Ford and Stellantis Recall Bigger Vehicles for Smaller Problems
Ford and Stellantis are issuing recalls on some of their biggest models — figuratively and literally — this week. But the issues are quite a bit less dire than the repeat fire risks you’ve probably grown accustomed to. These defects will still allow customers to park their vehicle indoors without fear of awakening to a raging inferno emanating from the garage. Owners could probably even get away without having their cars fixed by the manufacturer until the relevant parts actually started breaking. Though why anybody would turn down free repairs on any component that didn’t pass muster is beyond me.
Impacted vehicles include 2021-22 model year Dodge Durango SUVs, 2019-22 MY Ram 2500 pickups, and 2019-22 MY Ram 3500 Chassis Cab trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) under 10,000 pounds, all with bunk electronic stability control (ESC) warning lights. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 375,000 vehicles should be affected. Meanwhile, Ford is only looking at 175,000 units of the 2021 F-150 pickup with bum wiper motors.
You Spin Me Right 'Round: Dodge Hiring a Chief Donut Maker
Pop quiz, hotshot: What job combines a Challenger Hellcat, wrestling champ Bill Goldberg, and a $150,000 paycheck? If you answered with something along the lines of Vince McMahon’s assistant or slightly-above-board import/export professional, we totally understand.
In reality, that’s the job description for Chief Donut Maker at Dodge. Yep – you read that correctly.
2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat Review - Want Trumps Need
“You don’t need it, but you’ll want it.”
It’s a common refrain when discussing bonkers performance vehicles, particularly ones that are based on family haulers. I’ve said a version of that a time or two in reviews I’ve written here and elsewhere. But some cliches are cliches because they’re true.
On the other hand, sometimes just because you want something cool, it’s not the practical choice.
Enter the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat.
2021 Dodge Durango SRT 392 AWD Review - The Goldilocks V8 Durango
If you want a large SUV and want performance, Dodge is happy to oblige. I mean, the brand even built a Hellcat Durango, fer chrissake.
Of course, not everyone wants the insanity that is a Hellcat, yet some buyers still want performance that goes above and beyond the norm.
Enter the 2021 Dodge Durango SRT 392.
QOTD: What Should Happen to Chrysler and Dodge?
Stellantis leadership is going to have some tough decisions to make in regard to Chrysler and Dodge. While both brands are a shadow of their former selves, Fiat Chrysler viewed their rightsizing as more of a distillation process. Despite lacking the full complement of vehicles necessary to occupy every segment, the two have the oversized American sedan segment almost entirely to themselves. In fact, their more-is-more ethos is becoming increasingly rare within the overall industry and (allegedly) at odds with the coming age. We’ve been told the only way to continue playing is through powertrain downsizing and electrification. The V8 is becoming taboo, reserved for the incognito browser.
What will your neighbors think when they learned you bought a Hemi? The jokes about the size of your member for needing such a big car with such a big motor will perpetually have you on edge and peering over a shoulder. You’ll be a fugitive inside your own mind, forever teetering on the brink. What if your alarmingly massive penis is actually as demure as your bother’s wife suggested when you brought the car to the last family dinner? Wouldn’t it be easier if we all just drove bland crossovers with modestly sized motors? Why do you have to be so different?
These are the kinds of harrowing questions we wouldn’t need to ask ourselves in the aftermath of a midnight screaming fit if Dodge and Chrysler stopped existing. Stellantis has that power … and it may even be considering that possibility right now. But is that really what’s best?
2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat First Drive: The Three-Row, One-Year Wonder
Putting a Hellcat motor in every vehicle you sell, at this point, comes off as a bit lazy. We’ve become almost numb to cars in the Dodge lineup making 700 horsepower or more, so numb that we sometimes forget how insane 700 horsepower is in a family car. But the tactic works for Dodge, and each subsequent Hellcat I drive I find them more and more surprising. For the 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat, the same thing applies.
2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392 Review - Loud, Crude, Large, Americana
There’s a stereotype of the American tourist in Europe being loud, brash, crude, and rude – all while being what doctors would call “overweight.” It’s a popular trope to be mocked in pop culture – The Simpsons, Family Guy, and others have done it many, many times. I’m pretty sure both those two animated shows about buffoonish men and their families have hit on the theme in multiple episodes.
National Lampoon went there, too, in the ‘80s, with European Vacation, though Chevy Chase looked pretty skinny back then.
Ferocious Feline Bound for the Dodge Durango Den?
It seems Dodge, the most flag-wavingly patriotic of all domestic brands, may have something fearsome in store for its aging Durango SUV.
Amid a flurry of Super Bowl ad spots Sunday night, Dodge offered up an orgy of tire-smoking horsepower and Vin Diesel, no doubt prompting its viewership to immediately envision themselves tearing up the local soccer field under the cover of darkness. But did it also offer up a clue?
