2011 Dodge Durango R/T

The R/T is essentially the Heat model equipped with the optional 360-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and a third row of seats. It also wears a new body kit and grille, as well as the dual exhaust tips and 20-inch wheels, while swapping the headlights for HID units. Likewise, it rides on firmer suspension that has been lowered 0.8 inch, with sharper steering, and load-leveling rear dampers. A “Redline Red” paint color is exclusive to the R/T.

2011 Dodge Durango R/T

The three rows of seating feature red “digital suede” inserts, with red stitching for the front-row buckets. As for equipment, the R/T builds on the Crew trim, bundling niceties like a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever, remote start, a power liftgate, keyless ignition, the Uconnect infotainment system, and the 506-watt Alpine sound system with a 30-GB hard drive.

Dodge says the R/T was designed for buyers who used to drive a sports car, but need more practicality. If the chassis tweaks do imbue the crossover with zestier handling dynamics—and if those buyers’ idea of a sports car is a Challenger R/T—it may fill that perceived need. At $36,315 with rear-wheel drive and $38,715 for an all-wheel-drive model, the R/T is just over two grand costlier than the Durango Crew, which we consider a reasonable premium given that the Crew comes standard with the V-6 engine, wears 18-inch wheels, and lacks HIDs.

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By Jake Holmes