The Truth About Cars » Dodge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 21 May 2015 20:00:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 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 editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Dodge http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Marchionne: AWD Minivan Will Lose Stow ‘N Go or Gain Electric Motor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/marchionne-awd-minivan-will-lose-stow-n-go-or-gain-electric-motor/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 17:45:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072338 Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year. According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give. Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation […]

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2015 Chrysler Town & Country

Move over, Toyota. You won’t be the only automaker hocking an all-wheel drive minivan when the new Town & Country arrives next year.

According to Sergio Marchionne, the next minivan will get all-wheel drive, but something’s gotta give.

Packaging constraints as they are, and the Town & Country’s features as they are, the next generation minivan can only bring all-wheel drive to fruition in one of two ways: ditch Stow ‘N Go to free up space under the passenger floor or implement a hybrid system with an electric motor driving the rear wheels. “It’s not that complicated. We’re exploring both,” said Marchionne, Automotive News reports.

Considering the popularity of Stow ‘N Go for Chrysler’s minivan twins, the latter option seems most likely, and it isn’t without precedent.

Starting with the second-generation Cube in Japan, Nissan offered a system called “e4WD” that sent power to the electrically-driven rear wheels when the front wheels slipped. It also eliminated the need for a center coupling and reduced parasitic loss typically associated with mechanical all-wheel drive systems.

The new Chrysler minivan will debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in January before heading off to dealers later the same year as a 2017 model.

[h/t AutoGuide]

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Brothers Bid For Piece Of Father’s Legacy, Win Despite Losing http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/brothers-bid-for-piece-of-fathers-legacy-win-despite-losing/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/brothers-bid-for-piece-of-fathers-legacy-win-despite-losing/#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 18:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1069218 Five years after losing their father in the line of duty, Tanner and Chase Brownlee did their best to win his retired squad car at auction. Weld County, Colo. Deputy Sheriff Sam Brownlee was on duty when he lost his life in 2010 at the end of a police chase, KMGH-TV reports. Five years later, […]

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Weld County Dodge Charger Retired Squad Car Set For Auction Circa May 2015

Five years after losing their father in the line of duty, Tanner and Chase Brownlee did their best to win his retired squad car at auction.

Weld County, Colo. Deputy Sheriff Sam Brownlee was on duty when he lost his life in 2010 at the end of a police chase, KMGH-TV reports. Five years later, the Brownlee brothers set out to claim his father’s work vehicle, a Dodge Charger, at auction Wednesday evening.

At the time the auction began, Tanner planned to use funds from his GoFundMe page to bring the car home, only to find himself severely outbid as the auction wore on.

However, the winning bidder — Steve Wells — quickly handed over the keys to Tanner seconds after putting $60,000 on the car, catching him off-guard.

Both proceeds from the auction and the GoFundMe page will go to Concerns of Police Survivors, an organization providing services to survivors of LEOs killed in the line of duty.

[Photo credit: KMGH-TV]

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Dodge Burnishes Viper’s Halo With New ACR http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/dodge-burnishes-vipers-halo-new-acr/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/dodge-burnishes-vipers-halo-new-acr/#comments Sun, 10 May 2015 14:58:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1064402 When Chrysler invited the media to an event at the Conner Avenue assembly plant where the Dodge Viper is put together in Detroit, it was rumored they’d use the occasion to reveal a 700+ horsepower Hellcat Version of Dodge’s sports car. After all, how could the Challenger and Charger have more powerful engines than the brand’s […]

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When Chrysler invited the media to an event at the Conner Avenue assembly plant where the Dodge Viper is put together in Detroit, it was rumored they’d use the occasion to reveal a 700+ horsepower Hellcat Version of Dodge’s sports car. After all, how could the Challenger and Charger have more powerful engines than the brand’s King of the Hill? Over at GM, even Cadillac’s V cars don’t have as much power as the Z06 Corvette.

It happens Dodge did reveal a new version of the Viper – but it isn’t a Hellcat. Instead, they introduced what they billed as “the fastest street legal Viper track car ever”, the all-new Viper ACR.

When the acronym was introduced, ACR stood for American Club Racer. As you would expect from a suffix like that, the Viper ACRs have been more focused for track use than regular Viper roadsters or coupes.

As quick as the Hellcat versions of the Charger and Challenger are, they are muscle cars, not track cars. Chrysler isn’t ashamed to say they weren’t meant to take on the Z/28 Camaro or Boss 302 Mustang on a road course. The Hellcat V8 is based on the iron block HEMI and those cars are a bit noseheavy and prone to understeer. Don’t get me wrong, I had a Scat Pack Challenger for a week more than a month ago and it’s not a bad handling car. The steering is quick enough to balance the drift happy rear end with a flick of the wrist, but the big Hemi powered sedan and coupe were consciously designed to do well on Milan’s quarter mile drag strip, not so much Waterford Hills’ tight road course.

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The Viper, on the other hand, is Dodge’s track car. It’s the one they’ve used to set the Nurburgring lap “record” and to race at LeMans. (The Hellcats, though, can do 200 mph just like the Viper.) It has been Dodge’s halo car for more than two decades. When cars below it in the brand’s hierarchy have gotten the attention that the Hellcats have gotten, it was natural for people to speculate the Viper would eventually get the 707 hp Hellcat HEMI V8. That speculation has proven to be unfounded.

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Tim Kuniskis, Dodge’s president and CEO, said that putting the Hellcat engine in the Viper was never really considered. While the Viper has a bigger displacement engine with more cylinders than the Hellcat V8, the Viper’s all-aluminum V10 actually dresses out about 200 lbs less than the Hellcat HEMI. Since the 645 hp base Viper already has a better power to weight ratio than the Hellcat cars, dropping a Hellcat in a Viper would actually make it slower than it is. It would also upset the weight balance and likely make the Viper less competitive on the track.

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So the Viper ACR won’t be getting its speed from raw power. Instead, the ACR gets suspension, brake and aerodynamic upgrades. Fully adjustable coilover shocks are at all four corners. Ride height can be adjusted up to 3 inches. More negative camber is allowed. Some bushings have been replaced by more rigid joints. Brakes have been upgraded to six piston Brembo calipers with carbon-ceramic rotors. An aero package has been added that doubles downforce at speed to almost a ton. And special Ecsta V720 tires developed just for the Viper ACR are claimed to have the largest contact patch of any production car. Dodge claims the combination will allow the Viper ACR to sustain lateral acceleration levels of 1.5g, something pretty much unheard of with street legal cars.

