Archive for February, 2018|Monthly archive page

2018 Chrysler Pacifica S package 'murders out' the minivan

Minivans aren’t often referred to as aggressive, but a new appearance package for the Chrysler Pacifica could change that.

Chrysler will offer the S Appearance Package on the Touring Plus, Touring L, Touring L Plus and Limited models. For the low-ish cost of $595, you can murder out your minivan with a number of black trim pieces. For an extra $995, you can cap it off with a set of 20-inch wheels in black.

 The S Appearance Package adds gloss-black accents in a number of places, including the grille, headlight accents and rear valance molding. The Chrysler wing badges are black, as well as the “Pacifica” and “S” badges. Eighteen-inch black alloy wheels are included, as is a black roof rack on every trim except Touring Plus.

Inside, you get a bit more than black. Light gray accents appear on the seats and in the stitching on both the instrument panel and steering wheel. Nearly everything else is black, though, including the overhead console, headliner, visors, light bezels, A-pillar trim, center console and seats. Hopefully, your children don’t spill too often.


The S Appearance Package is only available on 2018 Pacifica models. Other 2018 Pacifica updates are mild, including an upgraded 4G LTE (formerly 3G) Wi-Fi hotspot.

Polaris® GENERAL® Introduces New Four-Seat Model with RIDE COMMAND™ Technology to Its 2018 Lineup

Four-Seat GENERAL Comes Standard with Roof, MTX Premium Eight Speaker Audio Sound Bar and Seven-Inch Glove Touch Display

Polaris® GENERAL®, the industry leader in the crossover segment for side-by-sides, introduced today the GENERAL® 4 1000 EPS RIDE COMMAND Edition. This new addition to the 2018 lineup expands the revolutionary RIDE COMMAND technology and deluxe trim package to the four-seat model delivering the ultimate family adventure vehicle. This four-seat GENERAL to come standard with a roof, MTX Premium eight speaker audio sound bar, and seven-inch glove-touch display.

The RIDE COMMAND seven-inch glove-touch display features built-in GPS, provides vehicle diagnostics, allows smartphone connectivity and showcases the front and rear cameras. The technology also features Group Ride, which allows visibility to other riders in your group and integrated GoPro Control (GoPro not included). Users are able to capture every exciting moment of the ride without ever leaving the driver’s seat. With the seven-inch display, users can preview camera images, change recording type, and even playback previous images and video.

“As the industry leader in the crossover segment, the Polaris GENERAL continues to set the bar for premium performance,” said Matt Boone, GENERAL and RZR Marketing Director. “From the interactive RIDE COMMAND technology to premium trim and audio, the new GENERAL 4 1000 EPS gives our consumers the ultimate riding experience and the capabilities to capture and share those epic experiences.”

New for 2018, the Polaris GENERAL 4 1000 EPS RIDE COMMAND Edition features adjustable FOX® 2.0 Podium QS3 Shocks for an even smoother ride and more control when carrying payload. The vehicle is available in Matte Sunset Red.

Available at dealerships starting in March, the GENERAL 4 1000 EPS RIDE COMMAND Edition has a starting MSRP of $23,499.

Rush Hour 101: Surviving Heavy Traffic

Sitting in rush hour traffic can be the worst parts of the day for many people. Whether it’s the dreaded drive to work in the morning, or the stressful drive home. Everyone is trying to get somewhere at the same time, in a hurry, and it can be extremely stressful, annoying, and also dangerous (1 in 4 accidents occur during rush hour).

Check out these quick tips to surviving your daily commute:

1. Keep Calm and Carry On:
Staying calm in rush hour traffic isn’t always an easy task. People are in a hurry and driving crazy, but you don’t have to be one of those people (you just need to watch out for them).

It might be called RUSH hour, but don’t RUSH. Give yourself extra time to get to your destination to help make commuting less stressful. Leaving with plenty of time to spare can prevent unexpected situations, like an accident or road construction, from ruining your day.

Listen to music or a podcast. Good music and entertaining podcasts can help boost your mood and focus less on the negatives of slow traffic.

