Taking centre stage at this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit was the new Dodge Dart GT.
Why the interest? In a nutshell, a good thing just got even better. Dodge took its new European-influenced Dart and kicked the performance quotient up a notch, with more power, enhanced handling and a host of extra goodies.
For starters, powering the new GT is a 2.4-litre Tigershark Multiair four-cylinder engine that features strengthened internal components, additional sound dampening and a unique electro-hydraulic variable valve system. The short version: more power, better fuel efficiency and decreased emissions. Two transmissions are available: a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic with AutoStick manual shift feature.
But that’s not all. Like all respectable performance sedans, the GT has a sport-tuned suspension with 18-inch wheels and tires, frequency-sensing shock absorbers and recalibrated components to give that extra shot of brio when things start to get twisty. Even in tight corners, this impressive Dart outperforms.
Dodge tapped its Italian connections with the new GT, specifically Fiat and Alfa Romeo, European automakers known for building fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines and taut-handling suspension. The Tigershark moniker was inspired by the iconic American fighter jet of the same name.
While the GT is aggressive, its distinct, civilized dimensions include a full complement of comfort features including heated front seats, Uconnect multimedia centre, hands-free communication, back-up camera, Nappa leather-faced seating, heated steering wheel and, with the automatic transmission model, a remote start feature. Exterior features include GT badging, integrated dual exhaust and racetrack-style LED tail lamps.
There are plenty of options too, such as power sunroof, push-button start and blind spot monitoring.
The GT joins five other versions of the Dart: SE, AERO, SXT, Rallye and Limited, all of which feature spectacular exterior styling, mid-size interior room and class-leading safety features. If thrift is high on your list of ‘must-haves,’ the turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder found in the SXT, Rallye and Limited models delivers a miserly 4.9 L/100 km on the highway while belting out a healthy 160 horsepower in the process.
As for its standard features, the GT interior layout has already received a ‘10 Best Interiors’ award from Ward’s Automotive. Its “driver-centric” interior layout means that all switchgear and ergonomics are readily accessible and easy to understand. You can also choose from 13 interior colour combos, and the available 8.4-inch touch-screen media centre is the largest in this market segment.
The bottom line: when you slide behind the wheel of the Dart, it’s also good to know that it boasts over 55 available safety and security features, which include 10 airbags, brake assist, rainy brake support and hill start assist.
“Dodge tapped its Italian connections with the new GT, specifically Fiat
Dodge Grand Caravan
When a vehicle has been a top seller in Canada for 29 years running and has been awarded more honours than any other vehicle in its class, there has to be a reason.
In the case of the Dodge Grand Caravan, there’s a whole bunch of reasons. In a nutshell: this is a good minivan that does everything it’s supposed to. What’s more, it does it well. For example, it has the unique Stow ‘n Go seats that fold into the floor, instantly opening up the interior for cargo-carrying duties. For another, it has the most horsepower in its class, plus the highest trailer towing capacity. It’s also one of the safest vehicles out there, garnering a ‘Top Safety Pick’ from the prestigious Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
And for 2013, the Grand Caravan carries on its tradition of giving buyers maximum bang for the buck, with the award-winning Pentastar V6 engine as standard equipment, plus a six-speed automatic transmission, electronic stability control, a trailer sway damping system and more than 40 available safety and security features.
Dodge basically invented the minivan, back in 1983. It’s no mystery why it’s been on the receiving end of so many awards. After all, experience is the best teacher.
What does it take to be a class leader in today’s fiercely competitive automobile market? Simple, really: just offer buyers the most car for the money. That’s what Dodge has been doing with the Journey, a best-seller in Canada since it was introduced in 2008.
The lowest-priced seven-passenger vehicle on the Canadian market, the Journey is also Canada’s most affordable mid-size crossover, and was named the best SUV/CUV under $35,000 by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada in 2012.
Available with either a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine or a Pentastar 3.6-litre V6, the Journey is loaded with convenience and common sense features. For example, steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, heated front seats, dual-zone temperature controls, tilt/telescoping steering, storage compartments under the front passenger seat and, as of 2013, an available heated steering wheel.
You can also choose conventional front-wheel-drive, or AWD, leather upholstery, a huge power sunroof and a wide range of electronic goodies, such as Uconnect 8.4 inch multimedia centre, hands-free communication with Bluetooth connectivity, Sirius XM satellite radio and a navigation system.
And let’s not forget safety. The Journey is a ‘Top Safety Pick,’ says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and it comes with a full complement of front side, driver’s knee blocker and side curtain airbags.
What could be simpler? More car for the money.
Combining comfort, muscle, safety and fuel economy into one sleek package, the Dodge Charger is a powerful ride that doesn’t take a backseat when it comes to driving enjoyment.
There’s a healthy 292 horsepower on tap for the V6-equipped SE model, a robust 370 horses available with the R/T and an asphalt-scalding 470 horsepower ready and waiting with the SRT. With up to 6.4 L/100 km highway, Ward’s Automotive has voted the Pentastar VVT V6 engine as one of the ‘10 Best Engines,’ while both V8 engines feature Fuel Saver MDS technology and offer up to 8.0 L/100 km highway.
You can also get the Charger with all-wheel-drive – a segment exclusive – and eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Beats Audio sound system is exclusive to Chrysler products. The R/T Road and SRT models have the available Beats Audio sound system to play available Sirius XM satellite radio through the Uconnect multimedia centre, with sound as clear as the artist intended it.
Also new for model year 2013: the Blacktop Edition, which increases the horsepower output of the V6 to 300hp and offers Beats Audio, performance suspension, 20-inch black aluminum wheels, steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, body-coloured rear spoiler and more.
Seven different versions of the Charger are hitting the pavement for 2013. Fun never looked so good.
With its best-in-class 2,812 kilograms (7,200 lbs.) of towing capacity, the Dodge Durango is at the head of the pack. Maybe it can use all that oomph to carry home the awards it’s won over the last few years. For example, the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 was voted one of Ward’s ‘10 Best Engines,’ MotorWeek voted the Durango ‘Best Large Utility’ in its Drivers’ Choice Awards and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has named it a ‘Top Safety Pick.’
The Durango Rallye boasts 20-inch satin carbon aluminum wheels, black headlamp bezels, body-colour grille and fascias, and more.
If getting there quickly is your thing, there is also a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine that delivers a smooth 360 horsepower, with performance steering and suspension to keep it all civilized. An electronic stability control system, hill start assist, traction control and brake assist are all standard equipment.
All Durangos come with all-wheel-drive, plus your choice of a five- or six-speed automatic transmission, and seating for seven – or six if you opt for the available second-row captain chairs and centre console. Available amenities include dual-zone climate control, Uconnect hands-free communication with Bluetooth compatibility, steering-wheel-mounted cruise and audio controls, tilt/telescoping steering and leather interior. The available rear DVD entertainment centre ensures long-distance comfort for all your passengers.
Founded as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925, Chrysler Canada Inc. is based in Windsor, Ontario, and celebrates its 88th anniversary in 2013. Chrysler Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of Chrysler Group LLC, one of the world’s leading automotive companies. Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat, S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram, Mopar®, SRT and Fiat vehicles and products. Chrysler Canada’s product lineup features some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles, including the Dodge Grand Caravan, Jeep® Wrangler, Chrysler 300 and Ram 1500.
For more information, visit chrysler.ca.