Archive for the ‘dodge charger’ Tag

FCA’s lineup for New York show

While Fiat Chrysler will not be showing any new vehicles at the New York Auto Show, whose press days start tomorrow, the company will bring a wide range of cars and trucks for those who don’t travel the country to see unveilings as they happen.

The most controversial entry is the 2015 Ram Laramie Limited, first shown in Chicago, which Ram called “the benchmark in truck opulence.” From Detroit, Ram is showing the 2015 Ram Rebel, which includes a suspension lift, 33-inch tires, a custom interior, and the first non-crosshair grille in some time.

Alfa Romeo is showing off the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, which follows the coupe version; it has absurdly low weight thanks to a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, allowing it to use a 1.75 liter turbocharged engine to from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds.

As one might expect, the new Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Dodge Challenger will all be shown; each of these cars has a standard eight speed automatic (Challenger also has six-speed manuals for every V8). Among the Challengers will be the 392 Hemi Scat Pack Dodge Challenger Shaker, and both Hellcat Charger and Hellcat Challenger.

Fiat is showing the new 2016 Fiat 500X, a larger-than-500 hatchback, presumably along with the 500L, 500C, and 500.

The Jeep Renegade will be shown, and since it was on the off-road demonstration track in Chicago, we expect it to be in the New York track as well.

Mopar will spotlight four customized models; the Jeep Performance Parts-equipped Jeep Renegade makes the Trailhawk model more trail tough, the Sublime Green Dodge Challenger T/A Concept blends vintage design cues with Mopar parts, the Chrysler 200S Mopar shows a new body kit, and the Fiat 500L Custom has been, as the name indicates, customized.

We also expect Maserati to show off their full line, and Ferrari is bound to be present.

Camp Jeep will return to New York, with an 18-foot high Jeep Mountain and Trail Rated Pass three-wheeling demo. Other interactive rides include the 2015 Dodge Charger racing simulator; 2015 Ram Truck off-road simulator; and Chrysler brand’s “Beneath the Surface” 4-minute, 4D-immersive experience using the Oculus Rift DK2 headset, showcasing how the 2015 Chrysler 200 is made.

The New York Auto Show is held at the Javits Center, which is walking-distance from Penn Station, the midtown ferry, and the 42 bus line; the adventurous can also try to reach it by subway or the Port Authority bus terminal. Public show dates are April 3-12; the show opens every day at 10 am, and closes at 10 pm except on Sundays (7 pm). The cost is $16 anyone 13 and older, $7 for children under 13; there are discounts for adult groups of 20 or more, and for child groups of 10 or more. Annual public attendance is over one million, and the display area is now 950,000 square feet including the new Javits Center North.

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What can we expect from the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T

The new Dodge Charger R/T is like the high-school athlete whose brothers have gone on to star in college and pro ranks. Indeed, with the formidable Hellcat V-8 and the SRT 392 hogging the spotlight, the kid brother’s credentials pale. After all, the 392 packs 485 horsepower and the Hellcat lays a 707-horse smackdown, heady numbers that could make one perceive the R/T’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 as a little tame.

Do not be deceived. Unless you have an insatiable appetite for shredding tires, the 5.7’s output—370 horsepower, 395 lb-ft of torque—will satisfy most needs for speed. Okay, the R/T is governed to a mere 145 mph versus the Hellcat’s 204, but you’ll still reach the Chinese takeout place before they pack up your food, and 5.1 seconds to 60 mph will leave most sedans gasping for breath.

Track Pack Plus

Surprisingly, given its mass, the R/T has a good dynamic résumé. The driver is aware of the substantial, two-plus-ton curb weight, but the Charger’s chassis tuning mitigates that number very well.

Thanks to a rigid unibody, the basic Charger R/T nicely manages yaw, pitch, and roll. But those who love to drive are advised to get the 29R Customer Preferred pack, which upgrades the car, as it did on our test example, to Road & Track spec. Doing so means a cornucopia of goodies including the Super Track Pak sport suspension; the Road & Track Performance Group with more aggressive throttle mapping, revised traction control (higher intervention threshold), heavy-duty brakes, 20-inch aluminum wheels, and sportier rubber (245/45 Goodyear Eagle RS-A2 all-season performance tires); and Dodge’s Performance Pages software, which allows the driver to track acceleration, cornering, and a variety of other numeric markers.

There’s a lot of other desirable stuff crammed into the 29R package, too, including nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats (heated front chairs come on every R/T), a power tilt and telescope steering column, a heated steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, and heated power mirrors, to hit a few high spots. At $3000 for all the foregoing equipment, it’s a must-have bargain collection.

Augmented by all the Track Pack goodies, the R/T dances even more remarkably well for a big car, the combination of quick (2.5 turns lock-to-lock), gratifyingly accurate electric power steering and firm suspension making it easy to place the car precisely where the driver wishes. And there’s enough grip to inspire confidence in very fast cornering.

It’s also very easy to develop affection for the eight-speed automatic. Shifts in the Charger aren’t quite as whap-whap quick as those delivered by some of the very best dual-clutch automatics, but one could call them deliberate, and in manual mode the transmission will hold the selected gear against redline—no autonomous upshifting.

The eight-speed is new for this year and slightly enhances EPA fuel economy versus last year’s five-speed unit, adding 1 mpg to the car’s city rating. That means 16 mpg in urban environs and 25 on the highway, on midgrade fuel, which is pretty good for a big V-8. We averaged 18 mpg in mixed driving. Would economy go up if the Hemi were fitted with direct fuel injection? Probably. But fuel economy isn’t a high priority for Hemi fans, nor for cars operating in this performance realm.

