Archive for March, 2016|Monthly archive page

Hellcat Challenger goes 171 mph on ice

The Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is one of the fastest production cars in the world, with a top speed of 199 miles per hour.

That number was recorded on a test track on a warm, dry day, but a Hellcat owner in Sweden wanted to see how fast he could get moving in the most powerful American muscle car ever, on a frozen lake bed.

hellcat ice record

This record-setting top speed run was made during the Årsunda Speed Weekend in Sweden, with only two modifications to the Hellcat Challenger – studded front and rear tires, and a bit of weight in the trunk for extra rear end ballast. Both measures help the Hellcat put the power to the ground and help the driver keep the car pointed straight ahead.

Even with the huge spikes and added weight over the drive wheels, the Hellcat Challenger spun the tires from the beginning of the run.

Speaking of keeping the car pointed straight ahead, when you watch this video below of the record-setting run, pay close attention to how much the driver is steering. By the time that he is up to 75 miles per hour or so, he is cutting hard back and forth at the steering wheel simply to go straight.

He hit a top speed of 274.56 kilometers per hour (170.6 miles per hour), and over the course of the 1 kilometer ice track, the Hellcat Challenger averaged around 162 miles per hour.

hellcat ice tires

The video calls this run a record, and it seems that the title is the fastest ever Challenger on ice, although it is unclear how many other Challenger owners have attempted it. Now that one Hellcat owner has staked his claim for the fastest Challenger on ice, we might see more owners taking their shot at the 170.6 mph record.

In the meantime, crank up your speakers and enjoy the sweet sound of a Hellcat Challenger going 170.6 miles per hour on a frozen lake bed. Thanks, Mike LaLouette.

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Jeep reveals its most capable and luxurious Grand Cherokees

Jeep has flashed some serious off-road muscle in both Moab and New York this month. While the bright lights and polished floors of the Jacob Javits Center don’t make for quite as dramatic a Jeep reveal backdrop as the red cliffs and towers of Moab, that’s where folks will find the biggest Jeep debuts right now. The new 2017 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk wears a raft of upgrades that make it the “most capable factory-produced Grand Cherokee ever,” while the Jeep Summit debuts as the most luxurious.

Jeep shows the new 2017 Grand Cherokee Summit at the 2016 New York International Auto Show Jeep grows the Grand Cherokee family Jeep grows the Grand Cherokee family in NY Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit debut
Moab’s Easter Jeep Safari isn’t just notable to this story because it shares some of the New York Auto Show’s dates once again this year, but because it was the birthplace of the official Trailhawk trim, with the Grand Cherokee serving as the launch vehicle. The Trailhawk name existed at Jeep for a while, and was used on an open-top, Wrangler-based 2007 concept car, but it really gained steam at the 46th Annual Jeep Safari in 2012. Jeep’s annual slate of Safari concept models that year included the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk Concept.

Quite simple by Jeep Safari concept standards (especially compared to the Mighty FC also revealed that year), the 2012 Trailhawk concept was a look at a Grand Cherokee with elevated off-road readiness. It included Mopar rock rails, 18-in Goodyear off-road tires, and red, mineral gray and black accents throughout.

It wasn’t nearly as radical or lust-worthy as other Jeep Safari concepts then and since, but the modest Trailhawk package was one of the more production-ready designs to come out of the annual Safari gathering. Jeep experimented with a short-lived production Grand Cherokee Trailhawk in model year 2013, then gave the “Trailhawk” a hard launch as the most capable of the four model options on the 2014 Cherokee redux. It followed up with a Renegade Trailhawk.

“Our Cherokee and Renegade Trailhawk models are among our fastest selling and most sought-after models, and we are following that successful formula to provide consumers even more legendary Jeep 4×4 capability for Grand Cherokee,” explains Jeep chief Mike Manley.

