Dodge puts the sexy in 'Man Van'

Feb. 9, 2011 at 5:31 PM
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CHICAGO, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Dodge hopes it has an answer for when a dad finally has to park his muscle car to cart around the kids -- the "Man Van."

The resurgent U.S. automaker unveiled the new Dodge Grand Caravan S/T with a mono-color grill, matte pillars and a black "man cave" interior for the family man who's still looking for a vehicle that's fun to drive.

This van is not for the typical soccer mom. Although it has the same 283-hp engine, the suspension is tuned 20 percent to 40 percent stiffer for a much sportier ride.

"It's got to be a lot of fun to drive," Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Dodge Brand, said at the 103rd Chicago Auto Show media preview Wednesday.

Gilles said Dodge is trying to make the performance R/T badge relevant for today's driver. There is a 2012 Dodge Journey R/T and two versions of the Dodge Durango sport-utility -- with a V8 and a V6 engine -- tuned by real "gear heads."

The $35,465 Dodge Durango R/T comes equipped with high-intensity headlamps, 20-inch wheels and three-season tires. The 2-wheel-drive version can tow 7,400 pounds and the V8 can step down to a fuel-saving 4 cylinders under light use.

"We have customers who love cars, who love the thrill of driving, but can only afford one car," Gilles said. "Our Dodge R/T models give buyers the chance to stoke their love of driving while still taking care of their families and responsibilities. Driving these R/T models will absolutely leave a smile on their face."

For guys not yet ready to be seen in a "Man Van," Dodge showed the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8, an aggressive-faced, screamer with a 6.4-liter, 465-hp (estimated) Hemi V8 engine capable of 175 mph and 0-60 times under 5 seconds.

The five-speed automatic has paddle shifters and estimated mileage is around 15 mpg city/25 highway, depending on how hard you drive it. Inside are bolstered sport seats, a 900-watt, 19-speaker Harman-Kardon sound system and seven airbags.

The Charger has 65 safety and convenience features.

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