Archive for September, 2017|Monthly archive page

Peek inside the 2019 Ram 1500

you wondering what the 2019 Ram 1500 looks like? We’ve gotten a sneak peek at the grille and interior of what appears to be a fairly high-end model, based on the real wood.

2019 Ram 1500 grille

That grille seems to be begging for a word in the middle — but isn’t it too large for “RAM”? Perhaps “Ram 1500” or “Ram Laramie” will show up there — perhaps not. This is almost certainly not a “final product,” especially with the large rectangle in the middle of the grille (even if it is masking some sensors).

This front end design is rather different from any of our renderings, particularly around the headlights. This might be a heavy duty model, which would explain some of it; but you can still see the insiders’ tales, such as “chrome going into the headlights,” as accurate.

2019 ram 1500 dash

The interior, unsurprisingly, keeps what has worked for Ram in the past — gauges-within-gauges, a huge trip computer between the gauges (bigger than 7 inches, we’d say), a well-designed steering wheel, and generous use of wood. You can see the new, blockier Ram logo on the steering wheel.

The large knob isn’t used for shifting, as far as we can tell, but for changing RWD-4×4 modes. Climate controls are similar to past setups — pleasant to look at, with a good tactile response and high ease-of-use. The stereo appears to be an 8.4, but with the latest screen styling.

We’re not sure if these are really production intent, and if so, how close they are to being final; but they do show fairly attractive and original styling, which is a good sign.

Come and Join Indian Motorcycle Riders Group Chapter #1997 for the First Annual, Chili, Chrome & Fall Color Ride

October 14th – 10am-4pm.
Chili Cook-Off & Indian Motorcycle Show Saturday the 14th at Dick Scotts Power Sports, Livonia MI. First 50 show registrations get event T shirt, chili samplings, Entertainment, chili & bike voting, hourly drawings, 50/50.
Sunday the 15th
Fall Color Ride, open to all makes. Arrive at 10 am with kickstands up at 10:30. We will be making a rest/drink break.
More complete event schedule contact:,

Still to come: 2018 Ram 1500 diesels

Allpar readers have asked when the 2018 Ram 1500 diesel option would be added to the ramtrucks.comBuild & Price system. To answer that, we first verified that the Ram 1500 diesel has not started production yet; and it is still early in the 2018 model year.

According to an FCA spokesman, the EPA is currently evaluating the VM diesel’s emissions control software; until the 2018 software is certified, the Ram diesel will be in the future, rather than the web site.

While the EPA approved the 2017 Ram 1500, based on timing, one can speculate that they only did so to allow Ram to fill 2017 orders. Ram could not confirm it,  but it appears that the company made just enough 2017s to fill outstanding orders, and no more. Neither Ram nor the EPA commented on this possibility.

When we asked about a timeline for certification, an EPA spokesperson told us that “We protect the confidential business information of manufacturers and do not comment on vehicles prior to approving them for sale.”

We also asked whether the on-road tests were standardized, to see whether the Ram 1500 is being tested more rigorously (taking more time) than usual, since the first Ram 1500 diesel issues only showed up in settings that were not covered by tests. (This does not appear to have been FCA’s fault.)

The EPA spokesperson replied, “While on-road PEMs testing is one of the tests we use, we will not get into specifics about our testing.” Not releasing details might be part of an effort to avoid abuse of the system; Volkswagen used their knowledge of the test cycle to detect it, through software, and “game the test.”

It is still early in the year, and FCA clearly intends to sell 2018 Ram 1500 diesels; but until they have EPA certification and updated or verified fuel economy figures, they won’t be on Build & Price or dealership lots in the US.

As for Canadians — the Ram 1500 diesel is showing up on, as a “late availability” option. The added cost for the engine, on an Outdoorsman, was $5,700.

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Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company founded in 1901, announced the opening of an Experience Centre at its Spirit Lake manufacturing facility.

Spirit Lake factory to offer current and historic Indian Motorcycle displays and Factory Tours featuring robotics assembly processes


Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company founded in 1901, today announced the opening of an Experience Centre at its Spirit Lake manufacturing facility.

