Archive for March, 2014|Monthly archive page

“Unlock the 200” for Your Chance to Win $10,000 and a Two-Year Lease

What’s any vehicle but a unified collection of its individual features? The higher the quality of each feature — or the more innovative its design — the greater the sum of the whole will be.

With that in mind, the Chrysler Brand is giving you an opportunity to explore the features of the All-New 2015 Chrysler 200 — and we’re giving you an incentive to do so. By participating in our Unlock the 200 sweepstakes, you can earn a chance to win $10,000 and a two-year lease on an All-New 2015 Chrysler 200, all while learning more about this exciting new sedan.

Here’s how the sweepstakes works: During each phase of the sweepstakes, an eligible entrant must visit the Unlock the 200 website. Using the clue provided there, he or she must then find and unlock features found on various partner websites and advertisements located around the World Wide Web.

With a total of six phases in the Unlock the 200 sweepstakes, entrants have multiple opportunities to enter for their chance to win the two-year lease and $10,000 grand prize or one of the additional prizes, including:

    • $5,000 and a one-year lease on an All-New 2015 Chrysler 200
    • One of two hundred $200 Visa prepaid gift cards

Please read the official sweepstakes rules for more information. Good luck to all entrants!

Alternate routes around the upcoming 96 construction

Looking for alternative ways to get around the zi-96 construction? Listed below are some options from the Detroit Dept of Transportation, SMART, MichiVan Vanpools and MIRideshare.

Detroit Department of Transportation:

— Route 38 Plymouth picks up in the Meijer/Home Depot shopping center parking lot on Middlebelt Road at I-96, and provides all-day service into the city of Detroit via Plymouth Road. Customers may transfer to routes 21 Grand River or 53 Woodward to travel into downtown Detroit.

— or call 313-933-1300

Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation:

— 805 Park and Ride  – Starts in Farmington Hills, travels on Grand River, Beach Daly, and 5 Mile Road, then expresses in downtown Detroit.  SMART has approved parking agreements at Bonaventure Skating Center and the Redford Township municipal lots.

— 255 Ford Road Express – Starts in Westland and travels on Ford Road until it reaches the Dearborn Ice Arena, then expresses into downtown Detroit.  SMART has approved parking agreements at the Westland City Offices, Knights of Columbus Hall, Target and Dearborn Ice Arena.

MichiVan Commuter Vanpools:

— Commuters vanpool together and share a customized van with colleagues, neighbors and others who have a similar route to work.– Vanpools are great for commuter groups of more than 5 people who travel more than 15 miles each way.– MichiVan not only helps with the creation of the group but can also provide a custom built van!

MiRideshare SEMCOG, Southeast Michigan Council of Governments:

— A free carpool matching service.

Details and links can be found here:

As read on:


Minneapolis, MN (March 27, 2014) — Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII), the leading manufacturer of off-road vehicles (ORVs), today announced the company has entered a 10-year, exclusive partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, the largest youth organization in the U.S., to provide all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), side-by-sides (SxS) and safety equipment to select Boy Scout camps across the country.


“Polaris is proud to join forces with the Boy Scouts of America to develop a comprehensive off-road vehicle program that introduces youth to our sport with an emphasis on safety, responsible riding and respect for the environment,” said Scott Wine, Polaris Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are encouraged by the success of the pilot off-road programs and look forward to expanding the course to a national level.”


The partnership promotes youth off-road safety practices, environmental respect and the benefits of outdoor activities. Polaris has donated ORVs and safety gear to the BSA’s Northern Star Council’s Tomahawk Scout Reservation, the second largest Boy Scout camp in the nation, and the Northern Lights Council’s Camp Wilderness. The pilot programs at these camps were very popular, with more than 900 Boy Scouts learning basic riding and maintenance while earning safety patches. This 10-year partnership will improve and extend the reach of these courses.


“The off-road vehicle pilot we conducted in conjunction with Polaris and several local council camps proved to be both successful and very popular among the youth,” said Chief Scout Executive Wayne Brock. “As we work to keep our programs relevant to the youth of today and tomorrow, we are grateful for this opportunity to work closely with Polaris.  We are excited that in the coming years, with the help of Polaris, we will be able to teach youth safe and responsible practices for the use of off-road vehicles.”


Polaris vehicles available to camp visitors for the program include the easy-to-use Phoenix 200, Sportsman 570 EPS and RZR 170 youth SxS. As part of the donation, Polaris will adjust models as needed and replace older units over time to ensure that Boy Scouts always have the most up-to-date and age-appropriate vehicles available.


