- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009


The 2009 Dodge Avenger combines bold, aggressive Dodge styling with innovative interior features, high levels of safety and reliability, exhilarating performance and fuel efficiency of 30 miles per gallon on the highway.

Many unique features set Dodge Avenger apart in the competitive midsize segment. These features include UConnect phone with Bluetooth technology, UConnect tunes, UConnect navigation and UConnect studios; Chill Zone, a storage compartment in the top of the instrument panel that holds up to four 12-ounce beverage cans; heated/cooled front cup holder; stain-resistant seat fabric that repels stains, controls odor and reduces static electricity; and heated cloth seats.

Three engine options power the 2009 Dodge Avenger: the standard 2.4-liter 173-horsepower four-cylinder World Engine, an available flex-fuel 2.7-liter 186-horsepower V-6 engine, and an available 235-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transaxle with auto stick.

The Dodge Avenger’s six-speed automatic provides quicker standing-start acceleration than a four- or five-speed transaxle because of its numerically higher first-gear ratio. A robust differential with increased torque capacity enhances launch performance by requiring less torque management, electronically limiting the torque that is available during the initial stages of standing-start acceleration.

Base model estimated mpg: 21 city/30 highway

Estimated starting price: $19,815


The all-new 2009 Dodge Challenger merges the best American muscle-car characteristics - unmistakable design, world-class handling, powerful engines and technology - to delight driving enthusiasts across several generations.

The Dodge Challenger is a five-passenger, two-door coupe produced from Chrysler’s proven rear-wheel-drive platform that delivers the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300. Three models are offered: Dodge Challenger SE, Dodge Challenger R/T and Dodge Challenger SRT8.

The Dodge Challenger SE, powered by the 3.5-liter high-output V-6 with a four-speed automatic transmission, produces 250 horsepower and 250 foot-pounds of torque.

The Dodge Challenger R/T features the new-generation 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with a five-speed automatic transmission that produces 372 horsepower and 401 foot-pounds of torque.

The Challenger SRT8 features an SRT-exclusive 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 engine mated with a new-for-2009 six-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic transmission with auto stick that generates a blistering 425 horsepower and 420 foot-pounds of torque.

The front short- and long-arm suspension and five-link independent rear suspension system on all Dodge Challenger models provides excellent ride and handling characteristics.

The Dodge design team drew upon elements from the original Challenger. The result: a bold, aggressive muscle machine that blends nostalgia with modern Dodge style.

Base model estimated mpg: 18 city/26 highway

Estimated starting price: $21,320


Designed for customers with active lifestyles, the 2009 Dodge Dakota offers a lot to individuals who need a vehicle to meet a variety of needs. Depending on an owner’s lifestyle, the 2009 Dodge Dakota may be equipped for work or play, but every Dakota is capable and versatile.

The 2009 Dodge Dakota features many best-in-class capabilities, such as the only available V-8 engine in its class, best-in-class towing capability of up to 7,050 pounds, the greatest interior room of any midsize truck, with 30 cubic feet of interior space in extended cab models and 37.1 cubic feet for crew cab, and the largest and longest standard cargo bed in its class: 6 foot 6 inches in the extended cab.

For 2009, the Dodge Dakota is offered in four trim levels: ST, Big Horn, TRX4 and Laramie.

The 2009 Dakota’s hood surface was designed to signify power and further amplify the drop-fendered, signature look for Dodge trucks. The front end was designed to improve aerodynamics and features better fit and gap management.

The 2009 Dodge Dakota’s provides an ergonomically friendly cockpit with improved comfort, utility and thoughtful storage amenities to complement a variety of lifestyles.

It comes standard with a 3.7-liter Magnum V-6 engine producing 210 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque. The available 4.7-liter V-8 is E85 flex-fuel compatible and delivers 302 horsepower and 329 foot-pounds of torque.

Base model estimated mpg: 16 city/20 highway

Estimated starting price: $23,275


The 2009 Dodge Durango is offered with a choice of two-wheel or four-wheel drivetrains. Inside, there’s seating for up to eight, and amenities including industry-first heated cloth seats, available power rear liftgate, remote start, stain-repel seat fabric and dual-zone automatic temperature control.

The 2009 Durango displays bold Dodge styling with taut angles and chiseled surfaces in front-end design, marked by the signature crosshair grille. Rectangular headlamps with dual-halogen bulbs wrap around the corners of the fenders, above a one-piece front fascia with integrated fog lamps and chromed accents.

