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2013 Detroit: Dodge 'Blacktop' treatment extended to Durango, Grand Caravan and Journey

Consumer Reports News: January 14, 2013 05:08 PM

How do you give mainstream vehicles a touch of evil? You give them dark wheels, grille, headlights, paint, and interior touches. And you come up with a name like "Blacktop."

The Blacktop treatment has already appeared on the Charger, Challenger and Avenger. Apparently it's selling well enough to be slapped on the division's mass people movers, the Durango, Grand Caravan and Journey.

And how do you get customers into a "Blacktop" and without shoving them into the red? You don't charge the devil's own ransom for the privilege.

Making a minivan macho should be no more difficult than launching a manned mission to Alpha Centauri. But for a mere $595, the Dodge Grand Caravan Blacktop takes a shot at it, with 17-inch polished aluminum wheels, a "Gloss Black" grille, black headlamp bezels and fog lamps. Lest this blackness should provoke winter blues, you can chose Billet Silver, Brilliant Black, Maximum Steel, Redline and Stone White exterior colors.

2013-Dodge-Charger-Blacktop.jpgSo at least one version of the new black is white.

Meanwhile the Durango adds 20-inch wheels along with the rest of the prince of darkness trim bits. But get this: The standard engine is the 3.6-liter V6 - a far cry from the optional Hemi V8. The Blacktop package for the Durango will set you back $295.

The Journey version, ringing in at an additional $995, includes 19-inch wheels and dark trim pieces as well as an 8.4-inch Uconnect touch screen, a system we like a lot.

How seriously does Dodge try to convince you that these are the Halloween and Friday the 13th versions of these cars? The word "sinister" appears six times in the press release.

Before you go all Dark Knight Rising on your neighborhood, understand that these are all for show: there's no high-performance powertrain enhancement involved in the Blacktop treatment.

Still, Dodge hopes these Blacktop add-ons will help you pretend you can kick some asphalt.

See our complete 2013 Detroit auto show coverage.

Mike Quincy


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