2011 Dodge Durango
2011 Dodge Durango. Click image to enlarge

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Chrysler Canada

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Article and photos by Paul Williams

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Dodge 2011

San Francisco, California – The Rocky Balboa of the automotive world has again beaten the count, and after a reviving splash of cold water (along with multi-billions of investment dollars and a new corner man in Fiat’s Sergio Marcione) the Chrysler Group is once more charging into the middle of the ring to meet its opponents.

Judging by the flurry of new and improved 2011 products recently introduced in scenic San Francisco and its environs, there’s life in Chrysler’s legs yet. Below are some of the new or improved Dodge/Chrysler products for the 2011 model year.

2011 Dodge Journey

The Journey is a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive five or seven-passenger vehicle that is roomy and affordable. First generation versions suffered from interior and suspension shortcomings that have been comprehensively addressed in the 2011 model. With these issues resolved, Journey emerges for 2011 as a more polished contender in the midsize CUV segment.

2011 Dodge Journey
2011 Dodge Journey. Click image to enlarge

At a base price of $20,995 for the SE Canada Value Package, the Journey receives a vastly improved interior that features soft-touch materials and a pleasing, modern design. The base engine is a 2.4-litre four-cylinder that makes 173-horsepower, mated to a four-speed automatic transmission. That engine is challenged by the weight of a Journey loaded with passengers and cargo, but the low entry price is attractive.

Standard equipment includes electronic stability control, side curtain airbags, keyless entry and start, Uconnect media centre, steering wheel mounted audio and speed controls and dual zone temperature controls.

The Journey is also available with the new 283-hp 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 in the $25,999 SXT model, which includes three-row seating, aluminum wheels, power/heated mirrors, six-speed automatic transmission, automatic headlamps, LED tail lamps and a performance suspension. The R/T AWD version is available for $30,995.

Journey’s competitors by price include compact SUV/CUVs like the Hyundai Tuscon, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, but none of these vehicles is available with seven-passenger seating.

Dodge Durango

The 2011 Durango is an all-new vehicle built off the next-generation Mercedes GL platform. Its Pentastar V6 engine makes 290 hp and 260 lb.-ft. torque, and an optional 5.7-litre V8 is available that makes 360 hp and 390 lb.-ft. torque. At $37,995, the all-wheel drive V6 Durango SXT can tow 6,200 pounds and returns 13.0/8.9 L/100 km, city/highway through its five-speed automatic transmission.

2011 Dodge Journey
2011 Dodge Journey. Click image to enlarge

The Durango features standard seven-passenger seating, leather trimmed seating with accent stitching, and acoustic windshield and first-row side glass for noise isolation. Other standard equipment includes 18-inch aluminum wheels, stability control with Hill Start Assist, trailer sway damping, traction control and roll mitigation, three-row side curtain airbags, media centre with Uconnect and Sirius satellite radio, fold-flat passenger seat and fog lamps.

The V8 engine is available with the $45,995 Crew Plus and $49,995 Citadel versions, which of course include an array of additional standard features.

There is really no “base” Durango, however, as even the SXT model is lavishly appointed and presented. A short test drive demonstrated the Durango’s impressive handling, ride, power and very quiet cabin.

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