By on April 11, 2019

Despite being manufactured in Canada, the Dodge Charger and Challenger feel like the most American vehicles currently on the market. Large, brash, and deliciously unapologetic about it, the vehicles embody multiple historical stereotypes thrown onto the United States citizenry. While those characteristics aren’t a good fit for everyone, Dodge says its holdout muscle cars capture the highest percentage of active military buyers in their respective segments (according to mTAB).

Now, Fiat Chrysler says it’s time for Dodge to “celebrate the men and women who serve our country,” providing a new Stars & Stripes Edition for the Charger and Challenger — along with some fleshing out of their existing appearance packages. (Read More…)

By on March 20, 2019

Rampant speculation surrounds the Dodge Charger and the possibility it might eventually receive the same wide-body treatment applied to the Challenger SRT Hellcat and R/T Scat Pack. Last month, Mopar enthusiasts, claiming insider knowledge, said Dodge would have sedan versions ready for the 2020 model year.

It wasn’t much to go on, but the automaker recently confirmed there will be a concept Charger on display at California’s Spring Fest this weekend, following the appearance of an online video showing a camouflaged SRT sedan cruising around Southfield, Michigan.  (Read More…)

By on January 19, 2019

Are the 66,716 Americans who helped take the venerable Dodge Challenger to a new sales record in 2018 just Luddites, rebelling against a rising tide of electrification and autonomy? Maybe, but the era of a Challenger line powered solely by gasoline is drawing to a close.

Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley addressed the muscle car’s future at this week’s Detroit auto show, admitting that, at some point, the Challenger needs to grow greener. That means venturing into the unsexy world of electrification — an unthinkable act for some American muscle purists. (Read More…)

By on October 29, 2018

While the Dodge Challenger is hardly a subtle-looking vehicle, enough exist on the road to allow them to blend in with traffic a bit. But what if you plan to purchase America’s final incarnation of the muscle car not just because you like burning rubber, but because you want to make a statement?

Dodge has you covered for 2019. Provided you buy one with a V8, the automaker will hook you up with some factory racing stripes.

Black stripes, which were previously available on SRT models, are being extended to the Charger R/T Scat Pack and R/T. Similarly, the 707 hp-Hellcat has some all new banded color options of its own. Red, blue, and silver stripes have been added to complement the preexisting black and gray lines.  (Read More…)

By on July 30, 2018

If you’re the proud owner of a Hemi-powered Dodge Charger, Challenger, or Chrysler 300, you probably love getting that sweet baby up to highway speeds in a hurry. However, you’re also likely fond of having the ability to stop it whenever you wish and not entering into a real-life version of the movie Speed.

We’ve got some unfortunate news. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, you might have to take a couple of extra steps to avoid that being a possibility. Fiat Chrysler has issued a recall on 2014-2016 Chrysler 300s, Dodge Chargers, and Dodge Challengers equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 and Mopar Stage 1 Performance Package powertrain control module. The 2018 Challenger SRT Demon is also affected by the recall.

Apparently, the PCM is sick and could screw with the cruise control system. You’ll definitely want to get this one fixed as soon as possible. FCA claims the defect may not just prohibit cruise control from disengaging — there’s also a possibility it could cause the car to accelerate unpredictably. That’s about the last thing you want an 800-horsepower car to do without you giving it the go-ahead.  (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2018

A Dodge Charger burst into flames after an impromptu drift exhibition for a crowd of people in a California parking lot on Monday morning. The local news, of course, framed the situation as an escalating threat to the community backed by hoards of street racers who just love illegal shenanigans — a half truth.

According to KTLA, the incident occurred shortly after midnight near the Walmart located in the Anaheim Plaza. Jaime Guzman, who works security for the area, said he was making his rounds when he saw a crowd gathered in the parking lot to watch vehicles perform a ludicrous amount of donuts. This claim was backed up by video footage  (Read More…)

By on June 2, 2018

2018 Dodge Challenger Shakedown

When the first LX-platform Chryslers appeared in late 2004, buyers who had long grown wary of the automaker’s products took solace in the fact that the new 300 and Dodge Charger/Magnum borrowed so many components from bedmate Mercedes-Benz.

While not a direct carryover, the front and rear suspension, floorpan, and five-speed automatic transmission (among other items) all boasted German heritage. DaimlerChrysler found itself with a hit on its hands. Thirteen years later, after many updates and styling refreshes, LX cars still trundle off Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario assembly line and into the waiting arms of North American traditionalists.

It was long expected that, after FCA hit snooze on a planned 2019 platform swap, we’d see new underpinnings for the old rear-drivers by 2021. Hold your horses, says CEO Sergio Marchionne. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2018

A recent report on the potential demise of the long-running Taurus nameplate brought mixed reactions in the comments section, and is still doing so as of this writing. Said report also inspired today’s Buy/Drive/Burn, in a get it while you can sort of way. Soon, the Blue Oval in this trio will take the dirt nap.

But that’s then and this is now — and you must choose what to do with three full-size American sedans on sale in 2018.

(Read More…)

By on August 24, 2017

Supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine produces 707 ho

Dodge is recalling Charger and Challenger Hellcats due to faulty engine oil cooler lines which may result in a rapid, catastrophic loss of fluids. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration filed a recall request earlier this month, saying 1,207 vehicles assembled between February and May of 2017 may be affected.

