S MODERN SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES By Harvey Schwartz Full-size sport utility vehicles continue selling well, even though fuel prices are hovering in the $4+ range. That’s because people and cargo-carrying capability as well as towing capability factor in heavily. The added safety of size and today’s technological and infotainment wonders are icing on the cake. One of the best of the bunch is the all-new 2012 Dodge Durango R/T HEMI all-wheel drive model. It’s head and shoulders over the other Big Three SUVs. That’s because the Durango R/T has the versatility of what you want in a sport utility, plus it offers aggressive styling and high-performance driving dynamics not found on other domestic full-size SUVs. The styling is sleek and aggressive with a front fascia highlighted with a unique grille featuring a body color surround with black crosshairs and black texture. The Xenon HID headlamp cluster is blacked-out for a more aggressive look. Even more aggressive is the splitter and air dam down below with the ends showing round foglamps. From the side, you’ll see the flared fenders of the lowered chassis filled with body color moldings, a raked windshield, big, pull-out door handles,power-remote, heated/self-dimming sideview mirrors, a flat roof and full perimeter lower bodykit that enhances stability by lowering the center of gravity.
The wheel wells are stuffed with aggressive 8X20-inch, twin-prong, five-spoke cast aluminum wheels wrapped with Continental Cross Contact 265/50R20 high-performance tires offering great traction. At the rear are big, wraparound lamp clusters, a spoiler up top, and a step bumper. Down below are dual, three-inch wide, polished stainless steel exhaust tips nicely cut into the lower rear bumper. No other SUV comes close to the aggressive styling of the Durango R/T. It was not uncommon to hear comments like “I love that truck” and “great looking ride” from other motorists when parking. Powering this stunning SUV is a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 engine that pumps out 360 horsepower at 5,150 rpm and a robust 390 pound-feet of torque at 4,250 rpm. The 5.7 liter HEMI engine features variable valve timing for a flat torque curve. It is build using an iron block with aluminum heads, hemispherical combustion chambers, eight deactiviating and eight conventional hydraulic lifters to bump up the EPA fuel economy ratings to 13 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway.
Under light throttle four of the cylinders are deactivated but reactivate as soon as the throttle is pushed hard. The system is seamless—you never know when it is happening. Enhancing fuel economy even more is the standard six-speed 65RFE automatic transmission featuring Autostick sequential shifting when you want to take the revs up to redline and get into the high-performance aspect of the Durango R/T. The full-time AWD system works with a two-speed electronically controlled transfer case and a twist of the large knob located in front of the center console switches to AWD and AWD Low for light off-road recreation and to ease maneuvers while towing (such as pulling a boat out of the water from a high degree launch or backing up with a trailer attached). Torque to the front wheels is applied when slip is detected by the electronic wheel sensors. You also get all of the power down in the rear with the standard limited slip differential. The 2012 Dodge Durango R/T delivers excitement and refinement with world-class performance. It’s a driver’s SUV that delivers impressive on-road performance and capability with the flexibility of a three-row SUV. Amazing. The sport-tuned fully independent suspension features a short and long arm setup in front and an isolated multi-link setup in the rear with front and rear cradles for improved on-road handling and comfort. The R/T delivers on the pavement with aggressive rates for the twin-tube gas-charged shocks with coil over springs. Upper and lower control arms and a thick sway bar to handle body roll in hard turning maneuvers finish off the front setup. The rear also features twin-tube load-leveling gas-charged shocks, aluminum lower control arms, independent upper links, camber, tension and toe links, and a thick sway bar to further enhance road holding ability in steep curves.
Further enhancing the handling prowess of the Durango AWD R/T is power-assisted rack and pinion steering featuring an electro-hydraulic performance gear to guide you safely when challenging curving roads and when driving at high speeds on the open road. It gives back razor sharp response to your inputs with excellent feel for the road. When looking for parking at slow speeds the steering is much more light to ease your way into a parking space. Standard electronic stability control and traction control also contribute to maintaining tire grip and vehicle stability during severe maneuvers. I was truly impressed with how well this 5,331 pound unibody SUV handled at all times—more like a full-size premium luxury sport sedan. Slowing down the all-new Durango AWD HEMI R/T down from speed are large, high-performance power-assisted steel disc brakes. The front 13.8-inch discs are vented and clamped with dual-piston calipers, with 13-inch, vented discs with large, single-piston calipers in the rear. Standard ABS helps keep you in control of your direction during severe braking maneuvers. Now this what we call great no-fade braking power. The interior is spacious, well designed comfortable and innovative. Three rows of seats hold up to seven people and the interior is functional, flexible and premium with all soft-touch materials with chrome fitted around the air vents, center stack, center console, stick shifter and interior door handles. High quality faux wood trim is found on the doors, instrument panel and dashboard all adding up to a luxurious touch. The eight-way powered driver seat and four-way powered front passenger bucket seats are very comfortable and feature deep side bolstering to keep you snug during spirited driving times. Durango features more than 30 storage areas, 28 seating configurations and a rear cargo area of nearly 85 cu.ft. that fits a six-ft. couch with room for a coffee table or a 10 foot ladder with the front passenger seat folded flat. Now try to find a full-size performance SUV that can do that!
Standard features in my AWD R/T Durango not mentioned above included heated front and second-row seats with air vents behind the center console and in the headliner, remote start, keyless Go, trailer sway damping, three-zone automatic climate control, steering wheel mounted audio/Bluetooth hands free telephone controls, 430-watt AM-FM-CD-DVD-MP3-HDD Alpine sound system with nine-speakers, Uconnect voice command with navigation system, SIRIUS satellite radio, steering wheel/seats/outside mirrors memory for two drivers, driver-seat easy-exit system, power sunroof, a power liftgate, and leather seating for all three-rows. Standard safety equipment includes front/rear crumple zones, steel beams in each door, three-point safety belts for all passengers including front pretensioners/load limiters, front and side impact airbags, full side curtain airbags and the LATCH system for child seats. The all-new 2012 Dodge Durango Hemi AWD R/T is a very unique SUV. Any true driving enthusiast will be happy behind the wheel driving and taking care of business for him or herself, partner and children—be it around-town chores or weekend or longer vacations. © Words and pictures by Harvey Schwartz For more information about Dodge products, go to www.dodge.com
SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: All-New 2012 Dodge Durango AWD R/T Price: $41,660.00 loaded including destination EPA fuel economy ratings: 13 mpg (city)/20 mpg (highway) Engine: 5.7 liter V8 Hemi MDSS VVT Horsepower: 360 at 5,150 rpm Torque: 390 lb-ft at 4,250 rpm Transmission: Six-speed automatic with Autostick sequential shifter, full-time AWD-2-speed electronically controlled transfer case-AWD/Low Suspension: Front: independent, SLA, gas-charged twin-tube coil-over shocks, upper/lower control arms, stabilizer bar Rear: independent, multi-links, coil springs, twin-tube load-leveling gas-charged shocks, aluminum lower control arm, upper independent links, camber/tension plus a separate toe link Tires/wheels: 8X20 inch cast aluminum, 5-twin prong spokes/265/50R20 inch Continental Cross Contact performance tires Brakes: Front-13.8 inch vented discs with dual-piston calipers Rear- 13 inch vented discs with single-piston calipers Dimensions Total length: 199.8 inches Total width: 75.8 inches Total height: 70.9 inches Curb weight: 5,331 lbs.