By on July 26, 2018

2018 Chrysler Pacifica S Appearance Package, Image: FCA

We awoke to news of former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne’s passing yesterday and, naturally, tributes and recollections poured in for the man who brought Chrysler (Group LLC) back from the brink for a second time. A sad day for fans of Marchionne’s leadership, not to mention aficionados of quirky, outspoken individualists.

But today, let’s think back to the products. From the early days of Chrysler’s recovery to the fully unified Fiat Chrysler era, Marchionne oversaw a number of model introductions — some of them high-caliber, others regretful. Maybe you owned a Dart or 200. Hell, maybe you loved them.

That’s what we want to hear about today.

Our target period here spans a decade — from June 2009 until last week. The model (or generation of model) doesn’t have to have been introduced under Marchionne, as there’s no shortage of FCA rolling stock that predates his tenure. Hell, the previous-generation Ram 1500 is still in production after first appearing in late 2008 for the 2009 model year. Maybe a used Ram Rebel is still on your shopping list.

challenger 2017

It’s hard to ignore brashness and horsepower, so we imagine the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and limited-run Demon might see a few mention in the comments. My personal choice, however, is the 2015 (and onwards) Challenger, regardless of trim and powertrain. That was the year FCA took what was already a good design and refreshed it into perfection.

Before that model, I just couldn’t entirely get behind the Challenger — the full-width tail lights and body-color lower rear bumper made the coupe look ten feet tall when viewed from the rear, but the changes made for 2015 fixed everything. Gone too was the chunky, outdated interior.

I hesitate to add another product to my list as an honorable mention, as I’m not a van guy. Or at least I didn’t think I was, until I laid eyes on the Chrysler Pacifica S — a mean-looking, murdered-out minivan that’s a TTAC segment favorite. What a difference an appearance package makes. Chis Tonn’s gaga for it, and don’t get us started on vanophile Posky.

But let’s turn the mic over to you, B&B. What FCA model from the past nine years stands out among all the rest?

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio - Image: FCA

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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67 Comments on “QOTD: Favorite Product of the Marchionne Era?...”


  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Quite a few, the Demon/Hellcat, the upgraded interiors and designs. The new Jeeps (Compass, Cherokee, Wrangler, etc)

    Personally, I enjoy my 2016 200s. Yes, there are issues with design over function (rear entry for adults SUCK). But it’s a classy, nicely designed car that has been absolutely reliable and wonderful to drive. Since I commute by myself, the rear seats are a non-issue and it’s a perfect car to hand down to my oldest in a few years when she gets her license.

    If they only brought back the Magnum, then THAT would be a god send…

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I came in to shout out the 200. I really don’t understand why it failed. OK, it wasn’t perfect. But it’s good looking, refined and rips with the V6. Dirt cheap too.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        The tranny was universally panned in the 200. The 200 was sharp looking and offered lots of content. I think the Dart suffered from people expecting a retro effort, or at least a more powerful engine. FCA really didn’t market them well and Sergio didn’t have his heart in either of them. I seriously considered a 200, they were dealing toward the end.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          The Dart failed because it was a “meh” car. Nothing about it was really terrible, but nothing about it was outstanding either (price, styling, engines, features, etc). The confusing and constantly shifting trim and engine lineup didn’t help, along with a poor launch. It was rushed and it showed- it needed a bit more time in the oven.

          The 200 failed because it was a touch too small, but just as importantly was Chrysler’s frankly baffling decision to keep the 200 name when it was already tainted as that terrible rental car you got at the airport or the car that people with terrible credit bought.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            I think the issue with the Dart was all the hype of it being an Alfa platform so people expected Alfa sportiness.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The Dart was a “get me done car” that cost too much. This was the reason, period. If anything, it was probably too sophisticated compared to a lot of what’s in that segment.

            It was produced in a fairly short time as a 40mpg car as a condition for Fiat to gain government shares of Chrysler. An (expensive) Alfa platform was chosen to most closely match American dimensions with what was available (was still lengthened and widened) and selected to give some sort of sporting ride and handling. At the end of the day, the glut of cars in this segment exist as “get me bought” inventory at the dealer level and FCA couldn’t afford to subvent it to the level of the competition.