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The Extreme Aero Package deserves some attention in particular, though admittedly it’s a bit hard to miss. In the front is an aggressive and adjustable splitter that’s removable so you don’t damage it when using the car on the street. Also removable are the strakes for the rear diffuser that extend far under the ACR’s smooth belly pan. They’re meant to be installed when you get to the track. One part is intended to be removed when you get to the track: the under-fender panel that blocks off the hood louvers intended to extract air from around the front wheel. The ACR gets even more aggressive front dive planes than the Viper TA. Dominating the back end of the car is an enormous adjustable dual-element rear wing that’s wider than most men are tall.

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While the new ACR is said to be the fastest track oriented street Viper yet, and the base ACR comes with a somewhat stripped out interior and a modest three speaker audio system, buyers can participate in the Viper “One of One” customization program. Even though it is track focused, it can be equipped with the panoply of luxury options. If you want to luxuriate in leather with the A/C and stereo blasting while you set a new lap record at your local track, you can do that, (if your driving skills are up to it). In any case, Chrysler will build your ACR the way you want it. They’ll even deliver it in your team colors.

The last of 13 pilot ACRs was going down the assembly line as we took the plant tour, so production on the retail Viper ACRs should start as soon as sales being in the 3rd quarter of this year. You can assume the price will be somewhat north of the base Viper’s $87K.

Photography by Ronnie Schreiber. For more photos of the vehicles in this post, please go to Cars In Depth.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

 

one of one

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Buick Regal Tops Among Those Traded-In After One Year Of Ownership http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/buick-regal-tops-among-traded-one-year-ownership/#comments Wed, 06 May 2015 19:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062954 In a hurry to trade your new Buick Regal for something else? You’re not alone, as the sedan joins a handful of models traded-in after a year of ownership. Per a report by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of vehicles bought new end up on the used lot after being on the road for one year, Forbes […]

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2014 Buick Regal GS AWD Exterior-003

In a hurry to trade your new Buick Regal for something else? You’re not alone, as the sedan joins a handful of models traded-in after a year of ownership.

Per a report by iSeeCars.com, 2.7 percent of vehicles bought new end up on the used lot after being on the road for one year, Forbes reports, with trade-in rates as high as 11 percent for a specific model.

The models brought back to the sales lot run the gamut, from $18,000 subcompacts to $45,000 luxury sedans. The Regal tops the list with 10.7 percent of owners exchanging their keys after a year, the Chevrolet Sonic takes second with 8.9 percent, and the BMW X1 at a close third with 7.8 percent. The Dodge Charger, Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan, Chevrolet Cruze and Nissan Frontier also make the list.

As for why the sudden change of heart, quality or the perception of quality played a key role; the aforementioned models were rated poorly by owners surveyed in J.D. Power’s 2014 U.S. Initial Quality Survey. ISeeCars.com CEO Phong Ly says those issues usually involve technology, such as connected-vehicle systems, voice command, and Bluetooth connection, and aren’t so much “problems” as they are difficulties with said technologies.

Those looking for a deal on those models will likely be happy with what they find on the used lot, though. The 2014 Regal with average mileage comes with a price tag 32.2 percent less than new, while the C-Class and Charger lost 31.0 percent and 28.4 percent in new-car value after a year, respectively.

[Photo credit: Alex L. Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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BREAKING: Worker Crushed To Death At Grand Cherokee, Durango Plant http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/breaking-worker-crushed-death-grand-cherokee-durango-plant/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/breaking-worker-crushed-death-grand-cherokee-durango-plant/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 13:23:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1062082 UPDATE: Previous incident at Jefferson North included at bottom. UPDATE 2: Added name of worker and clarified details. A worker was crushed and ultimately succumbed to his injuries this morning at Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango plant. At around 6:30 a.m., 53-year-old Donald Megge, of Sterling Heights, was crushed in a press and declared dead […]

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Jefferson North Assembly Plant

UPDATE: Previous incident at Jefferson North included at bottom.

UPDATE 2: Added name of worker and clarified details.

A worker was crushed and ultimately succumbed to his injuries this morning at Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango plant.

At around 6:30 a.m., 53-year-old Donald Megge, of Sterling Heights, was crushed in a press and declared dead at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. The accident happened during the day’s first shift, confirmed a FCA spokesperson speaking with CBS affiliate WWJ in Detroit. He was performing preventative maintenance duties at part of the first shift of the day starting at 5:30 a.m.

“A plant employee was killed at the waste water treatment plant. The company is currently working with local officials to investigate the incident. All of the FCA family extends its deepest sympathies to the employee’s family during this difficult time.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing.

This isn’t the first time a death has befallen Jefferson North in recent years. As Automotive News reports, a worker was stabbed by another worker at the plant in 2012 during a dispute over a woman. The attacker later took his own life off-site.

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Dodge Adds 1,000 Hellcats To The Assembly Line http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-adds-1000-hellcats-assembly-line/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-adds-1000-hellcats-assembly-line/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032625 Not too long ago, Dodge had to curb new orders from dealers for both the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats. As of now, 1,000 more on on their way. According to Jalopnik, an anonymous source relayed the news to Hellcat.org forum, though how many of each was not mentioned: For those of you still waiting […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat

Not too long ago, Dodge had to curb new orders from dealers for both the Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats. As of now, 1,000 more on on their way.

According to Jalopnik, an anonymous source relayed the news to Hellcat.org forum, though how many of each was not mentioned:

For those of you still waiting on your VIN’s, you just may be receiving a nice little surprise in the coming days. An anonymous source tipped us this morning and said that Dodge has just scheduled an additional 1,000 SRT Hellcat’s to be built. Of those 1,000 new schedules, we did not receive any hard numbers on how many were Challengers or Chargers, but it’s definitely a huge step in the right direction and looks like Dodge is listening.

Right now, 2,200 Hellcats left the assembly line since early March. The duo have proven to be popular among those plunking down over $60,000 for the opportunity to wrangle the 707-horsepower monsters, with dealers taking so many orders that the brand had to tell them to stop until the current orders were fulfilled.