Based in America’s heartland, the Spirit Lake Experience Centre is a free for motorcyclists looking to connect with the iconic American Indian Motorcycle brand.

The Indian Motorcycle Spirit Lake Experience Centre will showcase current and historic Indian motorcycles and offer complementary behind-the-scenes tours of its world-class production facility.

Visitors will observe the assembly process that’s conducted from start-to-finish with robotic machinery and witness new Indian bikes come right off the line.

The Spirit Lake Experience Centre will also serve as a venue for private events.

“As America’s first motorcycle company, we have a rich history and a loyal following of motorcyclists,” said Steve Menneto, President – Indian Motorcycle. “Right in America’s heartland, the Experience Centre not only serves as a unique destination for motorcyclists to engage with the brand, but also showcases our outstanding people who build premium motorcycles.”

Steve Menneto opened the new Experience Centre with Spirit Lake employees, friends and family members during an honorary ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Motorcyclists attending the Boji Bike Rally will have the opportunity to visit the Spirit Lake Experience Centre on Friday and Saturday, August 18 and 19, from 9am-2pm.

The Experience Centre will be open for complementary tours on Mondays and Fridays from August 21 through to November 3, 2017.

Tours will then reopen in 2018 and will be conducted through appointments only, which can be made by calling Indian Motorcycle Spirit Lake at 712-336-6955.


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7 Fall Driving Safety Tips

Stay safe on the road this season with these smart driving tips.

Don’t brake on leaves. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. Drive slowly through them and avoid hard braking. Leaves may obscure lane lines and other road markers, so pay attention to the edge of the road and take care to stay in your lane, advises PennDOT.

Avoid sun glare. On and near the autumnal equinox (which fell on September 23 in 2015), the first 15 to 45 minutes after sunrise and before sunset can make for more difficult driving due to sun glare. The sun perfectly aligns with east/west roadways during this time. Grab a good pair of sunglasses for the daytime, keep your windshield clean and use north/south streets or streets with tree cover when possible, says the National Weather Service.

Use your rain smarts. During fall, many cities see increased rainfall. When it’s raining, be sure to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you, as the wet roads may be more slippery than usual and you may be at higher risk of hydroplaning. Use your low beams or fog lights (never high beams) in fog conditions, says the Minnesota Safety Council.

Be careful on bridges. As the temperature begins to drop, morning frost can leave icy patches on bridges, overpasses and shaded spots on the road. Slow down.

Adjust your eyes. We lose 1 to 2 minutes of daylight daily after the autumnal equinox according to the National Weather Service. After leaving home or the office and before hitting the gas petal, give your eyes time to adjust to the dark, advises the Minnesota Safety Council. It takes them between 2 and 5 minutes to start adjusting.

Watch out for deer. Autumn marks the beginning of deer breeding season and they will be more active in areas near the road, says the PennDOT. Deer are most active during sunset and sunrise so be extra watchful when driving near the woods and near deer crossing signs.

Related: How To Avoid Hitting an Animal in the Road

Make sure your vehicle is up to the task. That means you should:

  • Check your tire pressure. Tires lose 1 to 2 pounds of pressure for every 10-degree temperature drop, according to the Utah Safety Council.
  • Replace your windshield wipers. A really clean window can help you see when there’s glare.
  • Adjust your headlights. If your headlights seem too dim, ask your mechanic to make sure they’re aligned properly.

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Ten Tips for SUV Owners

It’s a rare motorist who doesn’t have strong feelings about today’s sport utility vehicles. Love ’em or hate ’em, one thing is certain-just like their automobile cousins, SUVs last longer, operate more efficiently, and command a higher resale value when they are properly maintained and serviced.

