Archive for April, 2019|Monthly archive page

Dodge Challenger Surpasses Chevy Camaro in Sales, May Also Live Forever

The modern Dodge Challenger is 11 years old, and yet, despite debuting during round two of the Bush administration, its appeal remains among a certain crowd. So much so that it outpaced the Chevy Camaro in sales in the the first quarter of 2019 to take over second place behind the Ford Mustang in sports car sales, according to the Detroit Free Press.

That would be 13,431 Challengers sold in January, February, and March, according to data from Kelley Blue Book seen by the Freep. That compares with 16,917 Mustangs sold, and 12,083 Camaros. Those numbers build on what happened in 2018, when 75,842 Mustangs, 66,716 Challengers, and 50,963 Camaros were sold, following a 2017 when Camaro outsold Challenger 67,940 to 64,537.

The average age of a Challenger buyer, the Freep reports, is 51, which suggests that a lot of young Boomers and old Gen Xers are buying this car. These are the Boomers and Gen Xers who are Mopar stans but also probably too cool for a Mustang or Chevy, and not rich enough to buy a Corvette.

That said, the Challenger’s enduring appeal is in part likely due to its sheer variety. The base Challenger starts at $27,295, though the top-end models cost upwards of $73,000. There’s a Challenger for everyone, if you want it, and Challenger isn’t alone in this respect, since Mustangs and Camaros similarly vary in trim packages and price.

Challenger has, though, been clever in my mind about introducing variants like the Hellcat and Demon that make it seem like the Challenger is fresher than it is. And, as the Freep reports, Challenger, Mustang, and Camaro are all fighting for an increasingly smaller slice of pie. In 2015, 372,770 sports cars were sold, versus 273,186 last year, somewhat surprising numbers since gas prices have been so low as of late.

For Dodge, that won’t matter in the short-term, especially if Challenger sales remain strong. When is it going to update this thing, anyway? If things continue like this, it may never have a reason to.

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Ram Unveils Special-edition Kentucky Derby® 2019 Heavy Duty Pickup

2019 Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 Limited Kentucky Derby Edition is packed with capability, technology and luxury Ram serves as Official Truck of Churchill Downs® and the May 4 Kentucky Derby®

April 17, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Today at the New York International Auto Show, the Ram Truck brand unveiled a limited edition of its new 2019 Ram Heavy Duty to commemorate the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby®.

The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty Kentucky Derby Edition is fittingly based on the brand’s top Limited trim and features segment-leading capability and technology.

The May 4 running of the race marks the 10-year anniversary for Ram as the Official Truck of Churchill Downs® and the Kentucky Derby.

“The Kentucky Derby remains one of America’s most recognized sporting events,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Ram Brand. “This hardworking truck is packed with exclusive technology, luxury and good looks that make it fit to wear the Kentucky Derby name.”

The Ram Heavy Duty Kentucky Derby Edition trucks include exclusive trailer-towing content that makes them ideal tow vehicles. Features, including 360-degree surround-view camera with trailer-reverse guidance, fifth-wheel/gooseneck prep, active hitch grid lines, air suspension with bed lowering, Forward Collision Warning-Plus with trailer braking, bed step and DOT safety kit, allow customers to tow their precious cargo with confidence.

The Ram Kentucky Derby Edition also includes Ram’s segment-leading Uconnect 12-inch touchscreen radio with Sirius XM 360L and navigation, power-retracting running boards and Blind-spot Monitoring.

The Kentucky Derby Edition also includes premium full-leather front and rear seats (rear reclining on Mega Cab) combined with genuine wood and metal trim throughout. Uniquely-colored seating features a Black and Saddle Brown hybrid of Limited and Longhorn trims, accented with medium Greystone stitching and piping.

The exterior includes an exclusive, premium billet-appearance grille and body-color bumpers. Buyers can choose from seven exterior colors: Bright White, Pearl White, Delmonico Red, Diamond Black Crystal, Granite Crystal, Max Steel or Patriot Blue.

The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty breaks through the 1,000 lb.-ft. barrier with the powerful 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel and offers the highest towing capability in the segment at 35,100 pounds. With that in mind, not all the Kentucky Derby special-edition features are aesthetic.