The car doesn’t have many demerits, and those it does have aren’t deal-breakers. We’ve already mentioned mass; cutting the curb weight would further improve handling and efficiency. The suspension tuning that gives the R/T its athletic reflexes can be a little stiff on gnarly pavement, and while grip—0.86 g—isn’t exactly a weak suit, it could be improved by a set of real summer performance tires.

Such tires would probably improve the braking performance, too, as 170 feet from 70 mph is long for a car with sports-sedan pretense. We detected no real fade in the system, but the pedal did begin to go a little soft after repeated hard stops.

The Right Stuff

Considered in standard trim and before its 2015 refresh, the Charger ranked behind mainstream sedan offerings like the Toyota Avalon and the Chevy Impala in our comparison test. But for the owner who wants a strong performance component in the everyday drive, the new R/T has the right stuff for an agreeable $33,990 starting MSRP.

Our test car got expensive quickly, however. In addition to the $3000 Preferred/R&T stuff (again, don’t leave the showroom without it), it had $6975 of additional options. These included $995 for Beats audio gear; $1795 for the Technology Group (rain-sensing wipers, auto high beams, and safety nannies); $295 for Driver Confidence equipment (blind-spot and cross-path warning, exterior puddle lamps); and $695 for navigation, infotainment goodies, and a backup camera. Our car also was fitted with a power sunroof ($1195), Redline Red paint ($500), and a black-painted roof ($1500).

The grand total came to $43,965. That’s more than the cheap-speed $40,990 R/T Scat Pack, although still well shy of the $48,380 Charger SRT 392. (The wild and wooly Hellcat opens at $64,990.) In any case, there do seem to be some opportunities for whittling. Okay, the red paint is probably important, as it emphasizes the aggressive styling. On the other hand, do you really need the safety technology, puddle lamps, or the black roof?

Options notwithstanding, this Charger figures as an underappreciated performance bargain in a full-size sedan. It’s everyday useful and ready to rock every day.

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No 2015 Super Bee

Allpar member “redriderbob” wrote that he spoke with Tim Kuniskis at the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat launch; Mr. Kiniskis, who heads Dodge, said that the SRT brand structure is too confusing with SRT Core models, Super Bees, special edition packages on Charger, and such; it is difficult for the customer to know what kind of models they are looking at, and it is hard for sales staff at dealerships to learn the chaos.

According to the member, the Super Bee’s last year will be 2014, and he is “aligning the Charger and Challenger options to be identical.” The Super Bee and Core will be replaced by the Scat Pack 392, which “adds more content at a lower, more affordable price for the customer. It will be the best value four-door muscle car on the market.”

When asked if the days of the 392 were limited, he stated, “Absolutely not! People that don’t have the need for the extreme power of the Hellcat, but want a great handling muscle car with great power will be able to have the regular SRT392 model. There will be enough content in both Charger and Challenger SRT 392 models to keep them very separate and desirable for the customer who wants it.”

When asked why Dodge had not said much about 2015 Chargers other than the R/T and police pursuit editions, Mr. Kuniskis said they wanted to fully focus on the launch of the 2015 Dodge Challenger, and that the rest of the Charger lineup would be unveiled in the next month or so. All Chargers other than Hellcat (slated for January production) will be available by the end of the year.

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The full Dodge Challenger line, on the road and track: SXT to Hellcat

Largely overlooked as the media and public focus on the 707-horespower Hellcat Challenger is the standard 392 car, still a highly respectable package with a great deal of power. This was the first of the 2015 Dodge Challengers I took out on a road course in Portland, with a good mix of curves, straights, streets, and freeways.

With Track mode, at first it felt too heavy, but after driving with it for a while, I decided that I would probably end up using that daily. It was firm, but not too firm. If I lived in a pothole prone area, I might change my tune on that a bit, but with the mostly smooth roads we have out here, it’s just fine, especially if you enjoy “spirited” driving.

I grew to love that car in that trip. If I had my choice, I might well pick an SRT 392 over a Hellcat. The overall look and balance of the car that suits me. Enough power to have a ton of fun, and still be quicker than 99% of the cars on the road, but not so much that you are afraid to drive it at 10/10ths all the time.

At the track, my first car was a Challenger hellcat. Jim, the lead Portland Raceway instructor, said, “This car rewards smooth driving, and patience. If you are a herky jerky driver, and are impatient, you will not be able to drive this car well at all.”

They had the Hellcats all in Street mode for both traction control and suspension to help prevent drivers whose confidence exceeded their ability from destroying one of these cars, and to keep them from hurting themselves or someone else.

If you don’t stay fairly close to the wall, the track will tend to suck you out into the weeds. In the dry, the Hellcats were seeing 140 there. My first time through at speed in the wet, I was at 110. By the last set of laps on the day, I touched 130 there.

About half way through that wall hugging back straight/sweeper, the race surface has some ripples to it that unsettle the chassis. Not so big a deal in the dry, but very unnerving in the wet, especially when you have a car that can break the tires loose at will at anything below 100mph in the wet.

Entering the straight for the first time at speed, I finally rolled into the Hellcat hard in 3rd gear for the first time. We were using the red key, so all 707hp and 650 ft/lbs of torque was available to me. Past 3/4 throttle in 3rd gear I was starting to get tire spin, Jim suggested I short-shift it to keep the torque down and lessen the tire spin potential. Suggestion followed. Dang! It works like a champ.

Up into 5th just before the braking zone. Hard on those superb brakes, 20% to set the car, 80% to slow it, then back to 20% for the corner. Downshifting at the same time as well, from 5th, to 4th, down to 3rd. I could have probably gone to 2nd in the dry, but that would have just been tire spin city in the wet. So, about 2000 rpm in 3rd rounding the sharp left of turn 2, gently rolling into the throttle across the changing track surface, till it smooths, roll on it hard for a second, then on the brakes again to slow for the upcoming right. Still in 3rd gear, you maintain the throttle through the sweeper and through the transition into the off camber left sweeper that makes you wait and wait until you can apply power again.

