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SPORTIER SPORT-UTE COMING

Lots of companies talk about putting more sport in their sport-utility vehicle, and now it's Chrysler's turn to try. So we'll be getting a Sport version of the 2-year-old Dodge Durango this fall, as a 2000 model year package.

Mostly this Sport package will be an appearance thing, but there will actually be a new V-8 for the 4WD versions of it and the carryover Durango SLT.

That would be the 4.7-litre V-8 that develops 235 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque at 3200 rpm. That's five more horses and five less pound-feet than the 5.2-litre V-8 delivers in the 2WD model, at exactly the same engine rev points.

As before, all engines (including the 5.9-litre V-8 that's optional of the SLT but not available on the Sport) will be attached to a 4-speed automatic shifter.

As for that Sport package, it will be most obvious by the cut of its wheels, which will be 15x7 5-spoke cast aluminum, but it will also have black bumpers and Sport decals, just so there's no mistaking what it is.

Oddly, the Sport model will come not with buckets but with a front bench, which is split 40/20/40 and is cloth-faced.

All models of Durango will get a pair of new exterior hues -- Sierra Bronze Pearl Coat and Aquamarine Metallic.