Dodge  - Durango HEMI RT Concept
Dodge Adds HEMI® Muscle and Brings the "Sport" Back to the Sport-Utility Vehicle Market
January 5, 2003 , Detroit - Style, power and passion have never been in short supply at Dodge, and the 2003 Dodge Durango HEMI® RT Concept delivers on all counts. Boasting the tire melting, 345-horsepower HEMI Magnum engine and cutting-edge styling, the 2003 Dodge Durango HEMI RT Concept offers a more sporting alternative in a crowded sport utility marketplace.
"Dodge talks the talk and walks the walk," said Darryl Jackson, Vice President – Dodge Marketing. "The Dodge Durango Concept is all about living large and what better way to 'Grab Life by the Horns' than with a HEMI and bold, in-your-face styling. Every Dodge should carry a little bit of Viper and Ram with them; it's their Dodge DNA. That's what separates us from the mainstream. Dodge's leadership in innovation and cutting-edge styling provide Dodge with a competitive advantage. The unique 'Full of Life' personality is inherent in all Dodge vehicles. Dodge owners understand the meaning of hard work and want a vehicle that matches their dedication."
Dodge provides customers with a choice of vehicles ranging from Dodge Vipers to Caravans, not to mention the most exciting lineup of trucks on the market. The Dodge brand offers an alternative to the mainstream with bold styling, powerful engines and fun-to-drive vehicles, from sport compacts to sport utilities.
"Dodge owners, and particularly Dodge Durango owners, are made up of young active families that 'go' and 'do,' whether it is hauling cargo, off-roading or towing their boat on the weekend," Jackson added. "Dodge Durango buyers average about seven years younger than Ford Explorer buyers and they want a vehicle that provides room for the family, but one that can get them anywhere they want to be, no excuses. Being Dodge owners, they also don't want to look like everyone else doing it. So we have an SUV that only Dodge could create, with style, power and passion."
The Dodge Durango Concept offers more interior and cargo room than Ford Explorer and the current-generation Durango. When it debuted, the 1998 Durango was the first SUV in its class to offer fold-flat third-row seating and easily outclassed the competition in terms of room and power. Dodge Durango Concept delivers more passenger and cargo room than ever before and provides innovative seating for seven.
The American muscle SUV: 2003 Dodge Durango HEMI RT Concept
Bigger, bolder and faster, the 2003 Dodge Durango HEMI® RT Concept separates itself from the sport utility pack with big power and a broad shouldered presence that could only come from Dodge. With more style, more cargo room and more capability, the Dodge Durango Concept delivers on all fronts, including the type of muscle that only a Dodge can deliver: HEMI power.
"The Dodge Durango Concept is a new generation of sport-utility vehicle that could only wear the Dodge name," said Richard Schaum, Executive Vice President, Product Development. "With its bold cross-hair grille, innovative interior and a big HEMI rumbling under its hood, the Durango Concept exemplifies the in-your-face styling and sheer capability that is Dodge."
The Dodge Durango Concept design provides a strong hint of the next generation Durango that will appear in late 2003 as a 2004 model. The Durango Concept is approximately 85-percent of the production level exterior design.
The Dodge Durango Concept features a bold and powerful presence that is three inches longer, more than three inches taller and four and a half inches wider than the current generation Durango. The enlarged exterior results in a roomier all-new interior that provides increased head, shoulder and hip room and available seating for seven. Interior capacity is increased by 15 percent and is enhanced by Durango's fold-flat cargo floor. As shown in the concept, Durango now has the capability to carry 48-inch wide sheets of plywood between the wheel wells.
With 345 horsepower and 375 lb.-ft. of torque, the 5.7-liter HEMI Magnum-powered Dodge Durango Concept delivers blistering acceleration while improving fuel efficiency by more than 10 percent, when compared to the current generation Durango. A new heavy-duty five-speed automatic transmission is behind the 5.7-liter HEMI Magnum. The full-time four-wheel drive Dodge Durango Concept also features a standard electronic transfer case with low range.
"All that HEMI power needs a suspension to match and we set out to create one of the best handling SUVs ever made," said Frank Klegon, Vice President of the Dodge Truck Product Team. "We developed an all-new 100-percent hydroformed frame that provides increased torsional stiffness and improved ride quality, but not at the expense of the towing, hauling and off-road capability that Durango is known for."
The Durango Concept features an all-new independent front suspension with a rack-and-pinion steering system for an even more precise feel. An all-new rear suspension with coil springs and a solid rear axle delivers a smooth ride, yet maintains durability, payload and towing capability. A Watt link system is fitted to the rear axle, centering the axle and reducing rear-end skate over rough surfaces.
Safety features include available side curtain air bags for all three rows of seating, a tire-pressure monitoring system, adjustable pedals and standard four-wheel disc ABS brakes. A center mounted, three-point shoulder belt is incorporated into the second row seating area. Driver enhancements include a navigational system, and a hands-free cellular phone system utilizing Bluetooth technology.
"With this Durango Concept, we have taken many of the lessons learned on the design of our new Dodge Ram pickups in the areas of hydroforming and suspension tuning and applied them to the Durango," Klegon said. "What we have delivered is an exceptional handling SUV that breaks away from the ever-crowded look-alike pack in a way that only Dodge could."