For those too busy or too overwhelmed by modern vehicles to perform their own maintenance, the pros at the non-profit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offer some advice on choosing a repair establishment:

  • Start shopping for a repair facility before you need one.
  • Ask friends and associates for recommendations; consult local consumer organizations.
  • Arrange for alternate transportation in advance so you will not feel forced to choose a shop based solely on location.
  • Look for a neat, well organized facility, with vehicles in the parking lot equal in value to your own and modern equipment in the service bays.
  • Look for a courteous staff, with a service writer willing to answer all of your questions.
  • Look for posted policies regarding labor rates, diagnostic fees, guarantees, acceptable methods of payment, etc.
  • Ask if the repair facility usually handles your type of repair work.
  • Start off with a minor job and progress to more complex work if you are pleased with the establishment.
  • Look for signs of professionalism in the customer service area such as civic, community, or customer service awards.
  • Look for evidence of qualified technicians: trade school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work, and certification of the technicians by ASE.

Indian Motorcycle Introduces Roadmaster Elite & Springfield Dark Horse With 2018 Model Lineup

Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, elevated its 2018 motorcycle lineup from its entry-level Scout Sixty to its long-distance touring Roadmaster. Along with the newly introduced Indian® Scout® Bobber, headlining the 2018 model year is the ultra-premium Indian® Roadmaster® Elite and blacked-out, toughed-up Springfield Dark Horse. Also receiving a noticeable upgrade is the Chieftain Dark Horse, starting at $23,999. Riders will see a 19” ten-spoke blacked-out wheel with an open front fender and the industry-leading Ride Command infotainment system now included standard.


A limited production model, the ultra-premium Roadmaster Elite features custom-inspired two-tone candy paint that takes 30 hours to complete and is finished by hand, with real 23K gold leaf badging on the tank and lowers. Starting at $36,999, the Roadmaster Elite comes standard with a large number of premium amenities, including the industry-leading Ride Command system, a 300-watt premium audio system, passenger armrests, billet aluminum passenger and driver floorboards, a premium touring console, and stylish pinnacle mirrors.


Joining the Roadmaster Elite in 2018 is the Springfield Dark Horse – a blacked-out, toughed-up bagger, starting at $20,999. Similar to other Dark Horse models, the Springfield Dark Horse features matte black paint with gloss black details. The Springfield Dark Horse features an open fender to showcase the new 19” ten-spoke, blacked-out front wheel. Its quick-release windshield features a blacked-out bracket.  The stylish windshield protects riders from the elements, or can be easily removed to give a more mean, slimmed down look.


“The Roadmaster Elite and Springfield Dark Horse are two fantastic motorcycles, with two different attitudes. The Roadmaster Elite packs all the bells and whistles perfect for riders looking for the best of the best, while the Dark Horse brings blacked-out style to the Springfield line,” said Reid Wilson, Marketing Director – Indian Motorcycle. “Beyond these two offerings, we have elevated each and every model – listening to our consumers to bring new features and colors they have asked for.”


Continuing through the 2018 Indian lineup, the Chieftain platform receives notable upgrades – adding a Chieftain Classic model, starting at $23,999, that will feature the brand’s iconic valanced front fender and genuine leather seat with fringe, available in three colors, including Indian Motorcycle Red, Thunder Black Pearl and Star Silver Smoke. The Chieftain Limited, starting at $24,499, remains at the head of the pack and adds three new color, including Thunder Black Pearl, Blue Fire and Bronze Smoke. The Chieftain, available in Steel Gray, receives a lowered price of $21,499, and also receives a 19” blacked-out ten spoke wheel and open fender as standard.


For those looking to add a more modern style, the 10-spoke 19” wheel, in both black and contrast cut, along with an open front fender, are available as an accessory for the Roadmaster, Roadmaster Classic, Chieftain, and Springfield motorcycles.  The wheel and open fender will fit those models from model year 2014 onwards.


The Indian Chief Classic also receives upgrades, now available with white wall tires, wire wheels, and full chrome hand controls.  Available starting at $19,499, it is available with gorgeous Burgundy Metallic paint.


Indian’s iconic Chief Vintage line receives new offerings for 2018, starting at $19,999. Thunder Black and Star Silver over Thunder Black will for the first time ever feature black genuine leather saddlebags and seats to add to its beautiful styling.