The newest Trailhawk follows the original Grand Cherokee Trailhawk concept closely, sliding a set of burlier off-road-ready standard equipment under and around the driver. That equipment includes Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with rear electronic limited slip differential (ELSD), a tweaked, Trailhawk-spec version of the Grand Cherokee’s Quadra-Lift air suspension, 18-in Goodyear Adventure off-road tires (20-in Adventures available optionally), skid plates and an anti-glare hood decal. Jeep says that the model has up to 10.8 in of ground clearance.

Of course, many folks aren’t happy just knowing they have the most capable Grand Cherokee in the showroom – they want others to know, too. The new Trailhawk has a variety of distinct visual cues, including front and rear Trailhawk red tow hooks, a front fascia lifted from the 75th Anniversary Grand Cherokee, Trailhawk and Trail Rated badges, and gray accents on the mirror housings and roof rack. Mopar rock rails are available optionally.

The black Trailhawk interior includes leather and suede performance seats, red contrast stitching, a Trailhawk-badged steering wheel, and brushed piano black and gun metal-finish accents. The standard 8.4-in Uconnect infotainment system includes off-road-specific readings of things like wheel articulation, suspension height, and Selec-Terrain mode.

The Trailhawk will arrive in showrooms late this summer (Northern Hemisphere) in a variety of colors and with the full slate of Grand Cherokee engine options (minus the SRT 6.4-liter V8). Pricing has not yet been released, but for reference, the 2016 Cherokee Trailhawk is priced US$7,600 more than the Cherokee base Sport 4×2 trim and the Renegade Trailhawk is $8,750 more than the Renegade Sport 4×2 trim.

Rounding out the six-model 2017 Jeep lineup is the all-new Jeep Summit, also introduced in New York. If the Trailhawk is the brutish dirt rat of the Grand Cherokee family, the Summit is the posh urbanite. Jeep calls this one its most luxurious full-size SUV, and premium features like the full-wrap Laguna leather interior, 19-speaker, 825-watt Harman Kardon audio system, acoustic windshield and side glass, lighted door sill, headlamp washers and auto-folding power mirrors make it so.

Like the Trailhawk, the Summit tackles the ground ahead with help from the Quadra-Drive II 4×4 system with ELSD. It also comes standard with Quadra-Lift air suspension, Selec-Speed Control and driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and parallel/perpendicular park assist. The exterior includes an updated front fascia, LED fog lamps and new 20-in polished aluminum wheels.

The Summit will roll out during the same late summer timeframe as the Trailhawk.

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Named after the birthplace of Indian Motorcycles, the Indian Springfield pays tribute to the traditional styling of classic American motorcycles. Easily transformed between a traditional touring motorcycle and a stripped down cruiser in seconds, the Springfield is the best of both worlds.

We got the opportunity to test the new Indian Springfield during the 75th Anniversary of Daytona Beach Bike Week. It was the perfect location to get familiar with this new model that quite a few people have been asking for. “We want the Chieftain without the fairing,” or “we want a Vintage with the security of hard saddlebags,” as we’ve heard many gripe. Well the Springfield is here for you.

The Springfield has a unique chassis designed to handle a wide load range. Paired with the unique chassis are cartridge styled forks and air ride rear suspension with 4.5 inches of travel. The Springfield is capable of carrying up to 533 lbs making it a front-runner for long traveling. This unique chassis they speak of is nothing short of superb. The Springfield handles like a dream; it cruises down the road, leans easily and feels very secure bombing into the turns. Now granted we were in Florida so we didn’t have too many of those turns, but man when we found one, we hammered through.

The simplicity of Indian’s quick-release system is great. Being a Road King owner, the Indian windshield system blows the Road King’s pigtail spring set-up out of the water. Saddlebags are a snap to remove as well. Indian went another step further and made the split-seat with unique stitch & stud pattern, making the option to roll with a solo seat easy and stylish.

The Springfield already has a list of genuine accessories by Indian Motorcycles, including bars, exhausts and air cleaners, taller or shorter windshields, a trunk, and a lot more. We see a lot of potential for the Springfield to be a completely customizable head turner for those looking to personalize their new Indian.

The Springfield comes standard with not only ABS, but steel braided lines as well, which is quite the performance upgrade form the standard rubber. It also comes standard with a tire pressure monitoring system to keep you at peak performance with safety being a key focus. Another standard feature is cruise control, which is a great addition when you are touring long distance.