The Durango’s standard engine is the 3.7-liter Magnum V-6 that produces 210 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque. It is equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission.

Standard on all four-wheel-drive Durangos and available on two-wheel-drive models is a 4.7-liter V-8 engine producing 303 horsepower and 330 foot-pounds of torque. Also available is the new 5.7-liter HEMI V-8, producing 376 horsepower and 401 foot-pounds of torque.

The new Durango is built with a torsionally stiff, fully hydroformed frame with independent front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Durango’s rear suspension features coil springs and a solid rear axle secured with a Watt’s linkage system. The result is refined ride and handling with towing capability of 8,950 pounds.

Base model estimated mpg: 14 city/20 highway

Estimated starting price: $27,630


New 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan models equipped with a 4.0-liter six-cylinder engine now deliver EPA fuel efficiency of 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway, a label unbeaten among minivans.

A best-in-class aerodynamic exterior encapsulates the optimized 4.0-liter single-overhead-cam aluminum V-6 engine that produces a powerful 251 horsepower and 259 foot-pounds of torque. A retuned six-speed transmission and higher numerical first gear launches the Dodge minivan more briskly than a comparable four- or five-speed transmission.

The 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan has 40 new or improved features over the previous generation, including the exclusive Swivel ‘n’ Go seating system, turning the minivan into a “family room on wheels.”

The vehicle also offers an entertainment system with minivan-first dual DVD players and UConnect Studios’ Sirius backseat TV with family programming channels that include Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network Mobile.

The 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan received the U.S. government’s five-star crash-test rating in both front and side impacts.

Base model estimated mpg: 17 city/25 highway

Estimated starting price: $23,530


The Dodge Nitro is a midsize SUV with bold, aggressive styling and performance to match.

It offers space, functionality and flexibility. Nitro’s fold-flat first-row passenger seat and second-row seats offer a variety of loading options. The Load ‘n’ Go cargo floor slides 18 inches toward the rear for easy loading and unloading and holds as much as 400 pounds.

Chassis improvements for 2009 include stiffer rear-axle shafts, retuned springs, shocks, anti-roll bars and steering gear valve. These enhancements provide a more precise, linear feel and improve steering and handling. Additional improvements to brake pedal feel are achieved through a retuned booster, low rollback calipers and a revised brake pedal ratio.

The 3.7-liter standard V-6 engine on the 2009 Dodge Nitro SE and SLT models is efficient, durable and smooth. It produces 210 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque. The performance-oriented, 4.0-liter V-6 engine standard on the Dodge Nitro R/T model delivers 260 horsepower and 265 foot-pounds of torque.

The Dodge Nitro features a part-time four-wheel-drive system. Two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive modes are electronically controlled by a switch in the center console, which can be selected at any time. Also standard on the Dodge Nitro is an electronic stability program, which helps the driver maintain vehicle directional stability in severe maneuvers on any type of surface.

Base model estimated mpg: 16 city/22 highway

Estimated starting price: $21,440


The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram is offered in regular cab, quad cab and crew-size cab, with three box lengths: 8 feet (regular cab), 6 feet 4 inches (regular cab and quad cab), and a new-for-2009 box length of 5 feet 7 inches (crew cab). Five trim levels are available, each with a unique appearance: ST, SLT, TRX, Sport and the top-of-the-line Laramie.

An improved frame design incorporating high-strength steel supports and an all-new, first-in-segment, multilink coil-spring rear suspension that improves ride and handling characteristics without sacrificing payload (up to an estimated 1,850 pounds) and towing capability (up to an estimated 9,100 pounds).

The all-new 2009 Dodge Ram Crew 1500 features an available first-in-segment RamBox cargo management system that provides weatherproof, lockable, illuminated and drainable storage compartments integrated into both cargo-box sides for effortless access and convenience.

The Dodge Ram features a redesigned aluminum hood with a large power bulge and a forward-canted grille that imparts a head-down, ready-to-charge attitude, while front and rear bumpers wrap around each body side.

Standard is a 3.7-liter Magnum V-6 engine, generating 210 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque. An available 4.7-liter V-8 provides 310 horsepower and 330 foot-pounds of torque. The new 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 provides more horsepower (390 horsepower) and torque (407 foot-pounds).

Base model estimated mpg: 13 city/19 highway

Estimated starting price: $31,630

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