The 2019 Ram Heavy Duty Kentucky Derby Edition is available on 2500 or 3500 Limited, Cummins 6.7-liter Turbo Diesel I-6 or 6.4-liter HEMI® V-8, 4×2 or 4×4, Mega Cab or Crew Cab, single rear wheel or dual rear wheel with 6-ft.-4-in. or 8-ft. bed lengths. Dual rear wheel models include rear park assist with fender coverage.

Base price is $66,890 plus $1,695 destination charge for Ram 2500 and $68,240 plus $1,695 destination charge for Ram 3500.

The Ram Heavy Duty Kentucky Derby Edition is on sale now. Production is limited to 1,000 units.

About Ram Truck and the Kentucky Derby
Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby are steeped in tradition and Ram will again be part of the festivities at this year’s 145th running of the Kentucky Derby, Saturday, May 4.

In recognition of 10 years as the “Official Truck” of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby and exclusive automotive partner, Ram will launch the first heavy-duty truck to commemorate the event, the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty Kentucky Derby Edition.

Ram’s partnership with the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs includes immersing fans attending the races, and those watching the festivities on TV, in a total Ram Truck experience. Fans will see on-site truck displays, video board integrations, backcountry and trackside signage throughout Churchill Downs, and more. In addition, Ram television spots will run during the NBC network telecast and there will be Derby posts on Ram social channels. Fans can follow the content and join the conversation at hashtag #RamDerby.

About the 2019 Ram Heavy Duty Limited
Exterior: A mesh grille leads with a chrome “R-A-M” badge and dark-chrome accents surround the added inlets. Chrome bumpers, tow hooks, body-side molding, mirrors and door handle accents combine with standard 20-inch wheels with chrome inserts. A body-color bumper option is available. Automatic power side steps and body-colored fender flares are standard.

Interior: Limited trim also benefits from a segment-exclusive 100-percent full-grain hand-wrapped leather dashboard, door-panel coverings and armrests. Elevating the premium feel further, real aluminum and wood accents adorn the cabin, along with a wood upper glove box door with a metal inlay “Limited” badge. Uconnect 4C with 12-inch touchscreen is standard. At night, the cabin is accentuated with ambient lighting to create a luxurious and soothing atmosphere for passengers. Limited interior colors include Indigo/Light Frost Beige or all-Black leather seating. Front seats are heated and vented. Rear leather seats are heated.

About Ram Truck Brand
In 2009, the Ram Truck brand launched as a stand-alone division, focused on meeting the demands of truck buyers and delivering benchmark-quality vehicles.

That focus leads Ram to design the industry’s most innovative, award-winning trucks, emphasizing durability, strength, technology and efficiency.

With a full lineup of trucks, including ProMaster and ProMaster City vans, the Ram brand builds trucks that get the hard work done and families where they need to go. From the no-compromise Ram 1500 that defines the future of pickup trucks with innovative design, the highest quality materials and class-exclusive technology, to the Ram Heavy Duty which combines the ability to out-power, out-tow and out-haul every single competitor with the segment’s most comfortable ride and handling, Ram is committed to product leadership.

Ram continues to outperform the competition and sets the benchmarks for:

  • Most powerful: 1,000 lb.-ft of torque with Cummins Turbo Diesel
  • Highest towing capacity: 35,100 lbs. with Ram 3500
  • Heaviest payloads: 7,680 lbs. with Ram 3500
  • Most luxurious: Ram Limited with real wood, real leather and 12-inch Uconnect touchscreen
  • Best ride and handling with exclusive link coil rear and auto-level air suspensions
  • Most interior space with Ram Mega Cab
  • Most capable full-size off-road pickup – Ram Power Wagon
  • Highest owner loyalty of any half-ton pickup
  • Over the last 30 years, Ram has the highest percentage of pickups still on the road

Giving maximum effort all day, every day with confidence, the Ram Truck lineup steps forward with the full force of modern capability providing confidence-inspiring features and class-exclusive vehicle safety.

HEMI® Day: Running the numbers on history-making engines

Performance car fans celebrate April 26 as HEMI® Day, marking the day the calendar aligns (4/26) with the displacement of the second-generation V-8 powerplant.

