This much is perfectly clear: Dodge will change the names of available trim packages across most of their 2012 product line. That’s good news for most of us, who were left scratching our heads at trim levels called “Mainstreet” or “Heat.” For 2012, Dodge is bringing back some familiar names, but retaining more than a few that have us wondering what their product line managers are thinking.
The 2012 Dodge Avenger drops the Express, Heat and Mainstreet names in favor of SE, Rallye, R/T and Lux trim levels. Rallye models will be available with either four-cylinder or six-cylinder engines, and the performance-oriented R/T model gets a unique interior compared to the rest of the Avenger lineup.
The 2012 Dodge Journey will retain the Express name but drops Mainstreet in favor of Crew. From what we can tell, the 2012 Journey will be available in Express, Crew, Crew Plus, R/T and Lux trim levels, but that strikes us as a lot of expensive variations to build.
The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan will be available in four trim levels, starting with Express. Mainstreet is also dropped from the Grand Caravan lineup, replaced by Crew. The existing 2011 Crew trim level becomes Crew Plus in 2012, and an R/T model rounds out the range.
The Durango appears to be the only 2012 Dodge retaining the Heat name for a trim level, and it looks like the Durango range will consist of Express, Heat, Crew, R/T and Citadel models.
If there’s a surprise from Dodge, it’s that they’ll build more 2011 (or 2011 and a half) Dodge Nitros, which will use up existing stores of components. Expect to see these extended-production models in Heat trim only, but with both the 3.7-liter V-6 and the 4.0-liter V-6 available. A new Nitro is expected for the 2012 model year, but expect production delays until Dodge finishes building the last of the 2011 models.