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Next Dodge Challenger Might Overpower the Viper V10

The race to claim the highest horsepower rating has been alive and well in the world of muscle cars since the beginning, but it looks like Chrysler is facing an internal horsepower race.

A new 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 known as the Hellcat is being put together for the next-generation SRT-tuned Dodge Challenger, and it is creating debate within Chrysler because its horsepower rating may eclipse the 640 hp found in the flagship Viper’s naturally aspirated V10.

“We have a situation where the flagship car is not the most powerful car in our arsenal … how do we explain that to ourselves? So we have an internal horsepower race as well as an external one,” Says Ralph Gilles, CEO of SRT to Hot Rod.

If the Hellcat wants to do battle with the Ford Mustang GT500′s 662 hp and the Chevy Camaro ZL1′s 580 hp, it will have to be very close to the stepping on the Viper’s toes.

As read on:

Updates on the I-96 Construction

Winter will end officially at 12:57 p.m. today. But don’t put your wool socks in storage just yet.

Though the calendar says spring, winter-like temperatures will remain with us at least through next week.

And it was the extremely cold temps and record snowfall this winter that put the brakes on the I-96 road reconstruction — again.

Weather permitting, the 7-mile project from Telegraph in Redford Township to Newburgh in Livonia has been pushed back to start April 5, MDOT announced Wednesday. It was to start Monday, after being pushed back from late January.

That means the freeway will still be open for those heading into Detroit for the Tigers’ Opening Day on March 31, a popular rite of spring.

“The weather has left the ground too cold to begin construction,” MDOT spokeswoman Diane Cross said. “If we have another snowfall that drops a few inches, we could be further delayed. We’re getting close to a start date, but it’s foolish to force drivers off I-96 to begin work we can’t do at full volume.”

Plans for the $150-million overhaul, which was awarded to Shelby Township contractor Dan’s Excavating, call for building a new road and ramps, adding new overhead lighting and updating or replacing about three dozen bridges.

Officials say a full reconstruction is necessary. Steel bars run perpendicular along freeway lane lines just below the asphalt, working to keep the lanes from buckling. As they separate — letting in air, water and other elements — the ground heaves under the pressure. MDOT officials say workers have been filling gaps and making fixes for years to keep the road functional.

But until reconstruction of I-96 starts, metro Detroit will remain in sort of a faux winter.

A week of highs in the 40s is expected to take an icy turn as highs of perhaps 30 degrees are expected Sunday in metro Detroit, according to the National Weather Service.

“Unfortunately, it looks like we’re actually going to cool down again for the Sunday and Monday time frame,” said weather service meteorologist Dan Thompson.

The spring equinox arrives as a welcome milestone after a record-breaking bitter winter marked by busted water mains, depleted salt reserves and apocalyptic potholes. The snowfall came within a small icicle’s reach of the record, totaling 90.7 inches so far this winter cycle. The record of 93.6 inches in 1880-81 could yet be broken with one substantial late-season storm.

In the immediate forecast, there doesn’t appear to be anything quite that strong, according to the Weather Service.

The predicted high today is in the lower 40s, and the average high is 47 degrees, Thompson said.

Still, winter left a parting shot for drivers Wednesday afternoon as a gaping hole appeared in the right center lane of southbound I-75 at the Rouge River bridge. MDOT officials closed the two right lanes on the four-lane highway to patch up the hole, leaving drivers in a lurch during their evening commutes.

As Read on:

2014 Dodge Journey – Review

The 2014 Dodge Journey is a much better car than its original version, introduced into the heat of the 2009 recession by a soon-to-be-bankrupt Chrysler, and consequently ignored by at least some of the buyers who should have considered it. The Journey, which has the lines of a tall wagon, offers some of the more engaging handling and roadholding in the segment. And its optional third-row seat is one of its greatest advantages, along with smart packaging and a high level of features.

The Journey faces off against the better-known Chevy Equinox, Ford Edge, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Toyota Venza (and perhaps Toyota’s RAV4 as well). It’s larger than a compact crossover, though on the small end of the mid-size utility segment–smaller than Toyota’s now-very-large Highlander, for instance. Its third row offers occasional seating when you need it, without the substantially larger size of a Nissan Pathfinder, for instance.