Join the celebration: Pull on your HEMI and Mopar gear and give the throttle of your car or truck a blip or two to let everyone know today is a special day.

The nearly 70-year history of HEMI engines at our company is filled with plenty of numbers. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • 1950: The original hemispherical combustion chamber engine design is introduced with the FirePower name for 1951 model-year Chrysler vehicles, rated at 180 hp. Dodge, DeSoto and Imperial also used versions of the engine
  • 138: Decibels of the FirePower-driven Chrysler Air Raid Siren
  • 1958: Final year of the first-generation HEMI engine
  • 1964: The Gen II 426 Race HEMI engine debuts as Richard Petty laps the field and wins the Daytona 500. Top three finishers are powered by 426 Race HEMI engines
  • Also 1964: “Big Daddy” Don Garlits breaks the 200-mph barrier with a Gen II 426 Race HEMI-powered car, covering the quarter-mile in 7.78 seconds at 201.34 mph
  • 1965: NASCAR blocks the 426 HEMI by mandating a minimum level of street car production
  • 1966: With the launch of the street version of the 426 HEMI, the engine returns to NASCAR. Petty again wins the Daytona 500
  • 11,000: The number of Gen II 426 HEMI engines produced for customers, making muscle cars with the engine sought after by collectors
  • 350: Net horsepower rating of the Gen II 426 HEMI in 1971
  • 345: Horsepower rating of the Gen III 5.7-liter HEMI when it debuted in 2003 in the Ram pickup
  • 345, 370, 376, 392: Cubic-inch displacements of the Gen III HEMI (5.7-liter, 6.1-liter, 6.2-liter, 6.4-liter)
  • 840: Horsepower rating of the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Demon engine in the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.
  • 1,000: Horsepower rating of the “Hellephant” 426 Supercharged Crate HEMI engine
  • 11,000+: Horsepower of the nitro-fueled Gen II HEMI-based engines used by drag racers today in NHRA’s Top Fuel and Funny Car classes.

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Truck Thursday: All-new 2020 Gladiator carries on the Jeep® truck heritage

The all-new 2020 Jeep® Gladiator is the latest iteration in a long line of Jeep trucks with more than 40 years of rich heritage to draw from.

Jeep’s truck heritage began back in 1947 when Willys Overland introduced a one-ton truck with four-wheel drive based on the CJ-2A.

1947 Jeep(R) Pickup Truck. (J-0275)

In the early 1960s, the first Gladiator was introduced.

“The most iconic Jeep truck is probably the Jeep Gladiator,” said Brandt Rosenbusch, FCA Manager of Historical Services. “It’s got that round or oval ‘rhinoceros grille’ as they called it. It was just a tough strong looking vehicle.”

1963 Jeep Gladiator

The Gladiator was the third Jeep truck to be introduced after World War II. The truck, which was available in pickup, stake bed, and cab and chassis models, was built until 1965.

“Willys Overland expanded beyond the CJ series into trucks because they knew there was a market for them,” added Rosenbusch, who said the truck didn’t even have a name when it was first introduced. “It was just known as the Jeep truck. It had the same reputation: it could go anywhere and do anything like the rest of the Jeep models.”

In 1957, Jeep launched the FC-150/170 Pickup. These were essentially work trucks with an 81-inch wheelbase for the FC-150 and 103.5 inches for the FC-170.

Jeep brought the Scrambler, which was similar to the CJ-7 but with a longer wheelbase, to market in 1981. The truck was known internationally as the CJ-8 and was available in either hard- or soft-top versions.

The final Jeep truck model was the Jeep Comanche. It was produced from 1986-1992 and was based on the Cherokee platform and was similarly equipped. It received a six-foot bed in 1987, with later models offering Selec-Trac® or Command-Trac four-wheel drive.

1986 Jeep Comanche

As Jeep reenters the midsize truck market, Rosenbusch stated that the new Gladiator pays homage to its lineage while offering the latest in technology, engineering and capability.

2020 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon

“I think the new Gladiator really harkens back to those Jeep trucks. You know its a Jeep when you see it,” Rosenbusch said. “It has the workload and the work ethic that all the other Jeep vehicles had. I think it’s something we can be proud of calling the Gladiator name again.”

