Archive for June, 2014|Monthly archive page

Ram ProMaster City

With the 2015 ProMaster City, Ram will finally have a small cargo van designed for commercial use — something that’s been missing since the A-vans were dropped. Dodge and Ram have been selling a “cargo-ized” version of the minivans, but it was designed primarily for passengers and never took off among commercial buyers.

With power coming from a four-cylinder Chrysler engine, hooked up to a Chrysler-made, ZF nine-speed transmission, Ram claims best-in-class combined gas mileage, a 1,883 pound payload, and 132 cubic feet of cargo volume. The van is based on the new Fiat Doblò XL, an expanded version of the popular-in-Europe Doblò van.

Made in a two-seat cargo van or a five-passenger wagon (like the original Caravan), the ProMaster City has 48.4 inches of space between its wheel-wells, which, with an 87-inch cargo length, lets buyers easily load in pallets and such; the class-exclusive extra 0.4 inches help with loading and unloading.

Above the wheel wells, the ProMaster City has a best-in-class width of 60.4 inches and an interior roof height of 51.8 inches, for best-in-class volume of 131.7 cubic feet (cargo van). The sides are upfitter-friendly, to help buyers add shelves or storage racks. The roof is prepped for load rails or roof racks, with a weight capacity of 154 pounds.

The cargo van’s 87.2 inch long floor has six standard D-ring tie downs (the wagon has four) and an optional flush-fit, non-slip vinyl mat. The sliding doors latch in the open position, and have a 26-inch opening.

With the seats in place, the five-passenger ProMaster City Wagon has close to four feet of cargo length to the rear doors; with seats folded and tumbled, the wagon has nearly six feet of cargo length.

The rear has 60/40 split swing doors; the larger door swings open toward the traffic (driver) side of the van, making it easy to quickly access larger cargo items without blocking the path to the curb. Both rear doors swing open 90 degrees; with the press of a button, they can open to 180 degrees.



Powertrain: Tigershark Engine and 9-Speed Transmission

Ram claims that the 2015 Ram ProMaster City’s power, torque, fuel economy, and performance will “trump any competitor’s standard-equipment package.”

ram promaster engineThe ProMaster City is the first commercial van with a nine-speed automatic; the standard “948TE” has a wide gear ratio spread and 3.73:1 final-drive ratio. Its 4.70 first-gear ratio delivers 0-to-30 mph acceleration in 3.7 seconds and 0-to-60 mph in 9.8 seconds (estimated). Even without the wide range and nine gears, the fast-shifting nine-speed’s efficient design would make it a worthy choice.

The 2.4-liter Tigershark four-cylinder engine generates best-in-class 178 horsepower at 6,250 rpm, with peak torque (174 lb.-ft. at 3,900 rpm) greater than any standard engine in the segment and close to Ford’s optional turbocharged engine.

For durability, the engine has a forged steel crankshaft with 53 mm pin diameters, two-bolt main bearing caps, a cast-iron bearing beam to reduce flexing, piston oil squirters to prevent hot spots, powder-forged steel rods, and the ability to cross 12 inches of standing water (slowly) to prevent damage during sudden downpours. To increase efficiency, the engine has MultiAir 2, an electro-hydraulic valve lift and timing system that adjusts each cylinder individually.

Both the ProMaster City and Ram 1500 have variable a/c compressors, “smart alternators,” and pulse-width modulated (PWM) fuel pumps that operate on demand, cutting parasitic demand. The 160-amp “smart alternators” use moments of deceleration or braking to run the alternator at capacity, cutting the load during acceleration and improving fuel mileage.

Using front wheel drive cuts weight and the number of parts, provides more predictable emergency and low-traction handling, and eliminates the prop-shaft tunnel to allow a low, flat floor.



Compact Van Engineering: Body and Brakes

Ram tested the best-selling Doblò for severe-duty use, from the blazing desert heat of Las Vegas to frigid Northern Michigan, from traffic in Los Angeles to mountain roads in Colorado. Key Ram changes include:

-Raising the ride height by 10 millimeters (0.4 inches), to manage the greater vertical loads of bad roads.
-Upgrading chassis components and anchor points for durability.
-Widening the engine box and front track to fit the bigger engine and the nine-speed transmission.
-Strengthening body structures to comply with safety rules.
-Using tires rated to handle higher weights.

The floor pan, cross members, side panels, and (fully boxed) frame rails are welded together for higher structural rigidity, cutting noise and vibration, and allowing better handling; unibody construction reduces weight.

The 12-inch front disc brakes include pad wear sensors; a larger pad-to-disc swept area, combined with thicker linings (compared with competitors) increase durability. The rear 10-inch drum brakes also have thicker long-wear linings.



ProMaster City suspension and steering

The Ram ProMaster City’s MacPherson strut suspension was retuned for rougher North American roads, includes large-diameter shock absorbers, steel springs and a solid stabilizer bar. Stamped steel clamshell control arms are strong and weight efficient. The front suspension components are specifically tuned to handle the ProMaster City’s class-leading payload capacity. An optional package provides a 2,000 pound towing capacity.

