Archive for the ‘powertrain’ Tag

2019 Ram 1500 First Look

Since its 2009 model-year launch, the current Ram has very gradually increased its share of the full-size truck market from 16 to 22 percent. Half-ton pickup buyers are fiercely loyal, and indeed no other manufacturer has seen fluctuations of more than a couple percent during that time, which suggests that Ram is growing by snagging first-time truck buyers. It makes sense that the truck with the most carlike ride might attract unbiased folks moving out of cars or crossovers, so for 2019 Ram is amping up the comfort, efficiency, and luxury of its 1500 models to keep those newcomers coming.

Headline upgrades include 48-volt mild hybridization, a claim to the longest and strongest chassis, and class-leading 0.357 Cd aerodynamics. Will this be enough to continue attracting new blood in the face of a recently refreshed 2018 Truck of the Year–winning Ford F-150, an anticipated all-new Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra duo expected in 2019, and a renewed Toyota Tundra arriving shortly thereafter?

Let’s start with what’s not new: the interior window switches, the pickup box floor stampings, and some fasteners. Although the gasoline powertrains mostly carry over, the Pentastar V-6 and Hemi V-8 engines both employ fancy new eTorque starter/generators that store deceleration energy in a 0.43-kW-hr battery pack. The energy is then fed back to the powertrain in such a way as to optimize fuel economy—like helping sustain a cruising speed without downshifting or reverting from four- to eight-cylinder mode. More than 40 shift maps allow the eight-speed transmission and the eTorque motors to cooperate to wring every possible mile from a gallon of gas. The V-6’s unit is water-cooled and contributes 12 hp and 90 lb-ft; the V-8’s is air-cooled and delivers 16 hp and 130 lb-ft. These motors start the engine in 0.55 second after an auto stop, and they’re used on initial starts except in cold conditions, when a conventional starter does the job.

Two more novel fuel-economy boosters: A heater/cooler for the rear differential oil in rear-drive trucks enables the use of lighter-weight lower-friction oil, and a pair of active mass dampers on the frame cancel vibration so the Hemi can lug a bit more in cylinder deactivation mode without anyone feeling it. The ultimate fuel-saver, an EcoDiesel V-6, arrives later in 2019 without eTorque mild hybridization (that same engine in the new Wrangler produces a Ford F-150 Power Stroke diesel-besting 260 hp and 442 lb-ft).

Let’s talk chassis: The entirely new, 98 percent high-strength-steel ladder frame features a taller, narrower boxed cross-section that improves bending strength. Octagonal-section front frame-rail extensions are mandrel-bent and welded into that shape from tailor-rolled sheet steel that varies from 3 to 2 mm thick going forward to ensure they crumple. These octo-rails splay outward to capture small-offset crash forces. Despite a 4-inch wheelbase stretch (to a claimed longest in class), the new frame dropped 100 pounds for a 17 percent weight savings. Max payload increases by 420 pounds to 2,300, and towing capacity increases from 10,650 to 12,700 pounds. (That beats Chevy, Nissan, and Toyota but falls short of Ford’s 3,270 and 13,200 ratings.)

Other chassis upgrades include a novel upper control arm made of reinforced nylon molded around a steel stamping. It doesn’t save weight, but it efficiently adds the strength needed to permit a 22-inch wheel option on 4×4 models. New frequency-response dampers from Hitachi—a Ram exclusive feature—greatly improve ride quality, especially on high-frequency chatter bumps. (Rebels still get off-road-optimized reservoir shocks.) New variable-rate rear coil springs help comfortably shoulder heavy loads without bottoming out.

Available off-road options include an electronic-locking rear differential and unique rear-axle-locating geometry to raise the coil-spring suspension’s ride height by an inch. This setup becomes standard on Rebel models, lowering the entry cost relative to the 2018 model with standard air ride. Upsizing the base wheel from 17 to 18 inches allows the front brakes to grow from 13.2 to 14.9 inches in diameter, which shaves a claimed 7 feet from the 60–0-mph stopping distance. (We’ve measured 122 to 138 feet.)

That claimed class-leading aero figure—a 9 percent improvement over the current generation—is due primarily to a new active front air dam that lowers 2.7 inch at speeds above 35 mph and rises again below 15 mph. It’s standard on all coil-sprung Rams except Rebels and those with the Off-Road package. Raising the sides of the bed by 1.3 inches and sculpting a vortex-generator into the center of the trailing edge of the roof to manage airflow over the truck helped considerably (and gave Ram the largest standard box capacity). The HFE fuel-economy-special model adds flatter, smoother wheels and air-damming running boards that span between the front and rear tires.

