When Chrysler created the first minivan, the car saved the company from bankruptcy. When it created the Reliant, it didn’t. The Chrysler Reliant was designed to be your everyday car. It was offered in a coupe, sedan, and station wagon form. The car, based on Chrysler’s K-car platform, wasn’t quick, wasn’t sporty, wasn’t luxurious, and it wasn’t pretty. It did, get you from A to B.
So when you put the word “performance” together with Reliant, it is definitely an odd pairing. But strangely enough, Chrysler did produce some performance oriented powertrains. Take the engine in this Reliant which is actually from a 1988 Chrysler LeBaron GTS. This was a turbocharged four cylinder produced by Chrysler at that time which packed a nice little punch. At 2.2L, it’s not the biggest engine either, but with beefed up internals, all it took was a crank of the boost and you’ll have some cheap turbo charged fun. And to make things more interesting, stuff the engine into a Reliant station wagon to make one hell of a sleeper.
Maybe I’m just a little old school in that I like my cars with the engine up front and the power going to the rear wheels. I must admit that I’ve become more and more fond of today’s sophisticated four wheel drive systems too, especially when driving a car hard. However, front drive configuration has never been my number one choice. So when Sergio Marchionne, FCA’s CEO talked about switching the Chrysler 300 from a rear drive platform to a possible front and four wheel drive configuration, it really struck me as a step backwards instead of forwards.
The news of this switch spread pretty quickly in the automotive industry, leading Marchionne to reel in his words a bit. He states that “the Ontario factory is “capable” of making the sedan. “It’s capable. It’s not a commitment.” If this switch does take place, that will make the 300 closer in design to the new Pacifica minivan and distances itself away from the Challenger and Charger. If this change does happen, gone will be the thought that the 300 will get an SRT high performance configuration.
It seems like more and more automakers are creating higher edition version of their vehicles to give their cars an elevated sense of elite status over their otherwise stock vehicles. In comes FiatChrysler Automobiles with their “Alloy Edition” vehicles which will be unique to both the 200S and 300S which will both debut at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show.
Tim Kuniskis, Brands Lead at FCA North America, states, “Chrysler brand embodies Detroit style, and our new 200S and 300S Alloy Editions are a perfect meld of our engineering innovation and craftsmanship, forged with cutting-edge colors and materials inspired by the Motor City’s ingenuity and creativity.”
The Alloy Edition design elements stick with a primarily black and bronze theme for both cars where the body color will be black and accent trim will utilize a bronze shade. The Allow Package will also feature larger performance wheels, custom body kit. The 200S will be offered with black cloth/leather or full leather treatment accented with caramel stitching while the 300S will only be offered in black leather and accented with caramel stitching.
Prices will start at $27,680USD and $36,960USD for the 200S and 300S respectively.
The word diesel has unfortunately been tainted by the emission scandals that have been taking place over at Volkswagen. Now when consumers think of diesel, its hard for them to associate it with the word clean, which is really taking the auto industry back a few decades of forward progress.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has decided to do their part in regaining customer trust in diesel technology. FCA now conducts their own internal review of the technology used in diesel vehicles. It might not sound like much, but it’s just another way to create a check and balance towards emission compliance. In a statement released by FCA, they already have plans to install a revised software in their current vehicles to make them even cleaner. It is important to note that FCA is not issuing a recall and that all their vehicles are currently in compliance with emission standards.
FCA will continue to invest in their clean diesel technology and develop advancements for future vehicles to bring emission outputs to even lower levels. Beginning in 2017, the company will add a new exhaust filtering technology to all new production vehicles in their diesel lineup.
We like that Ralph Gilles, the Global Head of Design at FiatChrysler Automobiles, is a dreamer. The more he dreams and the more he sketches the more consumers get rewarded with some of the most amazing vehicles to scorch the tarmac. Recently, a crayon sketch of a Chrysler Pacifica on steroids created a storm on the internet. With all the recent talk about the release of a Cherokee Hellcat, one could only be led to think that this sketch is the initial imagining of a Pacifica Hellcat.
Oh my and what a car that would be to go get some groceries in, or to lug the kids around to soccer practice! To be honest, the likelihood of a Pacifica Hellcat being produced is slim to none. First, engineers would have to figure out how to stuff a 6.2L V8 Hemi into the engine bay. If they can get that done, they’ll have to contend with getting the eight speed automatic transmission in there to send all 707hp and 650lb/ft of torque to the rear wheels. Just a reminder, the Chrysler Pacifica is designed to be a front engine front wheel drive car, with an optional all wheel drive configuration. Thinking about the driveline reminds me of Renault’s attempt at a supercar minivan called the Espace F1 from the mid-90’s. And as predicted, Renault’s monster minivan was also purely a concept and never slated for production.
Regardless if a Pacifica Hellcat is to ever be produced, it’s dreamers like Gilles who continue to keep the automotive industry pushing forward to new limits and keeps the enthusiasts and car lovers dreams alive.