While most Class 1 vans including the old Ram C/V use rear leaf springs, Ram ProMaster City has an independent, bi-link rear suspension to increase comfort, stability, and safety under all loads, while enabling the van’s low 21.5-inch step-in height.

The hydraulic-assist rack-and-pinion steering system is connected to a standard tilt and telescoping steering column.

Safety devices



A four-channel electronic stability control (ESC) is standard and includes antilock brakes. The setup uses the steering wheel angle sensor to minimize yaw, and has a brake-lock differential for side to side pressure control and sway control; integrated traction control; rollover prevention; and trailer sway control.

On low traction surfaces, there can be a difference in wheel speeds when the driver lifts off the throttle. Engine drag control senses that difference and sends more torque to the driven wheels to keep them at the same relative speed as the rear wheels to boost vehicle stability.

Using brake pedal sensing and the steering angle sensor, the ProMaster City also senses emergency braking and automatically lights and flashes the tail lamps to alert other drivers.

The van also has brake assist (to engage full braking earlier); and hill-start assist, which holds the van in place for up to two seconds after the brake is released on a hill.

Finally, an optional rear camera and backup alarm can prevent drivers from hitting pedestrians or other vehicles.

Design



Although the cargo area is carry-over from the Fiat Doblò, from the front door cut forward, the Ram ProMaster City is new. Badges are large, chrome-finished, and three-dimensional. The driver can easily see the front corners, while cladding on the side and rear protect the body from knee-level bumps. Doors are durable yet lightweight, with handles designed for easy gripping with gloves. Optional oversized power side mirrors have adjustable wide-angle sections; the standard, segment-exclusive marker lights light dark areas on the side of the van when working from either side.

Step-in heights at the side (18.8 inches) and rear of the vehicle are among the lowest in their class at 21.5 inches. Key fobs have three buttons, for locking all doors, unlocking all doors, or unlocking just the cargo doors.

On the Tradesman, the bumpers and grille are black, with molded-in color to look the same even after being scratched. The SLT Wagon has body-colored bumpers, fog lamps, lower black molded-in-color trim at potential contact locations, optional body-color exterior mirrors, and a silver grille.

To cover both commercial and personal transport, there are three different 16” wheels. Tradesman has “revolver-hole silver” or black with a silver full-face cover steel wheels; SLT has the latter, with an optional aluminum wheel.

Three different window options are available on both trim levels. One has sheet metal everywhere but the front doors and windshield; one adds glass to both rear doors; and the third adds two side windows for passengers.

Colors include white, bright red, black metallic, silver metallic, deep red metallic, “blue night” metallic, gray metallic, “broom yellow” (fleets only), and brown (fleets only).

The wind tunnel helped optimize the mirror design, underbody aero shields, and spoilers to cut wind resistance, reducing noise and raising efficiency. The tires have low rolling resistance; 215/55R16XL tires have higher inflation pressures to handle larger loads; wheels are steel, for impact resistance, on Tradesman and SLT, with optional aluminum wheels on SLT.

Ram ProMaster City interiors



Two seating insert materials are used, with different patterns and feels. The seats have ergonomic padding and many adjustments, including heat; the durable fabric is trench -seamed and designed to be easy to clean and long lasting. One interior is black with gray accents; a carpeted floor is standard.

There are nine forward storage compartments, including overhead storage. Available in urethane or optional leather-wrap, the standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel’s horizontal spokes can be fitted with optional controls for operating cruise and audio controls.

Ram claims to have made major gains in climate control and interior lighting; the elliptical main cluster, placed under an antiglare dome, is designed to reading under all lighting conditions. Amber backlighting prevents the loss of night vision. The gauge cluster includes temperature, speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauges, with a trip computer including a clock, odometer, and trip odometer.

The shifter is in the center console; a secondary console contains two cupholders and two 12V power outlets.

The Ram ProMaster City HVAC system was retuned for the North Americans, with easily operated heat and air conditioning controls that were designed for use with gloves. The oversized handle on the driver-side door panel also enables easy opening with gloves; a large storage compartment at the forward base of the door.

The cargo compartment has acoustic-backed side wall and rear door moldings, and vertical mount locations for flexible up-fit capability. Optional partitions (with a window option) provide protection against load shifts. A high roof makes it easier to work in the cargo area. Wagons get four tie-down rings, a full length headliner and carpet, panel moldings over the rear of the cargo area, and more storage trays at seated shoulder level with retractable covers.

The base radio is a four-speaker AM/FM setup with a monochrome display; tweeters are in the pillars and mid-range speakers are in the front doors). The optional UConnect 5.0 system has a handsfree text-reply setup and hands-free calling, with a full-color five inch touch-screen aiding the navigation system and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. A USB port on the dash is for recharging, while a second port is used to play music from thumb drives. U.S. buyers can use the system as a mobile Internet hotspot.

Mopar claims to be selling towing accessories, roof racks and carriers, customizable graphics packages, theft tracking, a roadside safety kit, tool bags and totes, canvas seat-covers, cargo mats, standard floor mats, and slush mats.



