Archive for September, 2014|Monthly archive page

Town & Country Best in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study

When trying to decide which restaurant to eat at or which new TV to buy, the best reviews tend to come from people who have actually been there or experienced it. Sometimes it boils down to one simple question, would you buy it again?

Feedback is in from owners of the Chrysler Town & County, and it ranked highest among minivans for the third time in four years in the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS).

The IQS is based on responses from more than 86,000 owners of 2014 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. The study asks customers to identify issues with their vehicles’ design, as well defects.

“This is the third time in four years that Chrysler Town & Country leads the Minivan segment in this quality survey,” Doug Betts, Senior Vice President—Quality, said. “It reflects the commitment of employees who develop, build and test these vehicles and their recognition that every employee has a role in continually improving the quality of our products.”

The Chrysler Group’s ultimate family vehicle, the Chrysler Town & County, was significantly updated for the 2011 model year and previously achieved the highest ranking among minivans in 2011 and 2013.

The Dodge Challenger also ranked at the top of the Midsize Sporty Car segment for initial quality in the same survey. The Challenger was updated for the 2011 model year and also led its segment for initial quality that year.

“While the Dodge Challenger’s legendary performance and style initially attracts shoppers to the car, its quality has a direct impact on loyalty and owners’ willingness to recommend Dodge to their friends and family,” Betts added. “Challenger buyers happen to be some of our most passionate and enthusiastic owners so this is a significant benefit to the brand.”

The 2014 Ram 1500 and Dodge Grand Caravan also performed well in the study, ranking among the top three vehicles in the Large Light Duty Pickup and Minivan segments, respectively.

The IQS study, now in its 28th year, is based on a 233-question survey conducted between February and May 2014.

As read on: http://www.chryslergroup360.com/featured_news/town-country-best-in-j-d-powers-initial-quality-study/

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Standard Features of the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon

By now you’ve seen the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon. You know it’s got unmatched off-road capability, and you may have even seen it in action. Whether you’re familiar with the Power Wagon’s capabilities or just starting to check it out, here are a few features you’ll be glad to know come standard.

Electric Winch

That’s right, the winch is standard. So if you’re taking your Power Wagon out for some off-road fun or need to rescue “the other guys” from a stuck situation, you’ll find yourself well equipped in the Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon. The Warn 12,000-pound winch is mounted right behind the front bumper, so you can pull up to the scene and save the day … and prove just how powerful your Ram Truck really is.

Front Disconnecting Stabilizer Bar

If you’re in the market for an off-road vehicle, we know you’ll want to be pushing it to the limits. That’s why the 2014 Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon also comes standard with the unique Ram Articulink front suspension system. High movement joints and the sway bar disconnecting system give you increased control over your axels, so you anticipate bumps in the road with excitement, not dread.

Electronic Lock Differentials

Why go the four-by-four route if you aren’t going to go 100%? Front and rear electronic-locking differentials come standard on every Ram Heavy Duty Power Wagon to give it true four-wheel drive and maximum traction. You’ll be in control every bit of the way.

Of course, this isn’t all the Power Wagon has to offer. You know it comes with a 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8 with best-in-class 410 horsepower and 429 lb.-ft. of torque … all this featuring an unsurpassed powertrain warranty of five years or 100,000 miles. Equip it with a Ram Box, and you’ll be the envy of every other truck on (or off) the road.

Read more at: http://blog.ramtrucks.com/features/standard-features-2014-ram-heavy-duty-power-wagon/

Nissan’s crowdsourced Project Titan is ready to tackle Alaska

We will never forget those who lost their lives on this day 12 years ago. Thank you to those who have protected us, who do protect us and those who will.

We will always remember this day in our history. We would like to take a moment to remember those that have lost their lives or have been affected by the tragedy that occurred on this day 12 years ago. We would like to thank those who put their lives on the line every day for our freedom.

Alaska still offers Americans the chance to really experience the wilderness, and Nissan is challenging its Titan pickup to its offroad extremes with a little help from its fans. After crowdsourcing a heap of mods, the company is handing it over to two Wounded Warrior Project Alumni to do their worst in the backcountry to see what the truck can do.

Nissan last experimented with the crowdsourcing idea on its Project 370Z in 2012 but might have taken things even further this time. For Project Titan, the automaker let fans vote on 10 different areas to customize on a 2014 Titan Crew Cab PRO-4X. To fit the rugged look, the company covered it up with a custom digital-camouflage wrap with a Wounded Warrior Project emblem and even outfitted its all-terrain camping trailer in a similar scheme. An LED lighting rig was also added to the new bull bar and roof rack to brighten the night. For a just little more grunt, the 5.6-liter V8 was outfitted with a Nismo cold-air intake and Borla cat-back exhaust, and to keep from getting stuck, the pickup got an upgraded suspension with more travel and 18-inch wheels with 35-inch Nitto offroad tires. The interior was also slightly revised with big GPS system and custom embroidered seats.