        • 0 avatar
          Polishdon

          @ sub-600: I fail to see what was so bad about the transmission. It shifts fine (a little slow sometimes, but it’s a 4 cyl). I wish I had a V6 not the 2.4L 4cyl but hey, I get 22-27 mpg mixed spirited driving. In my opinion, I like the transmission over my wife’s CVT in her Nissan or in a neighbor’s Ford Fusion.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            I never drove one, every review I read said the transmission “constantly hunted for the proper gear”. Some described it as “maddening”. I know it really hurt sales. I liked the style of the car and the Pentastar is a great motor, they just never got off the ground.

      • 0 avatar
        Polishdon

        @ sportyaccordy: I have FWD 2.4L. It’s fine. I would love a V6 AWD, but I picked mine up as a demo unit, 6K miles, on sale for $10K. No regrets (Except for the rear entry and the crappy factory tires). Will be a great car for my daughter to use for high school in a few years.

      • 0 avatar
        MoparRocker74

        Neither the 200 nor the Dart ‘failed’. They both sold in good numbers. But the Cherokee and other crossovers sold a lot more and at higher margins…FCA was capacity constrained. If you can make a finite number of cars with buyers lined up for the one that’s a much higher profit margin, why WOULDNT you do the high profit one? That’s like asking if its better to work 40 hours a week at minimum wage or at $50/hr.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “I really don’t understand why it failed.”

        It actually sold relatively well with over 300k moved in what was really 2.5 model years. It was going to continue into the future, but CAFE was putting the margin crunch on it. Then, capacity was needed for other products, namely transitioning from the old to new Ram 1500 without a gap in LD truck production. This enabled a greater strive for market share in this profitable segment. It was determined that the latter plan would be the better choice. Adding a plant wasn’t an option.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      It’s not too late for a 200. Cars.com shows 230 new 200’s still available nationwide!

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      I have a 2013 and still cannot figure what beef the auto journalists had against these cars. I’m three years in on this car and it has never left me disappointed. It’s not pretending to be fast, sporty or super luxurious. It’s a comfortable and reliable commuter with good fuel economy, looks great, if not classy in the age of angry predators and cartoon characters and was built in the USA. It is competitive with the Camry and Accord.

      I just feel like the naysayers have never owned one. Maybe they never drove one. They still haven’t gotten over the story of Uncle Fred’s Dodge Dynasty that didn’t work out all that well 27 years ago.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        “It is competitive with the Camry and Accord.”

        It’s competitive with a 10 year old 150k mile Camry or Accord with a sordid ownership and accident history that limps into the BHPH lot, yes.

        I agree that they are not horrible (or even bad) cars. But the 200 and Avenger are bottom-feeders in the segment, that much is undeniable. The interior updates helped, as of course did the inclusion of the Pentastar six. It’s the modern day dodge Shadow with the Mitsu V6: cheap and lots of power for not much money, but a far cry from top of the class. But hey it’s good enough and cheap to buy and cheap to run, nothing wrong with that. Around here they have a bit of a stigma as far as what part of town people assume you are from if you drive one. I recently saw a very emblematic scene unfold in said part of town: a Journey hit an Avenger at an intersection. The Avenger was already sporting primer before the wreck, Jounry had deep limo tint, it was like poetry. But I know of 2 Viet sisters in medical residency whose father bought them a matching pair of mid-trim 4cyl Avengers to take to medical school and onward and I think they’ve been perfectly happy.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      By the time we got to the end of the Dart’s time, I think they had the packages configured correctly and the pricing was good. But I would agree with other people, that the launch was botched with the wrong product. The later cars were OK,(I know a couple of people with them) and I was really hoping for a refresh or a second gen. With the rising tide of cars from China, we could have seen a Viaggio (Dart cousin) come over here as a replacement, but to no avail.

      One of the things I thought that Marchionne did wrong was the assassination of the 200. It was a really nice car at launch, it covered all of the modern sedan basics. Yes, there were issues with the rear entry, and it was a bit on the small size for a contemporary mid size car. Compared to all of the new mid-sizers that are 4 banger/CVTs, a 3.6/9 speed sounds like a pretty decent deal.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    No surprises here for me. Sergio supposedly signed off personally on the 2013 Viper after being shown a prototype by the skunkworks team that worked on it in secret. With the state of Chrysler and the economy in 2010, no one expected it to come back so soon, if at all. Let alone to be as good as it was. I’ll always be grateful for that green light. RIP