Where ProMaster City Is Built

The 2015 Ram ProMaster City will be built by TOFAS in Bursa, Turkey, at a 3.6-million squar foot (84 acre) WCM Gold plant, alongside the Fiat Doblò.



How far off were we?

Before the ProMaster City’s official launch, we said that it would be imported from Turkey, with an American powerplant — this was correct. We implied there was a chance it might be built elsewhere, because the Turkish joint venture company said they could not make it with modifications for the US — we were wrong. We predicted fold and flip seats, and thought that the British “XL” model would be sold here either as the standard model (it is) or as an option.

Our rendering was pretty far from the mark, though some may find it more pleasing.

The dashboard seen in our spy shots (well, KGP’s spy shots) turned out to be different in appearance, though not in content, from what we got here.

As read on: https://www.allpar.com/trucks/ram/ProMaster-city.html

Advertisements

10 Summer Safety Tips for Kids

The National Safe Kids Campaign estimates that every year, one in four kids ages 14 and younger will sustain an injury that requires medical attention. Forty percent of all injury-related emergency room visits and 42 percent of all injury deaths happen between May and August, they report, but it’s not all bad news. We can keep kids free from about 90 percent of these accidents by educating ourselves and our kids on how to stay safe while still enjoying summer vacation.

Bites and Stings:

Planning to spend time outside means planning to spray yourself and your kids with insect repellent — repellents don’t kill insects, but they can help reduce bites from mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and other bothersome bugs.

There are different types of repellents: those that contain DEET and those that don’t. Use insect repellents containing DEET on kids sparingly. Never use repellent on infants and check the levels of DEET in formulas before applying to older kids — DEET can be toxic. Repellents with 10 to 30 percent concentrations of DEET can be used on exposed skin, clothing, and shoes but do not apply it to faces or hands. If you want to avoid DEET, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends repellents that contain picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, both are non-toxic and able to reduce mosquito bites just as well as formulas with low levels of DEET.

*** Did You Know? Light-colored clothing can help reduce the incidence of bug bites and bee stings.***

Ticks:

Outdoorsy types aren’t the only ones who need to worry about ticks — you could pick one up in your own yard while gardening or playing outside. Prevent tick bites and tick-borne illnesses with these four steps:

Clothing

It’s smart to wear light-colored clothing and shoes during the summertime because they help keep you cooler — and, as it turns out, they help you spot any ticks that may be crawling on you. Also, although it won’t win you any fashion awards, tucking your pant legs into your socks can help minimize ticks crawling up your legs or into your shoes.

Repellent

Insect repellents that contain DEET or permethrin can reduce your chances of tick bites. DEET products may be applied directly to exposed skin (not skin under your clothing) and to clothing, but should be used sparingly on kids — look for products with about 20 percent DEET concentration, and apply it to your child’s body, avoiding his or her face and hands. Permethrin should only be applied to clothing.

Know Your Enemy

Ticks like to hang out in grassy or wooded areas, and they are especially fond of places that are moist or humid.

Be Vigilant with Tick Checks

Do a tick check on everyone in the family every night. Contracting a tick-borne illness can take up to 36 hours if a tick isn’t removed, so you want to be prompt and thorough. The CDC recommends you check under the arms, between the legs, around the waist, inside the navel, and don’t forget the hairline and scalp.

Tick removal isn’t complicated but there is a technique. Use fine-tipped tweezers, not your bare fingers, to detach the tick. Hold the tick in the tweezers (get as close to the skin as you can) and pull upwards. Be as steady as you can, as twisting and turning could cause the tick’s mouth to break off under the skin (if that happens, use your tweezers to remove it). That’s it — it’s out! Disinfect the area and you’re done.

*** Did You Know? Tick season is generally April through October, although that depends on where you live. For example, if you live in a warmer climate, your tick season will be longer.***

Pool Safety:

They don’t hang those “No running!” signs poolside for decoration. According to SafeKids, in 2006 more than 3,700 kids younger than 5 years old were injured in near-drowning incidents, and every year, more than 830 kids ages 14 and younger die due to unintentional drowning.

It should go without saying but we’ll say it anyway: Never leave kids alone near the pool, no matter what their ages or swim capabilities are. Parents can and should take precautions around home pools, in addition to closely supervising kids while they swim. Installing fencing around pools, at least 5-feet high, all the way around and with a self-closing, self-latching gate, can prevent 50 to 90 percent of accidental drowning incidents. Pool and gate alarms — they alert you to when the pool water becomes agitated and when the gate is opened — add another layer of protection.

***Did You Know? Wearing a personal floatation device while boating can save your life. All states have specific regulations for life jackets, for adults and kids. Be sure it has a snug fit — snug enough to stop a kid’s ears or chin from slipping through.***

Playground Safety:

More than 205,000 kids visit emergency rooms with playground-related injuries every year, estimates the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Many of these injuries could be prevented with a little precaution and adult supervision.

