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2013 Dodge Dart Review

Monday December 24th, 2012 at 8:1212 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Alfa Flair, Build Quality, $ Value
Against: Underpowered, R/T Not Immediately Available

Okay, let’s get the important stuff out of the way upfront. No, it doesn’t have a Slant Six under the hood, a push button automatic on the dash, or Tinker Bell script reading “Dart” on the rear fender. The new Dart is the first offspring of the US government-brokered shotgun marriage between Chrysler and Fiat. Fiat, which owns Alfa Romeo, supplies the Dart with a stretched Alfa Giulietta platform. Chrysler, which owns Dodge, supplies the USA build facility, heritage nameplate, and dealer network. The result is a marriage made in heaven – an Alfa Romeo for the price of a Dodge!

The first Darts go on sale in July, 2012. Eventually 5 different models will be available. The range begins with the SE, with disc brakes at all 4 corners, 10 air bags, and a base price of $15,995. One step higher in the pecking order is the $17,995 SXT model, with such upgrades as 17 inch wheels, power mirrors and door locks, and keyless entry. A sportier Rallye model, with dual exhausts and black chrome headlamps, retails for $18,995. The Limited version – which we drove – adds Garmin Navigation with a 7 inch dash-mounted touch screen, 10 way power seats, and rear view camera monitors, for $19,995. A 2.0 liter “Tigershark” motor producing 160hp and 148 lb.-ft. of torque powers all 4 models. A 1.4 liter, turbocharged, 168hp motor is optionally available for $1,300. Dodge will also introduce a more powerful R/T Dart later in the model year. The $22,495 R/T will benefit from a 2.4 liter “Tigershark” powerplant producing 184hp and 171 lb.-ft. of torque.

 

To convert an Alfa Giulietta platform to Dart duty, Dodge widened the tub 2 inches and added 10 inches in length. The chassis is constructed from 68 percent hi-strength steel, and the car is built in the United States. A series of baffles and underbody streamlining panels insure that the Dart’s coefficient of drag (Cd) is just 0.285. Body panel gaps are remarkably tight, and wind noise inside the cabin is nil.

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2012 Dodge Charger R/T Road & Track Review

Thursday August 23rd, 2012 at 8:88 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Spacious Interior and Trunk. Zinger Motor
Against: Harsh Ride, Parking Space Hungry

There’s good news for those of you stuck in the past, longing for the days when voluptuous sheet metal and big block engines ruled the highways of America. Dodge has recreated the magic of those golden days of yore with the Charger R/T. It’s a sizeable sedan, with 4 cavernous doors that open wide to accommodate 5 adults, plus a 16.5 cubic foot trunk to haul all their stuff. Somehow, Dodge engineers have managed to wrap all that practicality in an alluringly sculpted skin that looks lean and mean. Charger’s styling renaissance dates to 2011. Conspicuously reflective chrome clad alloys, 20 inches in diameter, 8 inched in width, and carrying chunky 245/45R20 Goodyear F1 tires, play off the subtle contours of the revised body.

Dodge has given the new Charger a redone interior that looks handsome, feels good to the touch, and most importantly, works well in everyday use. A satisfying combination of expensive leathers, suede and surface treatments remove Charger from the airport rental fleet and elevate it to the exotic loan portfolio. The central touch screen video unit, about the size of an iPad, works flawlessly to control most functions you’ll need to adjust, including climate, radio, telephone, and personalized settings. Redundant buttons are splayed across the dash to allow immediate access to such essentials as fan speed, temperature, and defrosters. There’s even a real, grabable knob for radio volume and a matching one for station selection, with supplemental controls available on the steering wheels spokes. If you can’t figure out how to get the job done in this cockpit, then you don’t need to do the job.

 

We spent 3 hours in this environment on a drive from the Bay Area to the Gold Country foothills, and another 3 hours on the return trip. The Charger performed flawlessly, churning out more than enough passing power from its 5.7 liter HEMI V8 to snuff slower traffic in an eye blink. Yet the cruising gate of the Charger consumed less than half a 19 gallon tank of fuel for the entire round trip. At a steady 65mph, the Dodge managed to score a miserly 25MPG while whistling down the Interstate with quiet precision. On twisty backroads, the Hemi Charger is an even more invigorating blast to drive. Tromp the loud pedal and this beefy beast explodes with massive forward thrust. No need to downshift unless you want to savor the experience of swapping cogs. The Hemi makes enough torque in any speed range to get the job done right now with nothing more than the automatic kickdown that occurs whenever you floor the accelerator. If you live in snow country, you can equip your Charger with optional all wheel drive.

