The Truth About Cars » cusw The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 13:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » cusw Mo’ Better Blue Chrysler 200 Pictures Thu, 09 Jan 2014 13:00:01 +0000 001-2015-chrysler-200-leak-1


More shots of the next Chrysler 200 have leaked out, and the resemblance between the 200 and the Dart is definitely evident. There’s no escaping common hard points.



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Dodge Journey Moving To Michigan, Toluca May Be Left Barren Thu, 30 May 2013 15:33:20 +0000 2009_Dodge_Journey

The latest scuttlebutt has the Dodge Journey moving from Mexico to Michigan during its next redesign – and that could leave Chrysler’s plant in Toluca, Mexico without any product.

The next-generation Journey, due in 2016, will apparently move to Chrysler’s plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where it will be built alongside the next generation Chrysler 200. Both will use the CUSW platform platform currently employed by the Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Dart, and moving the Journey to Michigan means that suppliers can take advantage of closer proximity to the three CUSW plants (Michigan, Toldeo, and Belvidere) to help keep costs down.

But according to Automotive News the move out of Mexico presents its own issues

The Journey has been built in Toluca, Mexico, in part to allow for export to South America and Europe, where it is rebadged and sold as the Fiat Freemont. Current trade agreements mean that producing the Freemont in the United States would translate to higher sticker prices for the vehicle in Europe and South America.

Before the Journey leaves, production of the Fiat 500 will have packed up and gone to Poland – likely as a way to utilize excess capacity in Europe. But that means Toluca will have a giant hole in its product lineup, unless something new starts being made. Or Chrysler shifts production of a current product to Mexico.

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In Defense Of: The Dodge Dart Mon, 08 Apr 2013 17:42:21 +0000

The Dodge Dart was supposed to have been the Messianic Redemption for Chrysler’s passenger car side; a well-built, competent compact car that would draw in young buyers to the Dodge brand while taking the fight to established players like Civic, Corolla and Focus. It had all the right elements on paper too; a large cabin, Alfa Romeo underpinnings and the all-important 40 MPG rating.

Initial reviews were tepid and Chrysler got the model mix completely wrong. Reports of labor unrest, special 40 MPG compliant models and sleight-of-hand dealings between the government and Sergio Marchionne clouded the cars’d ebut. Many in the online peanut gallery were ready to brand the Dart a dud. How could Chrysler be so dense as to release a half-baked product into one of the most competitive segments in the industry?

I finally got a chance to drive the Dart, nearly a year after its on-sale date, and I came away very impressed. The demo I got was a mid-level SXT with boring 2.0L 4-cylinder and 6-speed automatic – not the most exciting drivetrain, but likely the most popular. This drivetrain combination was the biggest blight on the Dart. The 2.0L is an absolute dog, anemic and unresponsive to all but the most aggressive throttle inputs. When fighting urban traffic, it takes an eternity for the engine to wake up, and quick maneuvers are hampered by its total absence of gumption. The 6-speed automatic, oriented towards economy rather than performance, only makes things worse.

Aside from that, everything else was very well executed. The large touchscreen was easy to ready and UConnect is by far the best of Detroit’s infotainment systems. Its menus are clear and easy to use, the system operates without any lag and it quickly and seamlessly integrated my iPhone’s music library. It also passed my all important test: can a passenger who is unfamiliar with in-car technology operate it without any instruction from me.

On the road, the Dart is let down only by the godawful drivetrain. The steering is a tad numb but the weighting is spot on and you still have a good sense of what the front tires are doing. Personally, I think this car handles better than the over-rated Focus. Turn-in is crisp, body roll is fairly well controlled and it changes direction competently. Somehow, it feels lighted than its 3,200 lb curb weight suggests. I wouldn’t mind driving the 1.4T and 2.4 equipped models just for comparison.

Slowly but surely, sales of the Dart appear to be picking up. I’m sure that among the B&B, there will be squabbles about who rules the compact car segment. I don’t know if I would necessarily crown the Dart as my top pick (I would have to go with the Mazda3 and trade some refinement for superior driving dynamics) but I would be happy to recommend it to the 99.9% of the population that doesn’t care about whether a care has electric power steering or not.

More importantly, it’s a deeply encouraging sign for Chrysler. Their sales gain as a whole are largely being driven by Ram trucks and Jeep. The 200 and Avenger may offer a lot of value for money, but they are dated and rather dismal products compared to the competition. The 300 is a great car (as you’ll see next week) but the full-size segment is shrinking.

The Dart, on the other hand, is the first car built off the CUSW platform, which will underpin other crucial products like the Jeep Cherokee and the next generation Chrysler 200. If Chrysler is going to survive as a company, their next wave of products have to be more than just “competitive”. The Dart, despite its teething problems, is a very encouraging sign of what’s to come.


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Automotive News Spills The Beans; Confirms Chrysler 100, Jeep Liberty Based On Dodge Dart Platform Mon, 14 May 2012 13:09:40 +0000

An article in Automotive News lavishing praise on the Chrysler/Fiat merger of equals marriage inadvertently spilled the beans on a couple upcoming products from Marchionne’s minions.

The AN piece, which focuses on the birth of the miracle child known as the Dodge Dart, briefly touches on the car’s platform, known as CUSW. Discussing the ability for CUSW to underpin both C and D segment vehicles, AN states

“Some of those next vehicles are already out in testing, including the successor to the Jeep Liberty that will be built at Chrysler’s Toledo (Ohio) North Assembly plant and a Chrysler 100 hatchback that will join the Dart on the line in Belvidere, Ill. Both of those vehicles are expected in 2013.”

That should provide more grist for the online automotive content mill for the next few weeks. At the very least, all those spy shots of jacked-up Alfa Romeo hatches conclusively prove that the newest Liberty is going to become an American pseudo-Q5 (in the same way that the Grand Cherokee is an American-flavored premium SUV) while the Chrysler 100 exists largely as an offering to Lancia.

If the new Liberty really is going to be a smaller version of the Grand Cherokee – an off-road capable SUV that’s primarily concerned with luxury and on-road manners, then re-naming the car as a “Cherokee” makes a lot of sense. The 100 now looks to be a go after a series of long, drawn out teases from Sergio himself.

And with that said and done, let’s pour one out for the mail Jeep.

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