For me, the Springfield is my favorite bike from Indian. The thing handles so well, and paired with the classic styling and the fact that you can easily and dramatically change its look right off the showroom floor for no extra money, makes it a no-brainer. The classic Thunder Stroke 111 puts down more than enough power to keep you smiling.

The Indian Springfield starts at $ 20,999 in Thunder Black and $ 21,549 for Indian Motorcycle Red. California models add $250 for California Emissions.

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The 2017 300S: Sport mode, appearance changes

Chrysler has announced changes to the 2017 Chrysler 300S; these cars can be ordered starting in August, but were shown today at the New York Auto Show.

The Exterior Sport Appearance Package is standard on the 300S Hemi and optional on the V6; it has a more aggressively styled front fascia, with larger air intakes and exclusive integrated LED fog lamps (set up as strips of eight horizontal LEDs). A larger body-colored “Mobius strip” sits below the headlights; it comes with 20-inch (19-inch with AWD) wheels and a deck lid spoiler.

The Interior Sport Appearance Package uses new, heated and ventilated perforated leather seats with high-bolstered contours in suede for lateral support during spirited driving.

The 2017 Chrysler 300S will have new glossy black interior trim on the instrument panel, door panel, and instrument cluster bezels, along with light gray colored accent stitching.

New Ceramic Gray exterior paint provides the 300S with a “straight shade” hue, adding to the already available Bright White, Gloss Black, Granite Crystal Metallic, Billet Silver Metallic, Maximum Steel Metallic, Jazz Blue Pearl and Redline Red Tri-coat.

Sport mode cuts shift times from around 400 milliseconds to 250 milliseconds, increases engine and throttle responsiveness, and firms up the steering feel. The 300S uses a 300 horsepower, 264 lb-ft V6 or a 363 Hemi V8.

Rear-wheel-drive buyers can choose a performance-tuned suspension with increased spring rates, retuned steering and bushings, larger sway bars (with V-8), and Goodyear Eagle F1 Three-season tires.

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Jeep Crew Chief 715 Exposed At Moab EJS 2016 – Day 3

The Jeep Crew Chief 715 was one of seven concept vehicles that Jeep and Mopar unveiled here in Moab, Utah, at the 2016 Easter Jeep Safari, and we were there with cameras blazing! The Crew Chief 715 is a cool truck that is a salute to legendary Jeep military service vehicles.

Here you can see exclusive photos, a video, and our thoughts on the Crew Chief 715. Yeah, we have opinions, and you can read ‘em below. Make sure to check out all the exclusive content on the other Jeep concept vehicles here at!

Sean Holman, content director, Four Wheeler Network: The ultimate JL-pickup preview. This is everything Jeep guys love: military, crew cab, pickup, oh wait, need a diesel too.

Fred Williams, editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road Magazine: The Crew Chief 715 quickly earned the named Crew-Kiser after the similar M715-esque concept truck Jeep brought to Moab a few years back. The large four-door cab, and extra-long wheelbase must be pointing directly at a possible future Wrangler-based truck, but there were subtle upgrades that we wonder if they will make it to a future Jeep, such as onboard air compressor, lightweight perforated steel bed, and the much higher beltline half doors. I wonder if the half doors may be pointing at a future Wrangler that doesn’t use different half and full doors, but rather use a full door that when the window is down results in a better half door? Maybe without any upper glass frame? The cut out step behind the rear door for access to the bed or roof also seems handy for a future truck. Though I doubt there will be such a military looking body on a future Jeep truck, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Wrangler-based truck had its own unique front sheetmetal.

Christian Hazel, editor, Four Wheeler Magazine: It kind of reminds me of a fullsize pickup truck chassis, but it’s not. To me the wheel and tire combo is somewhat reminiscent of swamp buggy tall and skinnies. I think not putting a 3.0L EcoDiesel in this thing was a missed opportunity, but on the other hand – look at it. It’s the Jeep pickup everybody has been clamoring for come to life.