I found the dry spot on the track, rolled into the power hard till the braking cones ahead. Brake, right, whoa squirrelly, lift gently and wait to apply throttle till the car is pointed straight, dangit! Roll into 4th, 5th right as we cross the bumpy part of the back stretch, braking cones fast approaching, downshift, brake, downshift, turn left, roll into it a bit, brake slightly, turn right on the entrance to the sweeper for the front straight. Rinse and repeat, and learn from your mistakes.

The hardest part about driving that car hard in the wet is the urge to use the throttle while in a turn or turning. All that will do is pivot the car around in the wrong way. So it’s almost a tension, a strain, to not over use the throttle.

I had an interesting conversation with an SRT chassis engineer about the wheel hop. It comes down to tires and bushings. The factory has to use tires that will last a certain number of miles, with bushing material that does both damping of noise and resists displacement. For tires, noise damping usually wins out over displacement; these vehicles are built to the general public’s standard, not the enthusiast’s standard. If you use harder tires, it will lessen the hop, if you use softer tires, it will lessen the hop. If you could get more deflection resistant bushings for the rear suspension pieces it would lessen the hop, but at the factory level, none of that can be done because of the other criteria that those components have to meet. Good enough answer for me, and makes a ton of sense.

I then drove an SRT 392. The Hellcats I had been driving were stick cars (the autos were hard to get a ride in) so I was also very keen to try the ZF 8 speed out as well. I set everything to track mode in the SRT Performance Pages, got myself settled, and waited.

Here is the car that can be driven at 10/10ths at all times. I only had one guy in front of me, he was in a Scat Pack. I had caught up to him on the warmup lap, and passed him on the front straight at the beginning of lap 2. The ZF automatic is great for braking, as you can just pop the left lever to get engine braking downshifts while climbing all over those same brakes that the Hellcat wears. And then roll hard back into the throttle, and pop the right lever to upshift when you want, or just leave it be and the computer get it done.

The computer is pretty spot on. Half the time I was getting it just before it would do it on its own, the other half of the time it was just getting there as I was ready to bump it myself. By the end of the 4th lap, I was only a straightaway behind the last car behind. I don’t know how much time I made up on them, but I was flying in comparison. I got out with a huge grin on my face and a spring to my step. That was a great feeling.

I had an absolute blast with that one. The Hellcat was hard work to drive fast. The SRT 392 was just a hoot to drive fast. I am not sure that the Hellcat would have been any quicker on this day. I know I had a huge grin when I got out of the SRT 392, whereas getting out of the Hellcats it was more akin to relief at not dying this time out.

I did have a chance to take each of the “lesser” cars out:

The SXT felt nice. It was pretty Spartan, and honestly, I can agree with the complaints about the small face radio. The 5” thing has no place in the middle of that big opening. The V6, while not a powerhouse, is certainly adequate for moving the Challenger around. The shifts seemed kind of mushy to me, but on reflecting back, I had just gotten out of a SRT392 in track mode shifting, and that’s so crisp and quick, that it would make a light switch seem mushy. So for the average commuter, that is just looking for a dang good looking car, with enough power to be enjoyable, and still return good mileage, the SXT is your car. I would however recommend stepping up to the Track Pack package on the car. It lowers the ride height by 1/2”, and gives you the paddle shifters that are fun to use. I believe it also gives rev matching downshifts.

Next up was the 5.7 R/T. I have spent many thousands of miles driving an 2009 R/T Challenger; it feels pretty much the same as far as power goes, though the 8 speed does, along with the revised suspension bits, make the car seem more connected than the previous generation. Again, I would recommend the Track Pack for added driving enjoyment. This is a perfect car for someone who wants a middle of the road solution. More power and options than the SXT level, but still wants to maintain a modicum of mileage capability.

R/T Scat Pack 392. This is basically the old SRT Core model, but for less money, and more content. This is your bang for the buck car, the truest muscle car of the bunch frankly. Big engine, few options, brash looks. Same power as the SRT 392, but with the last generation brakes, a two mode suspension, and not all the trick toys. It does however share the exhaust system so you get that same rock band soundtrack. The Shaker version is the sharpest looking in my opinion, and you can at least option the Scat Pack cars with the red suede inserts.

If you want to go fast in a relatively straight line for as budget minded as you can be, this is your ride. This is today’s 383 Road Runner/ Super Bee. It is entirely possible that this car could be quicker on a drag strip than the SRT 392. Not by much, but by some. The added options and such in the SRT392 will tend to slow it down some in comparison to the more Spartan Scat Pack car.

SRT 392. The SRT 392 strikes such a balance of power, poise and overall performance, that it really is a shame that it is being so overshadowed by its belligerent big brother. The Hellcat is phenomenal, but this SRT 392 is something else altogether. It benefits from the Hellcat suspension and brakes, while not gaining the weight of all the supercharger bits and supporting pieces. It has its own, unique hood, that SRT claims was based off of the Viper GTS hood, but all I see is AAR ’Cuda when I see that hood on an E-body shape.

Where the Hellcat is Thor’s hammer, ready to decimate small villages with a single blow, the SRT 392 could be likened more to a jeweler’s hammer. Just the right size, not to heavy, not too light, with the ability to craft such beautiful works that it dazzles the mind. Is it so terrible that we have this and the monster that is the Hellcat to choose from? Please do not overlook this car if you are shopping in this price range.