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2020 Jeep Gladiator First Review

  • Best-in-class towing capacity for the mid-sized truck segment
  • Iconic Jeep styling with true convertible capability
  • Legendary Jeep off-road credentials
  • Lightweight, high-strength steel and aluminum body-on-frame construction
  • Additional durability for work truck functionality
  • Priced starting at $33,545 for the base Gladiator Sport model

The long-awaited 2020 Jeep Gladiator, the mid-sized Jeep pickup truck with best-in-class towing capacity and a starting price of $33,545 is here. And we have one question, is it more than just a Wrangler with a truck bed on the back of it?  

What’s the 2020 Jeep Gladiator’s towing and payload capacity?

We’ve been waiting for a Jeep Truck since the Jeep Comanche made its flash-in-the-pan appearance that ended back during the Bush administration – that’s the first Bush administration.

Finally here, the folks at Jeep definitely have something unique-looking on their hands, but this is also a highly capable tool. Gladiator’s body-on-frame construction uses a new lightweight high-strength steel frame, and it’s plenty tough.

According to press materials, towing capacity maxes out at 7,650 pounds and the Jeep Gladiator can carry a payload of 1,600 pounds. That’s 150 more pounds of towing than the competing Ford Ranger, and almost 800 pounds more than the Toyota Tacoma, a best-in-class number for sure. The Nissan Frontier carries a payload about 100 pounds less, but the Ford Ranger claims to be able to hold up to 1,860 pounds, so they may have some arm wrestling to do with the blue oval.

We managed to tow a boat and trailer that totaled around 6,000 pounds with little problem. The 2020 Jeep Gladiator more than handled its task. Power felt steady even up steeper inclines, its low-range torque really proving its working capability. The Gladiator sports a wider grille than its Wrangler cousin. A larger grille equals more intake, which equals better cooling, hence ability to tow more. 


Is the Jeep Gladiator’s truck bed legit?

This isn’t just a truck bed for looks, the Gladiator comes with serious work-truck cred that’s ready for tough tasks. The 5-foot bed is constructed of high-strength steel, no composites. It’s tough. Lighting inside the box comes standard, so you can see what you’re doing. Four heavy-duty tie downs, two that are fixed and two that pivot, also come standard. An available covered external power source, spray-in bed liner, and optional customizable cargo management systems are extra.

The damped tailgate has a thoughtful 3-position feature. In addition to being open and closed, it has a half-way position fixed by the tailgate cables, so the driver can more easily haul longer loads such as sheets of plywood, drywall or 2x4s that extend past the bed. Bonus points because as a 5-foot 5-inch person I can actually touch the bottom of the truck’s bed when standing on the side of it. 


How does the Gladiator perform off-road?

Jeep’s legendary off-road credentials are the boulders over which competitive vehicles high center. When you think of what a Wrangler’s able to do, there’s nothing that compares, and a lot of that capability crosses over to the Gladiator.

On the Sport and Overland models Jeep’s Command-Trac 4×4 system comes standard and features a 2-speed transfer case and heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear axles. In order to make it more robust for truck duty, those axles come wrapped in tubes 10mm thicker than the ones on the Wrangler.

The Rubicon, yes, of course there is a Rubicon Gladiator, comes standard with the Rock-Trac 4×4 system, which includes those beefy Dana 44 axles but also locking differentials and an electronic sway-bar disconnect feature for better articulation to get over tougher terrain.

The available low torque on both systems is as good as you’ve come to expect on the Wrangler, but especially on the Rubicon. If you’ve never driven one and you’re into doing any kind of off-roading, it’s really something you should try.

Class of 2020: The new, redesigned cars, trucks, and SUVs

The big question was does it translate to a truck that’s 31-inches longer than the 4-door Wrangler and has a wheelbase 19.4-inches longer. Most of the terrain we drove over didn’t seem possible, at first blush, but the Gladiator got down to business. Turns in 4L are never graceful on any vehicle, and in the longer-wheelbase Gladiator the sideways crabbing you get as the front and rear wheels fight each other, becomes more pronounced. However, between the grip of the tires and its stout torque, even the manual Rubicon made easy work of large obstacles. Foot-deep mud? Not a problem with Falken mud tires. The Gladiator has a ground clearance of 11.1-inches and can ford up to 30 inches of water.