Ken Brubaker, senior editor, Four Wheeler Magazine: Personally, this truck contains all the cool functional features that I want (including four doors), and it has a cool military look. Needs a diesel, but other than that, its fine the way it is. Love the unique, but functional bed.

Harry Wagner, contributor, Four Wheeler Network: Like a four-door Nukizer. It has the wheelbase of a school bus but I liked that it had an air compressor on it and the perforated metal bed was cool. The half doors were much higher than the normal half doors (like the Trailcat had). This gives the appearance of a lowered roof line, which we have also seen on past concepts like the Flattop.

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2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk: More Off-Road Prowess for the Grandest Jeep

Jeep first introduced the Trailhawk name on a Grand Cherokee concept in 2012, whipped up for that year’s Easter Jeep Safari fan event in Moab, Utah. In the years since, Jeep briefly introduced an off-road-oriented Grand Cherokee Trailhawk model for the 2013 model year but quietly removed it from the lineup after the Grand Cherokee’s 2014 facelift, transferring the Trailhawk name to trim levels on the smaller Cherokee and Renegade. Due this summer as a 2017 model, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk follows the formula laid down by that concept of many years ago and codified by the production Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, and Renegade variants, adding more off-road capability and butchier looks.

The Trailhawk joins the Grand Cherokee family as that SUV’s sixth trim level next to the existing Laredo, Limited, Overland, SRT, and the freshly revised Summit. (It is, we must point out, distinct from the 707-hp, Hellcat-powered Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk that arrives next year.) Standard is Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive setup—the hardest-core version available in the Grand Cherokee, which can also be had with rear-wheel drive or Quadra-Trac I, an all-wheel-drive system that lacks low-range gearing. Other standard features include an electronic limited-slip rear differential, Hill Ascent/Descent control, skid plates, and 18-inch Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear Adventure tires. The adjustable air suspension optional on other Grand Cherokees is also included, albeit modified for an extra 0.4 inch of ground clearance in its tallest setting (for a total of 10.8 inches), and Trailhawk-signature red-painted tow hooks poke from the Grand Cherokee’s bumpers. Jeep will offer this Trailhawk with either the Grand Cherokee’s standard 3.6-liter V-6 engine or its optional Hemi V-8, but not with the diesel engine offered on other models.

Jeep further distinguishes the Trailhawk with gray-painted door mirrors and a matching gray roof rack, a matte-black hood decal, and red-hued “Trail-Rated” badging. Buyers can choose from Redline Red, Billet Silver, Bright White, Rhino, Granite Crystal, Velvet Red, and Diamond Black paint. Inside, the seats are covered in black leather and microsuede with red stitching, and the dashboard features piano-black and gunmetal-colored trim. There also is a Trailhawk badge on the steering wheel and a standard 8.4-inch touchscreen with Chrysler’s Uconnect infotainment platform and special displays for the suspension settings, wheel articulation, and more. Optional extras include 20-inch wheels and Mopar rock rails for protecting the Grand Cherokee’s rocker panels from pesky boulder impacts. Pricing for the resurrected Grand Cherokee Trailhawk hasn’t yet been announced, but expect it to live in the middle of the Grand Cherokee lineup.

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The new 2016 Chrysler 200 is built to outshine the competition and to stand out in any crowd. Here are 10 ways this next-generation midsize sedan is setting a new standard for performance and luxury in its segment.

1. We start this list the same way we start the 2016 Chrysler 200 — with standard Keyless Enter ‘n Go™. With the key fob in the vehicle’s proximity, Keyless Enter ‘n Go automatically unlocks the driver’s door when you pull the handle.

2. When it comes to competition, few metrics are as powerful as horsepower, and the 2016 Chrysler 200 has that in spades, with an available best-in-class 295-horsepower1 3.6L Pentastar® V6 engine.

3. There’s also plenty of room on our top 10 list for a spacious interior. The 2016 Chrysler 200 has the most interior storage space in its class1, and was named among Ward’s 10 Best Interiors. It’s a first-class cabin in a midsize sedan that features sculpted, comfortable seats, two available sunroofs and a unique center console.

