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Chicago Auto Show Blog

Real Men Drive Vans

Posted by: Trisha Deehring

As a diehard Hyundai driver, I’m surprised to say that today I was able to picture myself behind the wheel of a Dodge. From the beat pumping through the speakers, to President and CEO Ralph Gilles’ relaxed attitude, it seemed the Dodge showing was all about modernization and youthfulness. Slogans and ‘subliminal messages,’ as Gilles called them, flashed on the screen saying ‘Never Neutral,’ or my favorite, ‘We hope stick shifts never die’- me neither. 

Their new lineup of R/T performance vehicles spruced up everything from sports cars to minivans. The "man van," as they’ve so affectionately started calling the new 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan, allows drivers to have fun with something they have to have. I had to think of my married-with-children brothers as Gilles referred to the interior styling as a "man cave." I’m certain if a car salesman told them their minivans had a man cave inside, they would have been onboard right from the start. Even car seats and Tickle me Elmo’s are cooler in a man cave. 

The new Durango pulled onto the stage next. Gilles said that Dodge was working to put the "sport" back in "sport utility." My ears perked up when Gilles mentioned that the brand manager for the Durango was also the brand manager for the Viper. I was curious to see if the Durango would have the same sleek styling. The Durango does not disappoint; it features a V-8 engine, best-in-class towing capability and stylish interior with a premium sound system.

But the pinnacle of the Dodge presentation was the all new Charger SRT8. Gilles said it himself- it is "one hell of a machine." For those who love the new techy car interiors, it’s the "enthusiast’s office" – the Uconnect Touch system combines infotainment and convenience technologies so you’re never disconnected. I agree with Dodge when they say they the Charger is the "exclamation point on their ‘Never Neutral’ concept."

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