A couple of years ago, Chrysler gave the Journey a completely new interior, with a more elegant instrument panel, better trim, and soft-touch materials. Under the hood, it got the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, along with a large number of improvements that reduced noise, made the ride smoother, and generally upped the quality level substantially. The original Journey just didn’t have the refinement it should have; today’s Journey is one of the better picks among crossovers, even if that remains largely unknown.

The design of the 2014 Journey walks the line between boxy sport-utility vehicles and tall wagons. We appreciate that Dodge has shaken off the same-as-the-other-guy sheetmetal that clothes other crossovers, giving the Journey lines that are refreshingly different, even if they’re no longer necessarily fresh. The look isn’t so different that it’s wacky, but different enough to avoid that same-old-family-vehicle styling rut. Inside, the Journey follows a smooth, swoopy look and simple layout, with large dials and knobs and an LCD touchscreen framed by high-quality materials.

There’s a lot for busy parents to like about the 2014 Journey. Dodge and Chrysler clearly applied some of its long-honed expertise with minivans to this interior, as people and cargo really fit well and there are plenty of smaller spaces for personal items, toys, and accessories. Front seats are what we’d best describe as ‘American-sized’—think wider than some other seats. Back-seat accommodations are among the best you’ll find in any vehicle this size, and the seats are contoured to fit adults; the seatback is adjustable for rake, and the whole bench slides fore and aft a few inches, so it’s easy to get comfortable back there. The rear seat folds fully flat, and under the rearward portion of the cargo floor there’s a huge space vast enough for a couple of laptop bags.

The Journey is offered in an extensive lineup, with AVP (American Value Package), SE, SXT, Limited, and R/T models. Several of the models (the Limited and R/T) get more features for the money in 2014. You’ll need to step up to SXT models to get either the V-6 engine or all-wheel drive. But even with the base model you get power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; pushbutton start; a cooled glove box; a telescoping steering wheel; and an AM/FM/CD player. Bluetooth isn’t included on the base model, but it is a $395 option. Seven-passenger seating is available even on the base model, while you’ll also need to get the SXT to get the UConnect media center option. That includes an 8.4-inch touch-screen that at the top of the lineup can combine with a Garmin navigation system that isn’t all that intuitive. Sirius Satellite Radio and TravelLink features are available, along with a premium audio system.

Forget about the Journey if you’re set on the idea of a four-cylinder or top-drawer fuel economy. Their loud, coarse 173-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic are dawdling and disappointing in nearly every respect. Otherwise you should head straight to one of the V-6 versions, as they’re excellent and refined. Chrysler’s 3.6-liter ‘Pentastar’ V-6 makes 283 horsepower and is hooked up to a six-speed automatic for much better responsiveness. The six-speed automatic can take some of the polish off the package, though: in some versions we’ve driven, the automatic juddered and hesitated before it downshifted.

The Journey’s handling is reasonably responsive. Chrysler recently reworked the suspension to include stiffer, better-responding shocks and a lower ride height in front, and it’s honed some of the duller responses the Journey had in its initial model years. The ride quality remains a strong point, with the proper damping and roll control for a family vehicle, but the rather quick steering ratio feels a little out of place.

Safety has been another strong point. The NHTSA awards the Journey four stars overall, while the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick.

On Styling
We’re still bullish on the Journey’s stance and details–especially its recently redone cabin.

We like the styling on the 2014 Dodge Journey, and that’s because it finds a balance between tall wagons and boxy family SUVs, without looking like every other crossover on the market. It’s different enough to look unique, but it’s mainstream enough to not look out of place in the segment.

Its square shoulders, crosshair grille and smartly embossed fenders make it look at least a little athletic, especially considering its compact size. While its profile may look a slab-sided, the chiseled sheetmetal and  lipped wheelwells feel refreshing and different in an era of crossovers that typically skew to either the very boxy or incredibly curvaceous ends of the spectrum.

Inside, the Journey follows a smooth, swoopy look and simple layout, with large dials and knobs and an LCD touchscreen framed by high-quality materials. Open the Journey’s door, and a bolt of metallic trim directs you quickly across a more softly sculpted dash, with suave finishes and tight fits. The contoured center stack gets mixed in with round cut-tube gauges and a blocky steering wheel, and it all hangs together, along with a big LCD screen (on some versions) and no-fuss climate controls that ride sidesaddle on that strip of bright trim.

On Performance
The V-6 Journey offers good acceleration and reasonably good handling; we’d skip the four-cylinder entirely.

