Tow Review: 2021 Dodge Durango R/T Tow ‘n Go
Hauling with the unofficial Challenger Wagon
So you love muscle cars, but you also love your three children. Fear not, for it is my privilege to introduce you to our Tow ‘n Go-viour, the Dodge Challenger Wagon.
Not really, of course — but kinda.
The Dodge Durango R/T is a curious vehicle, at once catering to the muscle-loving adultlescent and the responsible parent. It is a refreshingly literal approach to the Sport Utility Vehicle, and taken in Tow ‘n Go guise, it steps up as a truck, too. It’s a Ram 1500, Challenger R/T, and Grand Caravan all in one!
The Durango R/T Tow n’ Go stands near the middle of the Durango lineup, but at the top of what you’d call that lineup’s Sensible Vehicle bracket. Powered by the familiar 5.7L Hemi V8, the equally-familiar ZF 8-speed automatic transmission channels 360 HP and 390 lb-ft of torque through a single-speed transfer case and out to all four wheels. Pricing for the R/T AWD trim starts at $61,795, though as you can read in our full review of this vehicle, it has been optioned up to $81,635.
The $5,495 Tow ‘n Go kit equips the Durango with a Class IV hitch, four- and seven-pin trailer connectors, inbuilt trailer brake control with native cluster display, self-levelling headlamps, active damping suspension, 20″ wheels, and a bunch more. Hauling is amped up with an upgraded 180 amp alternator, heavy-duty engine cooling, free-flowing performance exhaust, beefy R/T performance Brembo brakes, and an electronic rear limited-slip differential geared to a modest ratio of 3.09. All-in, this boosts the Durango’s tow rating by 1,300 lbs to an unmatched 8,700 lbs.
All of this comes packaged in one of the best-looking SUVs on the road. The R/T breaks up the blocky three-row formula with a snarling hood, bulging curves, distinctive LED light clusters, and a comical exhaust signature that make it the mischievous but sympathetic cartoon villain of the SUV market. A cosmetic panel conceals the hitch when not in use, and behind each wheel a bright Brembo caliper hovers in wait over a gargantuan cross-drilled rotor. And like Wile-E-Coyote, the oscillation between brilliance and ever-so-slight stupidity is incredibly endearing.
I towed a variety of loads with this SUV: a light box trailer, a loaded car dolly, and a 3,600 lb dump trailer carrying some 3,000 lbs of project car parts, Lada drivetrains, tires, and miscellaneous redneck junk. Hauling from the GTA to Parry Sound, I ran along major highways, twisting northern backroads, and some undeveloped forest trail at my destination.
The Tow ‘n Go is rated to tow up to 8,700 lbs, with a max tongue weight of 870 lbs. This tongue rating is important to note, as the Tow ‘n Go does not come with rear air suspension to level the vehicle and should be run with a load-distributing hitch at higher numbers. Though my largest load fell just short of this figure (measured at the jack), the truck did pitch back just enough to catch my attention. This should not matter in most use cases, but the hitch receiver’s placement should be considered if towing a low, heavy trailer along bowed dirt paths or over uneven terrain.