Now, it’s time to see if the truck’s mods can handle what the Alaskan wilderness can throw at it. The two Wounded Warrior Project Alumni are just starting their expedition and are expecting snow on the way. You can follow their journey on Nissan Trucks’ Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/nissantrucks).

Read more and see video’s at: http://www.autoblog.com/2014/09/10/nissan-project-titan-wounded-warrior-crowdsourced/

Flood Safety Tips

Here are some safety tips to prepare for rising water—and what to do once a flood has begun.

Safety Tips

Before a Flood

Avoid building in a floodplain.
Construct barriers (levees, beams, floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering your home.
Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
If a flood is likely in your area, listen to the radio or television for information.
Know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means flooding is possible. A warning meansflooding is occurring or will occur soon.

When a Flood is Imminent

Be prepared! Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate. Don’t forget to include needed medications.
If advised to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground.
If possible, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor.
Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances.

During a Flood

Do not walk through moving water. As little as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of moving water can make you fall.
If you have to walk in water, wherever possible, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

After a Flood

Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Avoid moving water.
Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
Stay away from downed power lines, and report them to the power company.
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.

Source: U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency

As read on: http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/floods-safety-tips/

Ram 3500 still best in class for towing

Ram has confirmed that the Ram 3500 pickup still has a 30,000-pound towing capacity when tested under SAE’s J2807 standards.

Ford, which has, until now, avoided the SAE standard, is now saying that its claim of 31,200 pounds for the F-450 pickup also meets the standard, even when the 150 pounds of “customer-deletable” items, like the spare tire, jack and center console, are added back in.

This answers questions about towing capacities but fails to answer the question of who is best in Class 3 towing, because the F-450’s credentials as a direct competitor to the Ram 3500 are dubious, at best.

The primary criterion for being in Class 3 is having a gross vehicle weight (GVWR) — payload plus curb weight — at or below 14,000 pounds. Ford claims that both its top F-350 and its sole F-450 pickup have the same GVWR, 14,000 pounds. The GVWR is set by the manufacturer.

The Ram 3500 is a true Class 3 pickup, meeting the standards in curb weight trim.

The Ford F-450 pickup, unlike every other model in the F-450 range, is built on an F-350 chassis, but uses Class 4 components. Ford originally skirted Class 3 limits by stripping standard equipment from the F-450 and redefining the term “curb weight.” In other words, a customer buying an F-450 with all the stuff it is supposed to include, such as a full tank of gas and 300 pounds of driver/payload, will likely find their truck’s curb weight actually falls into the Class 4 weight range.

So is the F-450 Super Duty a Class 3 truck? If so, why doesn’t Ford call it an F-350 and drop the current model? Perhaps it’s an F-400? A F-350 Super-Duper Duty? An F-350½?

The Ram’s claim is rooted in the fact that the Ford F-350, Chevrolet Silverado 3500 and GMC Sierra 3500 cannot tow as much as the Ram 3500. Therefore, the Ram claim is supported.

The question is, why does Ford simply not say the F-450 has the highest towing capacity of any factory-built pickup? Since no other standard pickup is rated to tow 31,200 pounds, that would be true. It might also help justify the extra $10,000-plus for the F-450 compared to either the Ram 3500 or the Ford F-350.

There’s no doubt that Ram could produce a similar vehicle by adding a Ram 3500 bed to a Ram 5500. Wonder what the the towing capacity of such a truck might be, if Ram stretched their legs? (The top towing capacity of a Ram chassis cab is 29,600 lb.)

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/09/ram-3500-still-best-in-class-for-towing

Dodge announces Viper price cut

The 2015 Dodge Viper will have more horsepower, improved fuel economy and, perhaps best of all, a new starting price of $84,995, excluding destination charges and gas guzzler tax. The new sticker is $15,000 less than the 2014 model and is about the same as the original 1992 price of $50,700, adjusted for inflation.

The new Viper has 645 horsepower and gets up to 20 miles per gallon. Deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2015.

In addition to lower pricing on the 2015 Viper, prices on all Vipers in dealer inventory have been discounted by $15,000. Current Generation 5 Viper owners will receive a $15,000 certificate that they can use toward the purchase of a new Dodge Viper. This is in addition to the $15,000 price reduction, so a buyer could save $30,000.

