You think your Durango R/T is useful? Dodge has pulled the wraps off its Durango Special Service SUV, which promises to take the usefulness of the original model and give it to law enforcement officers and fire department officials.
Bad news first: the Durango's Special Service moniker means that it's not "pursuit rated," which means that the car was not designed to handle things like jumping curbs and surviving a 75-mph rear-end collision. That is one negative mark in the Durango's fight against competing products like Ford's Explorer-based Police Interceptor Utility and Chevrolet's Tahoe PPV. Instead, the Durango is marketed as Special Service, an auxiliary car that can aid with most police (or fire) work without participating in the most-involved affairs.
What the Durango will do, however, is out-power the other two. The Tahoe's V-8 engine makes 302 horsepower, while the Police Interceptor Utility's V-6 makes 300, but the Durango is available with the same 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine as the Charger Pursuit, which makes 360 horsepower -- a best-in-class figure. However, it's also available with Chrysler's Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 engine, which makes 290 horses.
That power is sent to either all four wheels or just the rears. As you might expect, the Durango's other components have been strengthened: it receives high-performance brakes, a heavy-duty water pump, engine oil cooler, and battery, and a 220-amp alternator. When equipped with the V-8 engine, the Durango is rated to tow 7400 pounds, easily enough for a fire policeman to tow an auxiliary trailer.
Inside, Chrysler removed the third row of seats in order to accommodate more stuff in the rear cargo area. That rear cargo area is customizable, Chrysler says, to allow for the storage of all types of technology or safety equipment. There are also storage compartments beneath the rear windows; while those usually service the children seated in the third row, we're reasonably certain that they won't hold juice boxes and Goldfish in the Durango Special Service.