Check the playground equipment before letting kids play on it. For example, surfaces that are too hot can cause burns, and loose ropes — ropes that aren’t secured on both ends — can cause accidental strangulation. The ground should be covered in a protective surface such as rubber mats, wood or rubber mulch or wood chips, never grass, asphalt or concrete. The right surface materials could reduce the risk of head injury or other severe injury in the event of a fall.

Also, be sure that your child’s clothing is playground-friendly: Remove any strings, such as those on hoodies, only let them wear closed-toed shoes at play and avoid clothing that is loose enough to catch on equipment.

*** Did You Know? Most playground injuries — as many as 76 percent — happen on playgrounds at school, day care or in a local park.***

Safe Rides:

Whether or not you wore a helmet while riding your bike as a child, it’s a must for kids these days. Nearly 300,000 kids make a visit to the emergency room every year with bike-related injuries, some resulting in death or severe brain injury. Wearing a helmet can help reduce your child’s risk of making such a visit. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) sets standards for helmets, so be sure to choose one with its safety seal on it.

Keeping kids safe on their bikes also means sending them out on bikes that fit. Checking that your child hasn’t outgrown last year’s ride is easy: Have your child straddle the top bar of his or her bike with both feet flat on the ground. A 1 to 3-inch gap between the bar and your child’s body means it’s still the correct size.

***Did You Know?

Road safety: Teach kids to always ride in the same direction as the traffic flow, and to obey all traffic signs.***

Poison Ivy:

Poison ivy, as well as poison oak and sumac, contains an oil called urushiol, which when it comes in contact with skin, causes an allergic reaction in about 85 percent of the population. The subsequent rash that develops will only appear where the skin came in contact with the plant’s oil — and luckily, it isn’t contagious, but it can spread through indirect contact (such as petting a dog that has run through poisonous plants).

Symptoms of a poison ivy rash may include:

Itchy skin
Redness or red streaks
Small bumps or hives
Blisters that drain fluid when popped

The only way to avoid developing the rash is to avoid contact with these poisonous plants, but wearing clothing that covers a good amount of skin will help reduce your risk. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends home treatment for mild cases, including cool showers and oatmeal baths. If itching and swelling become moderate to severe, prescription medications can be used to reduce symptoms.

Food Poisoning:

Summertime offers so many gorgeous days for picnicking and cookouts. But don’t let the heat ruin your outing — food-borne illnesses are caused by bacteria (such as E.coli, Salmonella, Clostridium botulinum, Listeria, Campylobacter and Clostridium perfringens), viruses (such as Norwalk virus), parasites and other toxins.

Food-borne illness looks a lot like the flu, and typically includes nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms can range from mild gastrointestinal discomfort to bloody stools.

One of the best ways to avoid food poisoning during the summertime is to be sure food items that contain mayonnaise, milk, eggs, meat, poultry and seafood aren’t kept at room temperature for more than an hour or two (one hour max if it’s 90 degrees F outside). And remember, meat and eggs aren’t the only culprits; raw fruits and vegetables can cause problems if not properly washed and stored. If you’re traveling with food, be sure to pack any raw meat separately from ready-to-eat foods to avoid contamination.

Heat-related Illness:

Staying hydrated in hot weather can help reduce the risk of heat-related illness. Keep water or sports drinks (with electrolytes) on hand to maintain hydration, and try to stay in a shady or air-conditioned location during the hottest parts of the afternoon.

Mild symptoms — heat exhaustion — may include feeling thirsty, fatigue and cramps (legs or abdominal). If left untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to heatstroke.

Heatstroke is serious. Symptoms may include any of the following: dizziness, trouble breathing, headaches, rapid heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, confusion and changes in blood pressure. Skin may be flushed and feel hot and dry (not sweaty). Body temperature may rise to 104 degrees F or higher, and as it becomes more severe, the risk of organ damage (to the liver, kidneys and brain) increases.

Kids are more susceptible to heat illnesses than adults are because their central nervous system is not yet fully developed. Strenuous activity and dehydration make it difficult for young bodies to regulate changes in body temperature, and chronic health conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease and medicines such as antihistamines also increase the risk. Kids are also at risk for heat illnesses if left in a hot car — even if the windows are cracked and even if it’s only for a few minutes. Never leave a child unattended in a car.

***Did You Know? The CDC estimates that about 400 people die every year from heat-related illness.***

Hydration:

Did you know that if you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already mildly dehydrated? Relying on thirst as a reminder to take a drink leaves you at risk for dehydration. So to be sure your kids are OK, look for these other signs, instead, which can indicate that a child is dehydrated:

Dizziness
Dry mouth
Cessation of sweating
Irritability
Lethargy
Fatigue
Dark yellow urine
Anuria (lack of urine) for 12 hours (or 6 hours for infants)
Tearless crying
Sunken eyes

Help kids avoid becoming dehydrated by reminding them to drink often throughout the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends drinking about every 20 minutes if kids are active in sports, about five ounces is right for a kid weighing 88 pounds.

