Archive for October, 2017|Monthly archive page

A 368-hp four-cylinder Wrangler?

The horsepower rating for the optional turbo-powered Wrangler launching in Toledo next month is a hot topic of debate in our forums. Is the recently reported number for real, or just a typo?Either way, the horsepower for the new Hurricane Four engine revealed by FCA in a filing to NHTSA in mid-September is a shocker – WAY higher than many expected or predicted for the new 2018 JL/JLU, and higher than our last report, in which we believed power would merely top 300 hp.

2018 Jeep Wrangler JL

According to the filing (a 2018 VIN decoder), the base engine in the new Wrangler will be the Pentastar V-6 3.6, rated at 285 hp.

But the filing also lists a turbo option, an in-line four-cylinder engine rated at 368 hp. About time, say the fans. Typo, scoff the cynics, who seem divided as to whether it’s actually 268 hp, or 368 pound-feet.

Given FCA’s recent commitment to ever-higher-performance in Dodges, let’s assume they’ve decided to share some of the obsession with Jeep. We know the new four is a GME, part of the Global Medium Engine family. We know the Alfa Romeo version of the four produces 276 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque, and we’ve heard they have more turbo-charging tricks up their sleeve.

The production launch of the four-door hardtop Wrangler JLU is now scheduled for Monday, November 13, with a reveal at the Los Angeles Auto Show two weeks later. The hardtop two-door JL launches in mid-February, 2018. The soft tops follow the hard shells by a month in each case.

Chris Vander Doelen was Opinion Editor and columnist of The Windsor Star until December, 2016; He was the Star’s automotive reporter and columnist for seven years, and had also covered the political and gambling beats. With his wife, Veronique Mandal, he wrote the book Chasing Lightning (1999). Chris won a National Newspaper Award in 1997 and more than a dozen provincial news awards. There is a Chrysler 300 in his driveway.

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10 tips for teen drivers and their parents

It’s back-to-school time and many young, relatively inexperienced drivers are headed off to college or will be using the car to get to high school and other activities. Before school season is back in full swing, these tips can underscore the habits that can help make them safer drivers:

  1. Buckle up. Besides being the law, seat belts have been proven to save lives, but the message is not getting through to all young drivers. In fatal crashes of 16-20 year olds, 60 percent were unbuckled at the time of the crash. A recent study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that these drivers were most likely to think that belts were potentially harmful.
  2. Hang up the phone. The risk of talking or texting while driving is high, especially for young people. Eleven percent of drivers under the age of 20 involved in fatal crashes were distracted.
  3. Slow down. Teens tend to have the need for speed due to their impulsive nature and poor judgment. Thirty-seven percent of male drivers between the ages of 15-20 were speeding right before their fatal crash.
  4. Don’t drink and drive. While young drivers are less likely than adults to drive after drinking, when they do, their crash risk is significantly higher due to the alcohol effects combined with their lack of driving experience. However, progress has been made. Since 1982, the number of drivers between the ages of 16-20 who were killed from driving drunk dropped 26 percent.
  5. Be prepared. Before you head out, especially on a long trip, pack an emergency kit in your trunk. Items such as a flashlight, jumper cables, and first-aid kit are helpful to have just in case. (See our recommendations for an emergency kit.)
  6. Limit night driving. Graduated driver licensing programs place limits on night driving and for good reason. In 2010, 17 percent of teenagers’ fatalities occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight, and 24 percent occurred between midnight and 6 a.m.
  7. Watch the weather. In inclement weather, it is even more dangerous for a young driver to be on the road due to their inexperience handling the car in those situations. Teach your child how to confidently handle weather challenges. Consider sending the teen to a driving school to learn car control techniques in a safe environment, preparing them to manage a skid or hydroplaning incident before they are faced with such challenges alone.
  8. Limit passengers. The more passengers in a vehicle the higher the fatal crash risk. With three or more, the fatal crash risk is about four times higher than when a beginner drives alone. Studies also show that teens with passengers are more likely to take risks and be distracted, and when things go wrong, the tragedy is multiplied.
  9. Drive the right car. Many parents buy an inexpensive, old car for their teen or pass on a hand-me-down well past its prime. Likely, those do not have the latest safety features such as electronic stability control and side-curtain air bags that are especially important for young drivers. Check out our list of the best new and used cars for teens to find reliable and affordable models.
  10. Create rules. In addition to your state’s graduated licensing program, set up a parent/teen contract and outline your own rules and penalties if they are broken. Take the keys away if necessary.