The Journey isn’t the right answer if you’re looking for top-shelf fuel economy or a four-cylinder engine. It’s a rough, 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder with a four-speed automatic that disappoints in virtually every way possible.

With that in mind the V-6 model is both refined and powerful, with the 3.6-liter ‘Pentastar’ V-6 producing 283 hp pushed through a six-speed automatic transmission. That six-speed works well when you’re really pushing the Journey, but we’ve experienced some shuddering in stop-and-go traffic.

The steering is very quick for a family vehicle, and doesn’t deliver the feedback it needs. Ride quality remains a strong point, however, with the proper damping and roll control for a family vehicle; although keep in mind that wheel sizes now range from 17-inch to 19-inchers and those largest wheels don’t soak up the impacts quite as well. In any case, braking is strong, though.

The Journey’s handling is reasonably responsive. The Journey’s suspension loads and unloads confidently, like a lower and leaner vehicle than it is, and there’s none of the excessive bounding or wallowing when you hit a bump mid-corner with some taller crossovers. The ride quality remains a strong point, with the proper damping and roll control for a family vehicle. And while the hydraulic-assist steering system gets it right with weighting, the rather quick steering ratio feels a little out of place.

On Quality
Passengers and cargo will have ample space in the Journey, but it’s the little storage touches that impress us.

Parents will find a lot to like in the 2014 Dodge Journey. There are some obvious minivan-like qualities to the interior–likely pulled from Chrysler’s experience with family hauling vans–and there’s a lot of room for people and cargo. In general, you’ll find the Journey to be an easy-to-drive option for a full-size family.

The cargo hold specs out at a swell 37 cubic feet behind the second row, and a tight 10.7 cubic feet behind the raised third-row seat. Flip everything down behind the front seats, and you can fit a half-dozen flat-screen TVs in the Journey’s 67.6 cubic feet of space.

Front seats are what we’d best describe as ‘American-sized’—think wider than some other seats. Back-seat accommodations are among the best you’ll find in any vehicle this size, and the seats are contoured to fit adults (two of them, or three kids); the seatback is adjustable for rake, and the whole bench slides fore and aft a few inches, so it’s easy to get comfortable back there.

In back, folding the seats forward takes an extra step—you slide the middle portion of the outboard cushions up and forward first—but the reward is that you get a lower, flatter load floor as well as that better contouring. There are also many thoughtful solutions for storing odds and ends, and keeping some of them out of sight. For instance, the cushion of the passenger seat flips up to reveal a bin underneath, while below the rearward portion of the cargo floor there’s a huge space vast enough for a couple of laptop bags.

On Safety
The Journey’s crash-test scores have been good, and it offers a few safety options we like to see.

Every Journey comes standard with dual front, side, and curtain airbags; stability and traction control; active head restraints; and four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock control. Integrated child booster seats are also offered for the second row. And we recommend the optional rearview camera and parking sensors.

It rates well with both of the agency that crash test cars rate their safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has named the Journey a Top Safety Pick in previous model years, as it’s earned top ‘good’ ratings for frontal, side, and rear impacts as well as roof strength. That designation will likely carry over for the 2014 model year. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Journey an overall rating of four stars, with a five-star individual score for side-impact protection.

On Features
With excellent entertainment and connectivity features, the Journey outpoints some of its newer competition.

There are currently six Journey models available–the American Value Package (AVP), SE, SXT, Crew, RT, and Limited–but you’ll have to look at the SXT or higher if you want all-wheel drive or the V-6.

You’ll also need to get the SXT, at minimum, to get the UConnect media center, an option that we appreciated for its ability to easily control a wide range of devices ranging from iPhones to SD cards (it even quickly indexed one with 16 GB of music). The system includes an 8.4-inch touch-screen that at the top of the lineup can combine with a Garmin navigation system that isn’t all that intuitive. Sirius Satellite Radio and TravelLink features are available, along with the premium audio system, and a DVD entertainment system for backseat passengers is also optional.

Crew and R/T models added features last year, for better value, while prices on the R/T actually dropped by $1,000. The Limited model is new for 2014, and slotted just below the R/T, with standard UConnect, leather, and the 19-inch wheels. But even with the base model you get power windows, locks and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; pushbutton start; a cooled glove box; a telescoping steering wheel; and an AM/FM/CD player. A USB port is also included, although it’s tucked away in the center console. Bluetooth isn’t included on the base model, but it is a $395 option. Seven-passenger seating is available on any of the models.