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Dodge Restricting New Hellcat Orders Until Older Orders Are Fulfilled http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/dodge-restricting-new-hellcat-orders-older-orders-fulfilled/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 13:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1023097 Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up. MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative: […]

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2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Clamoring for a Dodge Challenger or Charger Hellcat? You’ll have to take a number to order one, as the brand is restricting new orders until it catches up.

MotorAuthority reports the brand is doing this because so many customers want to throw down behind the wheel of the 707-horsepower, $60,000-plus boulevard bombers. Per a representative:

Due to unprecedented demand for the 2015 Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcats, we are temporarily restricting orders while we validate current orders that are in the system.

As of now, over 9,000 orders have been placed for the Hellcats; over 2,200 have been delivered thus far.

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FCA Canada CEO: Reports Of The Grand Caravan’s Demise Are Exaggerated http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-canada-ceo-reports-grand-caravans-demise-exaggerated/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/fca-canada-ceo-reports-grand-caravans-demise-exaggerated/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:10:24 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017098 Although the Chrysler Town & Country will be FCA’s main minivan nameplate going forward, the Dodge Grand Caravan will stick around longer than many people have expected. Speaking to the Windsor Star, FCA Canada CEO Reig Bigland said that the Grand Caravan would continue to be produced past the introduction of the new Town & […]

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Although the Chrysler Town & Country will be FCA’s main minivan nameplate going forward, the Dodge Grand Caravan will stick around longer than many people have expected.

Speaking to the Windsor Star, FCA Canada CEO Reig Bigland said that the Grand Caravan would continue to be produced past the introduction of the new Town & Country, stating

“The Dodge Grand Caravan is still here, it’s going to be here throughout all of 2015, 2016…I’m not going to give any time frame, but at the launch of the next-generation Town and Country we will continue to have the Grand Caravan and I have not speculated as to when or even if the Dodge Grand Caravan will go away,”

Previous comments by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne suggest that the old model Grand Caravan will disappear by 2017, as regulatory concerns will make it impossible to sell in North America. The strategy of running two different vans on two different platforms has been something that hasn’t been explored in the automotive media.

If this is indeed the case, then it would allow FCA to sell the all-new minivan with the latest technology at a more premium price point while retaining the volume that comes from selling both vans. Both vans would ostensibly be built at the Windsor, Ontario plant, with a new flexible architecture eventually accommodating an all-new crossover vehicle built on that platform.

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Junkyard Find: 2000 Dodge Intrepid R/T http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2000-dodge-intrepid-rt/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/junkyard-find-2000-dodge-intrepid-rt/#comments Fri, 13 Feb 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=998890 With the ’01 Saturn L200 yesterday and the ’01 Pontiac Aztek the day before that, we’re having a 21st Century Junkyard Find week. I’ll continue that with today’s find: Dodge’s high-performance version of the second-gen Dodge Intrepid: The Intrepid R/T. You got the 242-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 in this car, which was pretty decent for […]

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08 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWith the ’01 Saturn L200 yesterday and the ’01 Pontiac Aztek the day before that, we’re having a 21st Century Junkyard Find week. I’ll continue that with today’s find: Dodge’s high-performance version of the second-gen Dodge Intrepid: The Intrepid R/T.
03 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinYou got the 242-horsepower 3.5 liter V6 in this car, which was pretty decent for a front-wheel-drive family sedan.11 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe LH platform had been around for quite a while at this point, so the novelty of the cool-looking-at-first “cab-forward” design had long since worn off by 2000.
14 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI often suggest that 24 Hours of LeMons teams run a Chrysler LH, but so far only one has shown up (and it threw a rod 100 yards into the race).

Roomy. Well-equipped. Cheap.

01 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 2000 Dodge Intrepid RT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Vellum Venom Vignette: Peak Emblem http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/vellum-venom-vignette-peak-emblem/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/vellum-venom-vignette-peak-emblem/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 16:40:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=997690   Most design students don’t consider Peak Oil in their studies, but The Reckoning was on my reading list back then. While Peak Oil is tangentially connected to car design, we clearly reached Peak Emblem. It cannot get any worse than what’s being introduced in Chicago this week. Emblem size, just like wheel size and body/firewall (versus glass) height has […]

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This just happened. (photo courtesy: Ram)

Most design students don’t consider Peak Oil in their studies, but The Reckoning was on my reading list back then. While Peak Oil is tangentially connected to car design, we clearly reached Peak Emblem.

It cannot get any worse than what’s being introduced in Chicago this week.

Emblem size, just like wheel size and body/firewall (versus glass) height has been on the rise for over a decade.  Park a new Corolla next to a 1995-2000 model for proof.  The problem is empty real estate, sheets of painted metal with no landscaping. A big problem for a top-tier RAM, for the Laramie Limited trim. How do you visually separate a premium model when even the mid-level model has that in-yo-face look from a huge grille and acres of chrome?

Larger and larger emblems, apparently: on the grille and the tailgate.  Damn Son, dat tailgate!

As mentioned before, it’s all about proportioning: big butts need MOAR BLING. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless the proportions are so extreme that creativity is stifled and the sheet metal cannot to rest on its design laurels.  A shame, as the RAM (like many new Chrysler designs) are quite fetching by themselves.

Here’s my suggestion:

1985 Dodge Power Ram (photo courtesy: www.fortrucksonly.com/truckforum)

Stamp a (unique to trim levels like the Laramie Limited) tailgate with negative area, then add a metal insert with small(er that what you did) lettering. Of course Ye Old School Dodge has a much smaller tailgate, but applying the concept of negative area to the Laramie makes sense.  Well, perhaps not the financial sense of slapping the biggest emblems you can make on dat butt.

Peak Emblem is real, it happened.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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TTAC’s Own Bigtruckseriesreview Goes Viral http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ttacs-bigtruckseriesreview-goes-viral/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/ttacs-bigtruckseriesreview-goes-viral/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:07:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995850 (NSFW for language)

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Click here to view the embedded video.