Hellcat. That word alone has already made such a huge impression on the automotive world, that by itself, the word evokes thoughts of brutal power, unyielding force, and a general toughness that so eloquently describe this car. Pick your poison, stick shift for those that want to truly master and tame the beast, or a superb automatic, for those that want to get every last bit out of this monster that can be extracted.

If you want the baddest of the bad, the best of the best, and are unafraid to have your lion taming chair and whip at the ready every time to start this ’Cat, then this is your calling. This car is not for the faint of heart. While it can be driven civilly, and can be civil, it is in no way shape or form tame. It really is akin to someone taking a baby wild tiger cub into their home. Yes, they can train it to be nice, yes it will socialize, and yes, it will most likely never be an issue. But, after it’s fully grown, at its heart, and always within a microsecond of reaction or a mistake on your part, it is a wild, untamed beast that with one swipe or bite can kill you. This car should come with a manual that on the outside has a wrapper, which says “Handle with Caution!”

I might be slightly overstating it to get a point across, but I want to leave the impression that this car is too much for most people to handle. Chrysler has done a phenomenal job in taming this beast. But even they admit (Tim Kusinikis) that this car is for the 5%. Not the 5% that can afford it though, the 5% that knows how to responsibly use the power. Because, there will always be that temptation to use the red key and find out what it will do. Regrettably, I think that possibly, not many Hellcats will make it to their tenth birthday.

The car is an absolute wonder, it can do amazing things, is more exciting to drive than a box full of fireworks that has caught on fire, and, in the right hands, will be an absolutely brutal opponent in the car wars that are the drag strip and the standing mile, and even on Road Race courses. If you relish a challenge, then the Dodge SRT Hellcat Challenger has growled its response to that challenge.

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Dodge and SRT belong together!

Among the moves unveiled during the recent Investor Day program for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, shifting the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) group into the Dodge brand perked up the ears of driving enthusiasts.

The change means the Viper high-performance sports car returns to the brand where it was born in 1993. Also, throughout SRT’s history the majority of its products have come from the Dodge stable.

With Dodge now positioned as the Chrysler Group’s performance brand, bringing SRT into the fold is a natural move, says Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group CEO.

“Dodge is a performance brand, it needs to have SRT attached to it,” Marchionne said on May 13 while attending a transmission plant opening event in Indiana.

He added: “So in the next five years you will see the portfolio purified and strengthened by removing the minivan, the Avenger, the replacement of the Journey with something else that matches the DNA of Dodge. But that needs the completion at the top end with SRT. And SRT will complete Dodge. It will make it the specialist performance piece of the performance brand.”

SRT will maintain its current momentum under the leadership of Dodge Brand President and CEO Tim Kuniskis. The passionate and popular Ralph Gilles, who served as SRT brand chief, continues in his roles as Chrysler Group design chief and head of motorsports.

“He’s still going to be leading the design of the cars,” Marchionne said. “That’s a huge strength in that field.”

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Asked about the Viper, Marchionne said: “It’s going to be the top end of the extended Dodge family. It will be a Viper but managed by Dodge. The fangs will always be unique.”

The fate of Charger R/T AWD

In the past, Dodge has combined the Hemi engine with all wheel drive (AWD) for better launches and improved rain and snow handling in the Charger R/T AWD. Indeed, for 2014, even police cars were made available with the combination of Hemi and AWD. For 2015, however, AWD is being restricted to V6 cars.  This led to speculation about whether the issue was lack of space, drivetrain weakness, or scheduling — whether the V8/AWD combination was going to be available, but later.

Allpar’s Jim Choate contacted Ralph Gilles, SRT and motorsports chief, and asked for the reason. Mr. Gilles replied that the issue was a “very low take rate” — few customers chose the combination of V8 and all wheel drive. Mr. Gilles’ guess was that “most V8 lovers like a good powerslide once in a while,” adding that Dodgedoesn’t officially endorse such behavior.

So far, there has been no word about what the police can expect from the 2015 Dodge Charger. Most likely, the V6/AWD combination will be available to compete with Ford’s AWD cute-utes, and the five-speed automatic will be dropped; through 2014, the five-speed was the sole transmission available for police cars, even with the V6. Reliable source oh2o suggested that the police might even be able to get a Hemi AWD combination.

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Lease a 2014 Dodge Charger or Challenger Now, Swap It for Updated 2015 Next Year

Dodge has introduced a program that allows customers to sign a 12-month lease on a 2014 Charger sedan or Challenger coupe, then return in a year and get the same payment on a three-year lease—with no added money down—on the significantly refreshed 2015 model.

If customers want to purchase their 2015 at the end of the 36-month term, they’ll receive $1000 bonus cash toward the transaction.        

The heavily updated 2015 Charger sedan and 2015 Challenger coupe bowed this week in New York, and Dodge says the deal applies to any 2015 Charger excluding the SE and SRT models, and any 2015 Challenger except the SRT. Furthermore, customers can even switch from the Charger to the Challenger, or vice versa, which could come in handy if your life changes drastically (kids on the way, etc.).

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Next Dodge Challenger Might Overpower the Viper V10

The race to claim the highest horsepower rating has been alive and well in the world of muscle cars since the beginning, but it looks like Chrysler is facing an internal horsepower race.

A new 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8 known as the Hellcat is being put together for the next-generation SRT-tuned Dodge Challenger, and it is creating debate within Chrysler because its horsepower rating may eclipse the 640 hp found in the flagship Viper’s naturally aspirated V10.

“We have a situation where the flagship car is not the most powerful car in our arsenal … how do we explain that to ourselves? So we have an internal horsepower race as well as an external one,” Says Ralph Gilles, CEO of SRT to Hot Rod.