Another 100 pounds came out of the body, thanks to clever hydroforming of the front upper crash rails and tailgate surround structure and use of aluminum for the hood and tailgate (the latter saving 15 pounds). Speaking of the tailgate, it offers electric release, a tailgate-ajar warning, damped lowering from any height, and assist with lifting. Added content like this conspires to limit net weight reduction to about 130 pounds—not bad for a cab body that’s said to measure roughly 4 inches longer and a half inch wider and lower.

Ram is parting with a few storied design icons for 2019. Gone is the cross-hair grille, replaced by seven designs featuring a revised Ram wordmark in the center, most of which are offered in multiple finishes. The ram’s head logo, which dates to 1981, gets updated to a more angular look and now adorns the tailgate of all but the Rebel model, which retains the giant wordmark.

The low-fender/high-hood big-rig look is only hinted at now—the fender gets taller and narrower and the hood bulge widens. Oh, and those tacked-on fender flares that adorn over half of all Rams are tacked on more robustly to reduce car-wash warranty claims. And hallelujah! Ram has ditched the metal mast radio antenna most pickups still employ.

Six price classes plus HFE are now offered: Tradesman, Big Horn, Rebel, Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited. These are amply differentiated, thanks to three headlamp and taillamp designs, the aforementioned array of grilles, 15 wheel designs spanning 18-inch steel through 22-inch aluminum (all of which now attach with six bolts, up from five), and the choice of chrome, blackout, or body color for various trim pieces. Also new: Sport (body color trim) and Black appearance packages are available across nearly all of the lower price classes instead of occupying a single rung on the price ladder. Speaking of ladders, a motorized running board is now available.

New electrical architecture brings all the expected safety gear, including available adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind-spot detection with trailer sensing, and 360-degree camera view. Parallel and perpendicular parking assistance is offered, but trailer-backing assistance is not. Ram expects to achieve best-in-class safety ratings.

Interior space, comfort, and noise levels will all take a big step forward in 2019, we’re assured. On crew cab models, the aforementioned 4-inch stretch amounts to an extra inch in the front and rear doors plus 2 inches behind the rear door. (The eTorque battery and a subwoofer reside behind the rear seat.) The rear floor is now completely flat and features four tie-down rings and in-floor stowage bins that are enlarged to fit the receiver drop hitch. The seat bottom flips up as before to facilitate carrying large items indoors. Beneath it is a 1.4-cubic-foot storage area (twice as big as before) that can now accommodate rifles or fishing rods. On upper trim models, the rear cushion can slide forward 3.1 inches, reclining the backrest 8 degrees in the process. The entire center third of the seat back folds down as an armrest and cupholders, forming both a more comfy armrest and a better third-passenger backrest.

All of the price classes look classier, with even the cloth or vinyl-lined Tradesman variants getting some contrast stitching and a 3.5-inch color driver-information screen in the cluster. These bench-seat models get a three-point center front seat belt for 2019. Big Horn models add the option of two-tone interior trim. Rebels get red anodized trim and other red accents, seats with inserts patterned after its new Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tire tread, and a larger 7.0-inch info screen in the cluster. Laramie leather seats get suede bolster inserts, and Longhorn models add filigree accents in the leather and wood trim.

The Limited trim is what happens when a company has no Imperial sedan with which to separate rich folks from big money. The wood veneers have argent stripes laminated in, and there’s all sorts of fancy embroidery. Leather covers the dash, console sides, and seat backs, and the navy blue and “frost” two-tone leather treatment would suit Aston Martin’s first pickup truck. These trucks reportedly offer more real wood, leather, and metal trim than any other. And between acoustic-laminated glass and active noise cancelation on all models, Ram claims this will be the market’s quietest truck. So much the better to enjoy the top 900-watt 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.

A choice of three touchscreen infotainment systems is offered—two 8.4-inch versions (with and without navigation) and a fabulous 12-inch one that seems to split the difference between Volvo’s Sensus and Tesla’s Model S screens (see sidebar). Naturally there’s onboard Wi-Fi served up by a dedicated SIM card that comes with a 12-month “free trial” and five USB ports—four of which incorporate a forthcoming Type C format slot (FCA will be first to market with this) and three of which can contribute content to the Uconnect system.

The front console offers a smartphone/tablet docking slot with Qi wireless charging, and in the rear of the console there are two cupholders across which is a slot sized to hold a tablet at a comfortable viewing angle for rear-seat occupants. Cool. Similarly, the center console incorporates a hanging file folder area in the back with room for purses or laptops (which can be plugged into a 110-volt outlet—there’s another in the rear and one in the optional deeper cargo Ramboxes). There’s also a sliding lid with cupholders and a shallow stowage bin. Inside is an Easter egg image of the four generations of “big-rig” Ram trucks.

