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2009 Jeep Liberty Wins AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Mid-Size SUV

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2009_JeepLiberty_a.jpgThe freshest entry in the segment, Jeep Liberty wins the Vehicle Satisfaction Award for the Mid-Size Sport Utility segment. The Liberty offers serious off-road capability in a comfortable size and in a familiar shape. It earns class-leading scores in such critical categories as:
• Safety features and feeling safe while driving
• Value for the money, always an important consideration
• Audio system performance
• Driver’s seat comfort
• Ease of entry/egress


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2009 NAIAS: Chrysler Gets UConnected

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Along with looking at new-century powertrain options, Chrysler LLC showed off ideas for connecting drivers to their cars and houses in the future. This trick interior was found inside the stunning 200C concept.
Though the primary purpose of vehicles remains getting us from point A to point B, we live in an increasingly connected world. The technology is available to have your smartphone replace these new-fangled smartkeys, find your car remotely, find out if your friends are in the areas, and even see traffic real-time by connecting to city intersection cameras.
All manufacturers are working with partners to see how quickly and how well we remain seamlessly connected to our jobs, families, fun, and obligations as we move from home to car to work or school to car to destinations and everywhere between. Follow the jump to get an idea of the solutions Chrysler is looking for.

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Could this be the future of the gauge cluster?


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Exhaust Notes #32: More Detroit Merger Talk

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Are we nearing the end of Chrysler? Or the beginning of a new blended family? Or just another day at the rumor mill?
Late on Friday, the first stories began appearing about GM and Chrysler in possible merger talks. And at least in Detroit, dominated the weekend news cycle. GM’s stock went up this morning, but given that the Dow was up 5.6% and GM went up only about 3%, the stock bump might have happened without merger talk. GM closed on Friday at $4.89, a number some say is actually less than the company would be worth in capital assets alone.

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All of this merger talk, whether these deals are realistic or not, does nothing good for public perception. The economy is weak, last week’s events on the stock market don’t reassure anyone, and talking about GM and Chrysler perhaps needing to merge to survive only further erodes confidence in American business. While GM and Chrysler LLC, as well as any other maker in trouble right now, needs to consider even unthinkable options and test our common assumptions as they get out of this trouble, this merger does not inspire hope.


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Chrysler enters the electric race

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Chrysler today announced plans to jumping into the electric car market with both feet by offering up three high-voltage prototypes to reporters and a promise to put about 100 electric vehicles on the road in 2009. We’ve been waiting to get a sense of what the company’s ENVI group is up to, and now we know.
One of the three concept vehicles, the all-electric Dodge EV, is sure to generate some buzz (Is it a Tesla for the common people?) for its fierce looks and eco-friendly, refuel-it-from-the-wall-socket appeal.
With that in mind, it could be easy to miss the hybrid-on-steroids potential of the Jeep and Chrysler EVs — a Jeep Wrangler and a Chrysler Town & Country fitted with battery and range-extending engine setup (similar in concept to GM’s Volt) that Chrysler claims will allow them run for 40 miles without touching a drop of gas.
Read the full report from Chrysler after the jump.

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First Drive: 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel

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For the 2008 model year, the Grand Cherokee had a minor exterior and interior refresh, and expanded the trim levels the 215HP 3.0L V6 diesel could be ordered in; we recently had the chance to spend some time with one. The 3.0L V6 is built by Mercedes-Benz, but not equipped with the latest Bluetec emissions-reducing technology. The engine has only 42-state availability this year, and gets cut from the 2009MY due to stricter emissions. If you want one, place your order now.

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Jeep will build 2008MY Grand Cherokee diesel models through the end of 2008, though with the expanded feature availability of the 2009MY products. Step up now and you can get a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel with iPod interface when the navigation system is ordered and a nine-inch rear DVD screen instead of eight-inch. Overland and Limited models get a revised standard leather appearance package, covering most oft-touched hard plastic with leather.
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Diesel enthusiasts are convinced it is the way of the future, or at least the way for significantly more of the driving population than now. Largely the provenance of European manufacturers and pickup trucks, more were offered for 2008 than in recent years. Yet the powertrain option is still rare enough that it isn’t often that we get the chance to drive one.


