Dodge:

Dodge Challenger Hellcat

0

The all-new Driver Information Display screen in the Challenger

Cruising down the scenic roads along the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon can be a real treat, especially while driving a Dodge Challenger Hellcat with its mean-sounding engine roaring through the twists and turns of this pristine wilderness road.

A few months back, Chrysler invited a few journalist to test drive the 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat, along with its entire Challenger lineup. The Challenger Hellcat was a blast to drive, and delivers so much power that it is almost scary to drive. And after our not-so-mellow morning cruise along the river, we were invited to test the Hellcat’s limits by driving laps around Portland International Raceway, trying hard to keep the car in a straight line. But the real fun was just driving the Hellcat around town and watching on-lookers gaze at the car with its loud rumble and gentle supercharger whine emitting from the beast of a car that is the Hellcat. And the specs are quite impressive.


Continue Reading

Dodge Charger Hellcat – What Were They Thinking?

0

Dodge Hellcat Logo

One of the benefits of writing about cars is that you get to drive some insane stuff occasionally.  The most recent insanity is the 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat an insanely fast 4-door sedan that Dodge actually displayed with two child seats in the back showing that it can be a responsible family hauler as well as a berserker.  And berserker it is.

Powered by a 707-horsepower 6.2L Supercharged HEMI V8, the Hellcat is a range-topping $64,000 handful.  Dodge staged the review of the new 2015 Dodge Charger out of Washington DC and offered on-track driving at Summit Point Motorsports Park in West Virginia.  On a chilly, drizzly day, taking the Hellcat out on the rural roads around Summit Point allowed only about 20% of what the car is capable of.   Punching it on a clear straightaway spooled up torque that pushed the car sideways. Careful, careful, it felt almost as if you were idling and the car wanted to surge ahead.  You always knew that there is more there that can be used.707-horsepower2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat

Multiple Keys Can Tone Down Hellcat for Valets  Dodge knows that in the wrong hands 707-horsepower can be abused so they have two keys and three horsepower modes.  Red key gets you unlimited use of its 707-horsepower.  Black key gets you about 500-horsepower – still a lot for your teenage son or the valet.  The answer for that is a valet mode accessed through the vehicle system that reduces the power to around 200-horsepower so they can’t get in too much trouble.

Something for Everyone in the Charger Lineup  With the 707-horsepower Hellcat out of the way, a serious, serious car, the happiest Charger is the 292-horsepower Pentastar V6 with all wheel drive.  This lower level sedan is a delight to drive.  Nimble and forgiving in all the ways the Dodge Charger Hellcat is not.  Simply, the new Charger lineup seems to have something for everyone from happy and pleasant starting around $28,000 for the SE or SXT models with the Pentastar V6, to a $32,000 370-horsepower 5.7L HEMI V8 in the R/T, to a $40,000 R/T Scat Pack with a 485-horsepower 6.4L HEMI V8, to the monster Hellcat with the 707-horsepower HEMI V8 at a fully loaded price over $60,000.


Continue Reading

2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit – Coming to a PD Near You

0

2015 Dodge Charger PursuitWith the demise of the Ford Crown Vic, Dodge has been winning the police patrol car fleet battle.  Sure Ford has its Interceptors and Chevrolet is pushing its Caprice from Australia, but apparently Dodge makes a financially attractive pitch for its Charger Pursuit.  We’ve been seeing more and more of them rolling around Southern California as Crown Vics are retired, uh, sent to taxi fleets.

With the update of the 2015 Dodge Charger, the Pursuit has been updated as well.  You can tell the 2015 Charger is different because the front end styling is clearly different.  Other changes to the exterior styling are more subtle and it is a surprise when Dodge execs contend that every exterior panel is new with the exception of the roof and rear doors.  Dodge continues with its distinctive LED racetrack taillamp graphic and adds LED daytime running lights to the front.2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit

The interior has been upgraded with soft-touch materials including a 1-piece instrument panel pad with aggressive graining.  Like the civilian Charger, the Pursuit instrument cluster has an added 7-inch driver information display.  In the center stack there is a 5-inch screen for Chrysler’s UConnect infotainment system.  Unique to the Pursuit is a column mounted shifter, “police-duty” front seats designed to accommodate the belt gear police normally wear and a modified center console.

Police Advisory Board Input  Dodge has a 22-member Police Advisory Board and their input was valuable in determining what upgrades the 2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit has over the civilian Charger.  With “modern” interfaces, Dodge has enabled re-mapping of the steering wheel buttons to handle aftermarket police equipment.  The instrument cluster can be customized 100 ways to optimize its display for police use.  The heavy duty anti-lock vented disc brakes have been upgraded and brake cooling ducts added to the lower front fascia.  The performance tuned suspension has been upgraded with more durable bushings up front.