The steering wheel now telescopes as well as tilts, the pedals also still adjust for reach, and the front power seats now feature four-way headrests and four-way lumbar adjustment and can motor 0.8 inch lower to better accommodate 10-gallon hats.

As new truck launches go, this should be an exceptionally smooth one because Ram production is moving to the Sterling Heights plant recently vacated by the Chrysler 200. That’s allowed Ram to start production early and ramp it up gradually. Considerable overlap of the current-gen 2018 Ram is expected from the nearby Warren plant, so we can expect a rich mix of fancy 2019 Rams selling alongside lots of 2018 Tradesman models at the beginning. If Ram’s claims on the comfort, quiet, and efficiency front pan out, we’re bullish on Ram’s likelihood of continued market share growth.

Big-Screen Uconnect

Ram introduced 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment to the pickup world, and now it’s doubling down with a portrait-oriented 12.0-inch screen that works like two of the old screens, only brighter and sharper. How bright? 1,000 candela per square meter. Recent iPhones manage only 625 cd/m2. And at 1,280 by 800 pixels, it about matches the iPhone 8’s Retina HD display for resolution.

Not surprisingly, this tablet doppelganger functions much like a tablet, supporting pinch-to-zoom and the ability to move frequently used app buttons to the home row at the bottom. As in a Tesla, you can view the map, audio, or other content in full screen or opt to split the screen with any choice of content on the upper and lower halves of the screen.

Another cool feature is expanded SiriusXM functionality including On Demand content. This allows you to listen to archived shows or stream your favorite team’s game from a home-team station. You can also pause streaming content of any type and resume it on your smartphone or home system (where you can ask Alexa to resume it). Better still, your onboard cellular Wi-Fi link can seamlessly switch to the online stream if you drive into a tunnel or skyscraper jungle and lose the satellite stream. Uconnect gets exclusive access to this feature for a year.

Read more at: http://www.motortrend.com/cars/ram/1500/2019/2019-ram-1500-first-look-review/

 

100+ mph, off-road: 2017 Ram Rebel TRX concept pickup truck

First shown as a surprise launch at the Texas State Fair, the concept Ram 1500 Rebel TRX was powered by a 575 horsepower supercharged 6.2 liter Hemi, with 37 inch Toyo tires and six-piston calipers. It has side-exiting exhausts ahead of the rear tires, built into the rock rails; steel bumpers, skid plates, and “all the cooling you’d want.” It has two spares, and six-point harnesses to hold the driver and passengers in.

575 horses easily beats the Ford Raptor’s 450 horsepower. Why, people ask, is it “only” 575 hp, when the Challenger does 707 with the same engine? Our guess is two-fold: so you can still control the truck, and because it’s a 4×4, and the powertrain parts (particularly the front differential) can only take so much.

Jim Morrison said it could “handle the harshest terrains at speeds over 100 mph,” aided by a full 13 inches of suspension travel, at all four corners. To support all that suspension movement, they had to make the fenders six inches wider than those of a normal Rebel, resulting in an hourglass shape (as seen from above).

Why the Borg-Warner 44-45 transfer case? It doesn’t have an automatic mode, but it locks fully, which is better for durability off-road or in deep snow. It’s the same transfer case used by the Rebel and Outdoorsman.

The transmission is the “TorqueFlite Eight,” an eight-speed automatic, with paddle shifters. The 4×4 performance control system works with the BorgWarner 44-45 transfer case, with user-selectable normal, wet/snow, off-road, and Baja modes.

The front and rear axles have severe duty components, and the 13” wheel travel is over 40% more than the normal nine inches front, 9.25 inches rear. Adjustable front and rear bypass shocks are included.

The standard Ram 1500 front axle is used with an open differential and custom constant-velocit half-shafts to handle the wider track; spindles were moved forward to make room for the 37 inch tires.

The rear axle is a Dynatrac Pro 60, which uses a selectable electric locker to 35-spline, 1 1/2 inch axle shafts. The locker is available on all modes and “commits both rear wheels to traction at the same speed, spreads the torque load and maximizes the tractive effort (power put to the ground) in full-throttle maneuvers.”

The unique from grille was needed for extra airflow. Inside, it adds not only the six-point harnesses but leather/suede seats, carbon-fiber trim, and new materials and colors.

The frame is “virtually unchanged” from the standard one. The front suspension uses custom-built upper and lower A-arms with special attention to caster and camber angles during suspension cycling. The goal was to have a smooth ride over smaller bumps, and when the bumps become mounds, to have high reaction speed and heat dissipation to avoid shocks while keeping full traction.

The Ram 1500 link coil rear suspension system shares its basic architecture with desert racing trucks; the frame’s hard points for the suspension were unchanged. The 2.5-inch bypass shocks use factory mounts, but performance rear coil springs were put into the factory-spec positions.