(NSFW for language)

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Junkyard Find: 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1987-dodge-shelby-charger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/junkyard-find-1987-dodge-shelby-charger/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 02:41:32 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=982713 Who would have thought, in the late 1960s, that the future held front-wheel-drive Chargers, based on a French platform? Or that Carroll Shelby’s name would be on some of those cars? The Shelby Chryslers aren’t worth a whole bunch today, which means that non-perfect ones show up in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time; […]

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06 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinWho would have thought, in the late 1960s, that the future held front-wheel-drive Chargers, based on a French platform? Or that Carroll Shelby’s name would be on some of those cars? The Shelby Chryslers aren’t worth a whole bunch today, which means that non-perfect ones show up in cheap self-serve wrecking yards all the time; we’ve seen this ’87 Daytona Shelby Z, this ’86 Omni GLH, this ’85 Shelby Charger, and this ’84 Shelby Charger so far, and now I’ve spotted a very rough but still recognizable ’87 Shelby Charger in the San Francisco Bay Area.
13 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinThe 146-horse 2.2 liter turbocharged engine is long gone, but the genuine Shelby bucket seats are still there.
01 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinYes, it’s a genuine Shelby.
11 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee MartinAir conditioning, maybe some Georgia Satellites on the cassette, some Iran-Contra on the news… yeah, a very 1980s car.

Dodge is creating a revolution in the streets!

01 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 02 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 03 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 04 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 05 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 06 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 07 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 08 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 09 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 10 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 11 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 12 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 13 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 14 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin 15 - 1987 Dodge Shelby Charger Down On the Junkyard - Picture By Murilee Martin

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Dodge Unveils 1-of-1 Program For New Viper Owners http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dodge-unveils-1-1-program-new-viper-gtc-owners/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/dodge-unveils-1-1-program-new-viper-gtc-owners/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=974282 Is the standard color palette for the 2015 Dodge Viper not enough for you? Have you looked at your child’s Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk brushables and thought to yourself, ‘Those hair colors might look good on on a Viper’? Dodge has a program just for you. New Dodge Viper owners can get a lot […]

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2015 Dodge Viper

Is the standard color palette for the 2015 Dodge Viper not enough for you? Have you looked at your child’s Twilight Sparkle and Sonata Dusk brushables and thought to yourself, ‘Those hair colors might look good on on a Viper’? Dodge has a program just for you.

New Dodge Viper owners can get a lot more for the $94,995 base price with the brand’s 1-of-1 customization program, which is set to open in February. Owners who place their order with their dealer will have the following to consider:

  • 24,000 hand-painted custom stripes
  • 8,000 hand-painted exterior colors
  • 16 interior trims
  • 10 wheel options
  • Six aero packages
  • A wide array of standalone choices

With every possible option under the sun, over 25 million unique build combinations can be had from the program, which also includes a concierge service throughout the build, a new mobile-friendly website to track the build process, personalized plaque and instrument panel with “the customer’s chosen name to commemorate their design,” and a complementary 1:18 scale replica to confirm color selection.

The program also allows Dodge and SRT to demonstrate the full capabilities of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit, where the Viper is assembled. Brand president Tim Kuniskis explains:

Because every Viper is hand crafted with such an extreme level of detail, we have the unique opportunity to make each one even more special by giving buyers the opportunity to customize each vehicle to their exact specifications. Now, Viper owners will be able to say their Viper is truly one of a kind.

Delivery options include rapid transport in an enclosed carrier, or, for those wanting to visit Detroit, picking up their new Viper at Conner Avenue following a tour of the facilities.

Production of the first 1-of-1 Vipers will begin in Q2 2015.

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The Ballad of the Death Star http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ballad-death-star/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/ballad-death-star/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 16:30:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971698   You wouldn’t know to look at her, but she had history. Amazing history, built up throughout her 2-owner life.   Chris the owner is featured above. He is the one spraying Cruex on his crotch. He had ordered this 1992 Dodge factory custom right from the military car sales office at Ramstien Air Force […]

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The Death Star

 

You wouldn’t know to look at her, but she had history. Amazing history, built up throughout her 2-owner life.

 

Chris the owner is featured above. He is the one spraying Cruex on his crotch. He had ordered this 1992 Dodge factory custom right from the military car sales office at Ramstien Air Force Base in Germany. It was precisely that fact that allowed him to order the interior colors exactly what he wanted, the short wheelbase and most important, the 5 speed manual transmission.

 

Why a van? Well, Chris was in a band. Actually Chris was in a lot of them. He is still a very talented bass player, but in the late 80s was stationed in Europe. Every band needs rhythm, thus Chris was in high demand. The fluid nature of military changes ensured that as soon as one band broke up, another was forming. He could play several instruments and had his own gear. In addition to instrumental talent, a decent voice and lack of musician’s ego, Chris also had a van.

This landed him a gig with a country cover band called Texas Pride in 1992. Country cover bands were even more rare than a bass player with a van in Europe. The gigs were consistent and paid well. The crowds became huge and they eventually toured bases all throughout Europe. With tours comes groupies and well…Chris had a van.

Non-musically, this was a hooligan vehicle of the highest order. Any semi-organized night of drinking involved a designated driver and this van. I distinctly remember a friend hanging from the open rear doors via his belt held by another buddy, while we were in motion. The blonde guy on the roof (next to me in the black shirt) once rode the luggage ladder for almost 5 miles. In the photograph above, we were preparing for a night of debauchery in Luxemburg; it became known as “The Boys Night Out…of The Country.”

Many hours after this photograph was snapped, we would arrange for the services of a professional so that one of the young lads in the picture above could lose his virginity to her. He would hug all of us for it later.

The groupie related shenanigans that occurred in the or as a result of this van are far more sordid.

Eventually Chris and the van returned stateside. He had met a lovely woman, fell in love and got married. Despite his monogamous ways, every day the van sat in their driveway, it mocked his new bride with untold sordid stories of what happened within. It had to go.

Which in 2002, is how it came to be mine.

The van’s life continued in a similar fashion, but I am married and can only play four chords on my very cheap guitar. But any semi-organized evening of drinking involved a designated driver and this van. In 2002, a pack of young Air Force Lieutenants were returning from the bars in downtown OKC when my wife’s phone rang. It was her sister; my friend Doug snatched the phone and questioned “Who the hell is this?” She replied; “Who the hell is this?”

Six months later they were engaged. They have been together for over 10 years together just had their third child, my darling niece Sofia.

At the start of 2003 I drove the van to a six-month temporary assignment in Las Vegas, where it was dubbed The Death Star. She also became the vehicle of choice for hijinks on and off The Strip and at least once was a hotel room when I had imbibed more than I had anticipated and elected to not drive.