2. Avoid distractions:

Stay off your phone. With how quickly traffic can stop, checking your phone in rush hour can be very dangerous.

3. The grass isn’t always greener in the other lane:

Don’t try to beat the traffic. One of the riskiest moves in rush hour traffic is constantly switching to the “fastest” moving lanes. Typically in rush hour, lanes will go through a rotation of being stopped and speeding up. It’s best to just stick to one lane and avoid the temptation of merging to the fastest lane at the time.

Driving during rush hour can be terribly frustrating – but getting into an accident during this time can be even worse. When in heavy traffic it’s important to stay relaxed, remain patient, and keep focused on the road.

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2019 Jeep Cherokee still at the top of the mountain

The spotter directs me to put the driver’s side of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk in a ditch, keeping the other up on the high line of this off-road course at a Jeep-sponsored press drive outside of Los Angeles, California. As I inch forward, the ditch gets deeper and the Jeep tilts to the left – at this point, I can actually reach out the window and pluck a dandelion from the ground. Another few feet forward and the Cherokee is back on level ground again, ready for the next tricky obstacle.

No, most folks won’t need to side-hill their daily driver on their regular commute. But for those who do – and those who like knowing they could if they wanted to – there is the Jeep Cherokee.

2019 Jeep Cherokee
I got it all under control, Mom.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

The Cherokee is a midsize crossover that slots in between the newly redesigned Compass and larger Grand Cherokee. It’s available with a choice of front- or four-wheel drive in base Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited and top-end Overland trims. A butch Trailhawk trim is available, as well, but only with 4×4 capability.

If you hated the front end of the old Cherokee, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The daytime running lights and forward lights are now combined into one housing, reminiscent of what you see on the new Compass. The result is way less polarizing, for sure. That said, if you loved the front end of the old Cherokee… well, you can also breathe a sigh of relief. Those new headlights still wrap around the fenders just a bit, so it doesn’t lose all of its funky Cherokee-ness. Both fans and foes of the previous design should find this redesign to be a nice compromise.

The 2019 Cherokee comes with a choice of three powertrains. The base 2.4-liter Tigershark inline-four and the optional 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 carry over largely unchanged from the previous Cherokee, but new for 2019, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available – the same one you’ll find under the hood of the JL Wrangler, although without the eTorque mild-hybrid system.

The V6 puts out 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty for pushing the Cherokee up and over the hills near Malibu, and more than enough grunt for quick merges and passes in notoriously hellacious Los Angeles traffic. On more engaging, twisty back roads, the Cherokee offers confident, nicely weighted steering and controlled body motions. The revamped nine-speed automatic transmission has a tendency to upshift too soon, all in the name of fuel efficiency, but thankfully a Sport mode is included as part of the Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, which holds each gear a bit longer to keep you in the heart of the powerband.

The 2.0-liter turbo four does equally well in these scenarios, offering just one less pony than the V6, but with a healthier 295 pound-feet of torque. And while it doesn’t noticeably affect the Cherokee’s handling, I find it to be pretty buzzy and coarse in its sound. It’s a bit like driving a bumblebee, droning through the torque curve with an annoyingly loud hum.

There’s plenty of competition in this CUV segment, but none can match the Cherokee in off-road chops, especially in Trailhawk trim. While all Cherokees get driving modes for Snow and Sand/Mud, only the Trailhawk gets an extra parameter for Rock, not to mention a locking rear differential, a 1-inch lift and skid plates.

On an off-road route north of Malibu, I’m able to take advantage of the Cherokee’s class-leading approach, departure and breakover angles. The newest Jeep easily tackles steep climbs up rocky paths, and sharp crests that would leave any of its competitors high-centered. The Cherokee Trailhawk even has a low-range gear in its four-wheel-drive system, allowing it to scale a steep hill full of loose dirt and rocks like it ain’t no thang.