The factory hydraulic-boost compensation unit was kept but calipers were swapped out for Baer six-piston monoblock calipers with 15 inch rotors up front, 14 inch rotors in back.

High-speed off-road truck racing teams commonly use a 37-inch tire for its height and durability; hence the Rebel TRX’s 37 inch high tires, 13.5 inches wide, with a 10-ply design and custom Mopar beadlock wheels (which pinch the outside of the tire to the rim).

The two complete spare tire and wheel packages, with tools and jack in lockable storage in the bed, reflect the rigors of off-road racing.

The special grille was needed for air flow. A steel lower brush guard was needed for the “rock knock” test. To clear the Roots-style blower atop the HEMI engine, the Rebel TRX uses a hood based on the taller Ram Heavy Duty design.

The truck has bright LED clearance lighting, matching LEDs elsewhere in front and rear.

 

An open upper glove box with elastic straps holds a sturdy TRX-labeled bag with color matched tools. A camera mount is on the rear-view mirror. The Rebel TRX interior floor trades carpet for black rubberized coating. Black all-weather mats from Mopar reduce foot slip when foot-to-pedal placement is crucial.

Will it be made? It’s quite possibly a design study for a challenge to the Ford Raptor — so “maybe.” As we say in the following video, you can certainly see how they thought about production as they designed the concept.

Update: Will it be made? If not, why go out of their way to use (and point to use of) production parts and attachment points? Ram’s web site has this interesting disclaimer: “Concept vehicle shown. Vehicle specifications may change.”

It goes on to say, “With a 6.2L supercharged HEMI® V8 engine and sturdily built with an off-road suspension, the RAM 1500 Rebel® TRX will be the most powerful factory-engineered half-ton pickup.” At least one observer believes they would use the 392, though, and not the Hellcat.

A company named Prefix, which does Viper work, makes a similar-concept, Ram-based truck called the Minotaur. “Ramajama” pointed out that they use a Kore Tactical suspension with close to the same specs as the TRX, but with 35” tires rather than 37”; the Minotaur is even available with a 475-hp Hemi 392, with TRX-like side exhausts.

Read more at: Read more at: http://www.allpar.com/cars/concepts/ram/rebel-TRX.html

Learn More About the Much-Anticipated Hurricane Powertrain!

Chrysler is the manufacturer that’s always on the cutting edge, from its state-of-the-art technology, to its innovative amenities. As a testament to its renowned brand, engineers have been working hard and diligently to produce a performance feature that is sure to exceed your every expectation: the all-new Chrysler Hurricane engine. We at Dick Scott Motor Mall and Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram are excited for this new arrival, and we want to invite you to experience it for yourself as soon as it hits the market.

The Hurricane is a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine that is a rework of Chrysler’s current 2.0L 4-cylinder powertrain, particularly the cylinder head, to deliver a better performance and an increased fuel economy. This aluminum block powertrain is said to produce nearly 300 horsepower, which is a vast improvement upon Chrysler’s current top-output Tigershark® machine that delivers just 184 horsepower. An engine of this size and power is uncommon, making the Hurricane truly a sight to behold and experience.

Chrysler engineers integrate several technologies into the Hurricane in order to provide this kind of impended hair-raising performance. For enhanced fuel economy, the Hurricane boasts Direct Fuel Injection, which results in a more complete combustion and cooler cylinder temperatures for a higher compression ratio in terms of efficiency and power. In addition, a belt starter generator for Stop/Start technology is also said to be outfitted, which helps preserve fuel by automatically turning the engine off when you come to a stop, and back on once your foot lifts off the brake pedal.

It is also speculated that the Chrysler Hurricane features lightweight aluminum blocks, which help reduce the overall weight of the engine. Likewise, its offset cranks diminish cylinder wall side loading that lowers its height, adding to this machine’s small-but-mighty makeup. Various amenities, like MultiAir® technology, a timing chain, cooled EGR, and a twin-scroll turbocharger, are also outfitted to work together to generate a worthwhile performance. The Hurricane is due to be paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and set to debut in the Jeep Wrangler.

With this innovative engine, Chrysler engineers are catering to what our customers look for most in a powertrain: an exhilarating high-output without the sacrifice of efficiency. Contact us at Dick Scott Motor Mall in Fowlerville, MI, or Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Plymouth, MI, to learn more about the Chrysler Hurricane engine today! You can give us a call at (877) 632-3308; we are always more than happy to assist with any questions you may have!