What other helpful off-road features does the Gladiator have?

Whichever trim you choose, skid plates come standard as well as front and rear tow hooks, presumably for getting everyone else out of trouble. The Rubicon’s front bumper is winch-ready. Speaking of, if adding more after-market equipment is interesting to you, you’re in luck. Mopar’s got 200 products coming for the Gladiator to customize your rig. Are you not entertained? Sorry, couldn’t help it.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator comes optional with Selec-Speed control, which is a sort of cruise control for off-road allowing for speeds between 1-5 miles an hour without the driver having to work the brake or the throttle. While I’m not generally a fan of those systems, on loose downhill descents it read the terrain accurately, preventing a lot of slip in the wheels.  

A front off-road camera is also available, which we love, but they never take the place of getting out and seeing obstacles for yourself, so safety first when off-roading! 


V6 power now, diesel later

Initially, there’s a single engine option available for the Gladiator, a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 285 hp and 260 lb-ft torque and is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. An 8-speed automatic transmission is available if you choose. Coming later will be a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 that makes 260 hp and 442 lb-ft torque. The 8-speed automatic will be the diesel engine’s only transmission.

The Gladiator’s great off-road, but what about the ride on the road?

There’s a 5-link coil suspension system at both front and back, both have different control arm set ups, with dampers working for a smoother ride on pavement. Its rear suspension is the same excellent one that’s on the redesigned 2019 Ram 1500. Using that same geometry improves the breakover angle on the Gladiator with its longer wheelbase. We love how that system smooths out the Ram’s ride, and it offers the same cushiony comfort for the Gladiator. 

No, it’s never going to feel like a Bentley, but the on-road driving experience of Jeeps keeps getting better and better. It’s easy going on the highway without a ton of vibration. The Overland and Sport come standard with 32-inch Bridgestone tires, but the Rubicon comes with 33-inch tires with those Falken all-terrain or mud tires that produce a more discernable vibration. There is a bit of road noise inside the cabin, but even that gets better with every Jeep generation.

All the Gladiator’s off-road capability also comes with available on-road safety features like blind-spot warnings, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning in both the Active and Adaptive safety packages.

Jeep’s UConnect system is intuitive and simple to use — easily one of the best on the market. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard on vehicles equipped with the 7- or 8.4-inch screen. The 7-inch screen is optional on Sport and standard on Overland and Rubicon. The 8.4-inch screen is optional on Overland and Rubicon.

What else comes on the Sport and Overland trim levels?

Additionally, the base Gladiator Sport trim comes with trailer sway control, in-bed cargo lighting, 17-inch steel wheels (all-terrain tires are an option), the Sunrider folding soft top with the sunroof, LED interior lighting, push-button start, a 5-inch display, cloth seats and lockable rear and behind seat storage in the passenger area.

The Sport S trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, power door and tailgate locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, automatic headlamps, leather wrapped steering wheel, tinted windows and illuminated sun visors.

Move up to the Overland and you get power-heated side mirrors, side steps so it’s easier to get into your truck, a vehicle theft alarm protecting the doors and tailgate, the universal garage door opener, and 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.  On the interior you’re treated to dual-zone climate control, that larger 7-inch display screen, and a 115-volt outlet in the center console. There are two more USB and two additional USB-C ports for all your electronics as well. Options include a body-colored hard top, LED lighting and leather-trimmed seats.

Are there any 2020 Jeep Gladiator special editions?

Jeep is also offering a special Launch Edition Gladiator, a fully-loaded Rubicon with body-colored hard top and fender flares and black leather seats with red stitching, in addition to other special badging, additional interior accents and 17-inch mid gloss black wheels with all-terrain Falken tires.

Available in five colors including Billet Silver Metallic and Firecracker Red, all Launch Edition Gladiators will wear an aluminum tailgate badge reading “One of 4,190,” the total limited run number Jeep will produce. The number 419 carries significance to the model as that’s the Toledo, OH, area code and a nod to where both Gladiator and Wrangler are assembled.