Water and sports drinks (drinks that contain electrolytes) are the best options for hydrating kids — avoid sodas, juice and other fruit drinks. The National Alliance for Youth Sports recommends choosing beverages that contain 100 mg (or more) of sodium and 28 mg (or more) of potassium in an 8-ounce serving (if choosing sports drinks, watch out for high sugar content).

Sunburn:

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting one blistering sunburn when you’re a kid doubles your chances of developing melanoma.

Regardless of age and skin type (whether or not you burn easily), the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone, adults and kids alike, apply a water-resistant sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays every day of the year. Yes, even in winter and on cloudy days. Choose a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and apply it 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.

When using sunscreen, apply as much as would fill a shot glass — and if you’re using both sunscreen and insect repellent, apply sunscreen first and then repellent.

***Did You Know? Sunscreen should be applied every two hours (or so) and after swimming or vigorous activity (anything that causes you to sweat a lot)***

As read on: http://health.howstuffworks.com/pregnancy-and-parenting/10-summer-safety-tips-for-kids.htm#page=0

Dodge, Jeep, Ram pick up “Best Retained Value” Awards

The Dodge Challenger, Jeep Wrangler and Ram ProMaster van were among the vehicles with the “Best Retained Value,” according to Edmunds.com.

The awards recognize brands and models that have the highest projected residual value after five years.

“Chrysler Group is honored to accept these awards from Edmunds.com,” said Doug Betts, Senior Vice President for Quality. “Great resale value reflects the strengthening of our brands and the improvements in the customer satisfaction and quality for these award winning products.”

The Chrysler 300, Chrysler 200 Convertible, Ram 1500 and Chrysler Town & Country all received honorable mentions in their categories.

 

best retained value awards copy

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/06/dodge-jeep-ram-pick-up-best-retained-value-awards

Nissan Juke NISMO Test Drive

Let’s all agree right off the bat that the 2013 Nissan Juke NISMO is not going to win any beauty contests. It will not be runner-up, and it will not collect $10. That’s just the reality when you look like a bullfrog that just returned from a month-long vacation in Chernobyl.

But now that that’s out of the way, we can move on to more pressing topics. Such as the fact that the 2013 Juke NISMO is the undisputed champion of backing up its looks with performance. No car on the market today relies on being fun to drive to make up for its design more than the Juke, and the Juke NISMO goes far above and beyond the call of duty.

Normally, I try to find a specific road trip or weekend cruise while testing cars, to put them in an environment and just observe how they react. There was no gameplan with the Nissan Juke NISMO, though, and it was quite fitting. Because I wanted to drive it everywhere and anywhere.

I flew out my front door time and time again, giddy to take the Juke to the grocery store; or to daycare; or to work or to lunch or even just to the nearest traffic circle and back. Hey, I should go up this hill. Now I think I’ll go down the hill. Round this corner, round that one and that one and that one. I would have driven it up a curb and weaved through parking meters if I thought local law enforcement would share in my joy for the spunky crossover.

Because the Juke NISMO is seriously fun. The short wheelbase (just 99.6 in), combined with improved power, handling and suspension all come together to create a high-octane front-wheel drive experience. Compared to the standard Nissan Juke, the direct injected, 1.6L turbo-four is bumped up from 188 horsepower to 197 and from 177 lb.-ft of torque to 184. That modest jump of 9 hp doesn’t seem like quite so much, but consider that it’s a 5-percent increase on a car that weighs under 3,200 lbs. and includes a jump in the turbocharger from 11.75psi to 13.05psi. It all adds up.

NISMO, the Nissan skunkworks arm, tuned the electric power steering and increased the spring and dampening rates in the suspension to bring the whole package together. Interior touches include NISMO sport bucket seats that grip your love handles and hold on tight, and red stitching accents plus an Alcantara trim on the steering wheel complete the pumped-up look. It is just the right amount of testosterone without going overboard, much like the car itself.

The all-wheel drive version has torque vectoring which makes it sound positively delicious, but that model only comes with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Consider that the front-wheel drive doesn’t have a sporty differential, but does comes standard with a great six-speed manual attached to a satisfying leather-wrapped knob. Besides, while the Juke NISMO has that extra power and a new front splitter that Nissan claims does wonders for downforce, you probably aren’t taking your Juke to the track. Unless you really need the AWD for weather purposes, stick to the FWD model with the manual and a price tag of just $22,990 MSRP, and rest assured your inner hoon will be plenty satisfied.

Predictably, back seat space is tight and rear cargo is limited, but if you’re looking for a practical crossover then you probably didn’t click on this article in the first place. Nissan has the Rogue (test drive article here) and the new 2015 Murano for that. A jogging stroller fit into the Juke’s rear hatchback space, but just barely. The rear seats do fold down in a 60/40 split if that works for you.

All in all, the Nissan Juke NISMO is one of the more enjoyable cars for the money that I’ve driven in a long time. Its satisfying connection through the six-speed manual and potent but steady boost from the turbocharger make for a very engaging drive. Fuel economy hovered around the low end of its 25/31 MPG rating, but at highway speed it does reach 30 MPG and above without trouble.