2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat

The newest reiteration of the Dodge Charger Hellcat is here, and it’s ready to give you the ride of a lifetime! With its classic design, powerful performance, and feature-packed interior, expect to fall in love with this full-size sedan from the moment you take the wheel. Here at Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Dick Scott Motor Mall, we have the 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat for sale and our team can’t wait to show you this one-of-a-kind vehicle!

There is plenty of power surging through the 2017 Charger Hellcat. Boasting a 3.6L V6 powertrain, your performance is taken beyond limits with 292 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque. The impressive powertrain line-up continues with the 5.7L V8 HEMI® and the 6.4L V8 HEMI® powerhouses. The first rewards you with 370 horsepower and 395 lb.-ft. of torque, while the second engine choice takes you to the next level with its 485 horsepower and 475 lb.-ft. of torque. For the ultimate ride, the beastly 6.2L V8 HEMI® powertrain cranks up to 707 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. When equipped with the 8-speed TorqueFlite® automatic transmission, you’ll be able to ride with optimal precision and swiftness.

You’ll have onlookers stop in their tracks when you’re behind the wheel of the 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat due to its commanding presence and bold style. Its athletic frame and carefully-sculpted profile lines highlight the distinct grille, while the aggressive stance of the Charger Hellcat makes for an unforgettable entrance. Made with new lightweight materials, the 2017 Charger Hellcat not only looks sleek and modern, but is able to ride with more agility and control. Eye-catching features like LED headlights and an available rear spoiler allow the Charger Hellcat to stand out in the crowd.

An array of amenities welcome you to relax and set your mind at ease once you’re inside the new Dodge Charger Hellcat. With its driver-centric cockpit loaded with features like a multi-information display, USB ports1, and more, you’ll be prepared for anything that’s in store on the road ahead. The soft-to-the-touch cloth-trimmed seats keep you comfortable throughout the whole ride. However, if you desire more luxury, select the leather-appointed seats to enhance your cabin’s sporty flair.

Here at Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Plymouth and Dick Scott Motor Mall in Fowlerville, your local Dodge dealers, we now have the 2017 Dodge Charger Hellcat! Visit http://www.DickScott.com or stop by our showroom to learn more about this exciting, new vehicle!

Conquer City Streets and Back Roads in the 2016 Cherokee

If you desire a small SUV that can seamlessly go from the paved highway to a gravel road, it’s time you checked out the 2016 Jeep Cherokee for sale in Plymouth, MI. When you combine its off-roading power with its everyday dependability, and the presence of impressive features inside and out, the Cherokee is sure to be the SUV you’ve been waiting for.

When you want to travel off the beaten path, the 2016 Jeep Cherokee can take you there, and it all starts with its rugged engine options. The first being the 2.4L Tigershark® 4-cylinder powertrain, which not only pumps out 184 horsepower and 171 lb.-ft. of torque, but when it’s paired with the 9-speed automatic transmission, you’ll get 31 MPG hwy1 and a 489-mile range2 ­on one tank. For a more powerful drive, the 3.2L Pentastar® V6 produces an impressive 271 horsepower and 239 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s also easy to bring your boat to Lake St. Clair with its 4,500-lb. towing capacity3. Along with engine options, there are also three available 4×4 systems, depending on the sort of trail you intend on tackling. There’s even the Selec-Terrain® traction control system, allowing you to turn the knob and choose from five customizable settings: Auto, Sport, Snow, Sand/Rock, and Mud.

The exterior of the 2016 Jeep Cherokee is not only sleek and striking, but it has its own innovative features so you can make the most out of every adventure. For instance, there are available skid plates4 underneath the Cherokee to protect its underbody for the most treacherous of terrain. The signature LED Daytime Running Lights and halogen projector headlamps ensure that you can see and be seen, while the available fog lamps give you prime visibility during inclement weather. There are even available heated side mirrors so snow and ice don’t hinder your view of vehicles at your side.

On the inside, the 2016 Cherokee is stylish and smartly designed to be your home away from home. For starters, there is truly a spot for all your belongings with its impressive amount of versatility. Up front in the dash is a covered bin to keep your wallet, phone, or sunglasses handy, while the rear seats have a 60/40 split. Keep them up for 24.6 cubic ft. of storage space for groceries from Kroger, or fold them flat for an impressive 54.9 cubic ft. of space. On top of this, the front passenger seat can fold down, and there’s even in-seat storage for even more cargo carrying options. To beat the winter chill, the Cherokee offers a Cold Weather Package, which includes a wiper de-icer, heated front seats, a heated steering-wheel, and remote ignition.

To stay entertained and connected, the Jeep Cherokee comes standard with Bluetooth® technology for hands-free calling and audio streaming, while the Cherokee Trailhawk® boasts hands-free voice control over your Bluetooth®-enabled phone, audio, climate, and navigation settings. The available 8.4-inch Uconnect® touchscreen ups the ante in terms of excitement with HD Radio™, 3D landmarks, iPod® mobile integration, text message reply6, and more. Also on this screen is a display from the available ParkView® Rear Back Up Camera5 to help you become more aware of vehicles and objects behind you as you reverse.

