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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The Durango has been a hit for Dodge, bringing back SUV buyers to a brand that has shed numerous products over the past few years.
While equipped with a standard (and efficient) 3.6-liter V6 engine, as a truck (and a sizable one at that), rising gas prices could send potential buyers away from the Durango and into something smaller. In order to keep pace with such changes Dodge is moving up the introduction of the 2014 model, which will see a several mile per gallon improvement thanks to a transmission with two extra gears.
According to one source the 2014 Durango will launch in May of 2013, sporting the same 8-speed automatic transmission that is already being used in the Chrysler 300 and which is expected to make its way under the hood of the Jeep Grand Cherokee soon.
In addition to that update, also look for the addition of the Chrysler brand’s larger 8.4-inch LCD screen as a part of the Uconnect system.
Chevrolet will unveil the highly anticipated Camaro Z28 at the Chicago Auto Show in just a few weeks time. The team at egmcartech.com have confirmed the news from sources inside General Motors after the ultra high-performance version of the Camaro was a no-show at the Detroit show.
No official details about the Z28 have been confirmed but it is expected to debut with the Cadillac CTS-V’s supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine make around 556-hp.
Other upgrades will include some more aggressive bodywork, upgraded brakes and a revised suspension.
Ford has revealed that it currently has 15,000 pre-orders for the new crossover, with 3,000 retail orders, 7,500 orders from dealers and 4,500 from companies. Again, 15,000 units might not sound like much, but it exceeds initial orders for the Taurus and the much-hyped Fiesta – and Ford won’t even begin marketing the new car-based Explorer until January.
Better yet, Ford looks to cash-in on the Explorer with half of all pre-orders being for the top-trim Limited model, priced at $40,000. On top of that, two-thirds are opting for 4WD, half are adding in Navigation and a full 87 percent are ordering their new 2011 Explorer with Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system.
The Explorer’s name is certainly helping it gain initial sales, while the fact that a new Explorer is long overdue has led to a strong demand by current owners in need of a replacement vehicle.
Ford’s launch of the new Explorer couldn’t come at a better time either, with a resurgence of interest in the large SUV/crossover segment that has seen a full 25 percent growth in the segment in the third quarter, and the utility vehicle segment now representing one-third of all vehicle sales in the U.S.
GALLERY: 2011 Ford Explorer
[Source: The Detroit News]
Dodge has just revealed the latest of its 2011 redesigns, the updated Avenger sedan, boasting the most powerful engine in its class as well as a host of other upgrades.
A new base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine joins the lineup, while the optional V6 boasts 283 best-in-class horsepower, plus a significant 260 ft-lbs of torque. But Dodge didn’t just toss in some extra power, they’ve also significantly revised the car’s suspension with an all new setup that includes a 1-inch wider track, wider 225 (compared to 215) tires, and a lower center of gravity thanks to a front end that’s lower by 12mm and a rear end that’s been dropped 6mm.
Outside, the overall shape of the car doesn’t change much with a new “split crosshair” grille shared with the rest of the lineup, while a lower front fascia helps give it a meaner and more dynamic look.
Inside, the changes are much more significant, with new instruments and a new steering wheel, not to mention upgraded seats. Plus, Dodge will now offer two-tone interiors and much of the cabin features soft touch items – replacing much of the hard plastic. Added sound deadening results in one of the quietest cabins in its class (claims Dodge).
It’s been a long time since we’ve wanted to drive an Avenger (maybe this is even the first time), but we’re eager to get behind the wheel and see if the new Chrysler can deliver.
The new 2011 Dodge Avenger will go on sale near the end of this year.
GALLERY: 2011 Dodge Avenger
Official release after the jump:
With the production Chevy Volt set to debut later this month and sales to start by the end of the year, General Motors is announcing that up to 4,400 early adopters could receive free home charging stations. Its not GM that will provide the charging stations, but rather the U.S. Department of energy, with two companies, ECOtality and Coulomb Technologies having agreed to install 1,600 and 1,800 chargers, respectively. In total, the DOE is planning to install 15,000 plug-in chargers across the country.
Buyers be ware, however, as the charger might not be entirely free. A more detailed analysis of the Chevy press release reveals that that chargers are expected to cost around $2,000 – while the DOE project is likely to save Volt owners anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. In other words, Volt buyers could be left covering the difference. Still, any discount is a good discount.
Official release after the jump:
The Chicago Auto Show is often used by U.S. automakers to debut new trucks and this year is shaping up to be no different – except for the fact that most trucks are now becoming crossovers. Sure, GM is set to unveil the new Heavy Duty version of the Chevy Silverado, but with the launch of the all-new 2011 Explorer, Ford is expected to announce that the capable truck has moved from a full body-on-frame SUV, to a car based crossover.
The Explorer will share its chassis with the new Ford Taurus sedan and is expected to keep some of the far-out powertrain ideas previewed in the Explorer American Concept when it was first shown at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show.
The biggest surprise is that Ford may debut its new 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine in the crossover, that can get over 30 mpg in front-drive form. Later on, the automaker will deliver more powerful motors, including the new 300-hp 3.7-liter V6 as found in the 2011 Mustang, as well as a version of Ford’s EcoBoost V6 with around 355-hp.
As a result of these changes, the Explorer will get vastly improved fuel economy across the range, however, expect tow ratings to drop.
AutoGuide will deliver live coverage from the Chicago Auto Show on February 10th.
GALLERY: Ford Explorer America Concept
Future Mustang may go global targeting cars like the BMW M3
Ford is planning an independent rear suspension (IRS) for the next-generation Mustang. Due out in 2014, this next model will celebrate 50 years of the iconic pony car.
The news comes from Motor Trend after discussions with several Ford execs and one unnamed company insider. It is also based on several assumptions, which include the fact that a new global independent rear end platform is in the works after Ford canceled plans for a different rear-drive independent platform that was to underpin the Mustang, next generation Ford Falcon (in Australia) and an upcoming Lincoln model.
A new Mustang-based IRS platform would mean that the Falcon and Lincoln models would be canceled – which Ford has indicated is already the case for the Falcon, a model that has seen sales slum considerably over the past several years.
In order to make a new IRS platform affordable, Ford would have to take the Mustang global. While this does meet with Ford’s new One Ford approach for global platforms, in our recent discussions with Ford marketing boss Jim Farley, he indicated that the Mustang wasn’t likely to ever become a global seller.
Many of the details are still unclear and the report suggests the next Mustang may simply be an evolution of the current car or that it may go in two other very-different directions. The first would be along the lines of the BMW M3, shrinking the size of the car and using a twin-turbo EcoBoost V6. The second would be to take the car to an almost exotic level and take on cars like the Nissan GT-R.