Step into higher-trim Journeys and you’ll add features like premium sound; keyless entry; leather seating; and hide-away cargo bins under the seats. SXT models can be optioned with UConnect and a power sunroof for 2013, but with the Journey Crew you get remote start, automatic climate control, leather steering-wheel trim, and in-seat storage. At the top R/T level you add appearance upgrades like red accent stitching, satin-carbon aluminum wheels, and a six-speaker, 368-watt premium audio system.

On Green
Average fuel economy is understandable with the V-6 Journey–but less forgivable with the four-cylinder version.

The 2014 Dodge Journey isn’t the most fuel-efficient way to get into a crossover. However, it lands pretty squarely around average for the segment, and its V-6 option does reasonably well on the highway.

The V-6 versions have somewhat lower numbers, but they’re directly competitive with other V-6 crossovers, and we’ve seen good numbers in real-world driving, with results that meet or beat the Journey’s 17-mpg city, 25 highway EPA ratings. Over about 700 miles of driving—across Michigan, and including a mix of freeway driving, family-hauling, and suburban side trips—we averaged 24 mpg. That’s not far from what we’ve seen in four-cylinder crossovers this size in that kind of driving, and those models’ powertrains aren’t as satisfying as this V-6.

Technically, the base four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission produce the best mileage ratings in the lineup–an EPA-rated 19/26 mpg. That’s lower than most other four-cylinder crossovers, and not at all impressive.

As read on:

The new 2015 Chrysler 200 in Review

Some of the exterior design cues can be compared to some other cars from around the industry, but there is no question that this new car is good looking on the outside, while the cabin is on par with some of the biggest names in the luxury world. While few would call the old Sebring a luxury car, it is impossible to call the 2015 Chrysler 200 anything but a luxury sedan based on the interior spread; the exterior is more arguably that of a luxury sedan.

A proper luxury car needs to pack impressive performance and driving technologies, to give it a smooth ride and spirited handling. When I was able to spend a few hours behind the wheel of two new 200 sedans, I went through a wide variety of driving situations, from highway driving to tight country roads, to experience the ride quality, handling, and the incredible acceleration of the Pentastar V6.

The first 2015 Chrysler 200 which I spent driving was a 200C with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 mated to the new 9-speed automatic transmission and an advanced all wheel drive system. The 2015 200 is the only car in the segment with a 9-speed transmission, and with 295 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, the V6 200 is the most powerful car in its segment.

The engine’s power only takes a few seconds to realize and appreciate, as the throttle response is quick and precise, allowing the 200 to really rocket away from a stop. Thanks to the advanced all wheel drive system that puts as much as 60% of the power to the rear wheels, you can launch the new Chrysler 200 very hard, and the car does nothing but respond with a smile. This AWD system really allows you to use all 295 horsepower to its fullest, and that rear power shift gives the 200 a rear-drive feel similar to the bigger brother – the Hemi powered Chrysler 300. While the Pentastar V6 doesn’t offer the same V8 growl of the Hemi, this powerful V6 has an awesome sound under hard throttle.

Not surprisingly, the 2015 Chrysler 200 V6 AWD offers just as impressive acceleration when cruising down the highway as it does when launching from a stop light. The Pentastar V6 is whisper quiet when cruising down the highway at 70 miles per hour in 9th gear, but when you put the hammer down, the transmission quickly pops down several gears and all 295 horsepower are channeled to all four wheels with a hearty roar. With incredible urgency, the new 200 will rip up past the century mark without any hesitation and for those drivers with a real need for speed – the new 200 feels very calm, confident and comfortable when traveling at very high speeds.

The 200 is so calm and quiet that it is one of those cars that can suddenly catch you off guard in terms of the speed at which you are driving. It doesn’t take much effort by the Pentastar V6 to push the new 200 well beyond the speed limit; it has no problem keeping up with even the fastest moving traffic.

Bolstering the performance of the 2015 Chrysler 200 is the new 9-speed automatic transmission, with the steep lower gears helping to provide serious acceleration. Many people have voiced their concerns about a 9-speed transmission being too busy, but the shifts are quick and smooth enough that you really don’t think about it shifting so many times. When you are leaving a stop in a hurry, the shifts from 1st and 2nd, 2nd to 3rd and 3rd to 4th are distinct as the car shifts hard to improve performance. However, the numerically higher gears hardly draw any attention when it is moving between gears – particularly the 7th, 8th and 9th gears when traveling at highway speeds.