Whether you need an SUV for the daily commute, weekend adventure, or a combination of both, the 2016 Jeep Cherokee is the vehicle you need to do both. See it today when you visit your local Jeep dealer, Dick Scott Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Plymouth, MI or Dick Scott Motor Mall in Fowlerville, MI.

Nissan Juke Vs. Jeep Renegade: Compare Cars

Believe it or not, the Jeep Renegade and Nissan Juke are in the same category of small SUVs. But they could hardly be more different. The Renegade is Jeep’s littlest SUV, with square-cut styling and genuine off-road prowess. The Juke, on the other hand, is a style-first urban warrior whose all-wheel-drive option is more for on-road traction than anything even in the neighborhood of rocky trails or mountain climbing.

New in 2015, the Renegade is the first vehicle developed from the ground up for global sale by the combined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. While it’ll likely sell well in North America, its minimal dimensions make it best-suited to bring the Jeep brand to more crowded and less affluent markets in Europe, Asia, and South America. Its design is every inch classic SUV, with oversize lights and other details for visual interest.
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The interior is straightforward, modern, and contains a number of Jeep-brand reminders in the form of “Easter Egg” design elements. The Renegade’s front seats are comfortable, but there’s not that much room in the rear unless rear-seat riders bargain aggressively with those in the front. The seats are comfortable and nicely bolstered, and the Renegade is clearly wider than other AWD entries, meaning the shoulders of the two front-seat riders are suitably separated.

The Juke, on the other hand, has been with us since the 2011 model year. Its wild-style design is polarizing: You either love for it for its in-your-face, tall, haunched, bug-eyed appearance or hate it for the same reasons. A light restyle for 2015 has made it, if anything, even more mean-looking. The Juke’s layout and switchgear are straightforward even if the motorcycle-inspired gauges, shiny nylon upholstery, and colorful inserts give it far more design edge.

Interior space is adequate in the front, with a somewhat upright seating position, but quite cramped in the rear–and the Juke has less cargo space to boot, just 36 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down (which is how we expect most Jukes will be driven), against 51 cubic feet for the Renegade. In the end, the Jeep is simply far better at the utility jobs that many people need: hauling people and stuff.

The Jeep Renegade comes with two powertrain options. The base model is propelled by a 160-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual gearbox. If you don’t want to shift for yourself, you’ll move up to the 180-hp 2.4-liter four, which uses the new nine-speed automatic transmission that’s increasingly common in new Chrysler, Jeep, and Fiat products. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional for both engines.

The Nissan Juke is powered by a 188-hp, 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, with either front- or all-wheel drive, and a continuously variable (CVT) transmission. The CVT makes it somewhat sluggish around town unless you drive it hard, when it tightens up and offers more fun. Performance fans, however, will go for the Juke NISMO or NISMO RS—both offering a manual gearbox. The NISMO RS gets a top-performance version of the same engine, boosted to 215 hp. The NISMO versions also get more than 100 upgrades to suit their hot-hatch personae.

While the NISMOs are in a separate category–they’re smaller competitors to cars like the Subaru WRX and VW Golf GTI–the conventional Juke powertrain just isn’t as direct or enjoyable to drive as the Jeep’s pair. Not to mention that the AWD Juke gave us truly atrocious fuel economy during a test several years ago–only slightly more than 20 mpg.

The Juke’s safety ratings are mixed–not unexpected for an older design–while the Renegade hasn’t yet been rated for crash safety by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The 2015 Renegade comes in four trim levels: the base Sport (starting at $18,990 for the base 2WD version), the mid-level Latitude ($22,290), and the top-of-the-line Limited ($25,790). All-wheel drive is a $2,000 option. Then there’s the Trailhawk model ($26,990) with its greater off-road capability, which only comes with all-wheel drive and the larger 2.4-liter engine with the nine-speed automatic. All prices above include the mandatory $995 delivery fee.

The 2015 Juke starts at $21,705 and rises to more than $30,000 for a top-spec NISMO model. Even the base Juke S includes Intelligent Key with push-button start, a backup camera, and the NissanConnect system with Mobile Apps and a text message assistant. The mid-range Juke SV adds a moonroof; a rearview camera system; push-button start; satellite radio; the I-CON system; automatic temperature control; and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The top-trim Juke (other than NISMO models) is the SL, which layers on navigation; leather-trimmed seats; and an 8-inch Rockford Fosgate subwoofer with six upgraded speakers.