Joining Indian’s recently announced Scout Bobber in the 2018 lineup is the Scout Sixty and Scout. The Scout Sixty, starting at $8,999, receives two new colors, including Polished Bronze and Thunder Black over Titanium Metallic. Meanwhile, the Scout, starting at $11,499, receives a new look and improved performance.  Now standard are a cartridge fork front suspension and Pirelli tires, along with passenger accommodations, including a genuine leather passenger pillion and pegs. Scout receives two new colors for 2018, Metallic Jade and Willow Green over Ivory Cream.


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How To Drive A Stick Shift: The Basics

You might think driving a car with a manual transmission, also known as a stick shift, is difficult. Really, it’s not, despite the nervousness and fear it inspires in learning drivers (and even experienced drivers who have never had to learn).

Driving a manual transmission car involves a simple series of motions that, once learned, become so ingrained as to become automatic. As an added bonus, learning advanced techniques with a manual transmission can greatly increase your control of your car and your confidence on the road.

But we’ll stick to the basics for now.

Start with your car parked on a flat surface, preferably one without any obstacles you might hit–a vacant parking lot is perfect. The parking brake should be engaged, the transmission in neutral, your right foot should be on the brake, and the engine off. This is where we’ll begin the process.

1. Press down on the clutch pedal until it reaches the floor or its stopping point.

2. With the clutch pedal still pressed, start the car.

3.  Release the parking brake.

4. Still keeping the clutch pressed in, move the shift lever from neutral into first gear.

5. Smoothly release the clutch pedal while slowly pressing your right foot on the accelerator. The goal isn’t to get your right foot flat to the floor–just a little bit will do.

6. As you release pressure on the clutch with your left foot, you should feel a “bite,” a place in the pedal’s stroke where the clutch begins to engage. The car may start to creep forward at this point. Remember where this point is.

7. Slowly feed in more throttle as you continue to release the clutch pedal until the car is moving forward. Congratulations! You’ve successfully done the hardest part of driving a stick shift: starting from a stop.

8. Now that you’re moving, changing gears is easier. Just press in the clutch pedal, move the shift lever to the next gear, and release the clutch pedal. Depending on the car, your rate of acceleration, and the nature of the transmission, you may have to add a little throttle as you release the clutch–spend some time making your shifts as smooth as possible.

9. To come to a stop, leave the car in its current gear and press the brake pedal gently with your right foot. As the car slows, the engine will slow with it. To avoid killing the engine, you’ll want to press your left foot down on the clutch and move the shift lever to neutral–generally somewhere between 5-10 mph. Release the clutch.

10. Once the car is stopped, leave the shift lever in neutral and keep your right foot on the brake until you’re ready to start off again (in which case, repeat the process from step 4 above). If parking the car, press in the clutch, shift into first gear, and shut off the car–but don’t forget to set the parking brake.

And that’s it, in 10 easy steps, you’ve taken your first drive in a manual transmission car. Learning to drive a stick shift well involves practice, practice, practice. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there are many more advanced techniques you can learn, including hill starts, rev-matched downshifts (“heel-and-toe”), and more.

10 Practical Tips To Get Your Car Ready For Fall

It won’t be long before the weather gets iffy. Driving safely during the fall months requires more than just cautious driver behavior. Your car also needs some attention.

Here are 10 practical tips to help get your car ready for fall.

Check the brakes and tires.  Inclement weather and associated road conditions and other hazards require good stopping power. That means good brakes and tires. If the tires have wear bars showing, say the experts, you need to replace the tires. Most good brake and tire shops will inspect the brakes and tires at no charge. Also check the tire pressure, as tire pressure drops when the outside temperatures plummet. Keep the pressure at levels recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

Check the lights. Walk around the outside of the car and check the operation of all lights: headlights, taillights, parking lights, brake lights and emergency flashers. Replace all broken bulbs and those that have stopped working. Make sure all lights are clean. If you own an older vehicle with sealed-beam headlamps, you might want to pony up for halogen lamps for improved visibility and safer driving.

