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First Drive: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8

Trading the trails for the track.

by on Aug.08, 2011

Jeep trades the trail rating for a serious performance machine with the 2012 Grand Cherokee SRT8.

Jeeps have always traded on their rugged capability. But for once the brand guys at Chrysler have decided to forego tradition and build a Jeep for speed.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes the fourth new 2012 offering from Chrysler to wear the SRT badge, along with the likes of the new Dodge Charger and Challenger models, as well as the 300C SRT8, but while Jeep’s entry into the muscle car segment  is clearly designed with an emphasis on performance it does not abandon entirely its off-road capabilities.

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You’ll notice something different the moment you spot the 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8.  To start with, ground clearance has been reduced, which must pass for something like heresy in Jeep’s engineering shop, and the skid plate was removed.  Instead of that traditional off-road cue you’ll quickly spot a functional rear spoiler added to improve aerodynamics on a vehicle that normally boasts the dimensions of a brick.

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Dodge Puts the R/T into New Focus

Muscle car badge won’t be “abused” anymore, promises Gilles.

by on Feb.10, 2011

The new Dodge Durano R/T makes its Windy City debut.

Dodge is bringing back the R/T designation.  Well, sort of. After all, it’s not like the R/T trim ever really went away. The 2010 Dodge Charger, for example, was available in R/T guise.

But Dodge president and CEO Ralph Gilles admitted that the R/T name—which stands for road and track—was “abused” in the past by being slapped onto too many cars not deserving of the moniker.

Cognizant of that fact, Dodge has tried to make sure that the five new R/T models it showed at the 2011 Chicago Auto Show live up to the name.

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For starters, there is the 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T which, like last year’s model, holds the middle spot in that model’s lineup. Its 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 carries over from last year, but the car receives styling tweaks to go along with minor upgrades to the suspension and interior.

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