4. With a standard 36 hwy mpg2, more than Fusion or Camry, the 2016 Chrysler 200’s 2.4L Tigershark® MultiAir® II four-cylinder engine is engineered to go the distance.

5. The Rotary E-shift with available paddle shifters and sport mode helps redefine the ergonomics and modern style of the center console. The standard nine-speed automatic transmission Rotary E-shift is intuitive to operate and takes up much less interior space than a traditional shifter.

6. This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning all four wheels. The highly advanced available All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) system is the most technologically advanced AWD system in its class1 and is a fully pre-emptive system that requires no driver input.

7. The seventh selection on this list is illuminating. The 2016 Chrysler 200 lights the way to luxurious, sleek style with standard bifunctional projector headlamps and contemporary LED taillamps. The available Premium Light Group adds High-Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lamps and LED fog lamps.

8. When you maximize your airflow, you quickly discover how aerodynamics can be about more than just aesthetics. The 2016 Chrysler 200’s active grille shutter system enhances aerodynamic performance by redirecting airflow around the front and down the sides of the vehicle.

9. As if the drive alone weren’t entertainment enough, the 2016 Chrysler 200 features an availableUconnect® 8.4 NAV system with premium 3-D navigation, a high-resolution 8.4-inch touchscreen display — the largest touchscreen in its class1 — and available SiriusXM® Satellite Radio. Turn up the volume, and enjoy the ride.

10. Safety is always our top priority, so we saved the best for last. The 2016 Chrysler 200 has up to 60 standard and available safety and security features, including eight standard airbags3 to help protect occupants in the event of a collision. Available safety features include Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking4, LaneSense® Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist5, and the Blind Spot Monitoring System6.

We stopped at 10 for this list, but we bet you can find over 200 reasons the 2016 Chrysler 200 is ready to compete and to stand out in any crowd. Learn more at

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Five cool features on the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — When you think of the word “cool,” a minivan probably isn’t one of the first vehicles that pops into your head. It’s probably not even the last vehicle. But, with the launch of the all-new 2017 Pacifica, Chrysler is trying to set some benchmarks and, perhaps, bring a little cool back to the segment.

Below are just five of the features I experienced in the new Pacifica during the press preview that are really functional — and maybe a bit cool.

Surround-View Camera

Surround-view monitors have been around for a few years now, and Chrysler isn’t the first minivan to the market with this feature. But, the fact that they offer it is really a step forward, and it works quite well. During the press preview, I had my passenger walk around the perimeter of the vehicle, so you could see how well the cameras situated at the front, rear and side of the vehicle will pick up obstacles from any angle. This feature is only available as option included with the Advanced SafetyTec package on the Touring L-Plus and Limited trims. The good news, however, is that a basic rearview camera is standard on all vehicles.

Drag and Drop menu

I hate paging through screens to get to menu items I know I’m going to use frequently – like navigation or heated seats. Thus, I love the “Drag N Drop” menu in the new Pacifica. Similar to an iPhone, it allows you to take your most frequently used “apps” and place them in the static bottom menu. All you have to do is put your finger on the app you want, drag it to the bottom menu and let go. The Drag and Drop menu is included with the Uconnect 8.4 system, which is available starting at the Touring trim and standard at the Touring L-Plus trim.

Passive sliding rear doors

For someone who doesn’t have a lot of upper body strength – or someone who has her hands full – the rear doors of a minivan can be impossible to open. In a segment-first feature, Chrysler has included passive entry for rear doors. All you have to do is press the Chiclet-like button on the side door and stand back – the minivan will do all the work for you. While this feature isn’t available on the base model, it will be standard one level up on the Touring trim. Another cool door-related feature that Chrysler is launching with the Pacifica is the hands-free sliding doors. Similar to the hands-free liftgates, all you’ll have to do is kick underneath the door area, and it will slide open. This feature will have late availability and will be optional at the Touring Plus-L trim and standard on the Limited.