Throughout all of this; she helped folks move, carried big purchases home, towed cars, motorcycles and performed any other menial task requiring a big vehicle for a variety of friends in this nation and others.

Sadly, she passed on the way back from Las Vegas. With almost 300,000 on the clock and more than a few Nebraska winters, the door hinges had started to rust. In the late 90’s she had struck a deer in Wyoming and still bore the battle scars. These issues precluded her repair when the flywheel lost about 25% of it’s teeth and the starter wouldn’t engage. It’s no small feet to find a hill near a gas station as I staggered across the Texas panhandle, but still easier than having to push it and bump it off solo. By the time she limped back to Norman Oklahoma, the charging system had also failed. Add in the growing body rust, and despite her proud heritage, her time had come to an end.

Like the infamous Giving Tree, her days of giving were not finished and I managed to drive her to a parts recycler. Like a Crabspirits adventure, I envisioned her telling tales her of travels all over Europe and the US to the other cars in the mortal ward, and after sunset those sagas turning more adult in nature.

If you live in the midwest and enjoy folk music, Chris still plays with the same lovely bride. Check out An Evening.

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Drive, Road & Track, Pit Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Against F-16 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/drive-road-track-pit-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-f-16/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/drive-road-track-pit-dodge-challenger-srt-hellcat-f-16/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 01:08:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971730 In the time honored buff book tradition of pitting supercars against military aircraft, Road & Track and the Drive network managed to procure a Hellcat for a drag race against an F-16. Shot on a rainy Friday at South Florida’s Homestead Air Force Base, the weather conditions weren’t ideal for a Hellcat – but that didn’t […]

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landscape_nrm_1420473824-f-16_viper_and_dodge_challenger_hellcat_1800

In the time honored buff book tradition of pitting supercars against military aircraft, Road & Track and the Drive network managed to procure a Hellcat for a drag race against an F-16.

Shot on a rainy Friday at South Florida’s Homestead Air Force Base, the weather conditions weren’t ideal for a Hellcat – but that didn’t stop the F-16.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-dodge-aspen-station-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/junkyard-find-1977-dodge-aspen-station-wagon/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=968594 Commonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by […]

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13 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCommonplace as the Dodge Aspen was during the Middle and Late Malaise Era— you saw them on American roads in 1980 or so about as often as you’d see, say, Hyundai Accents today. The Aspen (and its Plymouth sibling, the Volaré) didn’t hold their value so well, and nearly all of them were crushed by the early 1990s. I photograph them whenever I see them, of course, but that isn’t often. In this series before today, we’ve seen this ’76 Aspen sedan, this ’76 Volaré sedan, this brown-on-beige ’77 Volaré coupe and this ’77 Volaré Premier wagon, and now we’ve got a mossy, lichen-covered Northern California Aspen wagon.
07 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe winters in the San Francisco Bay Area are cold and wet, and a car that spends a few years (or maybe a couple of decades) parked in shade will gather moss.
20 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAnd, much like cars that spend years in the birch forests of northern Sweden, this car has provided a home for lichens.
10 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThink the 318 under the hood is still good? Probably so, but these engines get few takers these days.
06 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSuch an expanse of brown vinyl!

Better than a Nova? That’s a tough call.

01 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Capsule Comparison: 2015 Dodge Charger SRT 392 Vs. 2014 Chevrolet SS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-comparison-2015-dodge-charger-srt-392-vs-2014-chevrolet-ss-2/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/capsule-comparison-2015-dodge-charger-srt-392-vs-2014-chevrolet-ss-2/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:16:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=964130 (Please accept my apologies for this long-ago-promised and painfully overdue comparison. -DK) With the demise of the Chrysler 300 SRT, Americans are limited to two choices for a domestic sports sedan. And neither of them are built in America. The Chevrolet SS, as we all know, is built in Port Elizabeth, Australia. Based on the […]

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IMG_8539

(Please accept my apologies for this long-ago-promised and painfully overdue comparison. -DK)

With the demise of the Chrysler 300 SRT, Americans are limited to two choices for a domestic sports sedan. And neither of them are built in America.

The Chevrolet SS, as we all know, is built in Port Elizabeth, Australia. Based on the Holden VE Commodore, the SS gets the best of what Holden has to offer: a rear-drive Zeta platform, an LS3 V8 engine and styling that many find to be far too restrained and understated – to me, that’s a big part of the appeal.

When Bark M drove this car a year ago (to help kick off our Reader Ride Review program), he was diplomatically lukewarm about the car, praising the small-block V8 and the 7/10ths handling prowess, while criticizing the car’s balky gearbox and Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tires. I was dumbstruck. As a big fan of the Pontiac G8 (and Australian rear-drive sedans), I wanted to believe that Bark’s impressions of the SS were colored by the fact that he drives a Boss 302 on a daily basis. It turns out he was right.

While GM nominally describes the SS as a limited production sports sedan, it’s easy to understand why sales of this car are in the toilet, marketing support or no marketing support. The G8 was a brilliant last stand from a dying brand when it was introduced in 2009. Driving the SS today just shows how the competition has moved on.

IMG_8540

Yes, the interior with the big MyLink touch screen and the heads-up display is a vast improvement over the old G8. There’s lots of space for passengers both fore and aft. Flimsy paddles aside, everything is high quality, pleasing to the touch and sufficiently upscale – if you can ignore the bright red “SS” emblems stitched into the seats. The trunk is made for an Australian family, which is to say, it’s huge.

I wanted to like this car so, so badly, but the driving experience fell utterly flat. Yes, you get big thrust and a nice small-block soundtrack from the LS3 (finally a proper LS, unlike the 6.0 mill in the old G8). A naturally aspirated V8 is fast becoming an endangered species, and this is one of the best. But the transmission can’t keep pace.

Nor could the rest of the car, for that matter. On the winding backroads around Summit Point Raceway, the SS just didn’t feel that special. At a hair under 4000 lbs, it’s lighter than the Charger SRT, but you’d never know it. The SS isn’t as buttoned-down in turns as the Charger, while the uncommunicative steering doesn’t flatter the car’s size or heft. In the brilliant shade of metallic black, the SS seemed to be the closest thing available to an old moonshiner’s hot-rod. It also drove like one too.