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    My ‘13 AWD Charger R/T is my favorite. The front styling is mean without being psychotic, the full length taillights are really sharp, The AWD takes a little fun away but I can drive it in Syracuse winters with ease, the six speed tranny isn’t the eight speed but it’s not a liability either, it’s not like this is a track car. The power lumbar on the leather seats is really good for my bad back. Uconnect is awesome and the Beats audio sounds great. One thing I don’t like is that it’s black, I didn’t think about it when I bought it but people tend to adhere to the speed limit when I’m behind them.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4-door, The only acceptable major change to the classic Wrangler that increased sales dramatically without offending the purests, much

  • avatar
    ernest

    I’m driving it- ’17 Charger R/T.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    My Abarth Cabrio.

    When I saw the 500 was brought back, I loved the perfectly balanced design and thought of how cool it would be to have one of them. Then, the great bankruptcy happened and Fiat bought Chrysler, and I realized they just might bring them to the US. A quick year or so later, around the time I saw Top Gear’s take on the Abarth, they were selling them here. I took a test drive and fell in love at the first backfire. A year later they made the cabrio so I could hear the straight pipe more, and now I daily a 2013 cabrio just the way I dreamed of.

    Honorable mention, the Redeye Hellcat. Eight hundred horsepower for less than eighty thousand dollars, from every dealership and with a factory warranty. What a time to live in, holy crap.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      I’m still planning on getting one of these, still looking on cargurus. Maybe next year. Bought a C-Max with my buyback money from VW, but I would like an actual fun car. It seems like you’re enjoying yours.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Number one for me would be the Challenger. My D.D Mustang is running out of bumper to bumper warranty in two months. I’m thinking of trading ???? With my grandchildren growing up, the usable Challenger back seat is appealing. I might be wrong here, but I do think FCA allows a little more flexibility in option packages ?

    Number two would be the Grand Cherokee. My daughter is on her second one . I have driven both of her G.C.”s extensively, and found them flawless.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    The first cars he was involved with were all pretty spectacular compared to the Tupperware cheap Daimler junk. In 2011 when they all rolled out, everything from the new Grand Cherokee and Charger which both got delayed to be improved even over the improvements Cerberus had made (Charger wasn’t slated to have the racetrack rear tails, just dual rectangular lights, Grand Cherokee got a bunch of better materials and equipment as well).

    Even cars like the 200, Avenger, small Jeeps, Caliber all got huge interior improvements, 392 engine came out.

    2012 the new SRT line came out etc. After all that you knew they weren’t screwing around anymore – and they never let up, everything just kept getting better and better.

    Their super bowl commercials were top notch as well.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    The new design Durango…loved my 2011 Citadel AWD Hemi powered unit. In fact, when my spouse trades in her Titanium Escape, it will be replaced with a new Durango with 3.6, AWD, Citadel or Limited.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    The Hellcat engine. 700 daily-drivable horsepower. The entire industry stopped and took notice.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    Ultimate: Alfa Romeo Giulia. So sexy.

    Affordable: Jeep Renegade. Neat looking little guy with some off-road ability sorely lacking in other entries. As I mentioned elsewhere, it serves as a substitute for the small utility vehicle I really want: Suzuki Jimny.

    I actually found myself on Jeep’s build and price website yesterday looking at a manual trans 4×4 Renegade. Not seriously thinking about it, but I do like it and it is pretty cheap.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      I agree about the Renegade, out of all the new cheap little crossovers that have come out lately the Renegade is about the only one with some thought behind it. It’s 4X4 actually gives it some off-road cred and the attention to detail makes it seem like it’s really part of the Jeep family. I’d actually think seriously about one

  • avatar

    Sergio upgraded the interiors of all Chrysler’s. He also produced some interesting muscles cars. However, like Ford, Chrysler no longer has either a mid-size or decent compact car. Actually, the 200 was selling well initially until it was deliberately sabotaged by the company. FCA has a pretty limited lineup, but I at least they are still around.
    Chrysler is not the powerhouse they were in the early to mid 90s when they were the envy of the business world.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    I have to agree with Steph on the entire post-refresh Challenger range. Before it was a fine, if not a flawed muscle car, but the refresh seriously helped the styling – inside and out. I would still probably take a Charger over it, but man did it help.