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500 Miles to Ironforge

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On one hand, it’s the best idea in human history: Dad drives the minivan, and while little Pashley is engrossed in her Dora DVDs, mom can e-mail her sister about how ill-advised this trip is, Junior can watch a panda get hit in the junk on YouTube, and Sister can do whatever it is those damn kids do in their Facespaces or Mybooks or what have you.
On the other hand, it’s the Internet in the car. Well, there’s a brilliant plan with absolutely no flaws, don’t you think?

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”DSL? Where we’re going, we don’t need DSL.”


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Kia Sorento and Jeep Liberty Win AutoPacific 2008 Ideal Vehicle Award for Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicle

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Not only has Kia improved its image, it has reinvented itself with vehicles like the Sorento. Owners rallied around the Sorento, commending its passenger room, visibility and interior storage in awarding the vehicle a 2008 Ideal Vehicle Award in the Mid-Size Sport Utility segment.
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A vehicle still true to its off-road-capable lineage, the Jeep Liberty is no poser. Owners granted it the 2008 Ideal Vehicle Award in the Mid-Size Sport Utility Vehicle category, with highly rated safety features, technology, seat firmness and interior lighting. The Liberty also scored very well in exterior size and passenger room.

Posted in: Awards, Jeep, Kia

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AutoPacific Announces 2008 Ideal Vehicle Awards

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Tustin, California, June 30, 2008 – An “ideal” is defined as an excellent or perfect example. In the annual Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA), announced today by automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, owners rate their new 2008 model year cars and trucks by how close they come to their ideal, as measured by 15 key vehicle attributes. The cars or trucks that owners would change the least are the most ideal.


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The New Chrysler II: Lots of Noise, Questions, and Endless Speculation

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The furor surrounding Cerberus’ decision to make Bob Nardelli, formerly of Home Depot and GE, the CEO and chairman of the New Chrysler II, putting Tom LaSorda in the Number 2 position instead of Number 1, is the juiciest gossip train to hit the circuit since Mulally’s appointment at Ford. There has been much more noise than news this week, and here’s our contribution to the fray.

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Employees at Announcement Wanted to be in Air Conditioning or Home by the Pool
Watching both the press conference announcing Bob Nardelli’s appointment as CEO and chairman of the newly formed Chrysler LLC as well as the employee pep rally afterward, and both groups seem wary instead of enthusiastic or supportive. The backlash in the press finds little support for Nardelli. The employees, while impressed with acrobatics and fireworks, generally looked as though they’d have preferred to be in their offices that hot, muggy afternoon. Most left as soon as they sensed the formal program was over. Nardelli says he’s here to bring laser-focus and energy to the turnaround plan already laid out and in progress. His presence in front of employees didn’t bring energy, and returning to finish the last few days of a family vacation the next day didn’t display laser focus.
Nardelli’s been characterized as a drill sergeant with little people skills, and he’s entering a vibrant company full of strong personalities. Being private gives Chrysler LLC the ability to make decisions based on long-term health instead of short-term profit-and-loss statements. But Cerberus expects a quick turnaround and their investors do expect a return. Nardelli may be playing to a different audience, but the pressure will be no less intense.
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2007 Nissan Xterra – Plastic Makes it Possible

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Everything You Need?
The Nissan Xterra slogan “Everything you need and nothing you don’t” has always made me wonder… What exactly do I need? I’d like to think that I could probably survive without many frills, but it almost begs the question… “What about some of the things I really want?” Is the Xterra a knock down, drag out, take no prisoners SUV that needs no further trimmings, which might detract from its purpose driven nature, or is it a bare bones box on wheels relying on it’s motto as an excuse to cut costs? AutoPacific and Vehicle Voice staff wanted to know the answer. We may have all agreed that the Xterra fulfilled all of our SUV requirments but with so many options out there would we want one?


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