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2012 Dodge Charger R/T Road & Track Review

Tuesday May 1st, 2012 at 1:55 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

By David Colman

For: Luxo Cockpit, Huge Torque, Precise Handling
Against: Beats Every Prius to the Pump

I’ve got shocking news for all you homegrown Mopar fans. Ask me if the new R/T’s “got a Hemi in it?” and my answer will be “Si” because the 5.7 liter, 370hp Hemi comes from Mexico. The 5-speed automatic gearbox it’s attached to comes from Germany, “Ja.” And the assembly point for this all-American muscle car? Why, Brampton, Ontario, Canada, “eyh.” Oh yes, for the record, let’s not forget that Italy’s Fiat now owns Dodge, “grazie.” Make no mistake, the Charger R/T is still a primo muscle car, but heritage and inspiration aside, the USA no longer counts quite so heavily in the build equation.

The Charger enjoyed a styling renaissance in 2011, when new sheet metal gave it a scowling catfish face, flame surfaced flanks, and LED head and taillight clusters. All these revisions appeal to the nasty and the Narcissistic in us alike. The latest iteration of the Charger is visually compelling, especially in R/T form, with massive 20 inch alloys completing the Tonka Toy look. For 2012, Dodge has finished the makeover by redoing the interior with a very satisfying combination of expensive looking leathers, suedes and surface treatments that remove Charger from the airport rental fleet and elevate it to the exotic loan portfolio.

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Table of Contents – Editorial Car Reviews, Feature Articles

Tuesday October 11th, 2011 at 2:1010 PM
Posted by: Derek

CarReview_Contents_header

Below is a comprehensive list of all the Expert Car Reviews and feature articles published on CarReview.com [updated 10/11/2011]:

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2011 Dodge Avenger Mainstreet Review – More than just a rental car?

Thursday August 18th, 2011 at 11:88 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2011 Dodge Avenger
By Alexander Kramer

Pros:

  • Smooth and quiet ride
  • Clean, well-built interior
  • Great sounding media center with 40 GB hard drive
  • Excellent value

Cons:

  • 2.4 L 4-cylinder engine needs more pep
  • Disappointing fuel efficiency
  • Steering is a bit numb and the handling rather soft
  • Exterior design needs updating

It’s been a long time since Dodge made a sedan good for more than rental fleet duty. From the K-cars of the 80’s to the more recent Intrepid and Stratus models, driving a Dodge sedan has rarely inspired much excitement.

With a name like the Avenger, you’d expect Dodge’s current mid-size sedan to offer at least some level of performance and style. Unfortunately, when it was released in 2008 the Avenger displayed the same mediocre performance, cheap interior, and generally underwhelming design as its predecessors, and the most likely place you’ll find an Avenger is at your local Enterprise or Budget.

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Rebadged Dodge Journey Lives On as 2012 Fiat Freemont for the European Market

Tuesday January 25th, 2011 at 8:11 AM
Posted by: aquadog

2012 Fiat FreemontThe partnership between Chrysler Group and Fiat will unveil the new 2012 seven-seat crossover Fiat Freemont at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The Fiat Freemont features the body of a Dodge Journey but is rebranded with a Fiat logo, new bumpers and grille, and includes different engine choices that have been developed by Fiat PowerTrain (FPT).

For FWD manual transmission models, a Fiat 2.0-liter MultiJet turbo diesel engine with 140- or 170-horsepower will be offered. Being released later will be the AWD 4×4 models with a 2.0-liter MultiJet 170-horsepower engine and Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 276-horsepower engine, both with automatic transmissions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Porsche, Buick, Modern Muscle Cars at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Wednesday January 19th, 2011 at 9:11 PM
Posted by: ponycargirl

©2011 Megan Green - Porsche 918 Spyder RSR at 2011 NAIASArticle and photos by Megan Green

Porsche 918 RSR
At a 6:30 a.m. press conference in snowy Detroit, the press gathered around in anticipation of the first reveal of the day. With smoky fanfare, Porsche rolled out their 918 RSR , a high-end hybrid sports car. The best of the 2010 Spyder concept and 911 GT3 R hybrid were combined to create the fluid yet powerful two-seat coupe powered by a V8 mid-engine. Two electric motors on the front axle contribute as well as store power while braking, utilizing its flywheel accumulator – taking the place of a second seat to the right of the driver. On the console, modern touch technology is eschewed in favor of rocker switches. Finishing aesthetic touches include brown leather bucket seats and steering wheel, wing doors, with the body painted a cool blue accented with bright orange racing stripes and brake calipers. It’s just a shame that the 918 RSR didn’t stick around for more admiration during the public show days.