According to the recall information, the issue stems from rubber used in the oil cooler line. Chrysler’s testing revealed that the rubber doesn’t meet the company’s usual criteria. Substandard materials can allow the hose to separate from a crimped aluminum portion of the line, letting oil gush out as if someone unscrewed a drain plug. (Read More…)

By on July 5, 2017

2016 Dodge Charger R/T, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

It’s the kind of story dealership employees love to tell during slow afternoons: the decade-old car with an MSO (manufacturer’s statement of origin, which is what cars have before they have titles) in the glovebox, no air in the tires, and 3 miles on the clock, tucked in back with the service loaners or parked behind the body shop.

As with most car dealer fairy tales, there’s plenty of real-world inspiration for the (usually fabricated) story of the moment. In the days when dealerships tended to own their inventory rather than have it “floorplanned” with a bank, and before the manufacturers came up with the idea of revving up secret incentives to sell leftover cars from the previous model year, it wasn’t all that uncommon for a dealer to have an 18-month-old car somewhere on the lot. It wasn’t just the “megadealers” — truth be told, those were the guys who usually had a better handle on a computerized inventory system. I’ve seen everything from ancient (Mercury) Mariners to Old (smobile) Achievas sitting around way past their sell-by date.

Nowadays, the banks and the dealer groups keep a pretty tight rein on their inventory. Cars just don’t get “forgotten” like they used to. Still, there are times when something slips through the proverbial cracks. Should you take advantage of this “mistake”? In this case, I’m asking for a friend, and I’m also asking for myself…

(Read More…)

By on June 26, 2017

2017 Chrysler 300C - Image: FCA

Sure, there’s no vinyl bench seats and standard Slant Six engine, but this isn’t 1981 and Chrysler Corporation isn’t trying to boost sales by stripping down a LeBaron and calling it Special. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is, however, trying to make three models more appealing to the buying masses, meaning trim changes are afoot for 2018.

What models, you ask? Two very old sedans and a crossover. According to ordering documents sent to dealers, FCA plans to ratchet down the entry-level price of the 2018 Chrysler 300 and Jeep Cherokee, while also shaking up the bottom end of the Dodge Charger.  (Read More…)

By on March 7, 2017

Dodge Charger Seward Highway

“It should not be denied… that being footloose has always exhilarated us. It is associated in our minds with escape from history and oppression and law and irksome obligations, with absolute freedom, and the road has always led West.” —Wallace Stegner

Got an unusual question via email the other day. It comes from a young man who will be familiar to you but whom we will not explicitly identify. He was once a writer, once an editor, and now a financier, having achieved escape velocity from this ragged, scuttling business into the security and prestige of grown men’s endeavors. There was a time that he worked for me, and a time that I worked for him. It seems difficult to believe that we met eight full years ago.

Anyway, in the course of our various conversations, this Canadian fellow (we’ll call him “Bo”) happened to mention his upcoming travel plans and his need for some companionship along the way, preferably of the short-term, transaction-oriented variety.

(Read More…)

By on February 25, 2017

untitled

Onlookers outside Detroit’s Cobo Center took part in a great American pastime yesterday. That is, thrilling at the impending destruction of an airborne 1969 Dodge Charger.

You know the one. Orange, Confederate flag emblazoned on the roof, once the star of a popular TV show that was serviceable in its first season, but then got really stupid. There’s a pull, an irresistible force that compels us to find old B-body Chargers — ideally a ’69, sometimes a ’68 but never a ’70 — and launch those nose-heavy suckers to a frame-twisting death.

It’s the only classic, lusted-after muscle car that we associate with low-altitude flight and, for some reason, we continue to applaud the torture and destruction of the remaining examples. Why? (Read More…)

By on November 7, 2016

2016 Chrysler 300C Rear 3/4, Image: © 2016 Bark M./The Truth About Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sure loves its aging rear-wheel-drive LX platform, so much so that it might just keep it around for an extra two years.

According to Automotive News, sources claim the Dodge Charger, Challenger and Chrysler 300 will forgo their planned platform swap in 2018 and soldier on until at least 2020. If true — and FCA’s lack of allegiance to long-term product plans lends it credence — that means no major redesign for the models until 2021.

It’s good news for lovers of the current generation models, but it’s yet another sign that the Chrysler 300 may be doomed. (Read More…)

By on June 8, 2016

GC Shifter

As a six-and-a-half-foot tall red-blooded male who’s driven in demolition derbies and owns John Deere machinery, I naturally gravitated to a big, rear-wheel drive, future Junkyard Find sedan when it came time to replace our family car four years ago. Settling on a Pentastar-powered 2012 Dodge Charger, one non-negotiable item was FCA’s 8.4-inch uConnect screen. The other was ZF’s eight-speed automatic.

As we know, hapless drivers have failed to put their ZF-equipped cars in Park, confused by the spring-loaded shifter’s design, which always returns it to a central position no matter what gear those drivers select. The NHTSA started an investigation and FCA voluntarily recalled over a million 2014-2015 Grand Cherokees and 2012-2014 Chargers/300s.

I got my recall notice in the mail yesterday, which provided me with two things: a “Visor Tips Card” and a good belly laugh.

(Read More…)

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