The Trailhawk-specific Select-Speed Control is a kind of cruise control for low-speed rock crawling. A push of the button and the Cherokee can completely take over throttle and braking duties, effortlessly driving itself through a boulder-strewn section of the trail. Personally, I prefer to be more in control in these types of situations, but while this might not be super necessary for trail bosses, it’s nice to know the technology is there for those who want it, or those who are still honing their off-road skills.

2019 Jeep Cherokee
The Cherokee is equally comfortable on the pavement, with a controlled and comfortable ride and strong engine options.


Driving the same off-road loop in both 3.2- and 2.0-liter Cherokees, you’d think the turbo engine’s added torque would stand out during low-speed acceleration. But in reality, what jumps out the most is throttle sensitivity; It’s much more difficult to keep a steady speed with the smaller engine. Throttle control is imperative when driving off road, lest you find yourself buried in soft sand (or worse). And while I’m able to get the hang of it toward the end of my short test loop, if you pride yourself on steady throttle control, be prepared to do some re-learning.

Driver assistance aids carry over from the old Cherokee. Blind-spot monitoring is standard on higher-level trims, or available as part of an option package on lower trims. Lane departure warning, park assist, adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go capability and forward collision warning and braking are all part of an optional technology package on higher trims. The Cherokee also gets a new hands-free power liftgate, which is standard on Overland models and available on the Limited trim.

Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment system gets a bit of an upgrade in terms of resolution and graphics, maintaining its spot as one of the best interfaces on the market. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on both the base 7-inch or optional 8.4-inch touchscreen, the latter of which now has pinch-to-zoom capability.

The interior hasn’t changed much, and that’s a good thing. The design is rugged, while offering comfortable seats and headroom for all but the tallest of drivers. However, even though the Cherokee gets a bit more cargo space behind the rear seats for this year, up to 25.8 cubic feet from 24.6, it still falls behind competitors like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

2019 Jeep Cherokee
The Cherokee’s cabin remains a decent place for a weekday commute or a weekend adventure.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

A base Cherokee Latitude with front-wheel drive comes in at $23,995, not including $1,195 for destination, while the range-topping Overand starts at $36,275. Four-wheel drive can be had on all trims for an additional $1,500, and the off-road-ready Trailhawk starts at $33,320.

The Cherokee is far from everyone’s cup of tea. In this price point there are crossovers that handle better, look sleeker and offer more tech. It’s only with the Cherokee, however, that you can take the shortcut home through the woods and live to tell the tale.

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Can I submit a Pothole Damage Claim?

If you’re driving during the day and in conditions of high visibility, spotting and avoiding pothole is easy if you’re paying attention. But if it’s dark, stormy, or if you’re messing with the radio dial, you might hear that sickening “Clunk! Crunch!” that means something bad has happened to your vehicle.

In the vast majority of cases, being startled is the only damage you’ll incur if you go over a pothole.

But if it’s particularly deep or if you’re going too fast, you might be left with some dents, scratches — or worse.

Pothole damage to your vehicle can easily be extended. Damage to the vehicle’s tires, hubcaps, struts, and alignment can quickly add up leaving some drivers with repairs up to a thousand dollars or more. Filing a pothole damage claim is easy, but whether or not you should is something you should consider.

How a Pothole Damage Claim Works

A pothole damage claim is a single car accident, which is filed as an at-fault accident by your insurance carrier. Hitting a pothole is considered a collision. Your collision deductible will apply, and your rates could go up at your next renewal due to filing an at-fault claim. Sometimes the damage sustained is a lower dollar amount than your deductible, which would make filing a claim irrelevant.

An Alternative to Filing a Claim

Do a little research to see if the road commission in your area pays for pothole damage to vehicles.

 (Here is a link to more details on what local cities, counties and in some cases, Michigan, will cover when it comes to pothole damage:

First, determine if the road is a city, county, or state road. Depending on the area you live in, it is possible to get reimbursement. Of course, it can be a lengthy process, so be prepared to pay the cost upfront.

Tips for city, county, or state pothole damage reimbursement:

Whether you are filing a claim with your insurance or the government, three things are essential: Documentation, documentation, documentation!