Unless you are paying attention, specifically looking to notice the shifts, the fact that this car features a 9-speed transmission will go unnoticed by most drivers and passengers. There is really no downside to the new 9-speed transmission as it affords the new 200 strong low and mid range acceleration while still allowing the 3.6L V6 to run at very low RPMs on the highway – making this new sedan incredibly efficient on the highway.

When cruising, the all wheel drive system stops sending power to the rear wheels for even better mileage. I was unable to measure the fuel economy during my few hours of drive time, but the on board information system indicated that I was getting better than 30mpg on the highway under normal driving circumstances. There are no official figures yet, but Chrysler expects around 31mpg on the highway for a properly equipped 2015 200 and based on what I saw, I believe that owners will be able to eclipse 30mpg even with the V6 AWD models. (The Chrysler 300C V6, which is heavier and less aerodynamically efficient, is rated at 31 mpg on the highway.)

Those 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 and 200S drivers who want a more engaging and more spirited drive will also benefit from a new Sport Mode. With the push of a button, the steering system tightens up and becomes more precise, the throttle responses increases noticeably, the 9-speed transmission adjusts shift points to improve performance and the all wheel drive system adjusts the power distribution – all of which work together to really bring out the “driver’s car” aspects of the new 200.

In normal driving mode, the 200 offers a good driving feel through the steering wheel, but in Sport Mode, the steering has less power assist and gives the driver a much more direct feel for the road. Sport Mode shifts are a bit stiffer and the lower gears are stretched out a bit; but not to the point of being too hard. The throttle response is acute in normal drive mode but in Sport Mode, there is little hesitation from the point when you put the pedal down to the point when the 200 has shoved you back in the plush sport seats. When combined with the altered shift schedule of the Sport Mode, the throttle response provides instant-on power at any speed while the Sport Mode AWD shift provides the rear wheel drive feel that I love – with the positive traction attributes of a high tech AWD system. I spent the vast majority of my drive time in Sport Mode and were this to be my daily driver, Sport Mode would become my norm. It is one of the most advanced Sport Mode setups in the industry and that shows on the road.

So the 2015 Chrysler 200 has gobs of power for a midsized sedan, a new 9-speed transmission that improves efficiency and acceleration and an advanced all wheel drive system that offers incredible power distribution characteristics – but what about the ride and handling?

The 2015 Chrysler 200 has a sport tuned suspension that makes the car a ton of fun to drive on twisty roads, but the engineers were able to achieve these drive characteristics without hurting the ride quality. Many vehicles with sport tuned suspension systems – even those in the high end luxury world – have a rigid ride that is stiffer than some luxury car buyers want. Over the past decade, there has been a clear shift from the luxury car that feels like you are always floating along the road to something with a great deal more road feel, but some automakers take that to an extreme.

The new 200 handles beautifully through tight, twisty turns and on the long, sweeping turns of the highway at much higher speeds. In some of the most demanding back roads with lots of hard, lower speed turns, I felt comfortable pushing the 200 harder through the turns, something that I cannot say about many cars in the midsized sedan segment. You can throw the new 200 into a tight turn and with the help of the all wheel drive, the sporty new Chrysler will power through the corner with just a touch of understeer when you push the 200 a touch too far. Fortunately, even when you push the 200 beyond its comfortable realms of performance, it is very easily to pull right back into shape. More importantly to some, the 200C rides like a dream on the open road even in areas with less than impressive road surface qualities. You can feel the roughness in the road a bit through the steering but the driver and passengers will not notice the vast majority of bumps on the highway.

After spending a couple of hours driving the 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 AWD, I swapped to a new 200S with the Pentastar V6 and front wheel drive. The ride quality between the two was nearly identical, with the biggest difference coming on hard launches. While the AWD 200C effortlessly ripped away from a stop, the FWD models like to spin those tires a bit before gripping and driving away. You don’t get the rear-drive feel without the AWD setup, both during hard acceleration or under hard cornering.