There is also a Juke NISMO RS version available for about an extra $3,000, and at 215 hp and 210 lb.-ft there is a discernible difference. It also gets better brakes and additional tuning to the steering and suspension. Either way, you can’t really go wrong, though some reviews say the NISMO RS turns things up a tad higher than is suitable for the Juke. The fact of the matter is, though, if you don’t mind standing out in a crowd and want to have fun doing it, the Nissan Juke NISMO is a hell of a ride – even if it’s not quite pageant worthy.

As read on: http://www.automedia.com/Blog/post/2013-nissan-juke-nismo-test-drive.aspx

Standard stop-start on some Cherokees, 200s

Engine Stop-Start (ESS) systems will be standard equipment on certain models of the 2015 Jeep Cherokee and 2015 Chrysler 200 mid-size sedan. The system will be used on four-cylinder 200s and V6 Cherokees; fuel economy should rise by around 3% with the new systems, which our sources claim are based on belt-driven generators.

The setup should become available in the Jeep Cherokee in the third quarter, and in the 200 in the fourth quarter. The setup is currently used in one version of the Ram 1500, where it saves one mile per gallon (city).

The ESS system uses a high-speed/high-durability starter that reduces crank time, for quicker restarts. Passive accelerator application is met with measured throttle response; hard inputs trigger aggressive starts. Chrysler claims, “there’s no waiting for either.”

When the engine comes to a stop, if it is warm enough for an immediate restart and there is sufficient reserve battery power, the engine is cut off, saving fuel. Heavier batteries maintain other vehicle systems, including the fan. When the brake is released, the engine automatically restarts (rather than waiting for the driver to use the accelerator), and the transmission re-engaged, within one third of a second. The feature can be deactivated by the driver at will.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/06/standard-stop-start-on-some-cherokees-200s

Nissan’s Smart Rearview Mirror is Like X-Ray Vision

Engineers have outfitted a Rogue crossover vehicle with this system, which consists of a 1.2 megapixel wide-angle camera and a special LCD screen. Nissan spokesman Steve Diehlman said standard rear-view mirrors provide roughly a 17-degree sight line but, that this system here is a 48-degree field of vision.

Cleverly the camera is mounted inside the vehicle where it peers through the back window. In this location it’s free from dirt and weather, plus the wiper keeps the glass clean, another win. The Rogue’s four other imaging sensors, which provide video feeds for the Around View Monitor, are mounted outside where they’re exposed to nature. Additionally Diehlman said this camera provides “the same perspective you get from a regular rear-view mirror” because it’s mounted at essentially the same height.

Other automakers offer similar mirror-mounted screens, though they’re usually tied in with a vehicle’s backup sensors. You put it in reverse and a small video pops up in the rear-view mirror allowing you to see a bit of what’s behind you. Nissan has taken this idea one step farther by turning the entire mirror into a screen.

In Theory
In normal driving, “It functions just like a regular mirror,” Diehlman said. But by flipping the dimmer switch you can activate the rear-mounted camera. The video feed is then displayed on the entire surface of the mirror giving the driver a broad field of vision.

To make it useful in as many situations as possible Diehlman said, “It auto dims and brightens,” noting that it can adjust in less than two seconds, which is ideal if you’re traveling through a tunnel on a sunny day. He also said, “Headlamp glare at night has been greatly minimized,” as has glare on the mirror’s surface.

Of course drivers can also manually adjust the screen’s brightness, plus they can tilt and zoom the image to get exactly the view they want.

This technology is ideal for situations where aft visibility is hampered. Headrests keep getting bigger and roof pillars fatter, when you throw tall passengers or bulky cargo into the mix your view of things out back can be completely cut off. The Smart Rearview Mirror would be ideal in vehicles like the GT-R or 370Z where sightlines are compromised. Of course Nissan’s NV commercial vans might be an even better application since some of them have no back glass at all.

In Practice
A bundle of helium-filled balloons stuffed in the Rogue’s cargo area completely blocked rearward visibility; it was like trying to see through a brick wall at the bottom of a coal mine around midnight during the winter solstice. But a simple flick of the dimmer switched the rear-mounted camera on and broadcast an unobstructed, wide-angle image right to the mirror.

Of course you can keep it on while you’re driving, though it takes a little getting used to because there are no pillars or hatch components framing the image (or reflections of back-seat passengers), which is something most drivers are probably used to seeing. But after a few miles you adjust and really start to appreciate the unobstructed view.

Another unexpected aspect of the Smart Rearview Mirror is that when the video screen is on, the image doesn’t change as you move the mirror, which at first is a little odd. If you want to make sure you don’t have any broccoli bits between your bicuspids you’ll have to switch the camera off.

Legislation, Confrontation and Availability
As with other electronic features you’d expect the government to throw its two cents in but surprisingly with this system Diehlman said Nissan doesn’t expect the technology to be hampered by government safety regulations. He mentioned that all kinds of regulations apply to exterior mirrors. Because of this he said that replacing them with cameras is a “much more difficult road to travel.”