Factory upfit plans are offered for law enforcement to customize packages for their organizations.  Chrysler’s Mopar accessories group has developed and tested equipment that meets and exceeds the durability cycle and test requirements of the 2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit.  There is a Base Police Prep Package and a Wiring Police Prep Package.  Both are designed to handle the broad power requirements of communications gear, lighting, sirens, cameras and computers.  There is a slide-out trunk tray available and also a trunk fan to keep all the electrical and electronics gear in the trunk cool.

V6 Pentastar A Safe Alternative for Most Pursuit Work  There are two engines available:  370HP 5.7L HEMI V8 and 292HP 3.6L Pentastar V6.  The Pursuit is standard with rear wheel drive and optional with all wheel drive.  While patrol officers probably want the HEMI, the Pentastar V6 is probably sufficient for 90% of police applications.  Word on the street is that younger officers don’t know how to handle the more powerful V8 and the V6 provides plenty of power for most applications.  Safety first with the V6.  Macho cop pursuits with the HEMI.


Continue Reading

Dodge 100th Anniversary – We Drive the Old Ones

0

Chrysler Group had its annual new product preview last week at its Chelsea, Michigan proving grounds.  The highlight of that event was the introduction of the new 2015 Ram Promaster City a small van to compete with the Ford Transit Connect and the Nissan NV200.  On the second day, the gaggle of automotive journalists and analysts was transported to Meadowbrook Hall north of Detroit and near Chrysler’s headquarters in Auburn Hills.  This event was to celebrate the Dodge 100th Anniversary.  We were given a brief history of the brand and description of ten historic concept Dodges on display from the first Viper concept to the Dodge Demon concept from 2007.  Following the presentation of these concepts we were given the opportunity to drive and/or ride in 26 Dodges from the past ranging from 1915 through 2008.  1956 Dodge Custom Lancer

When all the cars were cranked up there was probably more air pollution rising from Meadowbrook Hall’s auto court than was emanating from the Los Angeles freeway system.  Ah, memories.

The first car I was drawn to was the 1956 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer powered by a HEMI V8 and dripping with chrome.  This coupe was grey metallic over coral reminding us of a time when contrasting two-tone color schemes were very popular (remember the 1956 Ford Crown Victorias in black and yellow or black and red?).  In any event, a brief lap of the Meadowbrook estate (now home to Oakland University) demonstrated how great the package was in the old cars, but also what a challenge they could be to drive.  Even though “Power Steering” and “Power Brakes” were pressed into the horn ring and brake pedal respectively, the car steered like a truck without power steering and braking took forever.  The package of the car was amazing probably because the interior was designed for when people wore hats – huge headroom in the rear seat.  So, the 1956 Dodge was my favorite.

The most surprising vehicle was the 1984 Dodge Caravan – the first of the minivans.  It was surprising how small it was.  It even deserved the moniker “minivan” because, compared with today’s minivans, the original Caravan was very small.  The seating position was great and visibility outstanding.  No wonder they sold so well, but the driving dynamics were very reminiscent of cars from the ’70s and early ’80s.  How quickly vehicles have evolved for the better.

As I was cranking up a 2003 Viper for the lap around the estate a woman approached and asked if she could ride along.  Certainly!  She mentioned “family” a couple of times and when I asked what she meant, she volunteered she was the great granddaughter of Horace Dodge – one of The Dodge Brothers – the founders of Dodge.  She seemed to get a real thrill out of the sound and power of the Viper.  It was her first chance to ride in one.  Maybe later in the day she got to drive it.


Continue Reading

Dodge Charger – AutoPacific’s Most Ideal Large Car

0

AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Charger Edges Out Platform-Mate Chrysler 300 for IVA Win: The 2012 Dodge Charger comes closest to the ideal of any Large Car.  The Charger is 31 rating points higher than the second place Large Car – the Chrysler 300 – its platform-mate.  Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Getting a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of Charger owners rate these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, ride and handling and ease of getting in and out.  These also are primary reasons a person buys a Large Car.  Eighty-percent or more of Charger owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  interior lighting, driver’s seat comfort, tires, interior storage compartments and safety features.

A Few Shortfalls – Many Could Have Been Corrected by Selecting Available Options: Charger is an expressively styled car, but about 21% of the owners want even more daring styling than it now has.  Hand-in-hand with this expressive styling comes somewhat restricted visibility.  About 21% of the owners would like better driver’s seat visibility.  Over 30% of the owners want more distinctive wheels than they now have.  Over 30% of the owners want more/better infotainment/entertainment technology.  Of course, with the broad span of the Charger’s lineup, owners could have optioned up to more distinctive wheels and the uConnect information system.  About 27% of Charger owners want more power and acceleration – clearly, they did not opt for the HEMI V8.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


Continue Reading

Dodge Challenger – Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award for 2012 Sporty Cars

0

AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Challenger Edges VW Eos for IVA Win: The 2012 Dodge Challenger comes closest to the ideal of any Sporty Car.  The Challenger edges out the second place Volkswagen Eos (retractable hardtop convertible) to win in this class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Eighty-percent or more of Challenger owners find these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, cargo space, exterior styling, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, ease of getting in and out and safety features.