Easy Tilt second row seats

For people who still have kids in car seats, it can be a bit cumbersome to get passengers into the rear seat. But Pacifica makes this less difficult with the Easy Tilt second-row seats. The seats will slide forward and tilt ever so slightly to allow passengers to climb into the third row. The bonus: No need to remove the car seat. There is enough space for both to co-exist. Though the person climbing into the rear seat will either have to be a child or small adult as the opening is kind of narrow. These seats are standard at every level of the Pacifica lineup.

Stow N Go

The classic Stow N Go seats carry on in the new Pacifica. When the seats are all in place, this nifty system allows you to store small bags, backpacks and briefcases, keeping your personal items from prying eyes. When empty, you can use these compartments to store an entire outboard seat. The system is fairly easy to operate, allowing for petite drivers to maneuver the seats without much force. Instructions are intuitive and simple to follow, and whether you’re putting the seats up or down, you don’t need a lot of upper body strength to manage it. Stow N Go is standard across all trims.

The drive impressions for the 2017 Pacifica are under embargo until March 21, 2016, so stay tuned for our full review of this new family hauler next week. Pacifica goes on sale at the end of April with a base price of $28,595.

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Jeep just put a 707-horsepower ‘Hellcat’ V8 engine in a Wrangler

Each year, Jeep creates and unveils some crazy concepts for the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah. However, this year’s concepts might take the cake. That’s because, along with six other truly inspired 4x4s, Jeep has debuted a Wrangler with a 707-horsepower V8 engine.

It’s called the Jeep Trailcat. In creating the Trailcat, Jeep designers did more than wedge a 6.2-liter supercharged “Hellcat” V8 under its bright green hood. First, they extended the wheel base of the Wrangler by 12 inches and then chopped the windshield height by two inches, giving it a distinctive stance.

Jeep Trailcat Concept

Jeep finished off the Trailcat by slathering it in bright green paint and bolted up 17-inch wheels, a satin-black grille and sport bucket seats from the Dodge Viper.

Jeep Crew Chief 715 Concept

Of course, that’s just the start of the Jeep concepts. The iconic American 4×4 maker also created a pickup truck version of the Renegade called the Renegade Commander.

Continuing the pickup truck theme, Jeep also pulled the covers off a salute to Jeep’s military service vehicles called the Crew Chief 715 as well as a cab-over retro-inspired concept called FC 150.

Jeep Shortcut Concept

Rounding out the concepts is one more final nod to Jeep’s retro designs called the Jeep Shortcut, which, as Jeep puts it, is a “carefully crafted take on the beloved Jeep CJ-5, this Wrangler-based concept vehicle invokes the spirit of 1950s Americana with a shortened body and functional simplicity.”

For as much as I love these concepts, they mostly just make me sad. That’s because I’d immediately shell out all my hard-earned bucks for a truck like the Shortcut. Unfortunately, Jeep likely will never build a production version of such a wondrous retro machine.

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Exclusive: 2017 Chrysler Pacifica prices

Trusted source Moparian sent the starting prices for the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica to Allpar, and they seem to be in line with current Chrysler minivans, though above the stripped-down Dodges. Bargain hunters can keep getting Caravans for another year, at least.

The base Pacifica LX will start at $28,595, a reasonable price given its standard features and advanced design. Buyers who step up to the Touring will pay just $1,900 more. The Touring L pushes the bar up to $34,495; the L Plus, to $37,895; and the Limited Platinum, the top of the line minivan with its own built in vacuum, will top the charts at $42,495. (See full descriptions of what each minivan trim level includes.)

By comparison, the Town & Country LX starts at $29,995, with the Town & Country Limited Platinum topping the range at $40,645. The Pacifica Limited Platinum contains more content, in addition to having a much more advanced suspension, upgraded seats, and a new suspension with a nine-speed automatic. Thus, there does not seem to be a true price increase to move from the old minivans to the new ones, looking at comparable models and ignoring incentives.

Over at Dodge, the Caravan starts at $22,095 for the American Value Package, with the more popular SXT starting at $27,795.

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