As for availability Nissan plans to sell the Smart Rearview Mirror in the U.S. within two years. But it won’t be limited to high-end models. Diehlman said, “The goal is to have it offered across the whole line.” Presumably that spans the chasm between the Versa sedan and GT-R supercar.

Before this technology arrives in America it’s “going to be available in Japan this summer on X-Trail and Elgrand,” Diehlman said. Nissan is offering it as a dealer-installed option. It’s priced at 60,000 yen, which is just about $590. They decided to go this route instead of putting it in at the factory because it’s much simpler than making a running change on the assembly line.

For American customers pricing and availability of the Smart Rearview Mirror has not been announced at this time, but Diehlamn said the price will be very reasonable.

As read on: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2014/06/nissans-smart-rearview-mirror-is-like-x-ray-vision.html

Uconnect’s partnership with Pandora

In Greek mythology, Pandora was given a box that she was forbidden to open. She disobeyed out of curiosity and released from it all the ills that beset man, leaving only hope within. For Pandora Internet Radio, today, that hope translates into a musical goal: Connect people to music they love.

The man behind Pandora Internet Radio, Tim Westergren, made a visit to Chrysler Group headquarters to share his story with our employees. Pandora is just one of the Internet radio apps offered as part of our Uconnect Access via Mobile service. The service brings an easy-to-use Internet radio listening experience to many Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge and Ram vehicles. Uconnect Access via Mobile allows our customers to put their smartphones away and control their personal Pandora, iHeart Radio, Slacker or Aha accounts using their 8.4-inch touchscreen display and steering wheel controls.

Westergren created the popular Internet radio service in 2000 as Savage Beast Technologies, which launched on the web as the Pandora we know today in 2005. As an accomplished musician and composer, Westergren developed a collection of nearly 450 attributes to help describe a song with a template that could help capture a song’s identity. It was used as a way to link songs together. It is called the Music Genome Project and it’s the secret sauce behind how Pandora works. If you like a song on Pandora, the system works to find songs with similar traits. Today, Pandora has more than 250 million registered users.

Chrysler Group understands that the availability of apps, such as Pandora, is a “why buy” for a number of younger customers, also known as “Digital Natives.” They grew up with the technology at their fingertips and are heavily influenced by the availability of in-vehicle entertainment and connectivity in their automobile.

Westergren joined Head of Global Uconnect Alan Amici for a townhall meeting at Chrysler Group’s headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. The two discussed music, technology and why Uconnect and Pandora are such a great match.

Pandora is simple and convenient to use in Chrysler Group vehicles equipped with an 8.4-inch touchscreen. Uconnect team member Lucas Wilson demonstrates how easy the service is to navigate.

If you already use Pandora, you can download the Uconnect Access App to your smartphone and follow a simple set-up process to connect your existing Pandora account to your Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge or Ram vehicle’s 8.4-inch touchscreen.

As read on: http://blog.chryslerllc.com/blog.do?p=entry&id=2285

Dodge is 100 Years Old

DETROIT — Let’s be honest: For 100 years, Dodge has been spinning its wheels.

During the good times, it has done so literally: delivering performance, power and passion to a domestic audience that hungered for vehicles that stood out in a crowd, with the smell of burning rubber.

But when times were bad, Dodge lost its way. The brand’s history is strewn with vehicles that shouldn’t have worn the Dodge name.

On July 1, Dodge will be 100 years old.

Dodge’s muddled history explains why it’s hard today to say clearly what the brand is all about. Over the years, Dodge has pitched a woman’s car, muscle cars, pickups, family haulers, rebadged Japanese compacts and more.

But the muddle is also why the brand’s current mission — affordable performance — strikes a chord. Unlike the past, the new mission is well-defined and compelling.

The mission was spelled out by the team of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne in May when it unveiled the automaker’s five-year product and business plan.

Dodge’s potential first blossomed 100 years ago in Detroit with its founders, brothers John and Horace Dodge.

The inseparable business partners and tinkerers had made a killing as suppliers for other automakers, including Ford Motor Co. and Oldsmobile. Most would have been happy with the success.

Yet, in 1914, John and Horace Dodge risked everything they had built on the belief that they could make a better car than the competition.

Their first car, an all-steel-bodied sedan, rolled off the assembly line on Nov. 14, 1914, one of 249 built that year.

Six years later, only their former client Ford would sell more cars and trucks in the United States. Those early Dodge cars were more costly than the Ford Model T — $785 compared with $490 — but they were technically more advanced and more powerful, and they had an all-steel chassis.

But since then, Dodge has struggled at times with its identity. It has been a part of Chrysler since 1928 when Walter P. Chrysler bought the brand from New York investment bankers.

In the 1950s, Dodge created both the high-performance D-500 and the La Femme, a car for women, whose defining feature was a matching umbrella.

Three decades later, Dodge had helped create an entirely new segment with the Caravan minivan, yet it also sold the strange-looking Rampage, a compact car with a cargo bed mashed on the back.