Viper sales have fallen dramatically from their pre-recession levels. Dodge reported 38 sales in August, down 37.7% from August 2013. The Chrysler supercar is still in the black for the year with sales up 15.0% to 438 units but there are an estimated 600 still on dealer lots.

Speaking to Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said, “I think the current car is so much better than any other Viper we’ve ever built, but we’ve got to fix the one last piece: We’ve got to fix the retail equation. We’ve got to fix what’s going on in the dealership, in the showroom. It’s the dealer network, it’s the inventory, it’s the pricing, it’s how we sell the car. We have to fix all of that.”

The Viper will now be marketed along with other Dodges and will be available from all Dodge dealers.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/09/dodge-announces-viper-price-cut

Dart polished for ’15

The Dodge Dart (which starts at $17,490, including destination) has been touched up for 2015. The car topped its segment in the 2014 Strategic Vision Total Quality Index.

The 2.4 liter engine used on most models is now available in Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) form in 14 states. SE buyers who opt for the Convenience Group (air conditioning, Bluetooth, cruise control, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, mirror with microphone, underbody aero treatment, remote USB, remote keyless entry, body color door handles, panic alarm, and active grille shutters) starts at $18,265, including destination — a $620 drop from 2014.

Other models continue, including the high-mileage Fiat-powered Aero and the performance-tuned GT. The SE remains powered by the 2.0 liter engine.

As Read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/09/dart-polished-for-15

2015 Nissan Versa Note is smartly packaged hatchback

The 2015 Nissan Versa Note five-door hatchback is one of the lowest-priced new cars in the U.S. market and is affordable at the gas pump, too.

Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, for a base, front-wheel drive, 2015 Versa Note with five-speed manual transmission: just $14,990. This makes it one of the lowest-priced new cars in the U.S. market.

A 2015 Versa Note with continuously variable transmission (CVT) that a driver operates like an automatic is $16,240. But even at that price, you could buy two Versa Notes for the price of an average new vehicle these days.

Gasoline mileage is another reward for budget-conscious shoppers. The top federal government fuel economy ratings for the 2015 Versa Note are a noteworthy 31 miles per gallon in city driving and 40 mpg on the highway, for an average of 35 mpg — the third-best figures for any non-hybrid and non-electric hatchback.

This is for the 2015 Versa Note with CVT and standard, active grille shutters that improve aerodynamics by automatically closing off some grille openings once the car is moving at more than 20 miles per hour.

In fact, filling the car’s 10.8-gallon tank costs only $37 at today’s prices, and a full tank can take you an estimated 378 miles.

And this is no cramped compact. The extremely roomy back seat’ can easily accommodate adults. Indeed, the 38.3 inches and 38 inches of back-seat legroom and headroom, respectively, in the compact Versa Note are more than that of the back seat of the larger, 2015 Chevrolet Malibu sedan.

Competitors to the Versa Note include low-priced, five-door hatchbacks such as the 2015 Honda Fit, which starts at $16,315 with six-speed manual and $17,115 with CVT. There’s also the 2015 Kia Rio 5-Door with a starting MSRP, including destination charge of $14,790 with five-speed manual and $17,900 with automatic transmission.

Don’t confuse the Versa Note with the plainer-looking Nissan Versa sedan that has a starting retail price of $12,800. The Versa Note’s tall hatchback body style is more attractive and makes for more practical interior space. But the 15-inch base wheels look small on the 5-foot-tall Versa Note.

Not much has changed for the 2015 model year, which is only the model’s second year.

Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity is now a standard feature on all models, and there are two new trim levels — SR and SV — that have more features.

The test car was an SR, which included stylish, suede seats, rear spoiler, fog lamps, sport grille and front and rear fascias, rearview camera and 16-inch, alloy wheels. Yet despite the sporty add-ons, the SR had the fuel-saving CVT and the same, 109-horsepower four cylinder that’s in all Versa Notes.

Acceleration was not quick, but it was steady and was accompanied by droning sounds from the CVT. Drivers who are accustomed to regular automatics, which have defined shift points that drop the engine revs, will wait and wait for the Versa Note’s high rev sounds to die down.

Torque from the Versa Note’s 1.6-liter, double overhead cam four cylinder peaks at a meager 109 foot-pounds at 4,400 rpm. This is less than the 114 foot-pounds of torque at 4,600 rpm that the 130-horsepower four cylinder in the Honda Fit generates. It’s also less than the 123 foot-pounds at 4,850 rpm that the Kia Rio’s 138-horsepower, 1.6-liter four cylinder generates.