The FWD 200 tended to understeer a touch when pushed hard, but in normal driving situations on a 70 degree day, the difference between the FWD and AWD 2015 200 was hardly noticeable. I would go so far as to say that unless it was raining hard or snowing, most drivers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two different drivetrain layouts unless they were launching hard enough to spin the tires…which isn’t a normal driving situation for most people. This is a good thing, as many front wheel drive cars which also come in all wheel drive feel heavier and a little more sluggish, but Chrysler did a good job of providing both FWD and AWD 200 sedans the same great driving characteristics shy of the obvious upsides to all wheel drive.

The 2015 Chrysler 200C V6 AWD is a car that people who love to drive, will love to drive. The new 200 looks like a luxury car on the outside and it feels like a luxury car on the inside. Best of all, the new 200 has the types of power and performance that you would expect from a modern midsized luxury sedan while still being remarkably efficient. Due to the low price of the new 200, starting in the low 20s and extending up into the low 30s, the 2015 Chrysler 200 is compared to vehicles like the Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Sonata and the Honda Accord but smart shoppers will find that this car is so well appointed inside and out that it is better compared to vehicles from the likes of Lexus, Acura and maybe even Audi.

If you like how the 2015 Chrysler 200 looks inside and out – go drive one once they hit dealerships. My guess is that anyone who enjoys driving will instantly fall in love with the new 200 just like I did.
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Original is at 2015 Chrysler 200 test drive / review
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2016 Jeep Wrangler To Get Diesel Engine

Just the Facts:

– Jeep plans to boost the Wrangler’s fuel economy with the introduction of a diesel engine.
– A freshening is planned for the Wrangler when the diesel goes on sale.
– No word on pricing, but the diesel likely will be costly.

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts who have been asking for a diesel engine will get their wish in about two years.

The diesel will be available in the 2016 Wrangler, which will debut in 2015.

“The engine will be introduced toward the end of the model’s lifecycle to boost sales before they bring in the redesigned model,” according to an industry source who asked not to be identified.

At the same time, the 2016 Wrangler will be freshened, possibly with new interior trim and exterior colors.

Automakers sometimes introduce new technology or a new engine to create a buzz for a model that is nearing maturity. In particular, diesel engines are being added by automakers because of rising fuel prices and a government mandate for better fuel economy.

The specifics about the Wrangler’s diesel engine are unclear, although it is likely to be the same engine that is optional in the 2013 Ram pickup and 2014 Grand Cherokee.

The Grand Cherokee is available with a turbocharged 3.0-liter Ecodiesel V6 that is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is produced by VM Motori, an Italian engine maker in which Fiat holds a stake.

The engine produces 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. The Grand Cherokee’s fuel economy is rated at 21 mpg city and 28 mpg highway for the model and 30 mpg highway for the 4×2. Sales begin this spring.

A diesel engine is a pricey option. Jeep is asking a $4,500 premium for the Grand Cherokee’s diesel engine, making it $2,305 more expensive than the Hemi V8.

In addition, depending on the state, the price of diesel per gallon can be considerably higher than gasoline.

The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Friday pegged the average price for a gallon of diesel fuel at $4.13 versus $3.77 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline.

Edmunds says: It no surprise a diesel engine is planned. After all, both consumers and the feds are demanding the same thing — better mpg.

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IIHS says rearview cameras more effective alone than with parking sensors

Rearview cameras sound like a good bet if you’re concerned about safety, but a new study just published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that their benefits may be limited. Parking sensors, says the study, provided drivers with no more safety protection than using just your mirrors, and combining those and backup cams together was actually more dangerous in some cases.

The study examined 111 volunteers who were asked to perform normal driving behaviors. When they left a parking spot, the cutout of a child either jumped up or moved into place to surprised them. The vehicles were equipped with parking sensors, backup cameras, both or neither.

The study results are surprising. For the stationary object: 100 percent of those tested using just their mirrors hit it, about 95 percent with parking sensors, 56 percent with the camera and 75 percent with the both. For the moving obstacle: 13 percent collided with it using no technology, about 40 percent with the sensors, 13 percent with the camera and less than 10 percent for the combo.

Parking sensors were found to be almost useless in these cases. The major problem was that they had a range of only around eight feet, which doesn’t give enough time to react. They were made even less helpful in combination with backup cams because drivers were less likely to look at the video display when they had a parking system.

“Right now cameras appear to be the most promising technology for addressing this particularly tragic type of crash, which frequently claims the lives of young children in the driveways of their own homes,” says David Zuby, the group’s executive vice president and chief research officer, in a statement on the official site of the IIHS. It also provides an abstracted view of the study and graph showing each system’s effectiveness. Take a look for the full results.

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