    I also have respect for the bold move on the Cherokee. We’ve had two in our family with no issues, besides the not so smooth transmission on our 14 (no mechanical issues, just not the smoothest). I like that he approved the risk to create a Jeep with a totally distinct look. Some may not like it, but it paid off. You see Cherokee’s everywhere.

    Overall, I like how FCA’s cars create experiences. From off-road Jeeps, Burnout Hellcats, Trophy winning Viper..they bring smiles.

    • 0 avatar
      PM300

      Agreed on the Challenger as well. I also think the Charger and 300 became much better looking during the 2015 updates.

      My wife has a 2016 V6 Cherokee and initially the trans was sometimes clunky and a lot slower to shift than the 8speed in my 300, but Chrysler did a complimentary reflash with new software a few months back during an oil change, and it is 80-90% better now. No real complaints with it now. Other than that both our FCA products have been flawless, which is more than I can say of the last 3 Ford’s I had .

  • avatar

    Favorite wasn’t a “car” but it was QUALITY!
    My wife and I looked at cars at the Chrysler/Dodge dealer when the had free interest financing AND lifetime warrantee. Couldn’t find a car there I was willing to buy. 2012 we ere looking again because I hear he had done good things with the company and heard good things about the 3.6.
    We now have a 2012 Avenger R/T and a 2012 Grand caravan.
    BOTH have been top notch rigs. No problems, great to drive.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I too will vote for the Challenger, though from a different angle.

    As noted here numerous times, it is an aging platform for sure. It is a heavy large car, also noted here. Under his watch the designers were given the green light to push the envelope . I had always figured the 392 would be it, turns out I was wrong on that one….

    Camaro and Mustang have both been updated and redone while the Challenger continues to print cash. I am holding out for the AAR Challenger Superbird 1KHP.

    • 0 avatar
      b534202

      I don’t really like even the recent Challenger, until the widebody. Those tack on fenders break up the huge slab of side sheet metal and make it look a lot better to me.

      Very glad we get the Demon & Hellcat!

  • avatar
    northshoreman1

    For me, 2011-2015 brought much-needed attention to the Chrysler lineup. The 300 got a more formal exterior cleanup and much nicer interiors, to the point that upper trim levels competed with far more expensive cars with their open-pore wood trim and nappa leather. Enough visual upgrades that several friends bought them instead of Lincolns and Cadillacs.
    The Town and Country got the same formal trim upgrade treatment and suddenly were moved from 2nd class status by many to the equivalent of luxury Siennas and Odesseys.
    The 200, while not everything many had hoped for (Camcord killer?) offered style and, with the v-6, performance, plus AWD availability.
    Finally, this period marked the introduction of the Pentastar and 8-speed transmission–a modern, efficient powertrain that’s proved to be a good performer and far more reliable than perhaps any other new engine combo Chrysler had previously used.
    All in all, those were peak Chrysler years–and that’s not touching on Hellcat development, the blossoming of Dodge, Jeep’s market advances, or Ram’s sales/public acceptance march. Damn fine times.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    The Giulia, which is why I bought one, and it literally puts a smile on my face twice a day when I’m lucky enough to commute in it. I consider myself indebted as much to Sergio for deciding to invest in Alfa and bring it back to the US as I am to FCA Financial for the $40k or so I currently owe them on it.

    But man, they’ve had some great vehicles lately. If I had an excuse or a four-car garage, I would have a Pacifica and a Fiata sitting in it side by side. And I have no personal interest in driving a Hot Wheels car, but I admire the heck out of them for keeping the Challenger going balls-out.

    • 0 avatar
      NN

      Yep, Sergio brought back Alfa, and gives me the opportunity to own one, which I will do if Manly steps it up and gives us a stick shift 4cylinder Giulia please

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        I certainly understand the sentiment, but for what it’s worth the 2.0T has too low a redline for the stick to be worth all that much, and the auto is quick-witted enough that it doesn’t need it (it behaves more like a dual-clutch than most dual-clutch transmissions out there).

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I really enjoy the Giulia Ti Sport. Its controls are a bit quirky in the standard Italian way, but the driving experience and simply being able to look at it in that Rosso Tri-Coat is worth it.

      • 0 avatar
        Sub-600

        You got a Giulia? Good for you. There’s a blue one driving around downtown Syracuse, I see it a couple times a week, very sharp. The woman driving it hasn’t put her front license plate on. You simply cannot put front plates on those, it would ruin the look. You should get a ticket if you have the front plate, lol.