IMG_8509

If you want the top-performing American sports sedan, you’ll have to opt for the Charger SRT 392, which is actually built in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. It’s not as elegant as the SS, though I bet that many people will prefer its more aggressive looks. The new for 2015 restyling tones down some of the overly-aggro snout on the outgoing car, but there’s no mistaking it for the V6 SXT you’ll find on the Avis lot.

At nearly 4400 lbs and just under 200 inches long, the Charger is, as they’d say in the Antipodes, “a big fucker”. The lighter SS makes do with less power  – 6.2L and 415 horsepower versus the Charger’s 6.4L and 485 horsepower -, but the seemingly minor differences are deceptive on paper. Sort of like how there is but a mere millimeter difference between a 9mm and a 10mm handgun cartridge, but one is used by police forces while the other can stop a grizzly dead in its tracks.

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The SRT V8 is not as refined or as smooth as the storied LS3, but the extra output, combined with the utterly brilliant 8-speed automatic means that the Charger 392 has the Chevrolet beat hands down for aural drama and straight line performance. The soundtrack is a masterpiece of pyrotechnic sounds that mimics the AMG 6.2L V8s NASCAR-esque notes, and the engine is as strong between 60 and 100 mph as it is from a dig. If that weren’t enough, the 2015 SRT adds the Hellcat’s massive Brembo brakes (15.4 inch rotors up front, 13.8 inches in the back) and a whole suite of adjustable driving modes for the suspension, throttle, gearbox and traction control. There’s also an updated interior with better materials and the excellent UConnect/Alpine stereo system – I concur with Baruth when he says it might be the best mainstream audio system in the business.

With the SS getting a 6-speed manual and an updated suspension for 2015, a rematch is only fair. But driving the two cars back to back opened my eyes to the possibility that, aside from CAFE and a shrinking market for full-size cars, there’s a reason we’ve never gotten the Commodore as a mainstream Chevrolet product: it’s just not good enough to compete. Right now, FCA has the full-size rear-drive mainstream sedan segment all to itself, and its sales are still strong, even after all these years. For an Americanized-Commodore to steal sales away from the LX cars – and the Taurus, and Avalon and Azera and the Impala- it would have to be extraordinarily compelling. Right now, I can’t say that about the SS, no matter how much I like the idea of it.

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November 2014 Was The Dodge Dart’s Best Month Ever http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/november-2014-dodge-darts-best-month-ever/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/november-2014-dodge-darts-best-month-ever/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 13:36:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=960497 The Chrysler Group reported the Dodge Dart’s best-ever sales month in November 2014 as year-over-year volume jumped 39% to 9012 units. This was the first time Dart volume climbed beyond 9000 units in a single month. The previous top month for this modern incarnation of the Dart was May of this year, when 8644 were […]

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2015 Dodge DartThe Chrysler Group reported the Dodge Dart’s best-ever sales month in November 2014 as year-over-year volume jumped 39% to 9012 units.

This was the first time Dart volume climbed beyond 9000 units in a single month. The previous top month for this modern incarnation of the Dart was May of this year, when 8644 were sold.

Yet at best, a best-ever month from the Dart still represents nothing more than a mid-pack performance.

Toyota sold 2.8 Corollas for every Dart sold by Dodge in November. (Year-to-date, Corolla volume is four times stronger.) The Honda Civic and Chevrolet Cruze both sold more than twice as many copies as the Dart did last month. By large margins, the Dart was also outsold by the Volkswagen Jetta, Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, and Nissan Sentra.

Through the first eleven months of 2014, Dart volume is down 1% compared with the same period one year ago. However, the trend has been much more favourable since the beginning of May. Over the last seven months, year-over-year Dart volume is up 17%, an 8K-unit gain.

The Dart’s November performance was especially strong in a particularly healthy month for the compact car segment as a whole. Sales of Corolla-class cars are up just 3% this year but jumped 8% in November thanks in large part to big gains from the Corolla (up 14%, equal to 3175 units), Chevrolet Cruze (up 26%, 4657 units), Volkswagen Jetta sedan (up 32%, 3440 units), and the Dart. Nissan Sentra sales jumped 16% and the Kia Forte was up 14% for a combined 2490-unit improvement.

As for its impact on the overall Chrysler Group, the Dart generated 5.3% of Alfa/Chrysler/Dodge/Fiat/Jeep/Ram sales in November of this year, up from 4.6% in November 2013. Chrysler says their four car-selling brands generated a combined 26% year-over-year car improvement last month, although pickup trucks, SUVs, crossovers, and minivans still accounted for 76% of the company’s total volume.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Shimizu: Takata Hasn’t Found The Cause Of Airbag Failures http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/shimizu-takata-hasnt-found-cause-airbag-failures/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2014 15:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=955722 Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls. Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That […]

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Shimizu, Takata's Senior Vice President for global quality assurance, testifies before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing in Washington

Takata has yet to find the root cause of the defect affecting its airbags; Autoliv will supply replacements to Honda; and Toyota, Mazda and Chrysler are expanding their recalls.

Reuters reports Takata hasn’t found the cause behind the catastrophic failures in its airbags, per testimony given by safety executive Hiroshi Shimizu before Congress Wednesday. That said, Shimizu said his company was of “the strong opinion that (there) is a factor contributing to this defect: which is high humidity, temperature and the life of the product.” He also claimed the ammonium nitrate used in the airbags was safe and stable, though he admitted replacements weren’t coming fast enough.

Meanwhile, competitor Autoliv announced it would supply replacements to Honda for vehicles in the United States. The automaker had mentioned before Congress it was in talks with the supplier and another, Daicel, regarding expanded production to replace modules in a nationwide recall. Autoliv will add capacity in its existing plants, with deliveries to come after six months.

Among the other affected automakers, Chrysler, Toyota and Mazda have stepped up their individual recall efforts. AutoGuide says the subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has called back 149,150 Dodge Ram 1500, 2500 and 3500 models from the 2003 model year, covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan and the Virgin Islands. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated the move wasn’t enough, and is looking at what action to take next.

Over in Japan, Bloomberg reports Toyota is recalling 190,000 affected vehicles in its local market and in China. The recall comes on the news of a catastrophic detonation at a junkyard of a Takata airbag inside a 2003 WiLL Cypha; the detonation was part of the procedures outlined by Japan’s Automobile Recycling Law, which also requires dismantlers to report any problem to the automaker to determine if a recall is necessary.