If the Hellcat wants to do battle with the Ford Mustang GT500′s 662 hp and the Chevy Camaro ZL1′s 580 hp, it will have to be very close to the stepping on the Viper’s toes.

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2014 Dodge Dart – Review

The Dodge Dart is now in its second model year, and the car that replaced the Caliber hatchback is already benefiting from some change. A new 2.4-liter four-cylinder is slowly making its way into new, high-trim cars, leaving the existing engine options–both, smaller four-cylinders–on the less desirable end of the spectrum.

The Dart, you might know, is Chrysler’s first compact car since it extinguished the Neon in the early 2000s. By interior volume, the Dart’s almost a mid-sizer, and it feels like it. But for marketing purposes, mostly price, it’s a competitor for compact cars we know and love–cars like the Mazda 3, Ford Focus, and Hyundai Elantra.

In terms of style, the Dart is the halfway point between the current Dodge Charger and a mint-condition, old-school Neon. It’s larger than the Neon, but the proportions are similar–with a wide stance and a low cowl–but it’s brawnier like the Charger, especially from the rear. With its flowing dashboard, the Dart’s interior leans toward the sporty end of the spectrum. Well-equipped models come with an 8.4-inch display for the navigation, climate and audio controls, and a smaller screen displaying vehicle information sits between the gauges in the instrument cluster.

At the wheel, the Dart’s seats are comfortable front and rear, and the seating position isn’t as low as you’d expect from the car’s lines. Soft-touch materials on most parts of the dash coordinate nicely with harder plastic elements, though big swathes of hard black textured plastic still crop up in a couple of places inside the littlest Dodge.

The styling says the Dart is a performance car, but whether the car lives up to that expectation depends on your engine choice. The standard 160-horsepower 2.0-liter four is simply underpowered in this heavy compact. A 2.0-liter Dart feels significantly slower than competitors in the most demanding duties, like merging into heavy freeway traffic on an uphill ramp while heavily loaded. Opt for the turbocharged 160-hp 1.4-liter engine, however, and you’ll find more torque, better acceleration, and a sportier, more responsive drive. But you’ll have to keep your foot firmly into the accelerator to make it happen.

Like many cars with six-speed transmissions, the Dart is tuned to keep the engine running below 2,000 rpm under steady load, for best fuel economy. The 1.4-liter gives you power, but not until it revs past 3,000 rpm–which may mean not one but two downshifts. The 184-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder is now the standard engine in SXT, Limited and GT models, while a 41-mpg version of 1.4-liter is mated to a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic in Aero model cars.

For gas mileage, the 1.4-liter turbo Dart is rated at 27 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 32 mpg. The base 2.0-liter model gets a combined rating of 29 mpg, with both those figures being for the six-speed manual gearbox version. There’s also a Dart Aero model coming with extra tweaks for slightly higher fuel efficiency.

The Dart has achieved what’s essentially a bulls-eye in U.S. crash-test ratings–with top five-star ratings overall from the federal government and Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That combination makes it one of the highest-rated cars for safety in this class–next to only the Honda Civic. The car comes standard with 10 airbags, along with the usual suite of electronic safety systems and also both blind-spot alert and cross-traffic detection, which are new to the compact segment. Outward visibility is admirable–far from the case in these days of strengthened roofs for rollover safety.

The 2014 Dodge Dart starts at $15,995 for the base-level SE model, and SXT, Aero and GT trims are available. On top of that you’ll have to add the mandatory $795 delivery fee, plus options from a lengthy list of ways to accessorize and personalize the Dart–which can be ordered in more than 100,000 different combinations, Dodge says.

On Styling
The 2013 Dodge Dart is distinctive and fresh, though you can see elements of the brawny Charger muscle sedan and cheerful old Neon.

The 2014 Dodge Dart doesn’t look like all the other compact sedans, thankfully. Whether in visual proportions or in up-close details, the Dart strikes a refreshingly different pose—class that includes plenty of lookalikes.

If you’re a good car-spotter, you might see the Dart as a halfway point between the current generation Dodge Charger and a mint-condition, old-school Neon. Its cowl isn’t actually any lower than in other cars, but its wide stance, lower fender tops, and long flowing roofline make it look larger and lower. By design, it’s neither as boxy and upright as the Chevy Cruze nor as slab-sided as the Ford Focus sedan. And in back, there’s an upright, chiseled kick that nods to Dodge’s muscle cars, like the Challenger and Charger, with a full-width taillight cluster that offers the option of fitting 152 LED lights inside. The exhaust tips are large 3-inch oval shapes in the rear apron, unlike more basic compacts that use only a single exhaust pipe.

In all, it’s far more extroverted than the likes of the Hyundai Elantra, or even the new 2014 Toyota Corolla. The styling says the Dart is a performance car, but whether the car lives up to that expectation depends on your engine choice.

Inside the Dart, the dash is businesslike yet flowing and sculpted. Dodge’s designers said they intended users to have fun while looking at the shapes, and perhaps the most noticeable feature is what they call the “floating island” center bezel–an oblong instrument panel and control surface, essentially.

With its flowing dashboard, the Dart’s interior leans toward the sporty end of the spectrum. Well-equipped models come with an 8.4-inch display for the navigation, climate and audio controls, and a smaller screen displaying vehicle information sits between the gauges in the instrument cluster.

On Performance
The 2014 Dodge Dart remains full of delights and letdowns; go for the rev-happier 1.4T if you want driving fun, as the base 2.0-liter feels anemic here.

The 2014 Dodge Dart might appear to be a performance car, although whether it lives up to that expectation or not depends on which trim level (and engine) you choose.