  • avatar

    Favorite in the sense of owning it, I loved my wife’s 2014 GC-AVP. My car was a 2002 Z28 w/Hurst, but I always enjoyed the GC’s handling and powertrain. And the fuel efficiency was awesome. We sold it about an hour before we flew as retirees to Ecuador.

  • avatar

    Favorite in the sense of owning it, I loved my wife’s 2014 GC-AVP. My car was a 2002 Z28 w/Hurst, but I always enjoyed the GC’s handling and powertrain. And the fuel efficiency was awesome. We sold it about an hour before we flew to a new life in Ecuador.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Anything Pentastar. Much smoother than the previous 3.8 and 3.5 high output.
    The interior refurbishments. Much improved over the Daimler bean counter era.
    Bringing back Alfa. Looks like a new GTV Coupe is on the way.

  • avatar
    Edsel Maserati

    I’ve appreciated the steady improvements on the Chrysler/Dodge big sedans. The Hemi I drove once was insanely thirsty so it’s always been a Probably Not for me, even as I really like it. Someday I’ll see how that V6 moves all that mass around. In the meantime I’ll wonder how that line could be made more efficient (diesel, electric, slimming down — something). I’m not suggesting a return to the LH line, even though that was a very efficient layout.
    Giving up on the 200 was a mistake.
    Reviving Alfa Romeo was terrific.
    Spending a lotta money promoting Fiat in this country was sentimental and foolish.
    Developing Maserati seems to have paid off. The SQ4 Ghibli is a great ride (in the snow, too). Doesn’t Sergio get a little credit here?

    The question presented in this thread is a good one. Last night I actually went to youtube to look up some interviews with the guy and came away very, very impressed. And I wondered about his product lineup. Perhaps he was more of a dealmaker? FCA’s product development is nothing like Hyundai or Honda. My suspicion is that his attentions were devoted to pairing FCA with an Asian company.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      How was giving up on the 200 a mistake? There are still 2017 models brand new on lots, unsold. What possible good could have come from building 2018 models?

      Sedans are rapidly declining in popularity, and too many years of lackluster offerings have killed any prospect of Chrysler reversing that trend (speaking of midsize and compact FWD cars, of course).

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Yeah. I like the 200’s looks, but given it’s heritage, the shrinking sedan market, and lackluster powertrain (sure, the Pentastar is great, but the slushbox didn’t get rave reviews), killing it was probably wise.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’d say the mistake with the 200 wasn’t giving up on it; the mistake was making it such a half baked piece of meh that it was doomed to die.

        Then again, given what’s happened with the sedan market since, maybe the mistake was just making the 200 in the first place.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll take Walter White’s ride – a 300 SRT8 in black.

    (Preferably with no holes in the gas tank.)

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Putting the 8 speed in so many things. If it is RWD or AWD/4wd and available at your Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram dealer it now has an 8 speed auto. A transmission so quick in shifting that a V6 LX car has almost the same performance as a 5.7 LX car with the old 5-speed auto.

    That’s an improvement that impacted many drivers positively.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      +1!!!!

      I’m a dyed in the wool manual enthusiast…but that 8 spd is the only automatic that’s impressed me. I could actually enjoy it, not just tolerate it.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    A couple of could haves:
    Offering the 200/Dart as a sport hatchback might have given it life. Folks who need versatility but don’t need a CUV.

    The Alfa MiTo would have been a great hot hatch GTI competitor.

  • avatar
    arach

    This sounds like a cop-out answer, but hear me out:

    “ALL OF THEM”

    What I mean is, FCA literally plays by different rules than every other manufacturer.

    The Ram is an amazing truck, and it came out in 2008. It wasn’t remodeled for 10 more years. Ford had 4 versions of 2 different models during that time. Chevy had 3 versions of 2 different models.

    The Wrangler JK was out from 2006-2018, which is TWELVE YEARS. The only other SUVs that can push that limit are the ones that no one remembers still exist.

    The Challenger came out in 2008 and its STILL RELEVANT TODAY. Seriously, a 10 year old car and people are still choosing it over Mustangs and Camaros that have been redone 3+ times since then.

    Even the charger has been out since 2011, and there’s no plans for a redesign until at least 2020 or 2021.