Still, Dodge produced some exceptional and iconic vehicles over the decades. The Charger and Challenger were favorites during the muscle-car era of the late 1960s and early 1970s. When those nameplates were resurrected in the 2000s, their fans returned.

In 1993, Dodge also redefined what the pickup truck should look like with its “Big Rig”-inspired Ram 1500.

A year earlier, the brand began selling what some consider was the original American supercar, the crude, boorish and absolutely thrilling Dodge Viper.

Today’s Dodge finds itself in the midst of another brand refocusing.

When Italian automaker Fiat took over in 2009, it wanted to make Dodge a multiline competitor to Ford and Chevrolet, only without its pickups or commercial vehicles, which were spun off to create Ram.

But in May, Dodge’s role as Chrysler Group’s Ford and Chevy fighter was transferred to the Chrysler brand.

Under current brand head Tim Kuniskis, Dodge is being restored to its originalplace as an affordable performance brand, much as John and Horace Dodge had envisioned. It’s dropping some models — the lackluster Avenger sedan and the Caravan minivan — and adding high-performance versions of the rest of its lineup.

Other than SRT versions of existing nameplates, Dodge isn’t scheduled to expand its lineup until early 2018. So, under the brand’s plan, it will take at least four years for the brand’s sales to return to the 596,000 units it hit in 2013.

But now, Dodge has a clear identity. We’re not talking BMW-like refined performance. This is the domestic variety — loud, brash, bold. Fun.

It’s a risky plan — one that would make John and Horace Dodge proud.

As read on: http://www.autonews.com/article/20140616/OEM/140619925/after-100-years-dodges-identity-still-tough-to-pin-down#

State Fair expected to be even better this year

The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair, running Aug. 28 through Sept. 1, is expected to be bigger and better this year.

“We are trying to grow on the foundation of the past several years in a measured way,” said Blair Bowman, proprietor of the Suburban Collection Showplace and Michigan State Fair, LLC. “The fair will be bigger and better because of the success of last year and the response we have received from those participating and attending.

“Ultimately, this is a celebration of the great things Michigan has to offer,” he added, “and we are honored to lead that celebration.”

In 2013, the state fair saw more than 80,000 attendees at The Showplace. This was double the turnout from the previous year, when the event was called the Great Lakes State Fair.

A press conference was held Tuesday at the venue to announce new elements and expanded attractions.

There will be a 25-percent increase in the size of the carnival, with several new rides, as well as the footprint expansion of the fair to include 20 additional acres. The Shrine Circus will now have two tents and more shows throughout the weekend.

There will also be a 30-percent increase in both the Urban Agriculture and 4-H Gold Ribbon College Scholarship programs, which will include all the proceeds from Guernsey Dairy’s endless chocolate milk attraction. More livestock exhibitors will be on hand as well.

The Kroger Co. of Michigan is participating as a new presenting sponsor of the Michigan-Made Pavilion at the Fair, which offers exhibits, sampling and vending opportunities for an array of food, beverages and other products manufactured in the state.

In addition, a new talent competition called Super Star Michigan Talent Contest will be introduced this year with a cash prize, mentoring opportunities and a recording opportunity with one of Detroit’s most well-known producers going to the winner.

Because of demand, the pricing structure at the fair will also be different, with more individual options available.

These are just a few of the changes to come. To help guide the growth, fair organizers have brought on a new executive director, Stephen Masters. He joins the fair from his recent positions as executive director of the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau in Escanaba and management team member of the Upper Peninsula State Fair.

“It’s exciting to be part of this,” said Masters, who brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role, according to Bowman.

To learn more about the fair, go to http://michiganstatefairllc.com.

As read on: http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20140617/NEWS13/306170031/State-Fair-expected-even-better-year

Relay for Life Events are Going Strong!

Relay Season is in Full Swing!!

What is Relay for Life?

-Organized, overnight community fundraising walk raising money for the American Cancer Society
-Teams of people camp out around a track during the event to raise awareness and funds for ACS
-Members of each team take turns walking around the track
-Food, games and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie
-Family-friendly environment for the entire community
-Much, much More!!

Because it’s a team event, individual participants are not required to be there the entire time. But it’s so much fun, you’ll find it hard to leave!

Visit http://www.RelayForLife.org to learn more about this event or find one in your area!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wishing the following events happening this weekend much success and great weather!

Relay For Life of Capac
Capac High School
www.relayforlife.org/capacmi 
9am-9am

Relay For Life of Livonia
Bentley Field
www.relayforlife.org/livoniami
10am-10am

Relay For Life of Novi-Northville
Novi Middle School
www.relayforlife.org/novinorthvillemi
10am-10am

Relay For Life of Plymouth
Central Middle School
www.relayforlife.org/plymouthmi
10am-10am

Relay For Life of Rochester
Stoney Creek High School Soccer Field
www.relayforlife.org/rochestermi
9am-9am

Two communities coming together for ONE FIGHT!
Relay For Life of Yspsilanti
www.relayforlife.org/ypsilantimi

Relay For Life of Ann Arbor
www.relayforlife.org/annarbormi

Washtenaw Community College
10am-10am