The standard 160-horsepower 2.0-liter four is simply underpowered in this heavy compact, and its ‘TigerShark’ name is a bit misleading. It puts out 148 lb-ft of torque, it fall flat of expectations in this car that weighs about 3,300 pounds—considerably more than some of its rivals. In more demanding driving, whether it’s quick acceleration from a stoplight or merging into fast-flowing freeway traffic from uphill ramps, the 2.0-liter Dart feels significantly slower than most competitors.

The optional turbocharged 1.4-liter MultiAir engine puts out the same 160 hp, but 184 lb-ft of torque, and is considerably more entertaining to drive. The catch is that this engine also feels sluggish below 2,500 rpm; you’d better enjoy driving like an Italian, which is to say keeping your foot in the engine and routinely revving it from 3,000 to 6,000 rpm, because that’s where the power is. (Yes, gas mileage suffers as a result).

There’s a third engine option that might be the sweetest, although we still haven’t driven any Dart with it: The 184-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder is now standard in SXT, Limited and GT models.

Across the board, you can pair these with a Fiat-sourced six-speed manual gearbox. The non-turbo engines can also be ordered with a six-speed automatic transmission (provided, surprisingly, by Hyundai), while you can get the 1.4 turbo with a six-speed dual-clutch (automatic) gearbox as well.

We have one cautionary note about drivability: To eke out every last point of fuel economy, the transmissions are all seemingly tuned to keep the engines below 2,000 rpm in most circumstances—with tall gearing. That means that when power’s needed, not one but two downshifts are required—and the driver has to learn to anticipate and plan for that. It might not be so happy in hilly terrain.

The news is better on the handling and suspension front. The weight that hurts performance gives the car a nice planted feel, and Dodge has managed to imbue the electric power steering with enough feedback and road feel.

On Quality
The Dart is comfortable, spacious, and well designed inside; it rides well too, although tire roar can be an issue.

If the 2014 Dart seems a little bigger than you expected, that’s no mistake. Based on its interior volume, the EPA actually classifies it as a mid-size sedan—and by the numbers it’s right in the ballpark with its assumed bigger sibling, the Dodge Avenger.

That said, both the front and rear seats are very comfortable, and the cabin feels as wide as that of any competitor. The seating position is a little higher than in other compact sedans, with the driving position more legs-out than typical, but lower seat cushions are wide and long enough, yet supportive for a wide range of sizes.

Trunk space is surprisingly abundant, although the opening is quite small and constricted; for larger items you’ll need to use the wide-opening rear doors and split folding rear seatbacks.

The Dart has quite a lot of useful storage pockets, cubbies, and trays in the door and console. And the glovebox is large enough to accept a laptop computer. There’s also a storage compartment available in the front passenger seat, although some passengers noticed its reinforced cloth pull-tab.

Most interior surfaces are covered in soft-touch plastics, with color and texture used as accents–which matches the car’s sporty flavor–more than the more traditional wood and chrome. The softer materials match well with the harder plastics in places like the door pockets, though on the lower dash there are a few broad swathes of hard-textured black plastic that echo the bad old days.
Engine noise is a little more prominent than in other compact sedans, whether with the 1.4T or the 2.0-liter engine, but otherwise the Dart is relatively peaceful and quiet. There’s a fair amount of road noise on some surfaces, although it probably ranks as one of the quieter cars of its kind.

Dodge says it’s taken great care with the quality of its materials, including the operating mechanisms of its dashboard vents, and there’s a huge improvement over the Chrysler products of the past.

One surprise is that there’s no auto-up feature on at least the driver’s window–a feature that should be standard equipment on every car in our opinion.

On Safety
Ten standard airbags plus crash-test results that are almost unanimously top-notch mean this is one of the safest small-car picks.

The Dart has achieved what’s essentially a bulls-eye in U.S. crash-test ratings–with top five-star ratings overall from the federal government and Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). That combination makes it one of the highest-rated cars for safety in this class–next to only the Honda Civic.

Every 2014 Dodge Dart comes standard with 10 airbags, along with the usual suite of electronic safety systems and also both blind-spot alert and cross-traffic detection, which are new to the compact segment. Outward visibility is admirable–far from the case in these days of strengthened roofs for rollover safety.

There’s one area where the Dart could have done better, and that’s in the new IIHS small overlap frontal test, where it achieved a second-best ‘acceptable’ rating. Chrysler notes that the car’s frame uses 68 percent high-strength steels.

We appreciate how Dodge has considered outward visibility with the Dart—both with a high-enough driving position, and with the glass triangular third window behind the door windows on each side. Some other compacts could take a few lessons.

On Features
With several class-exclusive features and lots of personalization options, the 2014 Dart impresses even in its crowded compact-car field.

Dodge claims that the Dart can be equipped in more than 100,000 different build combinations—a boast that should give buyers plenty of opportunity to find the 2014 Dart that suits them best.

While many rival models (like the Kia Forte or Hyundai Accent) are sold in a very limited number of builds, with just a few option packaged, Dodge has “unbundled” its most popular options so buyers can mix and match at will—and it says it can deliver a specially ordered car in 30 to 45 days.

The 2014 Dodge Dart starts at $15,995 for the base-level SE model, and SXT, Aero and GT trims are available.

The base-level Dart SE features 16-inch wheels and tires and power windows, but forgoes air conditioning. It also has manual windows and door locks, cloth seats, and an AM/FM radio with four speakers. Next up is the SXT, which adds premium cloth trim and door panel trim, a center console, keyless entry, a six-speaker AM/FM radio, air conditioning, and 17-inch alloy wheels and tires. Options include a nine-speaker premium audio system, the 1.4-liter turbo engine, a sunroof, a rather nice dark-grey “denim” interior fabric, and the latest Uconnect infotainment system, which includes an 8.4-inch center touchscreen.