Fiat Chrysler is issuing a second recall to the electrical wiring in their sun visors which impacts close to 389,000 is recalling nearly 389,000 Jeep and Dodge SUVs in the U.S.
The issue has been identified as faulty wiring that can cause an electrical short which increases the risk of a starting a fire inside the cabin of the vehicle. The impacted cars include Dodge Durangos and Jeep Grand Cherokees produced between 2011 through 2013. This is the second time a recall is being issued on the same problem with the same vehicles.
Chrysler hasn’t finalized details on the fix yet, but preventative repairs may include using a better adhesive to secure the wires and limiting any chances of the wires coming into contact with rough surfaces.
Owners of these vehicles are encouraged to call their local dealers for more information.
The minivan segment is dying a slow death, but Chrysler isn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet. With minivan sales down over 60% since the turn of the century, buyers are gravitating towards image friendly SUVs, even though functionality is compromised. Soccer moms are choosing image over practicality when carting their kids around throughout the day.
Chrysler is changing all that today with the new 2017 Pacifica, which is loosely modeled after the Chrysler 700C concept from 2012. Innovative isn’t a word to describe the new minivan set to challenge the SUV market. Revolutionary is the word that’s being thrown around here at the Chrysler press conference in Detroit.
Detroit is the perfect venue to unveil this new minvan, as manufacturing of the new Pacifica will be just across the river at the Windsor Assembly Plant, where they still build the Dodge Caravan. Somewhere down the line, the Caravan will most likely be discontinued as Chrysler moves the minivan upscale, and by doing so, revitalizing the segment and grabbing market share for Chrysler.
Headlining the Mopar booth at the 2015 SEMA Show was definitely the Dodge Challenger GT AWD Concept with its wide fender flares to fit the massive 20×11 and 20×10 wheels, and yeah you read that right. The GT AWD Concept combines raw muscle car power with the confidence and traction of all-wheel-drive proving that yes, you can have your cake and eat it too. That extra traction is needed to as the 5.7L HEMI V8 under the hood has been upgraded with the Scat Pack 3 Performance Pack which adds 75 horsepower and 44 lb-ft of torque.
While not quite as well rounded as last year’s SEMA booth there were still a few cars worth a look in the booth. The Chrysler 300 Super S dropped on a set of factory coilovers and Chrysler 200 S Mopar showed off the customization options available for Chrysler vehicles. In addition, a pair of Fiat 500 concepts, the Chicane and Mobe show off the personalization options available to Fiat owners. Rounding out our coverage is the Dodge Ram Rebel X which appears to be a Dodge Ram with the entire Dodge parts catalog bolted on covered in a paint job they call Copper.
Check out the pictures of the Mopar Booth in our gallery.
Today in a cool visual trickery laced unveiling, we were introduced to the 2015 Chrysler 300. Displaying an image of a 1955 Chrysler 300, upon which the 2015 is inspired by, the screen then faded away to reveal the updated model as it started up and rolled onto the stage here at the 2014 LA Auto Show.
For 2015 the 300 gets a revised front grill, updated LED headlights, new interior finishes, and new wheels. Also, now standard is the Chrysler TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission. The Platinum model features quilted Nappa leather, hand-sanded wood, Poltrona Frau leather-wrapped instrument panel and console, along with chrome exterior details and larger 20″ wheels.
Inside, the latest-generation Uconnect system is included on the 7″ driver-information display but the clunky electronic transmission from last year’s 300 is now gone replaced with the rotary knob found on the Chrysler 200. Paddle shifters are also included on the updated 3-spoke steering wheel. Chrysler has also thrown in a new “Sport” button that enables a sport-tuned steering response; pedal, engine and transmission calibration; plus rear-biased torque on all-wheel-drive models for a more “fun” driving experience.
The 2015 300 will begin production later this year here in Canada at the Brampton plant. Canadian pricing wasn’t announced during the unveiling but prices for those south of the border remain the same as the 2014 models so as long as there isn’t any exchange rate adjustments we should see the same price here as well.
Mopar brought one of everything to SEMA 2014, including a funny car! From Ram to Renegade, from ACR to Abarth, there was a Mopar Concepts vehicle for everyone.
The small car segment was well represented with a Dodge Dart, two Fiat 500s and a Chrysler 200S. The Dart sported a matte black hood, with a scoop more prominent than our picture makes it seem, and a revised front fascia to allow plenty of air to the mysterious turbo-charged engine. It’s about time Dodge brought the newest iteration of the SRT-4 here, after the Neon made a splash and the Caliber just sunk, and this concept fits the bill. Whether or not we actually see it is yet to be seen but, with the success Ford is having with the Fiesta and Focus ST, we can’t help but think Dodge will follow suit. The other three cars were more visually focused, only sporting significant paint, body and wheel changes, but the 200S also received a drop from coilovers and was truly stunning. Clean and elegant. I bet they’d sell a lot more if they came out of the factory looking like Mopar’s version.