  • Take a photo of the pothole
  • Note the date and time of accident
  • Get two estimates from different mechanics.

Some states are easier to file for damages than others. Lots of states require you to provide proof the road commission knew of the pothole for 30 days or more and did nothing to repair it. The burden of proof lies with you and basically it is going to be nearly impossible to win.

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Flood Safety Tips

Floods can occur anywhere, with floodwaters rising gradually or flash floods striking suddenly. Flash floods are the number one weather-related killer in the United States — most flood fatalities happen because people try to drive through deadly waters rather than avoid them. (Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency, 2005)

Water’s powerful force can easily overtake vehicles caught in a flood. Follow these tips to stay safe in your car during a flood.

How to Drive in a Flood

Pay attention to barricades.

Don’t ignore them by driving past them.

Do not drive through standing water on roads or in parking lots.

The average automobile can be swept off the road in 12 inches of moving water, and roads covered by water are prone to collapse. Attempting to drive through water also may stall your engine, with the potential to cause irreparable damage if you try to restart the engine. If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate route.

Take extra precautions if you’re forced to drive through water.

If no alternate route exists and you have no other reasonable alternative but to drive through standing water.

  • Do your best to estimate the depth of the water (if other cars are driving through, take note of how deep the water is).
  • Drive slowly and steadily through the water.
  • Avoid driving in water that downed electrical or power lines have fallen in — electric current passes through water easily.
  • Watch for items traveling downstream — they can trap or crush you if you’re in their path.
  • If you have driven through water up to the wheel rims or higher, test your brakes on a clear patch of road at low speed. If they are wet and not stopping the vehicle as they should, dry them by pressing gently on the brake pedal with your left foot while maintaining speed with your right foot.
  • Stay off the telephone unless you must report severe injuries.
  • If your vehicle stalls in the deep water, you may need to restart the engine to make it to safety. Keep in mind that restarting may cause irreparable damage to the engine.
  • If you can’t restart your vehicle and you become trapped in rising water, immediately abandon it for higher ground. Try to open the door or roll down the window to get out of the vehicle. If you are unable to get out safely, call 911 or get the attention of a passerby or someone standing on higher ground so that they may call for help.

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True Cost of Vehicle Ownership

Average new vehicle will cost nearly $8,500 annually to own and operate

ORLANDO, Fla. (August 23, 2017) – Owning and operating a new vehicle in 2017 will cost a driver an average of $8,469 annually, or $706 each month, according to a new study from AAA. The annual evaluation of driving costs reveals that small sedans are the least expensive vehicles to drive at $6,354 annually, however small SUVs ($7,606), hybrids ($7,687) and electric vehicles ($8,439) all offer lower-than-average driving costs to U.S. drivers. Conversely, of the nine categories included in the evaluation, pickup trucks are the most expensive vehicles to drive at $10,054 annually.

“Determining the cost of a new vehicle car is more than calculating a monthly payment,” cautioned John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “While sales price is certainly a factor, depreciation, maintenance, repair and fuel costs should be equally important considerations for anyone in the market for a new vehicle.”

In addition to analyzing the ownership costs for sedans, SUVs and minivans, AAA’s Your Driving Costs study added four new vehicle segments in 2017 – small SUVs, pickup trucks, hybrids and electric vehicles.

To estimate the overall cost to own and operate a new vehicle, AAA evaluated 45 2017 model-year vehicles across nine categories and focused on mid-range, top-selling vehicles. AAA’s annual driving cost is based on a sales-weighted average of the individual costs for all of the vehicle types. Key findings include:


Depreciation — the declining value of a vehicle over time — is the biggest, and most often overlooked, expense associated with purchasing a new car. New vehicles lose an average of $15,000 in value during the first five years of ownership. In 2017, small sedans ($2,114) and small SUVs ($2,840) have the lowest annual depreciation costs, while minivans ($3,839) and electric vehicles ($5,704) are at the high end of the scale.