Ace of Base: 2020 Dodge Durango SXT
Let it be known that, in calendar year 2019, one is able to buy a large purple rear-drive SUV with near-as-makes-no-difference 300 horsepower for about the same starting price as a Camry Hybrid. It shares showroom space and DNA with psychotic coupes bearing 800 horsepower and, in a fit of brilliant marketing, is the recipient of Power Dollars.
Anyone who says the golden age of automobiles is any time other than right friggin’ now needs to have their head examined.
QOTD: Road Trip Wheels
Today marks the start of that nebulous week in which the Fourth of July lands on a Thursday. A good many people will pretend to do some semblance of work today. Goof off on the second, then pack it in early on the third. Friday? Just make sure not to buy a car with a build date of 7/5/2019 is all I’m saying.
We’re giving you a fictional budget of $30,000 with which to buy a new rig to take on this weekend’s road trip. Be sure to consider fuel mileage, fun, and family before signing on the imaginary dotted line, mmmkay?
The Fastest Cop Car is Not a Car
In September of last year, the Michigan State Police conducted their 2019 Model Year Police Vehicle Evaluations. The purpose of these tests is to provide objective performance data to the individual agencies who are making purchasing decisions for their divisions.
For the automakers, it’s an all-out race for pride in being the superior bad-guy chaser. Ford hands off the title from their own 2018 3.5-liter EcoBoost Police Interceptor AWD (Taurus) sedan to their 2019 Police Interceptor Utility 3.0L EcoBoost AWD Explorer SUV.
Ace of Base: 2019 Dodge Durango SXT RWD
America. It’s generally thought of as the country where everything is bigger and customers get a lot more for a lot less. Take the price of fuel, for example, or the portions at any all-you-can-eat buffet.
Viewed in that light, this base model Durango should have an American flag on the hood and pictures of bald eagles stitched into the seats. This is a lot of truck for less than $30,000.
Ace of Base: 2018 Dodge Durango SXT 4×2
In Monday’s QOTD (which garnered more comments than any other post in recent memory – for this, we thank you) I opined that a base Durango would be my selection given a sudden bank error of $34,000 in my favor and a command to buy something that’ll last me the next 10 years. I also enjoyed some of your selections, by the way.
Digging into the Durango’s build-and-price tool, I found more to like than expected. No, it’s not the best of its range (that honor is reserved for the gonzo 475 hp SRT version) but it certainly makes a case for itself compared to non-‘roided out Durango SUVs.
2017 Dodge Durango GT AWD Review - Modernity Meets the Large Cruiser
If you’re over a certain age – say 30, or 35 for sure – you remember the large sedans of the ‘90s. Comfortable, quiet, and roomy, those LeSabres and Park Avenues weren’t fun for enthusiasts, but they moved five or six people across town with relaxed ease.
That’s now the purpose of lots of crossovers, including the Dodge Durango pictured here. They’re built to haul families and cargo in comfort, and if they’re even a little bit fun to drive, well, that’s gravy.
That means, on balance, I tend to look askew at this category of vehicles, no matter how well they’re built or how well they do their assigned job. I like cars that are fun to drive, and I prefer sedans, wagons, and hatchbacks. Which means I am not the average consumer.
For the average buyer – the one that counts for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – the priorities are different, and not so different from that of the large, front-wheel-drive sedans that once roamed suburbia before demands for utility and a higher seating position collided with the proliferation of unibody architecture, causing demand for crossovers of all sizes to explode.
All this rambling means that there’s more than one way to judge vehicles. Do you judge them based on how fun they are to drive and how they resonate with your enthusiast tendencies, or do you judge them based on how well they do their intended job, or some combination of both?
Piston Slap: A Stern Talkin' to About OEM Headlamps (Part II)
I thought I would give everyone an update on the lighting situation on the Durango. After considering the advice from both you and Mr. Stern, I decided that after all the expense of the new OEM lights, the better bulbs and the relay harness, I would just go with the more labor-intensive lights and less labor-intensive wiring from The Retrofit Source. I ended up spending a little over my budget but the lights are worlds better. They’re also an engineered solution that doesn’t blind other drivers.
I made an album with several pictures, before and after, with different settings. As you can see, on the new set there is a distinct cutoff on the “dims.” The low beams are currently adjusted a bit low and I haven’t taken the time to fix that yet, but on the road it is a major improvement. Other than a confused look from my wife when I had to bake the headlight buckets to remove the lenses and finding a place for the computer, ballast, and relay, it wasn’t too bad.
It was a little more work than I had planned, but the all-in price wasn’t much more than going the OEM route. It is a very significant improvement. I did get to adjust them a bit, and then followed my brother-in-law to see if they were blinding everyone. He said it was no different than other traffic, so I think I will leave the alignment right there. The beans line up on the door with the dims slightly higher than the other lights, but the old lights were sort of a blob on the top and I used a guess as to where the “cut” line was.
Thanks for all the help. I wanted to do it right and have them be able to align correctly. Even though I didn’t follow your exact advice, you gave me the push in the right direction. It still isn’t a bad looking truck for 190k miles!