The power difference — and the Versa Note’s light weight of just 2,414 pounds to 2,543 pounds — pays off in fuel mileage.

The test Versa Note SR averaged nearly 32 mpg in driving that was a majority city travel, and that was without the driver trying to maximize fuel economy.

Seats are perched a good bit from the car floor. But cushioning felt cheap and could be improved.

Front-seat passengers have good views out. There are good driver views out, too, while making right-hand turns, thanks to a small triangular window that’s built into the base of each windshield pillar — a feature not found in some other cars with upright body styles and thick window pillars.

The Versa Note SR, riding on 16-inch, rather than 15-inch, all-season tires, communicated a good amount of road noise to the passenger cabin, partly because all Versa Note tires are the low rolling resistance kind that are designed to maximize fuel economy.

The car was a nimble handler and easy to maneuver and park, especially in tight parking garages.

And with a car this inexpensive and devoid of flash, a driver doesn’t worry much about leaving it parked on a street, either.

The liftgate at the back opens wide, and a low floor in the Versa Note makes loading easier than in some car trunks.

Total cargo room behind the rear seats is greater than in many car trunks — 18.8 cubic feet. Cargo space expands to 38.3 cubic feet when back seats are folded down.

There is a lot of hard, utilitarian plastic inside the Versa Note on the dashboard and interior doors. It’s not rich-looking.

The 2015 Versa Note earned four out of five stars in federal government crash tests. The car did best in side crash testing, where it garnered a full five stars. The overall average was pulled down, however, by frontal crash testing that rated only three out of five stars for passenger protection.

As read on: http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/273759501.html

Dodge defines itself

After one hundred years, the Dodge brand has issued a definitive vision of its future, and it’s about as far from its origins as it can be.

A recent press release stated, “With the purification of the brand and consolidation with SRT, Dodge is getting back to its performance roots with every single model it offers.”

When Dodge gained its “performance roots” is a matter of opinion; the early Dodges were slow, even by the standards of the day, but sturdy and relatively safe. The first “fast” Dodges came with the Hemi engines, but they were kept below Chrysler levels. In reality, Dodge’s “performance roots” probably began with the 1956 Dodge D-500 package.

The press release continued, “Dodge is the ‘mainstream performance’  brand … SRT is positioned as the “ultimate performance” halo…”

This slots Dodge right in the position John DeLorean put Pontiac into — a position Pontiac had never been in before. Under Mr. DeLorean, the “old folks’” brand became GM’s performance brand, and sales skyrocketed. Pontiac was finally shut down after years of cars whose main differentiator was extra body cladding, followed by a relatively brief “clean look” period.

When Fiat first took over, leaders said they intended for Dodge to be a modern sports-car brand, emphasizing handling; this approach, used by the Dart, did not work, but the 707-horsepower Hellcat Hemi has garnered a great deal of attention and interest from potential buyers. As a result, it appears that Dodge will be aiming at traditional American views of sporty cars.

The strategy could backfire in years when gas prices zoom upwards, but not if Dodge is counterbalanced with Chrysler on the economy side, and resists the temptation to buy sales with economy cars. Over ten to twenty years, if the company sticks to the strategy, Dodge may find itself with a clear reputation among buyers, and a larger hard core of return customers.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/09/dodge-defines-itself

2014 Chrysler Town & Country | Segment Leader in Initial Quality

Consistency is everything.

For the second straight year, Chrysler Town & Country ranks “Highest Ranked Minivan in Initial Quality” in the annual J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality StudySM.*

The J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality StudySM is based on responses from more than 86,000 owners of new 2014 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. The study asks customers to identify issues with vehicle design as well as defects experienced.

“This is the second time in a row Chrysler Town & Country leads the minivan segment in this quality study,” said Doug Betts, Senior Vice President — Quality, Chrysler Group LLC. “It reflects the commitment of employees who develop, build and test these vehicles and their recognition that every employee has a role in continually improving the quality of our products.”

To experience the 2014 Town & Country firsthand, especially the 30th Anniversary Edition pictured here, visit your nearest Chrysler dealer and schedule a test drive today.

*The Chrysler Town & Country received the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles among minivans in the proprietary J.D. Power 2013-2014 Initial Quality StudiesSM. 2014 study based on responses from 86,118 new-vehicle owners, measuring 239 models and measures opinions after 90 days of ownership. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of owners surveyed in February-May 2014. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com.

As Read on: http://blog.chrysler.com/vehicles/town-country/2014-chrysler-town-country-segment-leader-initial-quality/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=KMAug2714facebook1&ism=KMAug2714facebook1