Learn more in our guide to teen driving.

2018 Dodge Charger pricing released

The 2018 Dodge Charger is now live in the “Build & Price” section of, giving us a chance to check out the new trim line layout, the new pricing, and how the new numbers compare to 2017 prices.

Technically, getting into a 2018 Charger will cost a little more than it did for 2017, due to the elimination of the SE packages, leaving the SXT as the entry level Charger. Fortunately, the 2018 Charger SXT costs a little less than it did for 2017, so while the old base model is gone, the new base model costs less than it did in 2017.

Other than the change in the trim line layout, the pricing changes for the 2018 Dodge Charger were fairly minor, with some models starting a little higher while others are lower than 2017. Today, we bring you a look at the new trim layout for the 2018 model year, broken down by engine size.

Pentastar V6 Cars
The 2018 Dodge Charger is available in five trim lines featuring the 3.6L Pentastar V6, starting with the new base model SXT. In 2017 (and earlier), the SE was the barebones base model, but that package has been removed, making the SXT the entry level option. However, the SXT continues on with similar content – it isn’t just the SE package renamed the SXT. So if you loved the barebones version of the Charger SE, you will need to find a 2017 model still sitting on the lot.

In addition to the 2018 Dodge Charger SXT becoming the new base model, it receives a drop in price of $1,500, starting at $28,495. The SXT package is joined by the new SXT Plus, SXT Plus Leather and two new all-wheel drive options – the GT and the GT Plus. For 2017, the Charger SXT was offered with AWD but for 2018, only the GT model comes with AWD while the SXT models are all rear wheel drive.

So, the SE is gone altogether and the SXT AWD is no longer offered, but the 2018 Charger SXT costs less and includes two new trim lines which build on it while the GT AWD models are also new – following the trim layout of the Dodge Challenger.

Trim – 2017 Price – 2018 Price – Change
SE – $27,995 – NA – NA
SXT (RWD) – $29,995 – $28,495 – ($1,500)
SXT Plus – NA – $30,495 – New
SXT (AWD) – $31,995 – NA – NA
GT – NA – $32,495 – New
SXT Plus Leather – NA – $33,495 – New
GT Plus – NA – $35,495 – New

5.7L Hemi V8 Cars
While there were some changes for the 2018 Dodge Charger V6 lineup, the changes among the V8 cars all pertain to pricing and options, with the same 2 trimlines returning from 2017. The 2018 Charger R/T costs $100 more than the 2017 version while the Daytona drops by $1,000.

Trim – 2017 Price – 2018 Price – Change
R/T – $34,895 – $34,995 – +$100
Daytona – $39,995 – $38,995 – ($1,000)

6.4L Hemi V8 Cars
Next up, we have those 2018 Dodge Charger models which are powered by the 6.4L 392 cubic inch Hemi – the R/T Scat Pack, the Daytona 392 and the SRT 392.  Each of these models remains at the same price point for the new model year; so in the list below, there is only one price which applies to both 2017 and 2018.

Trim – 2017/2018 Pricing
R/T Scat Pack – $39.995
Daytona 392 – $44,995
SRT 392 – $51,145

The Hellcat
Finally, the 2018 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (shown above in F8 Green) gets some new badging inside and out as well as a $350 price hike.

Trim – 2017 Price – 2018 Price – Change
SRT Hellcat – $67,645 – $67,995 – +$350

You can build and price your own 2018 Dodge Charger online now at If you want to see the 2018 models in person there are 2018 Chargers on lots around the country right now.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.