Above that is the Dart Rallye model, starting at $18,995, with a unique front fascia, 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, fog lamps, premium cloth seats, and steering-wheel audio controls.

The Dart Limited—essentially the luxury model of the lineup—adds to the Rallye a chrome grille, contrast interior stitching, a power six-way driver’s seat, a 7-inch Thin Film Transistor instrument cluster, extra gauges, active grille shutters, and an array of standard and optional features that include 17-inch polished aluminum wheels, high-intensity discharge (HID) headlamps, Nappa leather, heated front seats and steering wheel, and cross-path collision detection. Limited models for 2014 all include the automatic transmission and get the navigation and Uconnect system standard, as well as keyless entry with push-button start.

The top of the range is the high-performance Dart GT, which includes the higher-output 2.4-liter engine along with a host of appearance extras.
There’s also the Dart Aero model. It’s essentially an SXT model with additional fuel economy features–including low-rolling resistance tires, some mild aerodynamic enhancements, and lighter-weight suspension components.

On Green
Gas mileage for the 2014 Dodge Dart remain unimpressive–and we haven’t seen frugal real-world numbers from the 1.4T.

The 2014 Dodge Dart achieves the best gas mileage of any other vehicle in the Chrysler group; but among small cars, it’s nothing especially noteworthy.

The 1.4-liter turbo Dart is rated at 27 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 32 mpg. The base 2.0-liter model gets a combined rating of 29 mpg, with both those figures being for the six-speed manual gearbox version.

There’s also a mileage-minded Dart Aero model; it provides better city and highway mileage through lower weight and better aerodynamics. The Dart Aero is lighter than the standard 1.4-liter model with six-speed manual, with forged aluminum suspension components replacing some steel parts, and it has some small aerodynamic aids along with low-rolling resistance tires. Fuel economy is as high as 41 mpg highway.
Dodge notes that it uses seven different underbody panels to smooth airflow under the car, along with fitting active grille shutters to some models to block airflow through the engine compartment when cooling demands are low. All these items reduce aerodynamic drag.

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100 Years of Dodge Performance: Challenger & Charger Limited Editions

Limited-edition Charger and Challenger Models Commemorate 100 Years of Dodge Performance and Heritage


When John and Horace Dodge developed America’s first mass-produced all-steel-bodied cars in 1914, the brothers set a new record for the most first-model-year automobiles ever produced (45,033 cars). One-hundred years later, the Dodge Brother’s legacy is thriving as Dodge has become America’s youngest and fastest-growing brand – powered by the performance of the legendary Charger and Challenger, the new Durango, the ultimate “no compromise SUV,” the world-class new Dart, the ever-versatile Grand Caravan, America’s best-selling minivan, and the innovation, ingenuity and efficiency of Journey and Avenger.

Now, to celebrate 100 years of Dodge performance and heritage, the brand is offering special editions of two of its most iconic vehicles. New 2014 Dodge Charger and Challenger 100th Anniversary Editions will arrive at dealerships in the first quarter of 2014 with world-class power and performance, innovative technology features and bold muscle-car styling with commemorative design details inspired by the brand’s heritage.

“The Dodge Charger and Challenger are the perfect foundation to celebrate 100 years of Dodge style and performance,” said Tim Kuniskis, President and CEO — Dodge Brand. “Over the last century, the Dodge brand has seen its biggest success when we’ve combined head-turning designs with ingenious engineering and world-class performance. These two iconic muscle cars do all of that and more. They represent the Dodge brand’s heart and soul.”

The new 2014 Charger and Challenger 100th Anniversary Editions are loaded with unique style, technology and commemorative features. They deliver up to 31 miles per gallon (mpg) with the standard Pentastar V-6 engine and sprints to 60 miles per hour in under 6 seconds, thanks to the available legendary 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine that produces 375 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque. They also feature world-renowned innovations like Uconnect and the segment-exclusive ZF
eight-speed automatic transmission.

Both of these limited production vehicles will share several unique visual elements, both outside and in, including exclusive availability of a new “High Octane” red pearl coat paint, all-new 20-inch aluminum wheels, commemorative badging, unique key fob and a special limited-edition owner’s kit and a commemorative book that celebrates 100 years of Dodge heritage.

Dodge Charger 100th Anniversary Edition models
With the Charger, Dodge delivers the world’s only four-door muscle car, and the 2014 Charger 100th Anniversary Edition celebrates the brand’s centennial with uniquely designed appointments to complement the sedan’s world-class power, handling, technology and iconic style.

For a bold look, the 2014 Dodge Charger 100th Anniversary Editions are available in Pitch Black, Bright White, Billet Silver, Granite Crystal, Ivory Tri-Coat, Phantom Black Tri-Coat, Header Orange, and for this special occasion, all-new and exclusive High Octane Red Pearl Coat paint. With any of the colors, all-new 20 x 8-inch polished five-spoke aluminum wheels with Granite Crystal pockets and a matching Granite Crystal Dodge split-crosshair grille provide a striking look to the classic Coke-bottle shape. Stylistic appointments to commemorate the brand’s century include “Dodge Est. 1914” bar-style front-fender badges and special Dodge “100” logo on the center caps. Additional exterior appointments include a body-color rear spoiler and on models with the legendary HEMI and a red “R/T” heritage
grille badge.