Maintenance and repair

To calculate annual maintenance and repair costs, AAA examined factory-recommended maintenance, replacement tires, extended warranty costs and services associated with typical wear-and-tear. New vehicles, on average, will cost a driver $1,186 per year to maintain and repair.

The inevitable costs associated with maintenance and repair should be an important consideration for car shoppers, as a recent AAA survey found that one-third of U.S. drivers could not afford an unexpected repair bill. AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities offer free vehicle inspections, AAA member discounts and a 24-month/24,000-mile warranty for AAA members. Visit to find a nearby facility.


Fuel costs vary significantly by vehicle type, ranging from 3.68 cents per mile (electric vehicles) to 13.88 cents per mile (pickup trucks). New vehicle owners, on average, will spend just over 10 cents per mile – about $1,500 annually — to fuel their vehicles.

For gasoline-powered vehicles, AAA recommends selecting a TOP TIER gasoline, as its independent research found it to keep engines 19 times cleaner, improving vehicle performance and fuel economy. AAA cautions drivers that using premium-grade gasoline in a vehicle that does not specifically require it is an unnecessary expense.

Electric Vehicles

New to the Your Driving Costs study in 2017, AAA found that electric vehicles have lower-than-average driving costs at $8,439 per year. Without a gasoline engine to maintain, electric vehicles have the lowest annual maintenance and repair costs, at $982 per year. By relying on electricity instead of gasoline, fuel costs are also significantly lower than average, at under four cents per mile. Depreciation, however, is currently extremely high for these vehicles, losing an average of nearly $6,000 in value every year.

A recent AAA survey revealed that 1-in-6 Americans are likely to choose an electric vehicle, the majority motivated by their lower long-term ownership costs.

“Although electric vehicles can have higher up-front costs, lower fuel and maintenance costs make them a surprisingly affordable choice in the long run,” said Nielsen. “For even lower costs, car shoppers can avoid high depreciation costs by selecting a used electric vehicle.”

With a focus on the future, the AAA Green Car Guide offers ratings of electric, hybrid, compressed natural gas‐powered (CNG), diesel and other high fuel economy vehicles. Visit for more.

AAA’s Your Driving Costs study employs a proprietary methodology to analyze the costs of owning and operating a new vehicle in the United States, using data from a variety of sources, including Vincentric LLC. Additional information and detailed driving costs, including insurance costs, finances charges, registration/license fees, taxes and finance charges can be found at or

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 57 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

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What to do if a pothole on a Michigan road damages your vehicle

When your vehicle is damaged by a pothole, you can file a claim with the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Claims are often denied, however, according to MDOT.

Filing a claim

To file a claim, the pothole must have been on a state trunk line. Typically, trunk lines are freeways, such as I-94, M-14 and US-10. The jurisdiction of roads can be verified by contacting your local MDOT office.

When filing a claim, the specific location of the pothole is needed. This includes the trunk line number, direction of travel, lane of travel and name of the nearest crossroad, as well as the distance from that road.

Damage claims less than $1,000 are filed with MDOT. If damage exceeds $1,000, a lawsuit must be filed against MDOT.

The state will only consider damages not covered by insurance.

Michigan law requires that drivers filing claims must prove that the government knew about a pothole and had time to repair it, or that the pothole existed for more than 30 days, according to MDOT.

To file a claim, drivers must:

-Fill out this form. Forms must be signed and notarized for consideration.

-Attach documentation to support the claim, such as copies of car repair estimates or copies of actual bills paid for out-of-pocket repairs.

-Return the completed form and documentation to the MDOT region or Transportation Service Center office located in the county in which the incident occurred.

Minimizing pothole damage

According to MDOT, if a pothole cannot be avoided, the best way to minimize vehicle damage is to slow down but release the brakes before hitting the hole. This method will allow the car to better absorb the impact.

MDOT also suggests hitting a pothole with straight wheels, as an angled hit is more likely to cause damage.

Tires that are not properly inflated can also increase the chances of a vehicle being damaged. Make sure the tires have the right amount of air, and that the vehicle’s suspension and steering are in good condition.