    While a few other companies have had cars last that long (370z anyone?) They lost their relevance and are low volume movers. Loads of people complain that the 370z is long in the tooth, but what about the Ram? the Charger? The Challenger? Somehow people still recommend them and love them. The platforms are ancient, and yet somehow people still love them.

    Under Marchionne, he was able to get people to absolutely love outdated platforms and legacy machines. He was able to string out product lifecycles to recoup investments several times over.

    In a world where everyone needs the new iphone every 6 months, the fact that The Dodge Challenger, which is ancient by all standards, is selling more than double in 2017 what it sold in any of its first three years, and more than it was in any of its first 6 years is amazing. What product sells more when its 8, 9, or 10 years old than when it was new? But the challenger does it. They sold almost 65,000 last year, which was only bested by the 66k in 2015.

    But its not just the Challenger… its all the cars. Ram. Charger. Challenger. Wrangler. The wrangler was a 10 year old car in 2016. Sold 192k. 192k!!! 10 year old car!

    The best “product” of the marchionne era was the ability for an old car to stay relevant forever. Is it marketing? is it minor annual tweaks? is it because Mopar don’t care? I don’t know… Chevy, Ford, nissan… no one else can pull that off, and thats a special thing.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      You nailed it arach.

      I’ve had a Grand Caravan and Journey “GT” trims as rentals in the last two years, the interiors in those cars and engines made them downright tolerable and not unpleasant to drive.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Most of those models received many significant revisions to keep consumer interest over the years, but not all-new new platforms which require substantial tooling cost. The 2018 Challenger for example essentially shares a body shell with the 2008 with numerous powertrain, electrical, suspension and interior upgrades. Not to mention numerous high performance variants to keep interest.

      The Ram 1500 got new engines, transmissions, interiors, special models with tweaked exteriors etc.

      What this shows is that “all-new” isn’t necessarily needed every 6 years or less to keep sales going. Just enough new content and features that people can see and touch to keep them re-upping. Really, this isn’t uncommon with Toyota, Honda, Subaru etc. keeping tweaking existing platforms over and over with mild changes in sheetmetal and content generation to generation.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Anything Hellcat, obviously.

    The ’15 refresh of the 300 and Charger were absolute upgrades from the kind of ‘meh’ 11-14 models of both, and the Challenger came out looking better too.

    The Ram Rebel is the exact kind of package id want on a truck…especially now that it comes in an electric blue. Lets see a Rebel single cab though!

  • avatar
    200k-min

    Full disclosure, I haven’t really been a fan of anything Mopar has done since the 90’s. Daimler was no godsend but I don’t think Cerebus or Sergio/Fiat did them any wonders either. Throughout my life this is a company that has had the highest highs and lowest lows of all “full line” auto manufacturers. If you like a roller coaster they are great but damn that stress. The smart money, in Detroit at least, is still on GM and Ford IMO.

    That being said, I give them credit for keeping a damned minivan in the lineup and even though I’d probably buy a Honda or Toyota long before a Chrysler when it comes to people haulers the Pacifica is a vehicle Ford and GM don’t have the balls to produce. Two thumbs up there.

    Ram trucks are ok but I don’t think they are anything special over their peers and retro looking oversized muscle cars aren’t my bag. So, minivan me up. That’s it!

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    My 2012 500 Abarth, that I’ve owned for over 6 years now. Love it! Also the 124 Spider Abarth and Alfa 4C and Giulia. If I hadn’t bought an MB E350 a few years ago for my wife, I would be jumping on the Giulia.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I think just about all the lineup has good merits. I like some more than others. My favorites from the FCA era are the (JS) 200, which I currently own, the 300 and the Grand Cherokee.

    The refreshed Cherokee is looking fabulous, it could actually be the one CUV I wouldn’t mind owning. Probably about the only one out there without a CVT (well, there’s the Journey, too).

    The Charger/Challenger is the last of the modern muscle cars. The Mustang and IIRC the Camaro are pushing turbocharged four cylinder engines as their base engine. The 3.6 as the absolute base engine in the Challenger/Charger is still a great engine and both cars (plus the 300) get phenomenal mileage without any voodoo that will very likely do in the other two.

    The Ram trucks are as great as they’ve always been. I personally like the second and third generation Rams of the Chrysler Corp. and DaimlerChrysler era respectively (I own a 2006 Ram 2500 HD), but have to admit the fourth and the new fifth generations have the best interiors. I’m still disappointed that Dodge no longer plays a part in that. I still refer to the RAM as a Dodge, so does my grandfather, who bleeds Mopar.