The Launch Edition Gladiator will only be offered for pre-order on one day, April 4, Jeep 4×4 day, through an online concierge experience. Pricing on the Launch Edition of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator starts at $60,815 plus $1,495 destination charge.

The Jeep Gladiator is serious eye candy

When we first saw this thing in person the initial reaction was wow, it’s just massively big. We still think that, but it’s also so arresting and so unique looking and we’re huge fans of stuff that’s different. It’s got two soft top and one hard top option. Both can be removed. This is a full-on convertible truck. Let that sink in for a second.  

Its doors are easier than ever to take off. There’s even a special tool kit for that under the left rear passenger seat with instructions easier to figure out than a one-legged Ikea table. The front windshield folds down for that authentic off-road experience. We have a feeling this is going to be one of those vehicles we always turn to look at.

The interior looks and feels familiar to the latest Jeep Wrangler JK generation, with the similar center stack and console. The circle gauges and air vents evoke Jeeps of the past, which is a nice historical touch. It’s rugged inside, and has some comfortable leather wrapped surfaces, but doesn’t feel like it’s going to be a problem when it gets dirty. Notice we said when.

There are some great storage options in the rear, both under and behind the seats. It’s got three seat configurations, regular for passengers, stadium seating when seat cushions are up, and the backs go flat as well. Behind the rear right seat hides an optional wireless speaker for when you want to play romantic music during sunsets. Bravo.

How much will the Gladiator cost and what kind of gas mileage does it get?

There is a $10,000 spread in base price from the entry level 2020 Jeep Gladiator Sport at $33,545 to the rugged Rubicon at $43,545. In between buyers can opt for a Sport S at $36,745 and the Overland, which starts at $40,395. Delivery is $1,495 extra.

The EPA estimates the 3.6-liter with equipped with the automatic transmission will get 17 city and 22 highway miles per gallon, while the manual transmission takes a hit in stop and go traffic with 16 mpg but enjoys better numbers on the highway with 23 mpg.

With the limited number of midsize truck options out there today the 2020 Jeep Gladiator is a unique breath of fresh air. But is it a proper truck in its own right and not just a Wrangler with a bed strapped onto the back? Well, yes and no, because it’s both! Believe us, that yes is the highest compliment you could offer this legitimate work truck. It’s that off-road capable.

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator doesn’t look like anything else in the segment, but it’s true to the Jeep brand. And like its cousin the Wrangler, it’s capable plus, only now you can do real work in it then head out right after to play. No second vehicle required. 

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Putting Off Car Care? Stop Stalling

Overdue for an oil change or a brake inspection? Whatever the service, by postponing necessary maintenance, you may be causing extensive damage to your vehicle and increasing the chance of a breakdown. With National Car Care Month in April upon us, the non-profit Car Care Council suggests you stop stalling and get your vehicle serviced today.

“Many people don’t realize the consequences of putting off needed vehicle maintenance. Not only can neglecting vehicle service cause safety issues if ignored, but it can lead to costly repairs down the road,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “With nearly 80 percent of vehicles needing service, a new part and/or repair, chances are your vehicle could use some extra attention.”

The Car Care Council recommends following a vehicle service schedule, keeping a free copy of the council’s Car Care Guide in the glovebox and performing the most common routine maintenance procedures to keep your vehicle performing at its best.

  • Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
  • Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
  • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  • Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
  • Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety reasons, such as defrosting.
  • Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.

“Be sure to fully inspect your vehicle annually, including performing a tune-up and wheel alignment,” said White. “If you suspect there is a problem, don’t stall and address it quickly before minor repairs become more complicated, expensive repairs.”

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Jeep® Gladiator to reign over Easter Jeep Safari in Moab

Six Jeep® Gladiator-based concept vehicles from the Jeep® and Mopar brands can now be found in and around Moab, inspiring the many off-road enthusiasts attending this year’s Easter Jeep Safari.

Jeep and Mopar designers and engineers captured the brand’s sense of adventure, utility and heritage with the custom-built concept vehicles. These concepts are now being shown for the first time publicly at the 53rd annual gathering of off-roaders in Utah.