Finally, The Detroit News says Mazda is recalling 40,000 more vehicles — including the 2003-2007 Mazda6, 2004-2008 RX-8, 2006-2007 Mazdaspeed6, 2004-2005 MPV and 2004 B-Series — in Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Texas and Alabama. The automaker previously recalled 44,000 units in the U.S. and 2,600 in Puerto Rico.

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Junkyard Find: 1975 Dodge D100 Pickup http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1975-dodge-d100-pickup/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1975-dodge-d100-pickup/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 14:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949537 Since many Dodge D-series pickup parts fit my ’66 A100 van I’m always on the lookout for members of the species while visiting the junkyard. Today’s D100, which I found in a Denver self-service wrecking yard a couple of weeks back, is a little too new to offer many bits for my Dodge, but it’s […]

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13 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSince many Dodge D-series pickup parts fit my ’66 A100 van I’m always on the lookout for members of the species while visiting the junkyard. Today’s D100, which I found in a Denver self-service wrecking yard a couple of weeks back, is a little too new to offer many bits for my Dodge, but it’s still interesting enough for this series.
17 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinGrowing up in a Navy town, ex-Navy D100s of this vintage were common sights on the street. Most of them were still in their government-issue gray paint with the Navy serial numbers still visible, but some got rattle-can paint jobs like this one.
07 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe sensible Slant-6-and-4-speed drivetrain was about right for a truck like this— you weren’t going to go fast, but you’d always get there.
19 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI didn’t grab any parts, but I did get this magnet for my toolbox.

01 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1975 Dodge D100 Sweptline Pickup Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Grand Cherokee, Durango Going Grayscale Until February 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/grand-cherokee-durango-going-grayscale-february-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/grand-cherokee-durango-going-grayscale-february-2015/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=949153 Were you hoping to have a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Dodge Durango Ron Burgundy Edition in your driveway in time for Christmas? You may have to try your luck on the lot, as new orders will be painted black, white, gray and silver all over for the next few months. Automotive News reports […]

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Exterior-004

Were you hoping to have a red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT or Dodge Durango Ron Burgundy Edition in your driveway in time for Christmas? You may have to try your luck on the lot, as new orders will be painted black, white, gray and silver all over for the next few months.

Automotive News reports the grayscale look will be in until at least next February due to upgrades at Chrysler Group’s Jefferson North Assembly’s paint shop in Detroit. The upgrades would allow the shop to paint vehicles with more complex colors than it could prior to the changeover.

The changeover, which follows those at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ subsidary’s Warren Truck and Sterling Heights facilities, will also shut production down for three weeks beginning December 22, the first time the plant has been shut down for that long in several years.

Until then, shoppers can comb through the lot to find a red or maximum steel SUV of their dreams: around 19 percent of 24,500 unsold 2015 Grand Cherokees and 8 percent of 719 unsold Dodge Durangos come in colors outside of the grayscale range.

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Junkyard Find: 1976 Plymouth Volaré Sedan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1976-plymouth-volare-sedan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/junkyard-find-1976-plymouth-volare-sedan/#comments Mon, 10 Nov 2014 14:00:12 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=942913 The Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 1976, and they spent a good decade among the most commonplace vehicles on American roads. Then just about all of them disappeared, no doubt as they depreciated well below scrap value in about ten years. However, the occasional odds-beating survivor shows […]

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14 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 1976, and they spent a good decade among the most commonplace vehicles on American roads. Then just about all of them disappeared, no doubt as they depreciated well below scrap value in about ten years. However, the occasional odds-beating survivor shows up in wrecking yards now and then; we’ve seen this ’76 Aspen sedan, this brown-on-beige ’77 Volaré coupe and this ’77 Volaré Premier wagon, and now today’s ’76 Volaré sedan. This one shows evidence of having sat for the last decade or so, but still managed to rack up many more miles than most of its Civic and Corolla contemporaries.
22 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt’s always interesting to find old newspapers in junkyard cars; they let you know about when the car last functioned as a semi-usable vehicle. This ’65 Chevy Bel Air had a bunch of 1982 Denver papers, this ’60 Plymouth Valiant wagon had a few 1970 issues of the San Francisco Chronicle, and today’s Junkyard Find came with a trunk full of 2004 issues from the now-long-defunct Rocky Mountain News.
24 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinCertain topics haven’t left the editorial pages for decades.
20 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis comic was important enough to the car’s previous owner to have warranted clipping and stashing in the glovebox.
04 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinChrysler used this style of AM radio for most of the 1970s; I had one in my ex-water-company ’73 Plymouth Fury.
06 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe Aspen/Volaré was the successor to the incredibly successful Dart/Valiant series, but its quality problems and notorious recalls nearly destroyed Chrysler.
09 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinSlant-6 engine with great big two-cylinder air-conditioning compressor. A friend of mine used to make and sell cut-rate shop air-compressors using these things.
02 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe steering wheel was a lot snazzier than your typical Valiant’s.

Toyota used the Volaré as an example of what not to buy in their ’78 ads. This one must have made Lee Iacocca livid.

A “special” suspension!

01 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1976 Plymouth Volare Down on the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Dodge: Over 5,000 Challenger Hellcats Ordered Since October http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dodge-5000-challenger-hellcats-ordered-since-october/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/dodge-5000-challenger-hellcats-ordered-since-october/#comments Tue, 04 Nov 2014 14:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=940297 Since the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat roared at the 2014 New York Auto Show, enthusiasts have been waiting for the day the big cats would enter the showroom. When ordering opened in October, so did the floodgates. According to Allpar, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis reported over 4,000 orders for the $60,000 707-horsepower musclecar were taken […]

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2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Since the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat roared at the 2014 New York Auto Show, enthusiasts have been waiting for the day the big cats would enter the showroom.

When ordering opened in October, so did the floodgates.

According to Allpar, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis reported over 4,000 orders for the $60,000 707-horsepower musclecar were taken as soon as ordering came online, with an additional 1,000-plus entered since then.

The brand knew demand would be strong, but it had no idea it would come in hot, too; Dodge initially planned to build just 1,200 units annually. There’s also a dealer incentive to get the Challenger Hellcat into customers’ hands as soon as possible so that more can be delivered to the showroom as production moves forward.