Replace wiper blades. The purpose of wiper blades is to completely clear the windshield. Cracked or worn blades won’t do an adequate job. Check the blade’s rubber to ensure it is flexible and operate the wipers to see that the blades clear the glass. Replace worn blades.

Make sure heater/defroster work. Driving with an improperly working heater isn’t fun or safe. Driving with fogged-up windows is an accident waiting to happen. Check front and rear window defrosters to ensure proper working condition. If necessary, have heater and defroster systems repaired.

Have the battery checked. A fully charged battery is necessary to start the car in cold weather. Have the battery and charging system inspected by a trained technician who can replace it if required. If you see signs of corrosion on the battery terminals or cable ends or if you spot loose connections, your battery needs attention.

Inspect under the hood. Looking under the hood will allow you to identify any obvious signs of wear or items that need replacing or fixing. Look for leaks, cracks or loose clamps in the cooling system and squeeze the hoses and replace any that are spongy-feeling or brittle. Inspect the underside of drive belts for fraying and replace as required. If you’ve noticed any engine noises, experienced sputtering or other engine problems, have a licensed mechanic thoroughly inspect the engine and make any necessary repairs.

Change oil and air filter. If the oil is dirty or you’re at your recommended oil change time, change the oil. Also check the air filter to ensure that it is clean enough to allow for proper operation. If you can’t see light through it when you hold it up to a 60-watt bulb, it’s time to replace the air filter.

Refill cooling system. Experts such as AAA recommend checking the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is too low, add a 50/50 solution of water and coolant to allow proper antifreeze capability. It may be necessary to refill the cooling system.

Check all fluid levels. This includes washer fluid, along with transmission, brake and power steering fluids. Make sure they are all at or above minimum safe levels and refill as necessary.

Get a good car wash/detail. It may sound crazy, spiffing up your car with an extra-special wash or even a detail, but when your vehicle is clean, it’s easier to spot any potential problems.

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Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: Finally, a luxury plug-in people mover

A gasoline-electric hybrid minivan sounds like the worst of both worlds, but Chrysler does it right — for those who fit the user profile.

Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid is a plug-in (PHEV) electric vehicle with a battery driving range of 33-35 miles, give or take. The hybrid system with a 96-cell lithium-ion battery pack (16 kWh total energy) is integrated with a 3.6-liter Atkinson cycle V-6. Together, the power system has 360 horsepower.


And thank you, Chrysler, for using a V-6 rather than a turbocharged four-cylinder. The bigger engine has the pulling power (262 foot-pounds of torque at 4,000 rpm) to move this big people mover when the battery driving ends and the system switches to gasoline power. The eFlite dual motor transmission gives immediate acceleration off the line and holds the force right up to cruising power, though the V-6 can be noisy on hard acceleration. The moment of transition from electric to fuel is transparent with no change in performance.

The need for a V-6 is apparent from the curb weight of 4,987 pounds, which is 657 pounds heavier than the gasoline Pacifica. The hybrid’s fuel economy ratings are 84 MPGe, which combines the gas and electric driving range. The EPA’s combined city/highway mileage of 32 mpg is close to my average of 30.8 to 31 mpg. Those numbers compare to an average of 21 to almost 23 mpg in my testing last year of the Pacifica V-6; both powertrains require 87 octane fuel.

Chrysler advertises a 566-mile driving range, but that would be hopeful in my week of testing, which included a round-trip to the Los Angeles airport and back to San Diego. I filled up before the run and the onboard computer claimed a range of about 350 miles; the hybrid battery had just 13 miles remaining (I’d forgotten to plug in before my departure). Still, the trip used just about half of the 17-gallon tank.

Using the onboard charger to plug into household current would require 14 hours to charge a depleted battery — or in as little as two hours using the optional 240-volt home-charging unit. Many users could be happy with an overnight charge or at least try it out before deciding to upgrade to the 240-volt home system and its installation costs.