A Few Shortfalls – Most Solved by Selecting Available Options. Being a Sporty Car, Challenger is about style, power and handling.  About 40% of Challenger owners want more power and acceleration – guess they did not opt for the optional HEMI V8.  About 29% of Challenger owners want more distinctive wheels than they have now.  About 29% of Challenger owners want more infotainment technology.  Perhaps each of these shortfalls could have been solved by selecting available options.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


Continue Reading

Dodge Challenger Wins AutoPacific Ideal Vehicle Award for Sporty Cars

0

The Dodge Challenger is the top ranked Sporty Car in AutoPacific’s 2011 Ideal Vehicle Award Research.  Sporty Car owners are always seeking more and even though the Challenger won because its owners did not want much changed, there are some substantial areas they want changed.  First, almost 50% want more power.  This is characteristic of the Sporty Car buyer and Challenger buyers are no exception.  Challenger owners want better visibility – a characteristic sacrificed by the aggressive styling of the car.  They also want more infotainment technology.  They most like its exterior size (although some want it smaller), cargo room and seat comfort.  The Challenger handily outpointed the second place Volkswagen Eos for the Sporty Car trophy.


Continue Reading

2010 Dodge Nitro Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award for Mid-Size SUV

0

Dog_10_NitroDetonator.jpg
The Dodge Nitro is top rated by its owners in the Mid-Size Sport Utility segment. Characteristics that were particularly highly rated include overall seating capacity, rear seat comfort, interior storage compartments and audio system performance.
This personality-packed Dodge is a little larger than its Jeep Liberty counterpart and customers clearly appreciate the larger interior that results. Dodge has been applying lessons learned from the minivan business to all segments, with proof it matters here: Nitro’s clever storage options contributed to its win. The 2010 VSA win follows Nitro winning the 2009 Owner Recommendation Award.
For a complete list of winners and description of the Awards, click here.


Continue Reading

Autopacific Announces 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

1

AutoPacVSAlogo10.jpgNational Survey Reveals Cadillac as Top Premium Brand, Buick as Top Popular Brand, Ford Motor Company Has Most Awards with Seven, Suzuki Kizashi as Top Car and Lincoln MKT as Top Truck
TUSTIN, Calif. (May 20, 2010) — AutoPacific today announced its 14th Annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA) to help consumers make informed vehicle purchase decisions.
“While the auto industry is showing signs of improvement, more than ever before, manufacturers need to be able to differentiate themselves. Proof of satisfied customers is as good as gold,” says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. “We’ve found that more than 25% of new car buyers are positively influenced by owner-based awards like the VSA when deciding on a new car or truck.”
AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award is an industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new car or light truck. This study by the Southern California-based automotive research firm summarizes the results of over 42,000 new vehicle owners.
“Vehicles that score highest in the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards are delivering value and satisfaction across a wide range of attributes,” says Peterson. “The winners perform well in 48 separate categories that objectively measure the ownership experience.”


Continue Reading

PickupTrucks.com and AutoPacific Announce the Most Significant Trucks of the Decade

0

PickupTucks.com and AutoPacific have taken a look at all the new trucks sold in the past 10 years and made their picks for the most significant trucks of the decade. The trucks that made the list introduced cutting edge technologies and pushed the segment into new territory.
“Despite the economic challenges of the past two years, it’s hard not to look back at the last ten years without calling it the decade of the pickup truck,” said PickupTrucks.com editor Mike Levine. “Sales of full-size pickups hit 2.56 million units in 2004 and Ford’s F-Series trucks remain the nation’s best-selling vehicles, 33 years in a row.”
Though there are many trucks that had a significant impact in the last decade, it’s clear that the 2009 Ford F-150 earned the title of “Most Significant”.
“On balance, we thought the 2009 Ford F-150 was the most significant pickup of the last decade,” said Jim Hossack, vice president of consulting for AutoPacific. “It sells in high volume, owners like it and its body, chassis and powertrain are all first rate. Features abound, and there are more models, series and options than can be counted. It’s a good looking truck and suitable for the widest possible range of tasks and uses.”
After the jump are those trucks deemed most significant, in no particular order.


Continue Reading

Follow VehicleVoice

RSS Feed   Facebook   Twitter

Membership

Join

Recent Winners

Sid P., Washington - $100
Ken G., Nevada - $100
Brad T., Wisconsin - $100
Tom M., Virginia - $100
Kathy F., New Jersey - $100
John M., Massachusetts - $100
Mike M., California - $100
Carol R., Texas - $100
James D., Georgia - $100
Martha B., New Jersey - $100
Kerry B., Pennsylvania - $100

What is VehicleVoice?

About Vehicle Voice