Checking for damage

After hitting a pothole, look at tires and rims to see if there is any visible damage. Note any bulging or cuts in the tire.

Also, pay attention to how the vehicle is driving. Cars damaged by a pothole may pull to the side and need an alignment.

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Designed For Millennials | The New Chrysler Portal Concept Vehicle

For a glimpse at the next generation of family transportation, Chrysler has unveiled the Chrysler Portal concept vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017. The Chrysler Portal was designed by millennials for millennials, with a forward-thinking interpretation of the “fifth generation” of family transportation.


Electric Range and Fast Recharge

The electric-powered Chrysler Portal concept was designed for modern efficiency, with an estimated range of over 250 miles on a full charge. For convenience, a DC Fast Charge (350 kW) can recharge the battery pack with 150 miles of range in less than 20 minutes.





Modern Adaptable Interior

Designed from the inside out, the interior of the Chrysler Portal concept features a “third space” — an open and serene atmosphere that bridges work and home, and is designed to grow with a young family by maximizing interior space with flexible seating and cargo configurations. Premium seating is standard for all occupants with thin-design seats that fold flat, fold up and slide on a track system for ultimate flexibility.This enables the seats to move the full length of the vehicle and, if needed, to be removed easily from the rear of the vehicle.

Fully Connected Technology

For tech-savvy millennials, the Chrysler Portal concept enables users to include and expand their social media communities. The in-vehicle wireless network seamlessly integrates with mobile devices to enable social sharing among passengers and internet cloud-based applications. To make sure your mobile devices have the power to match your electric driving range, up to eight docking stations, located in the instrument panel and seats, can be used for charging and securing phones and tablets.

Performance and Design


The Chrysler Portal concept makes a new statement with a clean, simple design amplified by refined lines along the body and a strong, planted stance. It is anchored by illuminated, portal-shaped side openings with articulating front and rear doors for easy loading and unloading of people and cargo. When it comes to performance, the Chrysler Portal concept features a suite of sensing technologies that enable SAE Level Three semi-autonomous driving mode, with the option to upgrade to Level Four autonomous driving, if desired. In addition, Vehicle-to-X (V2X) communication enables the vehicle and infrastructure to “talk” to each other, such as intersection crash warning, traffic sign recognition and emergency vehicle approaching.

The Chrysler Portal concept was created in collaboration with supplier partners who shared their innovations and expertise to bring to life future technologies. These partners include Adient, Magneti Marelli, Panasonic Automotive and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is one fancy truck

Pickup trucks haven’t been “just for work” for years and automakers are jumping on that with ever-fancier trims for these workhorses. Case in point, the new Ram Laramie Longhorn.

The 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn is the highest trim level we know about for the new 2019 model, and in addition to being as capable as every other Ram 1500, it’s fancy as all get-out. It also packs a southwestern theme, because what fun is a luxury truck if it doesn’t feel like the most opulent horse in the world?

More and more trucks are being used for both work and play, so why not treat yourself?

It’ll be harder to tell the trim from the outside. Laramie Longhorn models get a standard two-tone paint job, but you can opt for monotone if that’s more your style. You’ll also get LED headlights and taillights, as well as special wheels and grilles that aren’t available on other trims.

The interior is where nearly all the action takes place. The dashboard is hand-wrapped in actual leather, and that material extends itself to just about every surface, including the door panels. If smooth leather wasn’t enough, there’s also alligator-pattern leather scattered about. Buyers have two interior color choices — brown on light brown, and black on tan.

That’s not the end of it, either. The cabin also sports a number of real barn wood pieces, including the center console doors and the dashboard. Satin chrome accents add some pop, and as you might expect, there are plenty of embossed and brushed-nickel reminders that you’re driving a Laramie Longhorn edition.

Ram didn’t mention the 2019 Laramie Longhorn’s price, but for context’s sake, the 2018 Laramie Longhorn starts at $49,675, and that only includes rear-wheel drive and the shorter of the two beds. If you want 4WD and the big bed, the price leaps up to $53,575.

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