“The Moab Easter Jeep Safari provides the perfect venue to interact with and gather feedback from our most loyal and passionate customers – the diehard off-road enthusiasts who attend the event each year,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Jeep Brand – North America. “This year’s Safari will mark the debut of the highly anticipated all-new Jeep Gladiator on Moab’s scenic and demanding trails. To celebrate, we are showcasing six fun and ultra-capable new truck-based Jeep concept vehicles that are certain to turn heads and delight the crowd.”

2018 Moab Easter Jeep Safari Concept Vehicles

The Gladiator-based vehicles are the latest in a long line of concepts Jeep designers and engineers have showcased in Moab. For the past 17 years, it has been a premier location to showcase concept vehicles and accessories in some of the most challenging and scenic terrain in the country.

Jeep enthusiasts who are in Moab for the annual event, and those who virtually follow the trail runs and other Easter Jeep Safari activities, will find vehicles outfitted with a mix of production and prototype Jeep Performance Parts.

Here’s the lineup of unique Jeep vehicles in Moab: 

Jeep Wayout: The Jeep Wayout is a fully capable overlanding concept that takes advantage of the all-new Jeep Gladiator’s best-in-class payload to allow for a full roof-top tent and custom canopy. The Wayout’s exterior features a new Gator Green color that will be available on production models. It also has increased ground clearance and 37-inch mud-terrain tires that harken back to the original Willys pickups.  

Jeep Wayout

Jeep Flatbill: The Flatbill offers the extreme 4×4 capability and utility of the all-new Jeep Gladiator with a nod to Motocross culture through the vented carbon hood and high-clearance flares. There’s also a custom-designed, shortened front bumper and skid plate to improve the approach angle. 

Jeep Flatbill

Jeep Five-Quarter: The tradition of “Resto-Mod” vehicles for Moab continues with a 1968 Jeep M-715 Gladiator-based military vehicle re-imagined with an all-new bobbed six-foot custom-fabricated aluminum bed, new HID and LED lights and a 6.2-liter supercharged “Hellcrate” HEMI(r) V-8 engine.

Jeep Five-Quarter

Jeep J6: A mix of classic Jeep truck styling with concept and production Jeep Performance Parts and accessories from Mopar helps set this concept apart. The Jeep J6 is a Rubicon customized in a two-door configuration with a six-foot functional bed, custom Metallic Brilliant Blue paint, prototype 17-inch beadlock wheels and a removable concept hard top.  

Jeep J6

Jeep JT Scrambler: The Jeep JT Scrambler concept has the look of the early 1980s-era CJ8 Scrambler with a two-inch steel prototype tube sport/roll bar, a concept hard top that is removable and a 3.6-liter engine augmented with a Mopar cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust.

Jeep JT Scrambler

Jeep Gladiator Gravity: This rock-climber-themed Jeep Gladiator concept showcases available-at-launch Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar, including two-inch round steel tube doors, heavy-gauge steel rock rails and seven-inch LED lights.

Jeep Gladiator Gravity

Learn more about the Jeep Gladiator by visiting For more information about Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar, visit

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See stars, climb the mountain at New York’s auto show

Head-turning design, the thrill of a crowd, seeing things from new heights – all are possible at FCA brands at the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the public on Friday, April 19.

What is there to see? If you’re going to be in New York City, get over to the Jacob Javits Convention Center and check out:

The Stars & Stripes editions of the 2019 Dodge Challenger and Charger. The package includes a unique Satin Black and Silver accent center stripe, Satin Black American Flag fender decals, 20 x 9-inch Mid-gloss Black wheels and Black badging. Bronze-colored four-piston Brembo brake calipers come standard on Challenger R/T Scat Pack and Charger Scat Pack models, and are packaged with the Performance Handing Group on GT and R/T models. Inside, there are Gloss Black interior accents, unique Black-on-Black cloth seats with an embroidered Bronze star, Dark Brushed II interior bezels, unique Antique Bronze instrument panel badge and Bronze accent stitching.

All-American Performance: Dodge Salutes U.S. Armed Forces With Stars & Stripes Edition on Challenger and Charger

The warm breezes of spring signal the return of convertible weather. 