Exclusive interior appointments are designed to make the 2014 Dodge Charger 100th Anniversary Edition stand out. Dodge designers were inspired by the rich history of Dodge and sought to outfit the interior with premium attributes that reflect the patina and machinist legacy of John and Horace Dodge. All-new Molten Red or Foundry Black Nappa leather with a custom cloud overprint wraps the sport seats, center console armrest and door armrests. A unique three-spoke flat-bottom performance steering wheel features die-cast paddle shifters for added driver control. For an industrial appearance, leather-wrapped surfaces are sewn together with brass-colored accent stitching. Dark Brushed Graphite center console bezels and Liquid Graphite steering-wheel accents provide a premium look. Interior appointments designed to commemorate the brand’s centenary include die-cast “Dodge Est. 1914” circular badges on front seatbacks and an embroidered anniversary logo on premium floor mats. All-new instrument panel cluster graphics feature unique black-face gauges with white indication and stand-out red “100” mph indication for this special occasion. And to play up that this is no ordinary Charger, the Electronic Vehicle Information Center and Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen feature a unique startup image, evoking the industrious nature of Detroit.

Paired with the award-winning Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen is Beats by Dr. Dre audio technology, standard on 2014 Dodge Charger 100th Anniversary Edition models. This segment-exclusive sound experience includes 10-speakers and a 12-channel 552 watt amplifier that integrates Beats proprietary equalizer algorithm, all to create the high-definition sound quality required in professional recording studios.

And it wouldn’t be a Dodge without world-class performance and efficiency. The Dodge Charger 100th Anniversary Edition based on the 2014 Dodge Charger SXT Plus features the award-winning 300 horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with state-of-the-art eight-speed transmission and active intake manifold and sport mode, delivering best-in-class rear-wheel-drive fuel economy, up to 31 mpg, and a 0-60 mph time in the low 6-second range. For customers who demand even more power, the Dodge Charger 100th Anniversary Edition based on the 2014 Dodge Charger R/T Plus adds the more powerful 370 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with four-cylinder mode Fuel Saver Technology and up to 25 mpg on the highway. All 100th Anniversary Editions include sport mode calibration, performance-tuned suspension and steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters for added driver control.

Completing this special model are two unique key fobs, which include a 100th Anniversary Edition jeweled logo on the back side, a customized owner’s kit and a special commemorative book celebrating the 100 years of Dodge heritage.

Available in limited quantities, the 2014 Dodge Charger 100th Anniversary Edition package is available for a U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $2,200 more than the SXT Plus or R/T Plus trim levels, offering tremendous value for all of the unique attributes, including 20-inch aluminum wheels, exclusive Foundry Black or Molten Red ‘cloud print’ heated Nappa leather, flat-bottom steering wheel, rear spoiler, Beats Audio, performance suspension and steering, die-cast paddle shifters and  commemorative jewelry.

Dodge Challenger 100th Anniversary Edition models
There is no vehicle more iconic than the head-turning Challenger, which serves as the perfect foundation to celebrate 100 years of Dodge style and performance. Based on the 2014 Dodge Challenger SXT Plus and R/T Plus models, the new 100th Anniversary Edition pays tribute to the brand’s history in contemporary Dodge style.

Similar to the Charger, the Dodge Challenger 100th Anniversary Edition includes all-new 20 x 8-inch polished five-spoke aluminum wheels with Granite Crystal pockets and matching Granite Crystal grille surround with script “Challenger” badge. To provide contrast, Pitch Black, Bright White, Billet Silver, Granite Crystal, Ivory Tri-Coat, Phantom Black Tri-Coat, Header Orange and an exclusive High Octane Red pearl coat paint are available. For added detail, commemorative bar style “Dodge Est. 1914” front-fender badges and Dodge ‘100’ wheel center caps mark this special edition.

The interior has all-new and exclusive Molten Red or Foundry Black heated Nappa leather sport seats featuring a custom ‘cloud overprint.’ Brass colored accent stitching and die-cast “Dodge Est. 1914” circular badges provide the 2014 Dodge Challenger 100th Anniversary Editions with an exclusive, high-end appearance that also draws inspiration from the machinist heritage of John and Horace Dodge. Adding contrast to armrests trimmed in matching Molten Red or Foundry Black premium
leather are Liquid Graphite center console bezels, steering wheel accents and door handle pulls.

Interior appointments designed to commemorate the brand’s centenary include die-cast “Dodge Est. 1914” circular badges on front seatbacks and an embroidered anniversary logo on premium floor mats. For a touch of style, new bright white gauge faces feature a surprising detail element as the “100” mph indication is marked appropriately in red. Adding even more detail is the Uconnect system’s startup image, evoking the industrious nature of Detroit. Finishing out the interior is a seven speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with 368-watt amplifier, along with Mopar “Challenger” sill plates and bright pedals.

Performance and Challenger are synonymous. The Dodge Challenger 100th Anniversary Edition based on the 2014 Dodge Challenger SXT Plus model features a 305 horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, delivering up to 27 mpg on the highway. Available with a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic, the Dodge Challenger 100th Anniversary Edition based on the 2014 Dodge Challenger R/T Plus offers up to 375 horsepower, 25 mpg highway and 0-60 mph under 6 seconds. Both V-6 and V-8 models include sport mode calibration, performance-tuned suspension and three-spoke flat-bottom performance steering-wheel.

Completing this special model are two unique key fobs, which include a 100th Anniversary Edition jeweled logo on the back side, a customized owner’s kit and a special commemorative book celebrating the 100 years of Dodge heritage.

Available in limited quantities, the 2014 Dodge Challenger 100th Anniversary Edition package is available for a U.S. MSRP of $2,500 more than the Challenger SXT Plus or R/T Plus trim levels, offering tremendous value for all of the unique attributes, including 20-inch aluminum wheels, exclusive Foundry Black or Molten Red ‘cloud print’ heated Nappa leather, flat-bottom steering wheel, Premium Boston Acoustics audio, performance suspension and steering, die-cast paddle shifters and commemorative jewelry.

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