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News About the 2012 Dodge Caliber

Tuesday August 24th, 2010 at 5:88 PM
Posted by: Derek

DodgeNuevoLogo

A redesigned Dodge Caliber compact car is near the top of the to-do list for the new Chrysler Group LLC and its Italian partner, Fiat Auto. The replacement, which may get a new name, is expected to start sale in calendar 2011 as an early 2012 model, timing that would make it the American automaker’s first post-bankruptcy product to reach consumers.

Various sources indicate the 2012 Dodge Caliber will be built on Fiat’s C-Evo platform, a new architecture that can be varied to host a variety of “C-segment” vehicles. This means the new Caliber will compare to compact cars and crossover SUVs of the same general size as the Ford Focus and new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Aimed to compete with the new Audi A1 and BMW 1 Series, the platform uses 84 percent high and ultrahigh strength steel, a McPherson front and a dual-link rear suspension, both of which will use aluminum components (front and rear arms, along with the crossmember). The platform comes in around 10 percent lighter than its predecessor thanks to the use of aluminum and magnesium, and is designed to fit a transverse engine and can be adapted for either front- or all-wheel drive applications.

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Fiat-Chrysler Announces Electric Car and Plug-In Hybrid Truck

Tuesday March 23rd, 2010 at 6:33 PM
Posted by: michael.leroy

Fiat 500An electric Fiat 500 and plug-in hybrid Ram are in development

Fiat-Chrysler announced that the company will build an all-electric car based off the Fiat 500 by 2012 and a plug-in hybrid Ram by 2011. The Fiat 500EV was revealed earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show, but details are still scarce on the car. What is known is that the 500EV is co-developed by Chrysler and Fiat. The engineering work will be done at the Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan and not in Italy.

The 500EV will run off a lithium ion battery, but the current range is unknown. It’s possible for the 500EV to have a range of 60-100 miles. Last year a Swedish company named Adapt converted Fiat 500′s to electric. The company claimed an almost 125 mile range for their Fiat 500 conversions. Unfortunately the electric 500′s Adapt produced cost almost $50,000.

Chrysler has said the 500EV will be priced competitively for an electric vehicle of its size. The 500EV will likely be in the same price range as Nissan’s Leaf, which will have similar specs. Pricing will be withheld until the car comes closer to production.

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CarReview's Best Car Choices of 2009

Monday November 23rd, 2009 at 3:1111 PM
Posted by: ggaillard

New Year 2009-2010 SignpostContributing editors: Greg Gaillard, Alex Kramer, Kurt Gensheimer, Derek Mau

Despite 2008′s desperate measures to help auto manufacturers hold on to business as usual, 2009 brought only radical change leaving many old business practices and brands behind.

We have been spectators in this year of turmoil and watched the industry struggle to reinvent itself.  Two of The Big Three went bankrupt; one emerged with a global partner, the other became lean and focused.  Diesels are now faster than their gasoline counterparts. Nine out of ten EPA mpg champs are hybrids. VW bought Porsche while Porsche was buying VW.  Overall sales were millions of units short of expectations. Manufacturers now pin their hopes on the Chinese market, while Americans pray that the Volt is half as good as it needs to be. Somehow, during all of this turmoil Kia became cool.  What was once unthinkable has happened.

Amidst the mayhem consumer conservatism has redefined value to mean more than MSRP, monthly payments and residuals. Cars had better be good at what they do or people won’t buy them. The industry must meet the new expectation of great cars and real innovation. Tricky marketing and trend analysis will not build the product portfolios of the future.

While the industry was being shaken to its core, 2009 was a banner year for new technologies and remarkable products.  Read on to find out which cars persevered as CarReview’s best choices of 2009

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Posted in Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Feature Articles, Ford, Honda, hybrid, Infiniti, Jaguar, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , || 3 Comments »


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