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Capsule Review: 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/capsule-review-2015-dodge-charger-hellcat/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/capsule-review-2015-dodge-charger-hellcat/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:30:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=937274 It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Not long ago, we were told that gas was going to $6 a gallon, maybe even higher. CAFE, crash safety regulations and government interference would force us all into autonomous, emissions-free transportation pods. How lucky am I to be filling up a 707-horsepower rear-drive sedan with 93 Octane? […]

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It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Not long ago, we were told that gas was going to $6 a gallon, maybe even higher. CAFE, crash safety regulations and government interference would force us all into autonomous, emissions-free transportation pods.

How lucky am I to be filling up a 707-horsepower rear-drive sedan with 93 Octane? More shocking than an auto journalist paying for his own gas is the fact that 13 gallons of the good stuff cost me about $45.

A sudden plummet in the price of crude oil was a lucky break for enthusiasts. The origin of the Dodge Charger Hellcat isn’t quite as serendipitous. For the Hellcat program to exist, there had to be multiple nameplates to help amortize the cost of development. After the Challenger, the Charger was the next logical step. Don’t be surprised to see this engine wind up in another FCA vehicle, even if it’s not the Viper.

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There are few visual differences between the SRT 392 (aka the former SRT8 Charger) and the Hellcat – the most obvious one being the subtle, stylized feline “Hellcat” badge on the front fender. The same wheel and tire package, red Brembo brakes and rear wing can be had on both cars. Inside, the supple leather, UConnect 8.4 infotainment system and sport seats are present as well. With the programmable SRT Performance Pages (read, adjustments for the suspension, traction control, gear changes and access to the full 707 horsepower) set to “Street”, this car is as sedate and docile as the rental-spec V6 Charger SXT we drove earlier that day. On the highway, the blown V8 spins at just a tick over 1200 rpm. At 70 mph, we saw an indicated 22.4 mpg, while the plush, heated seats, XM Radio and solidly soundproofed cabin made the Hellcat an effortless cruiser.

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If you desire a bit of the old ultraviolence, simply go back to the Performance Pages and change everything to “Track” (you did keep it at full power, rather than limiting it to just 500 horsepower, right?). In the same way that the right combination of settings transform the Jaguar F-Type  from Jamie Oliver on wheels into Harry Brown, inputting the proper cheat codes unlocks the full potential of the Hellcat.

Without having driven the Challenger version, it’s tough to draw comparisons between the two Hellcats. Nevertheless, the straight-line performance of the Charger Hellcat is literally violent. Nothing more needs to be said, and even the most floral Dan Neil prose cannot do it justice. At 1200 rpm, the supercharger 6.2L engine makes as much torque as the old 6.4L SRT V8, which led to a rythmic ritual on the damp backroads of West Virginia: gently press the throttle, wait for the rear tires to lose grip, wait for TCS to kick in, rinse and repeat until you are breaching triple digit velocities. In a Nissan GT-R, you have an army of driver aides and all-wheel drive to help keep you on the pavement. On a Suzuki Hayabusa, you have a motorcycle jacket and a pair of Levis (hopefully more than that) to keep the pebbles and broken glass from tattooing themselves into your posterior. In terms of sheer acceleration and wet weather traction, the Hellcat sits between the two.

The ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox is the gold standard for longitudinal automatic gearboxes, but the reworked edition for the Hellcat manages to make even greater improvements. In track mode, gear changes are executed are faster than a Parisian pickpocket, taking just 120 milliseconds. Only the briefest of pauses in the Hellcat’s .50 BMG exhaust note lets you know that an upshift has occurred. In Street and Sport modes, they help keep the car humming along. It has all the best qualities of a dual-clutch, with none of the drawbacks, and I think that it might be the most significant advancements in modern performance cars.

Lacking an ample supply of sunshine, dry roads and extra-absorbent adult diapers, I was unable to properly put the Hellcat to the test on the track or the street, but its dynamic characteristics will be familiar to anyone who has driven prior LX-chassis SRT cars. Steering is heavy but not exactly the last word in communicative. The big Brembos bring the car to a halt with a consistent pedal feel. The ride is firm without being overly punishing. There is room for five adults and all of their stuff. In Jazz Blue with the saddle leather interior and the dark wheels, it looks less like a photo-enlarged Dart, and more like something that will cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block for the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $1 million at some future date.

In the grand scheme of things, the Charger Hellcat is an irrelevant, low-volume marketing exercise. Most of them will sit in climate-controlled garages, snapped up by dealer principals, waiting for that financially fruitful day under the big tent in Scottsdale. A few will be wrapped around telephone poles mere weeks after they were presented as 16th birthday presents to select members of America’s overindulged youth.

What I love about it can’t be quantified by sales volume, P&L statements or performance data. I love it because no matter how many times we are told by malcontent motoring writers that cars are lack “soul”, or that profligate performance cars are a dying species, we seem to get yet another crop of American muscle car that is exponentially more belligerent and incrementally more efficient. Underneath it all is a statement, a crass, puerile one at that, for which the Charger Hellcat happens to be a vessel. And that vessel is a very good, very grown up car.

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Choose Your Own Adventure: The Great American Full-Size Sedan Shootout http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/choose-adventure-great-american-full-size-sedan-shootout/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/choose-adventure-great-american-full-size-sedan-shootout/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2014 22:13:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=934954 Today was a glorious day: despite the draconian speeding laws enacted by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the unfortunate wet weather, we were able to experience the full gamut of the 2015 Dodge Charger offerings, including the Hellcat version. Driving impressions for the 2015s are embargoed until Wednesday, October 29th, but you, the […]

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Today was a glorious day: despite the draconian speeding laws enacted by the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as the unfortunate wet weather, we were able to experience the full gamut of the 2015 Dodge Charger offerings, including the Hellcat version.

Driving impressions for the 2015s are embargoed until Wednesday, October 29th, but you, the B&B get to choose what you want to read first: the Hellcat standalone review, or a shootout between the Charger SXT V6 and Chevrolet Impala 2LT and the Charger SRT 392 and the Chevrolet SS; the V6 and V8 shootouts will get their own articles.

The Charger R/T Hemi was on hand, but without a competitive car to drive, we skipped it. Same with the basic Charger V6. In all likelihood, we’ll be able to rent both of those cars at a later date or get them out of the local press fleet. Over to you, B&B.

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