    I don’t get the hate that surrounded the Dart. That was a good little car, comparable to the usual Civic/Corolla/Focus (and whatever else is in that category). The media bashed the car before the first of them even crossed 1000 miles on their odometer, and because people were told Toyota/Honda/Hyundai were “superior” (in what way though?) sales were slow and Sergio had to pull the plug.

    My main disappointments in the product lineup is mainly with the Renegade and the fact that Chrysler is down to two models. The Renegade is duplicatory in the Jeep CUV lineup, and not only that, it’s ugly. It could have been the next Nissan Cube. The price on that could get you into a Cherokee for not much more.

    My other beef is that Chrysler is down to two models. Chrysler has the potential to do better than the rolling Pokeman characters on the road, just go look at and drive a loaded 300. They know how to do luxury. They need more product. All it would take is another sedan or two, an SUV, and yes, even a CUV or two, much as I loathe them.

    Overall, I am impressed with FCA under Marchionne’s leadership. I admit being very skeptical in the beginning after seeing what played out under DaimlerChrysler and Cerberus.

  • avatar
    markmeup

    My current DD, 2015 AWD 300S in Maximum Steel Metallic- (thanks DW)

    Looking at it, or driving it… I have not loved a car this much in quite some time.

    Bought it brand new, but was a 1yr old leftover. I got 12K off sticker. In these times, to be able to still buy a car like this brand new… Thank you Sergio!

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    He did do a remarkable job with limited resources. I am thankful for the 124 and Grand Cherokee, two cars I’ve strongly considered for my garage.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The Hellcat everything. Bonkers performance that found a better than expected presence in the market in multiple models. With cars trending towards anonymity, we got something that reminds us that they can be stupidly fun, and that people will throw stupid amounts of money down to have meanest thing around.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I wanted to chime in: Hellcat FTW. At first I thought it was ridiculous for a 700 HP street car, but I later fell in love with it and now want to blow any lottery winnings on one.

    Come on SuperLotto!

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Sergio brought dying Chrysler back to life with a flair only an Italian could bring to it.

    First, just the improvements brought to the interior of FCA vehicles from 2011 on brought me back to considering FCA vehicles. My first experience was in a 2011 Chrysler 300 rental. I’d never liked the first gen due to the gun-slit visibility, which was not complemented by the cheap Rubbermaid interior.

    That 2011 looked and felt much better inside than any previous Chrysler product. Still not VW/Audi quality, but vastly superior to anything before it and GM products.

    My last LX car rental was a 2015 Charger SXT and if I could justify that large of a car, I’d have one. The V6, 8 speed was more than adequate, if just a tad slow shifting. But it handled the cut and thrust driving required on I-95 extremely well, still returning better than 28 mpg with a large amount of comfort ( VA drivers, move out of the left lane. And eff your infinite amount of vanity tags too.)

    My uncle has had a V8 Challenger and now a 392 Challenger. The 392 is his favorite and this is from an old school car guy who’s had 45 cars and various motorcycles over his life. He was a diehard GM guy too.

    I had a Ram pickup as a rental for a week and it was fine. For the possible savings over a similar Ford, it’d be a contender for my pick-up money. My brother just bought a used 4×4 Big Horn with the V6. He likes it, so far, better than his other trucks which included a first year Titan V8 and multiple F-150’s, the last being a 2014 FX2.

    Highly impractical and odd, I will always love the Fiat 500 Abarth convertible. I still pine for the 2017 I saw at a CJD dealer in truck country. Grigio cenre ( light grey, almost whitish) with matching top and the bronze multi-spoke wheels. Handsome and unique looking car. Honorable mention is the 2013 GQ car I drove that I should have bought for nearly half price. Stupid fun, big grin kind of car, if not a perfect speed machine.

    And then there’s Guilia. Before buying my Golf, I was considering leasing a Giulia. Went and drove one, a Ti RWD that was the demo. The terms changed and the lease was no longer a decent deal. But that test drive affirmed all those anecdotes about Alfa’s being drivers cars.

    I REALLY wanted that car and in hindsight, I could have done it as a lease, but it just not to be. My Golf is a great car and it does what I ask it to. But it ain’t an Alfa.

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