The seven-seat Pacifica Hybrid is sold in Premium and Platinum trim levels with seating for seven or eight. Pricing starts at $43,090, including the $1,095 freight charge from Windsor, Ontario, Canada. A comparably equipped gasoline model will easily cost $44,000.

Today’s Platinum tester had a starting price of $46,090 and was $47,885 as-tested with the tri-pane panoramic sunroof, $1,795. Warranty coverage includes 10 years/10,000 miles for the hybrid system and high-voltage battery.

Standard equipment is near-luxury in content and includes smartkey locking and push-button ignition, leather-trimmed and perforated upholstery with heated front seats, a 7-inch color touch screen with Chrysler’s excellent Uconnect infotainment system. Other extras include eight air bags, a hands-free power liftgate and dual side doors, rear air conditioning and eight-way power driver’s seat.

The Platinum adds an eight-way power front passenger seat and ventilated front seats, a 13-speaker Alpine audio theater package with seatback video screens, a Blu-Ray player and dual HDMI ports. Other upgrades include a third-row USB port, active noise cancellation and a 115-volt household plug. Advanced safety technologies include blind spot alert with cross-path detection, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, full speed forward collision warning and lane-departure warning.

The Pacifica interior design downplays “minivan” and instead feels more like a redefined luxury transport that is not a sedan. The cabin is roomy and inviting when traveling with friends. Driver sightlines are unhindered and assisted by a standard 360-degree camera with guidance lines and an overhead view. There are a plethora of electronic device ports, cup holders and smart storage areas.

The cabin is much quieter around town and at speed on the interstate than the gasoline model. The snug cabin in the tester was without a squeak, vibration or annoying itchy sound. The calmed environment contributed to a luxury perception and is a justifier to the selling price.

But the luxurious cabin is too nice to let kids trash it, climb on the seats and scuff the opulent leather upholstery. The second-row captain’s seats are ideal for transporting another couple, whether to dinner, casino night or a weekend adventure, with plenty of cargo space when the third row is folded flat.

This Chrysler is the only hybrid minivan on sale to date, but it’s not like there has been much demand from consumers. And the seven-seat hybrid SUV crossovers are not as people- or cargo-carrying friendly and they don’t get terrific fuel economy.

Minivans have long been family wagons, used hard and traded in. But when parents become empty-nesters the ease, interior space and utility of a minivan isn’t easy to give up. So for them, coming back and considering the Pacifica Hybrid would be a tempting transition.

2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Platinum

  • Body style: 7-seat, front-drive minivan
  • Engine: 260-hp, 3.6-liter Atkinson cycle V-6; 262 lb.-ft. torque at 4,000 rpm
  • Battery pack: 96-cell lithium-ion, 16kWh total energy
  • Transmission: eFlite dual motor electrically variable
  • Fuel economy: 32 mpg combined; 87 octane


  • Fuel tank: 17 gal.
  • Cargo space: 32.2-140.5 cu. ft.
  • Front head/leg room: 38.4*/41.1 in. *40.1 w/ sunroof
  • 2nd row head/leg room: 39.6*/39 in. *38 w/sunroof
  • 3rd row head/leg room: 38.7/36.5 in. *38 w/sunroof
  • Length/wheelbase: 203.8/121.6 in.
  • Curb weight: 4,987 lbs.
  • Turning circle: 39.7 ft.


  • Standard Platinum equipment includes: smartkey locking and push-button ignition, electric parking brake, 110-volt charging cord, hands-free power liftgate and dual side doors, three-zone climate control with rear air conditioning, eight-way power driver’s seat, leather-trimmed and perforated upholstery with heated front seats, a 7-inch color touch screen and Chrysler’s excellent Uconnect infotainment system
  • Safety features include: 8 air bags, brake assist, stability and traction controls, rainy day braking and ready alert braking


  • Base price: $46,090, including $1,095 freight charge; price as tested $47,885
  • Options on test vehicle: tri-pane sunroof $1,795
  • Where assembled: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
  • Warranty: 10 years/10,000 miles hybrid system components and high-voltage battery; 3 years/36,000 miles bumper to bumper; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain

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