Overall, the Jeep Renegade easily gets the nod here. When the Juke was the sole hot-hatch SUV on the market, it was a new and interesting way to get that capability in a smaller size than the usual compact crossover. But now that we have entries from not only Jeep but also Chevy, Fiat, and even Buick, the Juke comes up short: It’s too small and cramped, and doesn’t offer the sturdy off-roading ability of the littlest Jeep.

Read more at: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1098188_nissan-juke-vs-jeep-renegade-compare-cars?fbfanpage

Jeep Renegade Vs. Chevrolet Trax: Compare Cars

The subcompact SUV segment is expected to really take off this year, and two of the highest-volume new entries are likely to be the 2015 Chevrolet Trax and the 2015 Jeep Renegade.

Offered by all-American brands, they’re smaller than their “compact” siblings, the Chevy Equinox and Jeep Cherokee, respectively. But they offer two very different approaches to designing, packaging, and equipping the smallest all-wheel-drive utility vehicles you can buy from each carmaker.

While the 2015 Trax has Chevy design cues at the front end, it’s otherwise almost the generic small SUV. It’s not bad, just bland. The littlest Jeep, on the other hand, uses oversized design flourishes–big headlights, big wheel arches, numerous Jeep logos–to underscore its toughness even in a small package, to the point where it’s almost cartoonish.

Both vehicles are impressive inside, however, with comfortable seats, quiet rides on decent pavement, and a roster of the latest infotainment and electronic safety systems that would have been seen only in luxury cars not so many years ago. Neither of these vehicles is likely to be used off-road all that much, with the possible exception of the Renegade’s toughest Trailhawk model, so they’re tuned for on-road finesse and comfort.

Each comes as a base model with front-wheel drive, and offers all-wheel drive as an option. The Chevy Trax has only a single powertrain: a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, making 138 horsepower and paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Jeep Renegade, on the other hand, has two powertrains: its own 1.4-liter turbo four, putting out a stronger 160 hp, but mated only to a six-speed manual gearbox, or a 180-hp 2.4-liter four paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Both Jeep powertrains offer all-wheel drive as an option.

The Chevy is adequately powered, but not particularly quick; the Jeep is more powerful, but also heavier, and Fiat Chrysler’s engineers seem to have tamed their temperamental nine-speed automatic at last. We found the manual-gearbox Jeep more fun to drive and lighter on its toes, but in reality, most buyers will opt for the automatic.

Fuel economy ratings for the Trax are 29 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive version, dropping to 27 mpg if you add all-wheel drive. Final ratings for the Jeep aren’t out yet.

The two small utes differ quite a lot in their packaging, however. Rather to our surprise, the Chevy Trax can hold four adult-sized people in reasonable comfort. Five is a very tight squeeze, and rear-seat riders will have to stagger their shoulders, but it’s definitely possible. The Jeep Renegade, on the other hand, has a smaller rear compartment that’s tight on knee room, and fitting four adults into its cabin will require negotiations to get the folks up front to sacrifice some of their own legroom.

The Jeep’s interior conveys ruggedness in its materials, shapes, and surfaces, while the Chevy is straightforward, practical, and adopts a number of clever convenience features from the Sonic subcompact on which it’s based. The Trax in particular has lots of trays, bins, cupholders, and the like to hold your gear. Both have front seats that can fold flat to carry long items diagonally.

Chevrolet has achieved top safety ratings for the Trax from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which designated it a Top Safety Pick. It also earned five out of five stars overall from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which gave it five stars in every category except rollover safety, where it received four stars. The Jeep Renegade hasn’t yet been rated by either group, though we expect it to get acceptable ratings at the very least.

In the end, both the 2015 Chevy Trax and the 2015 Jeep Renegade ended up with identical scores in our ranking system. The Jeep wins on styling and performance, the Chevy on features and safety. If rear-seat room is more important than styling panache, the Chevy is your choice; if toughness and design flair, plus optional off-roading ability (in the form of the Trailhawk model) are high on your list, the Jeep is it.

Either one is a modern and capable small utility that competes handily with any competitors of similar size. Both face a formidable challenge from the 2016 Honda HR-V, however.

Read more at: http://www.thecarconnection.com/news/1096943_jeep-renegade-vs-chevrolet-trax-compare-cars?fbfanpage

New Jeep Grand Wagoneer To Be Shown To Dealers This Summer

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU] confirmed in its five-year strategy announcement made last year that it will launch a new Grand Wagoneer on the market in 2018. The vehicle, to be based on a heavily-updated version of the current Grand Cherokee platform, will be Jeep’s most expensive model, with high-end variants aimed at full-size luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.