FIAT has just the thing with the 2019 Fiat 124 Spider Urbana Edition. Based off the Classica model, the Urbana Edition includes Black Diamond 17-inch aluminum wheels with performance tires, dual bright exhaust tips and Piano Black exterior accents, plus a Gloss Black finish on the front pillar bar bezel, seat-back pillar and mirror caps. The Urbana Edition also offers front fog lamps for enhanced visibility. Inside there are matte gray accents, Urbana leather/microfiber seats and a wrapped instrument cluster hood and instrument panel.

2019 Fiat 124 Spider Urbana Edition

Want to know what it feels like to master the urban jungle, or even the suburban jungle? Then the Camp Jeep ride and drive experience is right for you. Set up just outside the Javits center, you’ll ride along as a Jeep® vehicle tackles a variety of ramps and challenges that demonstrate the benefits of ground clearance, suspension articulation and 4×4 traction.

Jeep fans who haven’t been to an auto show the past few months have the chance to make a real-life inspection of the new 2020 Jeep Gladiator midsize truck at the Jeep stand on Level 1 of the Javits center.

Also on Level 1, near Jeep, are the Chrysler, FIAT and Ram stands, while the Dodge stand is on Level 3 of the complex.

Public days at the New York show run through April 28.

Like many things in New York City, you have to see it to believe it.

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Jeep showing off at the New York Auto Show

FCA had a somewhat smaller presence at the New York Auto Show this year; but, as usual, Jeep dominated before anyone even got into the show, with its off-road simulation course in front of the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.

Jeep Gladiator at New York Auto Show

For this media day, Jeep had their best off-roaders out: two Wranglers, a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, and the new Gladiator pickup. We took the drive in the Gladiator first, then the Trailhawk for comparison; in the past, we’ve done this in the Cherokee as well.

grand cherokee in new york auto show

The course includes a short, sharp rise that raises and lowers the two sides independently, a long steep rise, a steep 30° bank, an irregular shape with relatively sharp edges that could cause severe body damage to many vehicles. It illustrates how the Wrangler and Gladiator, with axle disconnect, can  keep all four wheels down at once, even under extreme conditions; and how other Jeeps can keep traction with just one wheel down.

The ramps are all open steel, which causes traction problems for many cars, but not these. With the Wranglers and Gladiators packing their V6 engines and the Grand Cherokee holding a Hemi, there was also no issue with the slopes.

Some of the angles are sharp enough to cause a bit of queasiness. The Gladiator’s front camera is a welcome addition, because on real trails, it’s not uncommon to have a fine view of your own hood and the sky, and nothing else. Now, you can see where you’re going on the dashboard, if not through the windshield.

The course provides a nice view of the city, from on top of the steepest ramp—which now provides a good demonstration of the Jeep’s speed-holding capability. You can dial in a speed and the Jeep will maintain it for you on steep downhill runs.

The course is fairly short, though for many it may be thrilling, and it gives a good indication of what Jeep is—before you go into the show and see ads for vehicles that may twist apart on the same course, advertising the freedom to make your own path. Many promise; not so many deliver, and Jeep gets the message out before spectators hit the entrance.

FCA Drive for Design Contest Ends April 27th!

The FCA Drive for Design contest was first launched in 2013. At that time, only Detroit-area students were able to enter. Now, open on a national level, more than 25 students have won the contest. This week, we catch up with two past winners, Alex Fischer and Josh Blundo.

In 2014, students were asked to design a vehicle that satisfied the needs of young consumers while remaining eco-friendly. Alex Fischer submitted the winning sketch. The contest gave Alex the confidence he needed to pursue a career in automotive design. In 2017, Alex joined FCA as a design intern in the Dodge//SRT design studio and has since graduated from the College for Creative Studies (CCS).

The following year, in 2015, students were asked to submit a sketch of their vision of the Dodge brand. Josh Blundo took the top prize that year. Josh also joined FCA as a design intern in the Dodge//SRT design studio and is studying at CCS today.

The main goal of the Drive for Design contest is to increase awareness and educate students and parents about the good-paying opportunities available in this field. Many of today’s designers had no idea that automotive design could be a career option and the FCA design team wants to change that.

Think you have what it takes to be a car designer? You have one week left to submit your sketch! The FCA Product Design Team is challenging high school students grades 10-12 to sketch the ultimate status vehicle using any FCA brand.

To learn more about the FCA US Drive for Design Contest and how to enter, visit: