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.”