While the vehicle is unlikely to be shown publicly for some time still, FCA is tipped to present the car at its biennial dealer meeting taking place in Las Vegas this August. Automotive News (subscription required) is reporting that FCA is teasing the new Grand Wagoneer to get more of its dealers to attend the meeting.

Work on the new Grand Wagoneer has actually been going on for several years already. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne first confirmed plans for the vehicle as far back as 2011, although at the time he said it will launch in 2013. The last Grand Wagoneer bowed out of the market in 1991. Expect the new one to be a large, fully-capable SUV with third-row seats. Powertrains should include V-6 and V-8 options, with a diesel unit thrown in for some markets.

Stay tuned for an update.

Read more at: https://www.yahoo.com/autos/s/jeep-grand-wagoneer-shown-dealers-summer-170000984.html

New vans to be modified CUSW?

The Windsor, Ontario plant, the birthplace of Chrysler minivans and currently their only source, will be down for a long changeover period — according to sources, from mid-February 2015 to nearly the end of May.

The factory will have heavy production through that time to produce a good stock of the current vans, and will then go into “build-out” of the 2015s as soon as production returns in late May. New vans are expected in late July, to start arriving on dealer lots in August or September.

Current rumor has the 2016 minivans riding on extended CUSW platforms — longer and wider than the Jeep Cherokee, but with a similar powertrain, and an all wheel drive option (possibly late-availability, and most likely the 200 style rather than the Cherokee style). They will almost certainly have nine-speed automatics and should have better ride and handling than any current minivan.

If the CUSW platform did not work out as well as anticipated and had to be adjusted to meet Chrysler’s minivan needs, it would explain what appears to be a long delay in creating and producing the minivans (based on Sergio Marchionne’s first public estimates on production times).  The Jeep Renegade had an even longer delay due to the need for extensive revisions to get it to pass Jeep tests.

Hybrid-electric minivans are due a month or three after the conventional vans start up.

As read on: http://www.allpar.com/news/index.php/2014/11/new-vans-to-be-modified-cusw

2015 Dodge Challenger V-6 8-Speed Automatic

With a turbo four-cylinder Ford Mustang now a real thing, we’re moved to reexamine the genre of the entry-level muscle car, long associated with secretarial pools and rental-car lots. Under discussion today: the V-6–powered Dodge Challenger SXT, sporting a new eight-speed transmission and a redesigned interior. Is it still more show than go?

It’s certainly still got “show.” For 2015, Dodge adds 1971 cues to the basic 1970 styling theme, including its split-port grille inserts and quad taillamp treatment. Other updates include headlamps with stern-looking LED halo rings and smoother front and rear fascias.

If the Challenger’s body changes only a little, an utter transformation occurs inside. Stylists placed a 1971 Challenger dashboard in the studio during the design process, and its influence can be found in the sweet, conical gauges with hidden needles and classic fonts. But, overall, this is a modern space, with strong forms, soft-touch panels, and real aluminum trim.

The 3.6-liter V-6 is unchanged, but the new ZF eight-speed automatic is a massive improvement, exploiting all of the engine’s 305 horsepower and 268 pound-feet of torque while helping to raise fuel economy from 18 mpg city/27 mpg highway to 19/30. Zero-to-60 acceleration drops a bit from 6.4 seconds to a respectable, if not-quite-muscle-car-worthy 6.2. The weighty Challenger trails its V-6–powered competitors by about a second.

So the eight-speed auto doesn’t bring much in the way of performance improvements, but it is a nice piece with smooth, decisive shifts and predictive downshifting in sport mode. Steering-wheel paddles come with the Super Track Pak option ($695), which also brings 20-inch wheels, a more buttoned-down suspension, revised steering, dual-piston front brake calipers around larger 13.6-inch front rotors, and Dodge Performance apps.

Hustling around Portland International Raceway, the SXT with the Super Track Pak could easily hang with the 485-hp Challenger SRT 392 in the kinkier sections thanks to communicative steering, Goodyear summer tires, strong brakes, and roughly 300 less pounds, most of them coming off the front axle. With the power­train settings in sport, the eight-speed always found the power band’s sweet spot, allowing us to simply leave it in drive and still post impressive lap times.

On the road, the V-6 proves competent and unobtrusive, though the handling never lets you forget that the Challenger is essentially a Charger sedan with a few less inches in the middle. Dive into a tight corner and the car lists at turn-in, finds its legs, then stabilizes with some throttle. The grip is there, but it drives big. Classic muscle-car stuff.

And yet, the Challenger SXT needs to be a bit quicker—and sound meaner—for us to consider it a true muscle car. That would help justify our loaded SXT Plus test car’s $37,255 price tag. But, especially with the Super Track Pak option, the V-6 Challenger is getting closer.

As read on: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-challenger-v-6-8-speed-test-review